The Charlotte News

Friday, February 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. laid before the U.N. Economic and Social Council the President's plan for raising the standard of living in underdeveloped nations. There was no mention, however, of how much money the U.S. might appropriate for the program or how much private capital might be invested. Assistant Secretary of State Willard Thorp said that the program should involve international cooperation and no one nation should be expected to shoulder all or most of the financial burden. He said that many countries could contribute goods and services in lieu of money. He proposed that the U.N. formulate a concrete program to be presented at the Council's next session in Geneva during the summer. He said that the timetable for the program would be measured in decades rather than years. He stressed the President's inaugural address statement that the plan would encourage private capital investment with reasonable assurance that it would be protected and that imperialistic exploitation had no place in the formulation.

According to an authoritative source in Finland, Russia had, the previous week, moved additional troops to Norway's Arctic border. The source could not estimate the number of troops involved and said that there was no similar movement along the Finnish border. The move was assumed to be in response to Norway having indicated its desire to join the North Atlantic Pact. No Finnish officials could confirm the troop movement.

In Sofia, Bulgaria, 15 Protestant churchmen went on trial for treason, espionage for the U.S. and Britain, and black market money dealing, with one of the four principal defendants, a Baptist minister, pleading guilty. The Government claimed that all fifteen had provided confessions. A judge told the minister who pleaded guilty that if the court was impressed with the sincerity of his confession, they would take it into account in sentencing. The minister said that he began spying in 1938 and continued it through the war, providing information to the secretary of the American political mission—who was presently teaching at Princeton University and had termed the accusations "fantastic".

The President named James Grover McDonald as the first Ambassador to Israel. He had been the special representative since the previous June and it had been understood that he would be named Ambassador after formal diplomatic recognition was provided to Israel. Eliahu Elath was simultaneously named the first Ambassador to the U.S. for Israel.

Britain's request for 940 million dollars in ERP aid was being reviewed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The former president of the National Association of Manufacturers sent a statement to the Senate Labor Committee saying that Senator Claude Pepper had attacked the integrity of every draft board in the country and the patriotism of manufacturers when he said recently, in the context of the hearings on Taft-Hartley, that many sons of manufacturers remained home and got rich while the sons of workers and the poor died in foreign fields of battle during the war. Senator Pepper had already stated that he was not attacking the patriotism of the class of manufacturers and had made that clear at the time of the initial statement. Rather, he had in mind the deferments obtained by some sons of management officials because of the claim of their being essential employees. The former NAM president supported retention of Taft-Hartley.

In Detroit, G.M. announced that it would cut all of its passenger car and Chevrolet truck prices as it prepared to implement a two-cent per hour cost of living wage reduction based on the extant UAW contract allowing such adjustments up or down based on changes in the cost of living index. The reduction would leave wages below the industry average of about $1.65 per hour. There would also be a reduction by $10 in the $40 lump sum cost of living allowance under the contract. The workers would receive an automatic wage boost of three cents per hour the following May 29, not connected with the cost of living. The UAW had proposed the price cut in response to the wage cut. It was thought to be the first time a wage reduction had been tied to a price reduction in the history of the auto industry. G.M. said that the price reduction was motivated in part by cheaper materials costs. It was the first price reduction since the war for G.M.

Ford had cut prices by a range of $15 to $50 two years earlier, the only other manufacturer to have done so since the war.

Earlier in the week, Chrysler, citing higher materials costs, had raised their prices 6.66 percent.

Don't buy one of those. They are devil cars, Satan's chariots of death.

In Raleigh, the State House agreed to Senate amendments to the bill abolishing the State's vehicle mechanical inspection program, ending the program, the North Carolina Governor at that time having no veto power.

You might wish by 1960 that you had not done that.

Don't worry, though. They will bring back a safety inspection program by the mid-1960's, no doubt after seeing enough upside down Corvairs.

In Concord, N.C., a murder and suicide took place in the Franklin Mills village. A man killed his wife with a 12-gauge shotgun, then shot himself in the head, leaving behind nine children. A 17-year old daughter in a rear bedroom did not hear the shotgun blasts but heard a bump and rushed into the front bedroom to see her parents dead. A three-year old child in the rear bedroom slept through the tragedy. The family had lost their house and belongings in a fire a year earlier. Their new home had been partially furnished from donations of neighbors.

In Charlotte, at a meeting of the newly appointed Veterans Recreation Commission, a City-owned lot in Independence Park between Memorial Stadium and East 7th Street was proposed as the site for a proposed veterans clubhouse, replacing a site on East Morehead Street which was deemed not suitably located. The City had appropriated $50,000 of non-tax funds for construction of the clubhouse.

