The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 15, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that there was continuing effort by Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas to effect a compromise regarding the proposed Senate rule change on filibusters—the substance of which is thoroughly discussed in the lead editorial of the day. The Southern Democrats had agreed to accept a two-thirds vote to close debate on every type of measure, including motions, except for a rule change. The Administration Senators thus far had refused that compromise. The Administration wished to drop the matter for the present and get on with other Senate business, especially the rent control extension bill, set to expire March 31. But the Southern Democrats insisted on having the matter settled presently and not brought up later, after other pressing business had been resolved. Minority Leader Kenneth Wherry said that everyone had agreed on the two-thirds rule being applicable across the board, even to rules changes, and that the opposing faction was only a "vote and a half apart"—whatever that meant.

The Senate Armed Service Committee rejected the President's nomination of Mon Wallgren for the post of chairman of the National Security Resources Board, voting 7 to 6 to table the nomination. The nomination would thus die unless the Senate voted by a simple majority to call it to the floor. Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia voted with the six Republicans on the Committee for the motion to table, while all other Democrats voted against it. The majority report said that the Committee found that the former Governor and Senator from Washington lacked the economic and industrial experience necessary for the post.

Meetings between Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Denmark's Foreign Minister Gustav Rasmussen ended positively, with Mr. Rasmussen implicitly stating that he would recommend to the Danish Parliament that Denmark join NATO.

The House approved a section of the rent control bill clearing the way for the decontrol of a hundred or more of the 598 rent control areas, per the President's list of the exempt areas disclosed the previous week.

Former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts and several other Government leaders proposed a federal union of nations among the countries signing the North Atlantic Treaty. They were preparing to ask Congress, following ratification of the treaty, to approve of an international convention to determine whether to go forward with such a federal union.

A record $500,000 would be available to pay off informers of tax evaders in 1949. The top limit for rewards was ten percent of the outstanding tax.

Robert Hanes of Winston-Salem, N.C., president of Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., apparently was about to be appointed to the post of Marshall Plan chief of missions for Belgium and Luxembourg.

The two-week UMW walkout in the Eastern coal mines was impacting railroads, as 62,000 employees were anticipating imminent layoff. The UMW had called the walkout in protest of the Senate confirmation of James Boyd as director of the Bureau of Mines, pending since 1947. John L. Lewis blamed him for lack of safety in the mines during his tenure as acting director, resulting in numerous mine deaths.

Operating employees of the Wabash Railroad went on strike this date, affecting 3,500 to 4,000 employees.

In Oakland, Calif., an Army pier just south of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge had caught fire just after midnight, spreading via exploding oil drums, causing an estimated million dollars worth of damage. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire had not been determined and sabotage had not been eliminated as a source.

Governor Kerr Scott of North Carolina released the names of 48 persons who had been endorsed as possible replacements in the Senate for recently deceased J. Melville Broughton, who had taken the Senate seat only in early January. He said that it would be several days before he named a replacement. He had received some 3,000 telegrams and additional phone calls making recommendations. The list is included, and among those mentioned, in addition to future Senators Willis Smith and B. Everett Jordan and future State Supreme Court Chief Justice Susie Sharpe, is the eventual appointee, UNC president Frank Porter Graham.

The Governor said that he enjoyed one recommendation in particular, from a county election official who said simply, "Just appoint whoever you damn please."

In Raleigh, the State Senate Education Committee gave an unfavorable report to the "Foundation Plan" for education which would make the State responsible for 85 percent of the costs of education and the counties and municipalities the remainder, on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

The State Senate, on third reading of the measure, authorized an election on the issuance of $50,000 in bonds for school building.

In Gastonia, N.C., a woman was indicted for murder in the shooting death of her six-year old daughter the previous June, following an original determination by a coroner's jury that the child had met her death "at hands unknown". The indictment resulted from a note written by the woman to her husband admitting to the murder. She said that she wanted to spare her daughter from living "like the rest". The child had been shot eight times. The woman had also apparently shot herself six times, but had since recovered from the shooting.

There is no further clue on the front page regarding the identity of "Miss X", the last in the seven of such contests. You had better hurry though if you want to try your guess, as we have the distinct feeling that the mystery will be resolved tomorrow.

