The Charlotte News

Monday, February 28, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, General Lucius Clay had asked informally several months earlier to be relieved from his duties as military occupation Governor of the American occupation zone of Germany at the earliest possible moment. Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall said that no action had been taken yet on the request or the successor to General Clay determined. The State Department had been scheduled to take over the administration of the American zone on the previous June 30 but because of the Berlin blockade initiated by the Soviets, the change to civilian administration had been delayed.

In Sofia, Bulgaria, five more of the 15 Protestant churchmen on trial for treason, spying and black market activities, pleaded guilty, bringing the guilty pleas to eight. All had declared the error of their ways and that they wished a new opportunity to work for the Communist Government. The five represented Baptist, Congregational and Pentecostal churches. Each said the secret police had shown nobility in taking their prior confessions of spying for the U.S. and Britain.

ERP administrator Paul Hoffman testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the requested 940 million dollars for aid to Britain in the coming year, about one-sixth of the total aid requested for the Marshall Plan for 1949-50, was the minimum needed to assure recovery. He said that a statement by Christopher Mayhew, the British undersecretary of foreign affairs, that recovery was nearly complete, had, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps, grossly overestimated the situation for the sake of the Russians who had been needling Mr. Mayhew. Mr. Hoffman also said that recovery would not be complete until Britain's earnings in dollars from exports and services to the U.S. and other hard currency areas were sufficient to pay for its essential imports. A setback in recovery of Britain would have potentially disastrous effects to the recovery of all of Western Europe.

In Paris, the French Government stated that a Communist French Army major had confessed to turning Army documents over to a foreign military attache, presumably Russian.

The President advised Democratic Congressional leaders Senator Scott Lucas and House Speaker Sam Rayburn plus Vice-President Barkley to meet the issue of the Senate filibuster "head-on" and to seek a showdown in the effort to curb the practice, anticipated regarding the President's civil rights package.

The Administration, through Arthur Altmeyer, commissioner of Social Security, asked the House Ways & Means Committee for expansion of the Government program for the needy by 200 to 250 million dollars over its present billion dollar per year budget, the additional amount to be for home relief, including medical care. He testified regarding the entire package of relief for the poor and needy sought by the Administration.

The Hoover Commission described the Department of Defense as being nearly the weakest department in the Government. It criticized its lack of civilian control by the President and Secretary of Defense, finding it too much under the direction of the Joint Chiefs. There was continued disharmony in the supposedly unified Department, together with extravagance and waste. More planning was urged for things such as emergency civilian and industrial mobilization and more control placed in civilian hands. It also suggested appointment of a chairman of the Joint Chiefs to bring the virtually autonomous body under civilian control. General Eisenhower had recently been named a temporary head of the Joint Chiefs for the purpose.

The Supreme Court, in N.L.R.B. v. Stowe Spinning Co., 336 U.S. 226, an opinion delivered by Justice Frank Murphy, ruled 6 to 3 that it was an unfair labor practice for an employer to bar a union from use of the only meeting hall in a company town, reversing a lower court decision allowing the employer's action. The Court upheld the prior ruling by the NLRB, but held that the order was too broad and remanded the case for further action. Justice Stanley Reed dissented in an opinion joined by Chief Justice Fred Vinson, and Justice Robert Jackson filed a partial dissent. The case had arisen out of North Belmont, N.C., involving the Textile Workers Union.

In Washington, the treason trial of Mildred Gillars continued, as the defendant testified that she had heard in 1943 that a broadcaster in Rome was using the name "Axis Sally", objection to which for hearsay, however, was sustained. Ms. Gillars was accused of making propaganda broadcasts for the Nazis to the Allies from Berlin during the war under the name "Axis Sally". She denied testimony of a soldier who said that Ms. Gillars had visited him in the hospital and sat on a cot partially exposed. She said that she stood at all times out of fear of soiling her white dress.

In Gambier, O., six students were missing and two known to be dead from a dormitory fire at Kenyon College on Sunday morning.

In Washington, a man admitted to police having shot to death his pregnant wife and buried alive their baby daughter with the mother's body in a shallow grave in Fairfax County, Va., near a nudist colony. He led police to the hiding place of his pistol used in the murder. Before the killing, he said, his wife had jumped from their car with the baby after the car became mired in a lonely wooded area.

In Charlotte, the Chamber of Commerce was to hold its annual meeting at the Hotel Charlotte the following evening. A committee headed by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson had written an original musical skit dramatizing the spirit of Charlotte, including a ballad, "Charlotte", to be featured.

Dinner will be served at 7:00. Be prompt.

A new "Mr. X" contest begins, with the first clue being that the man makes his home in North Carolina. He appears to be dressed in a baseball uniform.

