The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 19, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, the 400-member Communist-controlled "People's Council" adopted a constitution for East Germany, a document founded on Communist principles. It was intended to respond to the creation of the West German Government established at Bonn, and made the division of Germany virtually complete.

Moscow radio reacted to the NATO agreement by saying that it it meant war on the Soviet Union.

In a radio address from London, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin said that the agreement filled a void left by the failure of the U.N. and the Council of Foreign Ministers to find the key to enduring peace, much as the League of Nations had foundered.

Western European newspapers, other than those which were pro-Communist, generally voiced support for the agreement, with some expressing that a new effort should be made to reach agreement with the Communists.

Initial Senate reaction to the text of the NATO agreement, released the previous day, was positive, albeit with some Senators expressing reservations and others, concern regarding surrender of sovereign rights to determine use of force in the event of armed aggression against Western Europe.

Associated Press correspondent Elton Fay reports that if all eight initial signatory nations in the NATO agreement had a combined force, their armies would only exceed that of the Soviet Union by about 1.75 million men under arms. In naval power, the Western nations would have a tremendous edge and in air power, the picture was unknown, the West probably having superiority in number of planes and longer-range bombers with greater fire-power. The West would probably also lead in capacity for industrial production.

Former Vice-President Henry Wallace criticized NATO for imposing an "intolerable military burden" on the nation with respect to Western Europe and providing for neither peace nor security.

The President ended his two-week vacation in Key West and returned to Washington. He commented positively on the NATO pact and Secretary of State Acheson's radio message the night before regarding it.

The Polish Government expelled Chester Opal, the chief of the U.S. Information Service in Warsaw, for distributing a bulletin which referred to Poland as a "Soviet satellite".

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas invited the Southern Democrats to return to the party fold and vote for the President's Fair Deal program, saying that he did not believe the coalition with Republicans which had been formed regarding the rule change on cloture of debate would continue. The Southerners suggested that any return would be temporary, not obligating them to walk the party line permanently. Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana, the lead filibusterer during the debate of the cloture rule change, said that if the President continued to push his civil rights program, he would find the South united against him, and that he would need Southern support to obtain the rest of his program. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, to be the Democratic vice-presidential nominee with Governor Adlai Stevenson in 1952, said that he would support most of the President's program because he believed in it, not because it was proposed by the President. Senator Russell Long of Louisiana said that he was proud of his role in bringing about the compromise on the cloture rule change via his role in the filibuster.

Opponents of the veterans pension bill, championed by Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi, put forth a compromise substitute measure, designed to be less costly, limiting retirement benefits to veterans of World War I and establishing need as a basis for receipt, while giving increased benefits to disabled veterans and requiring honorable discharge as a condition for receipt.

Democrats expressed amazement at the revelation that the RNC had paid $7,500 to word half of the Taft-Harley Act passed in mid-1947 over the President's veto, as revealed to a House Labor subcommittee by Washington attorney Gerald Morgan, who said that he was a "technician" in the process of drafting that portion of the law, putting into legal language ideas supplied by GOP members of Congress. He said that he was not employed by the National Association of Manufacturers, confuting the charge by labor leaders that Taft-Hartley had been written by NAM. Republicans called the effort "perfectly legitimate".

Oak Ridge, Tenn., home of the atomic energy program, was opened for the first time to the public without the necessity of having special passes. An atomic-generated electrical impulse, the first transmitted by wire, was used to cut the ribbon. Thousands of persons then flocked to get the initial glimpse of the town since it first became the center of atomic energy production. But new, stricter security regulations were also implemented at the atomic plants, surrounded by a 14-mile newly-erected fence.

Dignitaries at the event included Vice-President Alben Barkley. The festivities included the crowning of actress Alexis Smith as "Miss Atomic Blond". Actors Adolphe Menjou, Lee Bowman, Rod Cameron and actress Marie (The Body) McDonald also were present for the celebration. No wonder thousands showed up. When Adolphe Menjou comes to town, people flock around.

During the week ending March 12, unemployment dropped by 12,000 from the previous week.

In Seattle, Dave Beck of the Teamsters Union announced the beginning of a nationwide campaign to check union membership of truck drivers. He said that no roadblocks would be used, but that the check would be conducted at loading platforms, weigh stations and truck stops.

Be sure to have your card in your wallet. You would not want to limp home—or wind up in a painted house.