In Yukon, Okla., a Hereford cow worth a thousand dollars became ill and, after the vet had treated the untethered animal, first headed, at a speed close to Mach I, for the farmer and then, approaching Mach II, jumped right through a small feed door, about the size of a single newspaper page, into the farmer's silo—which was not so spectacular as jumping over the moon, as the report subliminally suggests. The cow suffered no bruises but left some hair on the door. The farmer was stuck on the horns of a dilemma. He could not leave the cow in the silo because it was gaining weight and could not extricate it as it was already too large. He could not butcher the cow for it was too valuable as breeding stock. But the 40-foot silo was worth more than the cow. And to try to widen the door could cause the structure to collapse. Someone had suggested utilizing an oil derrick to hoist the cow out, but that cost was also prohibitive. Meanwhile, the cow appeared quite content inside its circular cell.

How about if you freeze the cow so as to shrink it and then thaw it out?

Or you could milk it for all it's worth.

In any event, it sounds to us like a Republican Senate Office Building cow.

"Mr. X", the native North Carolinian, we have come to conclude, is simply hidden in the shadows, his identity incapable of being dug out in temporal proximity to the conclusion of this contest this night. Perhaps, you got it. But we simply come up empty, as surely as would the children's stockings next Christmas should some smart-aleck figure it out and deprive the eleemosynary enterprise its charitable purposes by collecting the prize money from the mouths of poor children.

On the editorial page, "The Legislature and the Schools", another by-lined piece by Pete McKnight, soon to become Editor, looks at the education package before the Legislature, the emergency school building program and raising teacher salaries being the most popular aspects. But those would also stir the most debate regarding the best way of achieving the desired objectives. He provides facts and figures in support of the differing approaches, and if you desire to know more about the specifics, you can read it.

Mr. McKnight concludes that the legislators wanted to do as much as possible for education but wanted something more workable than the plan enunciated by Governor Scott.

It was a long time ago and the schools did get a lot better by the mid-1950's.

A piece from the Gastonia Gazette, titled "The Police Chief's Record", examines the record of crime in Gaston County since the banning of sale of beer and wine the previous October 27, finds total arrests having increased by one-seventh or 55, public drunkenness arrests decreased by about six percent or 11, to 164, drunk driving up by fifty percent or 5 arrests, gambling arrests doubled, increased by 16, and prohibition violations up 27 percent, by 7.

It thus asks the question where these 164 arrestees were getting their alcohol if they were so drunk that they had to be locked up.

Drew Pearson tells of the journey of the Merci Train from France, bearing gifts for each of the 48 states in return for the Friendship Train of November, 1947, bearing gifts of food and clothing from Americans for the winter of 1948, coming to the end of the line in California.

He laments the fact that the President had attended a concert a few blocks from where the train stopped in Washington and did not attend the ceremonies. Neither had Assistant Secretary of State George Allen, despite annually seeking from Congress millions of dollars to promote cultural relations with foreign nations. But Vice-President Barkley, Attorney General Tom Clark, Senators Arthur Vandenberg and Tom Connally, and Undersecretary of State James Webb had turned out in the cold to greet the train.

Along its journey, many mayors and governors, including Governor Kerr Scott of North Carolina, as well as other dignitaries had also come out to greet it. Governor Earl Warren had traveled all across California with the train, as had Governor Frank Carlson of Kansas when the trained crossed that state.

The French railroad men aboard had been made honorary colonels of Kentucky and honorary citizens of Dallas, among other such gestures along the way. He tells of these railroad men intermingling with the French workers back home and thus being better representatives than all the French diplomats who only mingled with foreign diplomats.

He finds fault with Secretary of State Acheson for being too busy negotiating the North Atlantic Pact to stop to greet the visiting Frenchmen aboard the train, overlooking the fact that no treaty was worth more than its paper unless the people of the signatory nations backed it.

He suggests that such was one of the major faults in the State Department and the Pentagon, that the planners were so busy writing pacts and arranging to ship arms to Europe that they had forgotten about the people.

Until about a year earlier, the Russians had made great inroads with the French and Italians, with about a third voting for Communists. But six million French had organized the Merci Train, apart from their Government. Mr. Pearson suggests that Stalin would have given his right arm for such a gesture of gratitude. That was why, he concludes, despite the absence of the President and the State Department, the presence of the various mayors and governors was so important, to give the French the rousing welcome they deserved and would always remember.

Well, now, he's being a bit of an s.o.b., don't you think?