Last week's "Mr. X" is identified as State Senator Jack Blythe, as pictured February 1, having replaced his deceased brother, DNC national treasurer and State Senator Joe Blythe, who had died suddenly January 23 of a cerebral hemorrhage. A Scrooge had identified him for $10 the previous Monday. We hope you enjoy your $10 and the trip it enables you to take to the French Riviera, having deprived the poor children of $50 for Christmas out of the Empty Stocking Fund. Thus far in five weeks, the children have netted zero while the smart-aleck winners have taken home a healthy booty of more than $90, which could have represented $250 to the Fund.

We should have known the identity of Mr. Blythe, given the very good clues which we had, such as his picture having appeared on the 39th day of Christmas. But we were stumped all week.

And after being a day behind for the last year, tomorrow, we catch up with you. We warned you.

On the editorial page, "Sworn to Commit Treason" comments on the statements the previous week by Communist leaders Maurice Thorez in France and Palmiro Togliatti in Italy, saying that the Russians would be welcome in their respective countries if needing to pursue an enemy over their borders. It confirmed that no matter where a Communist lived, he was willing to commit treason to accommodate Moscow.

M. Thorez had said that Russia was incapable of committing aggression. When asked why Russia's 1939 invasion of Poland did not constitute aggression, he said that there was no Polish Government in place at the time as it had fled to Rumania.

It concludes that these statements were reminders of the real nature of Communism and its threat to democracy.

"The Beer-Wine Problem" urges adoption of a solution, favored by both ABC control advocates and the Dry forces, to permit ABC-type sales of beer and wine while prohibiting public consumption of same in establishments selling beer and wine. The problem had arisen from disturbances in such dispensaries.

"Auto Inspection Ends" tells of the vehicle mechanical inspection program having been ended by the Legislature because of the vocal opponents who complained loudly of long lines at the DMV while those favoring retention for reasons of safety remained silent. While fatality rates had declined since the beginning of the program two years earlier, there was no practical way to prove that the program had produced the salutary result as accident rates had increased.

It suggests, however, that in the two years before the next legislative session, if the accident and fatality rates increased substantially, there would be a cry once again for restoration of the program.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "It's a Joint Operation", suggests that the State did not need to raise taxes to make the improvements proposed by Governor Kerr Scott and that the Legislature and the Governor ought cooperate in finding sources of revenue to effect the Governor's program.

Drew Pearson examines the President's military aide General Harry Vaughan, describing him as easygoing, sometimes blustery, difficult to dislike for his sense of humor, a principal reason, in addition to his loyalty, that the President kept him as his aide. His humor consisted of such stunts as turning a pig loose in J. Edgar Hoover's office and berating the President in unprintable language for playing the wrong card at poker. As an example of his milder witticisms, he quotes the general as saying, "The cockroaches in Gallinger Hospital should have service stripes, because they've been there since the Civil War."

Since he played a part in determining foreign relations, the General deserved closer examination. He had risen during the previous nine years from a manufacturer's representative of the Hines Co. of Milwaukee and other companies, going to work for then Senator Truman in 1939 as a secretary. He had gone to Australia during the war as a lieutenant colonel but did not get along well with General MacArthur and came home. There was no official record of the nature of his service there, though friends claimed he had performed his duties well. At the beginning of 1945, he had become Vice-President Truman's military aide, the first time a Vice-President had such an aide.

The General was not content to remain a court jester. He insisted on trying to affect policy and usually made a mess of it. In 1946, when Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson twice cut the grain allocation to distillers because of the need for bread, he objected to the second cut and demanded the order be rescinded. Secretary Anderson refused. General Vaughan remained plentifully supplied by a former bootlegger, John Maragon, who had influenced Truman Doctrine aid for Greece.

He provides some excerpts of editorials reacting to the President's recent colorful defense of General Vaughan, saying, in primary reference to Mr. Pearson, that no "s.o.b." was going to tell him who he should appoint or fire. One from the Kinston (N.C.) Free Press questioned both the propriety of General Vaughan's receipt of a medal from Argentine dictator Juan Peron and the President's attack on the right of Mr. Pearson to criticize the General for the fact. In defending Mr. Pearson's right to freedom of speech, it found objection to the President's use of language. Only a "poolroom loafer", it asserted, would condone the President's language.

The Pueblo (Colo.) Star-Journal said that the President had stooped to the "lowest kind of alley language", suggestive of the Pendergast machine influence on the President.

Alleys and poolrooms? You little s.o.b. prigs.

Marquis Childs discusses the decision of the U.S. to provide military aid to Norway to induce it to join the North Atlantic Pact, before it finally had been formed and approved by the Western European nations. The U.S. had decided likewise not to provide arms to any nation not a member of the Pact, thus giving Norway the security it had desired and, by the same token, the final inducement to join. Sweden was given a clear indication that unless it joined quickly, the U.S. would have to conclude that Sweden was strategically indefensible.