This night, in the N.C.A.A. Western Regional final in Kansas City, Oklahoma A & M, winners of the 1945 and 1946 Tournaments, trampled Oregon State 55 to 30. The Eastern Regional semi-finals and final would take place Monday and Tuesday nights in Madison Square Garden, with the national finals set for the following Saturday night in Seattle.

In the Garden this night, the University of San Francisco nipped Loyola of Chicago 49 to 48 to win the N.I.T. The Dons would win the 1955 and 1956 N.C.A.A. Tournaments, led by Bill Russell. Loyola had beaten Kentucky, 62 to 47, in the quarter-finals of the N.I.T. the previous Monday, perhaps suggesting why the N.C.A.A. Tournament, which the Wildcats were favored to win, was not receiving very much press coverage. Loyola, in two overtimes, would defeat two-time consecutive national champion Cincinnati in 1963, to win the N.C.A.A. Tournament. And we saw that one on the tv. It was exciting.

Congratulations, incidentally, to the Spartans in the 2016 Tournament. There are now five down and four to go.

On the editorial page, "School Bond Plan Defects" again attacks the 50 million dollar school bond issue for school building as a pork-barrel measure as written, albeit with a salutary goal. But giving each county $500,000 resulted in the larger, more urban counties, as Mecklenburg, receiving a pittance per pupil, about $18 in Mecklenburg, while the more sparsely populated received a windfall.

A table on the page compiled by the editors, including the average daily attendance in 1947-48 and the amount per child from the plan against the average building needs for each county, substantiates that result.

The piece concludes that though the measure had passed the State Senate and was pending in the House and though the legislative session was nearing its end, there remained still time to amend it and produce a more equitable and sensible plan.

"Meeting of the Intellectuals" urges no need for Congress to become upset over the State Department decision allowing entry to the country of 22 Russian delegates for the purpose of attending a New York "cultural and scientific conference of world peace", though it was slated to criticize America's role in Europe and was sponsored by a left-leaning organization, the National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions.

The most newsworthy of the delegates was the composer Dimitri Shostakovich, who had made an art also of confessing his ideological mistakes and promising to conform more closely to the Communist Party line.

John Beaufort, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, had set forth the purposes of the conference, as quoted in the piece, primarily to belittle the U.S. while ignoring the mistakes of Russia.

But, the piece opines, to do as some on Capitol Hill wanted, prohibiting entry of the delegates, would be a mistake, suggesting that democracy could not handle verbal assaults, a trait of Soviet Communism. It urges therefore letting the delegates into the country to say whatever they pleased.

"New Chest Officials" finds both the outgoing and incoming officers of the Community Chest to be good representatives of the community and compliments the Chest's previous effort in raising funding for worthy projects.

Drew Pearson tells of the President's three defeats during the week in the ostensibly pro-Truman Congress, on the filibuster cloture issue, rent control, and the tabling of the nomination of his friend Mon Wallgren, appointed chairman of the important National Security Resources Board. The Republicans who had aided in this process by forming a coalition with the Southern Democrats to effect a majority in each case were quietly determined to defeat the President, with an eye toward convincing the nation that the do-nothing 80th Congress had not been so bad after all.

But the ultimate effect conveyed to foreign countries was that Congress did not respect the President, suggesting that the NATO pact would not be carried out even though ratified.

He lists the Truman mistakes which he regards as having helped to produce the situation, starting with the President's cockiness after the fall election. He had developed a sense of not needing help after the people gave him a resounding victory without the support of so many in his own party at the top. But at the same time, he had done nothing concretely to punish the recalcitrant Dixiecrats by denying patronage or urging withdrawal of committee chairmanships, rather only treating them with the back of his hand in symbolic ways, with little practical effect.

He also had not formulated any long-term strategy with the Congress but rather started with a fight over the filibuster rule, designed to enable smoother passage of the civil rights package, which backed the Southern Senators into a corner when many had been willing to compromise on civil rights to the extent of passage of anti-poll tax and anti-lynching measures, being palatable to their constituents, as many Southern states already had such legislation on the books. The Southerners' principal objection was to an FEPC. But when Senator Richard Russell sought to discuss compromise on civil rights with the President, he would not reciprocate.

