The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 22, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Commerce Department, in an effort to prevent scientific and technical data from going to Russia, announced that it would impose a ban on export of any such information which was "significant to national security". A previous voluntary program, asking firms to seek Commerce Department approval before sending such information abroad, had resulted in firms not accepting the advice for fear of lawsuits for breach of contract. Making the restriction mandatory would eliminate that problem. There were already laws in place to prevent export of such data when it was classified. Nothing in the law prevented Soviet agents, however, from purchasing patent documents from the Government.

In Hamburg, Der Spiegel reported that the Russians were evacuating thousands of Germans from the Baltic coast and fortifying it as the Nazis had the Atlantic coast during the war. Those who refused to leave or work were sent to the dreaded uranium mines. Almost all of the airbases in the area were being rebuilt and the Baltic turned into Russia's top rearmament base.

In Tokyo, General MacArthur denounced as "callous" the Soviet "hypocrisy" in charging Japanese Government "oppression" and refusing to release still retained Japanese prisoners of war. He urged an independent investigation into the fate of some 376,000 missing prisoners. A group of about 200 Japanese protesters stood outside the Soviet mission in Tokyo.

The President held a two-hour session with the Cabinet to provide his plans for legislative and other recommendations to Congress in 1950. The President was expected to deliver the State of the Union message to Congress on either January 4 or 5. He was departing for his Christmas vacation in Independence, Mo., the following day.

In Yokohama, Japan, Mukden Consul General Angus Ward and most of his staff sailed for the U.S., following their expulsion from Communist China.

In Cleveland, O., transit workers struck suddenly, catching commuters by surprise.

In Franklin Square, N.Y., National Maritime Union president Joseph Curran found "death to Curran" painted over his garage. He said that he believed "Commies" were responsible.

In Philadelphia, fifty firemen, despite using gas masks, were made sick from acrid fumes as they fought a fire in a compartmented experimental building of the Franklin Arsenal. A dense fog in the area was blamed for retaining the potency of the fumes outside the structure.

In Greenwich, Conn., Howard C. Hopson, 66, one of the most powerful financial figures of all time, died after being in ill health for four years, He had created a financial empire worth billions of dollars in utilities before being sent to prison for mail fraud during the 1930's.

In Sioux City, Iowa, a woman who had fortuitously missed work the previous week on the day of the Swift packing plant explosion, died this date from a fire in her mobile home caused by an exploding gasoline-fueled pressure cooking stove. Her husband also perished in the fire.

In Charleston, W. Va., five persons were killed in a rooming house fire.

In Houston, a mother and four of her children died in a fire at the family's frame shack. Four other children suffered burns. The fire started when the woman attempted to get a wood stove started by pouring gasoline or kerosene over it.

In Charlotte, a 19-year old struggled with why he had killed a cab driver by shooting him three times the previous night, hours after meeting him and his wife at a party they attended. He had also shot the wife in the head and beaten her, leaving her in "poor" condition. His head had begun pounding on December 7, just before the Tallulah Bankhead movie "Private Lives", while he worked at his job backstage at the Carolina Theater. People backstage had to restrain him from flailing his arms around in pain at the time. The same feeling had overcome him as he rode in the cab the previous night. He said that he blacked out and remembered nothing of the shooting. At the time, he was with a woman he had known for about six months. He had been to a Christmas party where his head had begun to hurt. He said that he had taken no drugs, felt "punch-happy" after consuming two beers and four or five drinks of whiskey at the party. He went to church often, he told police, and regularly read the Bible. He said others in his family had such severe headaches also. He was charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He also confessed to breaking into a store on December 10, at which time he had stolen the gun he used to shoot the cab driver and his wife.

Stop watching so many movies.

In London, two men bound for New York took along two hot water bottles full of water so that they could shave amid the drought and water shortage.

Near Edenton, N.C., two Marine planes collided and crash-landed but no one was killed or injured.

In Berlin, a nude couple were picked up by police, fleeing the icy waters of Grunewald Forest lake where they had gone to commit suicide. They said it was too cold.

Wait until spring.

On the editorial page, "Another Compromise" comments on the City Council's 4 to 3 decision to add 200 more units to its request for Federally-funded public housing, bringing the total to 600. While commending the Council for debating the matter in public rather than in executive session, the piece thinks the Council was wrong in not taking the advice of the Housing Authority to build 1,000 units to combat the slum conditions in which thousands of residents lived. Private enterprise had not done enough to ameliorate the problem and thus public housing was the only remaining solution.

"Growth of Lobbying" tells of lobbyists being around since the Founding but that it was nevertheless disconcerting to realize that 6.7 million dollars had been spent in the first three quarters of 1949 on lobbyists. The Lobbying Act required that lobbyists register with the Government and provide quarterly financial records, naming larger contributors. The National Association of Manufacturers and other trade organizations had objected to the requirement. NAM, calling the Act a violation of civil rights, had sued to test the act's constitutionality to determine whether it was void for vagueness.

The piece finds no sympathy with NAM's position as the Act only afforded transparency. It concludes that an even greater violation of civil rights of the people would occur from secret pressure being applied to determine legislation.

A piece from the Ahoskie Daily News, titled "Industries Needed", tells of the development of the small town in Eastern North Carolina during the previous 50 years being a significant development to absorb farming families forced from the land by modern developments in farming. But the times were changing and the small towns needed industry to continue to thrive and absorb yet more displaced people from the farms. It urges the small towns to attract such industries which were leaving large cities for less populous areas.