In addition to being a native of Florida, the woman may have millions, know a prince of foxes, and sometimes sing a song of surrender.

You also have likely never heard of her, though with many prominent people she did appear.

On the editorial page, "The Senate Veto" discusses the pending rule change and the extant Senate rule regarding cloture of debate. In 1917, Rule 22 had been instituted, whereby 16 Senators could petition for a cloture vote on any "pending measure" and a two-thirds vote thereafter in favor of cloture would limit each Senator to one hour of debate. Only four times since 1917 had cloture been so invoked.

But the previous August, Senator Arthur Vandenberg, as presiding officer of the Senate, ruled, in the context of an anti-poll tax measure, that a motion was not a "pending measure" covered by the rule, thus allowing for unlimited filibuster on motions.

The latest filibuster, ongoing since February 28, was in opposition to the attempt by Democratic Senate leaders and the Administration to change Rule 22 to allow a vote of two-thirds of the membership to effect cloture on the same basis for motions, that motions and resolutions were encompassed by the term "pending measure", to be so amended.

Then, the previous week, Vice-President Alben Barkley had reversed the Vandenberg ruling and allowed that motions did fall within the ambit of Rule 22. But then the Senate voted against the ruling 46 to 41, with the majority equally comprised of 23 Southern Democrats and 23 Republicans, most of the latter being members of the Old Guard.

That vote was not, per se, regarding civil rights, but such was the heart of the issue insofar as the bulk of the Southern opposition—though the editorial expressly seeks, no doubt for appeal to the better democratic angels of its Southern readership, to distinguish the rule change from the ultimate issue of filibuster of the President's civil rights program. And, the piece astutely points out, the Senators who thereby approved the effective Senate veto of majority rule were the same ones who voiced disapproval of repeated use by the Soviets of the veto on the U.N. Security Council as a means of obstruction.

The piece expresses dismay at the attitude, that a minority could trump the majority will of the Senate and thereby effectively block any consideration on the floor of any legislation or appointment the minority deemed fit so to oppose.

Senate Rule 22 continues to control the manner of ending debate, section 2 now requiring three-fifths of the Senate membership, i.e. 60 votes, to effect cloture, except on rules changes, requiring two-thirds of a quorum of Senators present and voting.

"Minimum Wage Measure" suggests that anyone who opposed a minimum wage law had to consider that farmers were protected by price supports and industry by tariffs and export subsidies, and that without the minimum wage, millions of workers would be condemned to a substandard living.

A proposal approved by the House Education and Labor Committee during the previous week provided for a rise from 40 cents to 75 cents per hour and extended coverage to two million more workers, as well as giving new powers to the Secretary of Labor to administer and enforce it.

Its greatest effect would be in the South where wages traditionally were lower than in other regions.

It argues that the proposed minimum was too high, that in periods of recession, such a wage could force many businesses into bankruptcy, would result in dislocations of labor, and, by exempting smaller retailers, would discriminate against larger stores. It also believes that the definition of covered industries was too flexible and the Secretary of Labor's authority too extensive. It hopes for amendment on the floors of the House and Senate accordingly.

"Highway Death Traps" remarks on a letter writer's contention that more than a thousand jalopies had been put back on the road since the Legislature abandoned the required mechanical inspection the previous month.

It provides the story of a truck driver stopped near Boone by the Highway Patrol and ticketed for having one headlight out, as well as tail light problems, after which he had a head-on collision with an approaching car and was killed. It suggests that such tragedies would continue until the Legislature reconsidered its hasty abandonment of the inspection requirement.

Drew Pearson tells of 39 former Senators and Congressmen, each of whom had reached age 62 and had at least six years of Congressional service, drawing retirement pensions. Some, however, did not deserve it. Two were facing prison sentences, Andrew May of Kentucky and James Curley of Boston. Former House Ways & Means chairman Harold Knutson, who lost the previous November, was drawing a pension while having helped to prevent 700,000 traveling salesmen from partaking of Social Security. Others, both former Senators and Congressmen, fell into the same category.