The President did not engage in effective teamwork with Congress through Congressional liaisons, as had FDR, denying postmasterships to recalcitrant members of Congress. President Truman had such a team in place, but it was not operating to attract votes to his program beyond the election campaign.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas, replacing Vice-President Alben Barkley in that role, appeared lacking in sufficient experience at leadership, having first been too soft during the filibuster battle and then too tough, finally giving in too easily on the compromise.

The President had departed for his two-week Key West vacation at this crucial juncture, against the advice of his aides, who wanted him instead to tour the country to obtain first-hand a feel for the opinion of the electorate.

Senator Robert Taft's prestige had increased with the filibuster battle while Senator Arthur Vandenberg's had gone down, the latter having given a speech defending his previous August ruling which had distinguished motions from bills, that the former were not within the ambit of the extant rule which limited cloture by two-thirds vote to "pending measures". In so doing, Senator Vandenberg appeared to be arguing how many angels could stand on the head of a pin rather than adopting the statesmanlike stance he had consistently effected on foreign affairs. And he knew better, that in a democracy majority rule after reasonable debate was the ideal. Senator Taft, in opposing that earlier Vandenberg ruling, now appeared the statesman.

Marquis Childs tells of the President having grown up with no experience remotely similar to Socialism, the charge made against his Fair Deal program. The closest thing to it would have been the paternalism of the boss system, taking contributions from the rich and conveying some benefits to the poor from them, while also enriching the politicians and bosses conferring those benefits.

The boss was a good broker and that, to Mr. Childs, raised the issue of the need for an effective administrator to make a system of national health insurance work. It would not be as Britain, where a generation under the trade union system had inured the population to the responsibilities of social welfare, preparing them for socialized medicine.

The veterans pension plan advocated by Congressman John Rankin, providing $90 monthly payments to all veterans over 65, constituted a Government handout. In some Southern states, up to 60 percent of the elderly were receiving pensions from either the State or Federal Government. The problem under such a system was not creation of a social welfare state, of which many complained, but rather a system riddled by graft and favoritism.

Graft threatened to undermine local government across the country. The California Commission on Organized Crime, for instance, had found that at least 400 million dollars in bribes and corruption was received by public officials from the slot-machine syndicate. In Illinois, the former Administration of Governor Dwight Green, defeated by Adlai Stevenson in the fall, was notoriously corrupt.

Mr. Childs regards one of the major faults of the Truman Administration to be inadequate focus of Federal Government resources on cleaning up this sort of graft. The IRB, since the resignation of the late Elmer Irey as head of the enforcement section, had caught few tax violators.

He finds therefore too much complacency in Washington under the assumption that new laws would cure old evils. Social Security, now an assumed function of government, was different from handouts by a boss or the functional equivalent under a system of legislation devolving to political patronage.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of two probable Soviet-orchestrated assassination attempts on Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, one the previous August in which a bridge was dynamited in the path of Tito's armored motorcade touring Slovenia, and the other, in October, when seven soldiers of Tito's guard, induced by Soviet agents, had planned a coup, foiled in the offing. These failures had probably led to indirect action against Tito's Government planned for the spring, rumored throughout the Balkans.

The spring drive would take the form first of detaching Tito subordinates and blockading Yugoslavia economically, with a concomitant increase in Cominform anti-Yugoslavia propaganda. A puppet "free Macedonia" would also be set up, which would include the predominantly Macedonian region of Yugoslavia.

Tito, in response, to gain popular favor, had eased some of the austerity measures and opened the way for easier dealings with the West, notably by closing the border between Yugoslavia and Greece to prevent access to Yugoslavian bases formerly utilized by the Greek guerrillas. The deposed guerrilla leader Markos was known to have become close to Tito, and it was believed the latter had given him asylum in Belgrade.

The U.S. had hitherto allowed Yugoslavia to purchase oil under the table as long as it was resisting Soviet Communism, but, otherwise, little distinction had been made by the Government from the other Soviet satellite nations. Export permits for needed industrial equipment had been refused by the U.S., arousing adverse public sentiment among the more anti-Western Yugoslavs.

The fact that Tito was still a Communist kept him from being eligible to receive Marshall Plan aid or participate in the North Atlantic Pact. But he would receive favorable treatment if he decided to do business with the West. Loans, for instance, might become available on favorable terms if and when they were needed, with the ultimate aim of maintaining an independent Yugoslavia.

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