Drew Pearson tells of the most important backstage debate on U.S. foreign policy centering on Formosa, new refuge for the Chinese Nationalist Government. Despite a pledge by the U.S. to China to return Formosa to the Chinese from Japan at the end of the war, General MacArthur had urged that the U.S. take it over for its strategic proximity to Okinawa, and Okinawa's proximity in turn to Japan. He said that if Formosa were abandoned, the U.S. might as well kiss off all of its Southeast Asia program to Chinese Communism.

The Chinese Communists were mounting a giant flotilla on the mainland for the purpose of taking Formosa. Also, Chiang Kai-Shek, at the end of the war, had placed an unscrupulous warlord in charge of Formosa, with the result that rioting and looting had taken place with 60,000 Formosans killed. Most of the island's inhabitants would therefore welcome the Communists.

The Joint Chiefs, prior to General MacArthur's cable, had decided to abandon Formosa, but the cable had caused them to reassess the determination and to recommend claiming Formosa as Japanese territory and landing a detachment of Marines. Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson supported this recommendation. But Secretary of State Acheson disagreed, as he believed that such a move would bring ridicule throughout Asia.

Former FDR press secretary Steve Early, now Undersecretary of Defense, raised havoc with the press representatives at the Pentagon for being too slow in releasing statements to the press.

State Department chief planner George Kennan had informed Secretary Acheson that the U.S. might have to close down its embassies and legations throughout Eastern Europe because of harassment and restrictions being placed on diplomats by the Communist puppet governments, especially prevalent in Bulgaria.

Former chief of Naval operations Louis Denfeld had finally made up his mind not to take the offered command of the Navy in European waters, after some pressure had been placed on him by Navy Secretary Francis Matthews to reach a decision whether he would accept the command or retire.

U.S. high commissioner of East Germany, John J. McCloy, had informed Washington that Otto Grotewohl, Prime Minister of East Germany, had, along with his wife, tried to commit suicide because of the Russians. Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky had visited him in the hospital and ordered the story to be circulated that he was suffering from the flu.

The Norwegian Government had appealed to the U.S. for three destroyers to guard its coast against Russian submarines photographing the coastline around Narvik.

Marquis Childs discusses the Federal Power Commission's unanimous decision to grant P.G. & E. in California the right to develop a part of the King's River in the Central Valley, undercutting the efforts of the Bureau of Reclamation to provide public irrigation and power. Throughout the 1948 campaign, the President had urged public power and now the FPC was thwarting that program. The Department of Interior was seeking a rehearing on the matter to stress the importance of the Central Valley project.

Another decision was pending on the application of the Virginia Power & Electric Co. to develop a dam on the Roanoke River in North Carolina and that decision also would determine the future of public power, the trend toward which during the New Deal years, the power companies were seeking to reverse.

It would supply one of the central issues in the Democratic Senate race in the spring between incumbent Sheridan Downey and challenger Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Communist Chinese having politely demanded from Russia control of the Manchurian port of Dairen. This demand had preceded the trip of Mao Tse-Tung to Moscow earlier in the week. The Russians had occupied the Manchurian port since the end of the war, in contravention to the terms agreed at Yalta. It posed the question of whether China was following Marshal Tito in rebellion to Moscow.

A Cominform for Asia, with China having the central role, had been established at a meeting in Peiping the prior November, ostensibly concerning trade. The persons behind it were loyal first to Mao and not Moscow.

By accepting this arrangement, Moscow had shown it was willing to accept the Communist Chinese as a junior partner rather than in a subservient role as with the satellites of Eastern Europe. Thus, it was unlikely that the Chinese effort would turn into Titoism.

The Nationalist Navy was likely to defect to the Communists, rendering Formosa, the new Nationalist island bastion, indefensible. If it were to be taken, the Soviets would gain a strategic prize while eliminating the Nationalists from the scene. Such was the first phase of the Soviet-Chinese partnership.

The second phase would be putting pressure on Southeast Asia, especially on Burma and Indo-China, the keys to the region, already wavering toward Communism.

Meanwhile, U.S. policy toward Asia remained stultified with none of the 75 million dollars allocated for aid being yet spent. By the time roving Ambassador for Asia, Philip Jessup, returned in February from his fact-finding trip, it was hoped that a policy would be developed to counter the Soviet-Chinese policy. But by the following March, it could be too late, they warn, to halt the Communist conquest of Asia.

A letter writer thanks composer Lamar Stringfield and writer Marian Sims of Charlotte for their Christmas cantata, "Peace", the premiere of which had occurred in Washington the previous Sunday.

A letter writer urges that the Republicans needed a positive platform on which to run if they hoped to win in subsequent elections. He suggests that they stop talking about socialism and other "isms" and begin providing programs to help the farmers and small businessmen.

A letter writer remarks on the recent conviction of a North Carolina prison camp superintendent for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment amounting to assault by handcuffing prisoners to cell bars for more than 50 hours as a means of discipline, notwithstanding the fact that state prison regulations permitted the punishment. The writer applauds the effort to make the prisons more humane, that the prisons could not be as the concentration camps run by the Germans and Japanese during the war. In so doing, prisoners would come out better rehabilitated rather than embittered by mistreatment and thus more inclined to recidivism.

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