Many farmers were having difficulty getting telephone service, there being fewer telephones in rural areas in 1945 than in 1920. There was a movement in Congress to try to remedy the situation. He notes that only 3.7 percent of farms in Mississippi had phones while 79.3 percent had them in Iowa.

The Justice Department was investigating a claim, made part of civil litigation brought by a store in Salt Lake City, which contended that there had been an attempt by a wholesale distributing firm to coerce the store into participation in a price-fixing scheme and withholding of merchandise from the market to create artificial scarcity or be deprived of a national brand of appliance.

Edwin Shanke, in the second in his five-part series of articles on British socialized medical and dental care, stresses its general acceptance with approbation by the bulk of the British public as well as by most of the medical profession, albeit with some complaint from the latter regarding lack of sufficient payment under the plan, as well as concern voiced over whether proper medical services were able to be tendered to the greater patient loads.

Under the plan, doctors were allowed up to 4,000 covered patients and unlimited private patients. Payment was regulated under the plan and entirely paid by the Government. The British Medical Association had resisted having doctors regarded as employees and so they remained the sole determiners of services for patients. Most practitioners had joined the plan, but there remained some holdouts, mainly in wealthier areas where patients were of sufficient means to afford private doctors. The small numbers of people who opted out of the plan, either generally or on occasion, did so to obtain prompter medical care.

The chief complaint among the public was that the long lines and waiting lists for non-emergency services had made it difficult to see a doctor with any promptness, unless one agreed to pay out of pocket.

After the previous July 5, effective date of the National Health plan, medical practices could no longer be sold by doctors upon retirement or death. Prior to that time, the Government provided compensation to doctors who agreed to become part of the plan, prompting some criticism that it was coercive of participation. The Government, it was estimated, would spend the equivalent of about 274 million dollars to purchase medical practices, a sum not yet paid.

James Marlow discusses the North Atlantic Pact, the details of which were likely to be disclosed later in the week. He reviews its history, with the five original signatory nations, Britain, France, the U.S. and the Benelux nations, to which now Norway and probably Denmark would join, as well potentially Italy, Portugal and Iceland.

As it was a treaty, ultimately to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it required three-fourths Senate approval for ratification, expected to occur after considerable debate. But a question would be what type of support the U.S. would give the member nations in the event of an armed attack on one member. The treaty was leaving to each member nation its sovereign ad hoc determination in that event to consider a remedy.

But in the meantime, the question remained whether the U.S. would seek to arm the other members of NATO as soon as the treaty was ratified. Without that support, it was questionable whether the treaty would be worth anything.

Many supporters of NATO voiced the belief, however, that mere membership of the U.S. would act as a deterrent to the Soviets against aggression in Western Europe. It was another in a lineage of moves by the U.S. away from its isolationist past during the time between the wars, combining with the founding of the U.N. in mid-1945, the Marshall Plan in mid-1947, implemented a year earlier, the Truman Doctrine, enunciated in March, 1947, providing for military aid to Turkey and Greece, and the continuing postwar occupation of West Germany, Japan, the Western zones of Austria, Trieste, and Southern Korea.

A letter from H. Galt Braxton, Editor of the Kinston Daily Free Press and vice-chairman of the State Committee on Traffic Safety, as noted in the column above, tells of more than a thousand motor vehicles in the state, formerly prevented from being registered by the vehicle inspection law, having been registered anew since the abandonment of the program by the State. The vehicular accident fatality rate had declined 29 percent during the two years the program was in effect, moving the state from the second highest fatality rate to the second lowest in the nation.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for support on behalf of the Heart Association of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County during its recent campaign drive.

A letter writer complains of too much government in Washington. He favors instead individual responsibility supported by teaching in the home, school, and church. He thinks the Government was tending toward being "tyrannical and vicious".

A letter from A. W. Black complains of the Morris Field housing project not having its address numbers adequately displayed in front of each unit.

Morris Field had been given to the City by the Government, having been a training air base during the war, was then converted to housing for veterans.

A letter writer suggests that Governor Kerr Scott place a tax on trucks to pay for improvement of rural roads, as railroads had to pay for maintenance of the tracks.

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