The former U.S. Ambassador to Norway between 1944 and 1946, Lithgow Osborne, had provided a memorandum to several Senators indicating why the State Department should not, however, disrupt the unity of the Scandinavian countries. First, a Scandinavian alliance which was neutral, as proposed by Sweden for Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, worked to the benefit of the U.S. for not provoking Russia. It would not allow for defense by the U.S. of those nations but would also relieve the U.S. of any moral obligation to provide support in the event of attack, not the case under the North Atlantic Pact. Second, he questioned why the Scandinavian countries in not joining the North Atlantic Pact and therefore not receiving military aid should be treated worse than Turkey, Greece or Korea. He also indicated that the unity of Scandinavia was vital to reconstruction of Europe. To destroy that unity for the sake of the Pact was of dubious wisdom, even potentially dangerous.

The reaction by Russia to the admission of Norway to the Pact was uncertain. It could prompt Russia to move into Finland and use it as a military base, a move, if made, which would come out of fear and weakness, the bases of all of Russia's aggression.

Stewart Alsop tells of the U.S. finally trying to define what its policy goals were in Germany. A four-man committee, chaired by George Kennan of the State Department, principal architect of the Marshall Plan, had been formed for the purpose. The other three members were Richard Bissell, deputy ERP administrator—to become CIA deputy director for plans in 1958 under President Eisenhower, in which role he would formulate during the period 1959-61 the strategy for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April, 1961, designed to lead to the fall of Fidel Castro from power—, Robert Blum, special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and Assistant Secretary of the Army Tracy Voorhees. Their task was to formulate preliminary recommendations which would then be circulated among the principals of their departments, ERP administrator Paul Hoffman, and General Lucius Clay in Germany.

Heretofore, policy was being made on an ad hoc basis by General Clay. In that process, he had determined wisely that the U.S. did not want a colonial Germany in the Western sectors which would be in constant danger thereby of being drawn into the Soviet orbit. Also, the U.S. did not want to be forced from Berlin by Soviet pressure. Those policies had already been implemented.

Having accomplished the task of determining the type of Germany not desired, the task was to decide the type which was desired, the task of the committee in conjunction with the department superiors and the National Security Council. The results would be appropriately secret, to prevent the Soviets from being privy to the blueprint.

In the past, there had been bitter division between the desires for Germany held by the State Department, ERP, and the Department of the Army. Thus, the first order of business was to reach a cohesive plan. Then, the policy would have to be fit into the overall policy for Western Europe and the world.

A letter from the pastor of the Main Street Methodist Church finds the editorial of February 21, "The 'Right to Vote'", to have been "one of the most scintillating examples of the inanity of wet arguments" that he had read. He finds the editorial to be presenting a red herring to draw attention from the principal issue, that is substituting for the issue of prohibition the right to vote on the issue on a local basis or to have a statewide referendum, depriving individual communities of the right to determine the matter. He favors the statewide referendum.

A letter writer responds to a letter of February 16 responding to his prior letter, regarding the writer's suggestion that the U.S. had the right to hate Britain but not the converse, and that Winston Churchill had induced FDR to take America into the war. He says that he believes that a person who did not hate his country's enemies did not love his country and that he loves his country and so hated its enemies—including, presumably therefore, Britain.

He adds that the North Carolina schools were not responsible for his stupidity as suggested by the previous writer, that he came by his views from schools in another state.

A Quote of the Day: "The individual who parades around in a white robe to scare somebody and has to hide his face for fear the public will find out who he is, is certainly ashamed of his antics himself and why shouldn't his whole community be ashamed?" —Laurens (S.C.) Advertiser

We quote it not because, of itself, it was such an extraordinary statement, stating as it did the obvious, but rather because the current leading candidate in the field of Republicans in 2016 would, presumably, by his own statements, not know to what or to whom the quote was referring. It leads us to wonder whether that candidate is the atavistic progeny of the Know-Nothings of the 1850's.

We note, incidentally, that, with one exception, never in the history of the United States has a person come directly from private life, never having served in either the military as a general or in the government as either a Governor, Cabinet officer, Senator or Congressman, to become the nominee of one of the major political parties. That exception was Wendell Willkie in 1940, an extraordinary circumstance for it being the first election in which a sitting two-term President was running for another term, with the world at war. (One could quibble about Horace Greeley in 1872, who had served previously in Congress for only a few months as an interim Congressman, and Alton Parker in 1904, Chief Judge of the highest court in New York State, both of whom lost in landslides.)

There is good reason for that history. But the idiots proclaiming this billionaire as their messiah, giving him allegiance in obeisant frenzy, ready to anoint him King of the Peons, would not know about that history and its rationale, as their earpieces are faulty, just as with their ideological forebears, the Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen.

Another Quote of the Day: "Why there should always be an England: Pubs in Liverpool are forbidden to install juke boxes. Such common sense deserves to live forever." —New Orleans States

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