Joseph Alsop, in Berlin, tells of remarkable progress having been achieved in Germany, with a 250 percent increase in industrial output since 1947 in the combined Anglo-American zones, about three-quarters of that in 1936. Now, Germany had many million more mouths to feed on the same limited acreage. Rations had been increased to an average of 2,000 calories per day. The cities were beginning to be repaired and the average German was starting to live a "sort of drab sufficiency".

But three problems remained to be faced. The Soviet policy had been frustrated by the failure of the Berlin blockade and as long as Berlin remained an island of freedom, the Soviets would have great difficulty in organizing even the Eastern zone in a manner to their liking.

The British Foreign Office had accepted the permanent division of Germany a year earlier, and if the Soviets could not make all of Germany a satellite, it would hang on to the Eastern sector and the division would endure.

Thus, the Western powers quickly had to build up a healthy economic life in West Germany to prevent any temptation to defect toward the Soviet orbit. That was the goal of the London conference, to establish a separate West German government. But the French, given their fears of the Germans, were busy eroding that agreement since the time it was inked.

The French now owned many of the important industries in their occupation zone and a bloated occupation force consumed 60 percent of the tax revenue. The French sought to control their zone as tightly as possible and did not believe in providing a national life for the Germans.

In consequence, West Germany had become essentially a colony, divided into three parts. He ventures that it was better, however, to have a West German Government even on a colonial basis than to continue with three military occupation forces. But colonial status would bring with it problems which came with all colonies, including irresponsibility and peevishness. Any constitutional government set up during this period of transition also would inevitably be upset when Germany ultimately obtained its independence.

But the established economic pattern during that interim time would remain and so the wiser British and Americans were taking new interest in the Ruhr, the key to Germany's economic life. Because the economy would shape the political structure of the country, these men advocated socialization of Ruhr industries.

Marquis Childs reports that Administration officials, including high level economic advisers, believed that the Republicans were aligning with big business in an effort to bring about a depression in the country which they could then blame on President Truman, to the Republicans' political benefit in 1950 and 1952. A waiter had reported that at a recent conference between top-ranking Republicans and Governor Dewey, such a plan was actually discussed.

Whereas the Administration had seen the increasing unemployment as indicative only of a few soft spots in the economy, taking solace in the fact that still more people were working than ever before, the Republicans in Congress were making speeches predicting depression and arguing that a tax increase, sought by the President for four billion dollars, would only exacerbate the trend. The GOP hoped thereby to be able to defeat the President's tax plan and his proposed emergency standby controls on selected prices and wages.

On the Federal Reserve Board, the battle between those competing forces, inflation or deflation, had been ongoing for some time. The previous Congress had given power to the Board to regulate consumer credit and pursuant thereto, the Board had passed Regulation W which required certain levels of down payment over prescribed terms of repayment on consumer installment loans for such things as automobiles and washing machines. The automakers, especially Kaiser-Frazer, wanted a longer term for payment, extending the maximum from 18 to 24 months, arguing that the regulation discriminated against lower income families. Other dealers in consumer goods also wanted changes.

Within the Board, former chairman Marriner Eccles, now vice-chairman, still had a powerful voice and favored Regulation W.

So, if you want to buy a Kaiser, you had best save your shekels.

But stay away from those Chryslers.

A letter from the pastor of Grace Methodist Church in Kings Mountain thinks that too much criticism was being leveled at the prohibition of wine and beer sales in Gaston County, approved by the voters the previous October, despite the tragic deaths recently of five men who had consumed a toxic mixture of paint thinner and bay rum. He says that these men could have slaked their thirst for alcohol at one of numerous "blind tigers" operating within the county and did not need to resort to the paint thinner cocktail to get drunk—then blind and dead. He favors total prohibition throughout the state to conquer the evils of alcohol.

A letter writer, a three-year overseas veteran of World War II, encloses a letter he had written to Congressman Hamilton Jones regarding the proposed pension plan for veterans, enclosing the News editorial on the subject from February 17. He agrees completely with the editorial and disfavors providing pensions to veterans merely for being veterans of retirement age, urges Congressman Jones to rethink his position favoring the legislation.

A letter writer informs that the misstatement as corrected in the letter printed the previous Monday, stating that Waightstill Avery did not, in fact, write the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in the Hezekiah Alexander Rock Home, had been the result of incorrect information imparted to her. She was a native Georgian who had never placed emphasis on the Mecklenburg Declaration, grew up revering July 4 and Independence Day, was therefore unfamiliar with the Mecklenburg document's history. She says that the D.A.R. only wished to have proper information in restoring the Rock Home and were not trying to create controversy.

Yet, we still are at a loss to know whether this was the home of Mr. Rock or a house built of rock.

We suppose it does not really matter much as many historians doubt the authenticity of the Mecklenburg document in the first place. But, we must all have our myths.

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