The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Governor Kerr Scott had surprised the Democratic Party leaders of North Carolina by appointing liberal Frank Porter Graham, 62, president of UNC since 1931, to be the replacement Senator for the deceased J. Melville Broughton, who had died March 6 of a heart attack after two months in office. Dr. Graham (who had no actual doctorate, but had been a professor of history at the University) was a strong advocate for civil rights and had been so for over a decade, as well as a champion of free speech and right of assembly.

The previous month, HUAC member Edward Hebert of Louisiana had attacked Dr. Graham on the floor of the House for enabling the Communists to exploit the prestige of the University through Dr. Graham's activities in several organizations thought to be pink. Though often attacked in Congress for his liberal views, it was believed he would have no trouble being quickly approved for the Senate seat.

Mr. Hebert was always fighting for the right things.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports of the sisters of Dr. Graham having been informed of the news of the appointment by Charles Tillett, local attorney in Charlotte, who had grown up with Dr. Graham. They were surprised, said that their brother never liked to run for anything. One of Dr. Graham's brothers, incidentally, was Dr. Archibald Graham, a medical doctor and former minor league baseball player.

In London, Israel and Lebanon signed an armistice this date. Israel had signed an armistice with Egypt the previous month. Dr. Ralph Bunche, acting mediator for Palestine, was now conducting mediation talks on Rhodes between Israel and Trans-Jordan.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bunche accused Britain, Israel and Trans-Jordan of violations of the U.N. truce through troop movements around the Trans-Jordan port of Aqaba on the Red Sea. The British had moved in troops in January and the Israelis had then moved troops opposite Aqaba earlier in the month. The British Foreign Office, admitting the positioning of the troops, denied any violation of the truce, questioned why Dr. Bunche was complaining now.

Secretary of State Acheson denied the Russian contention that the U.S. was seeking to turn Iran into an American military base against Russia. He reaffirmed America's interest in securing Turkey, Greece, and Iran.

The Senate speedily confirmed Louis Johnson as the new Secretary of Defense, replacing James Forrestal who had resigned.

The previous night, the Senate confirmed James Boyd as director of the Bureau of Mines, an appointment pending confirmation since 1947, to which objection had been made by John L. Lewis, head of UMW.

It appeared that the House would pass the veterans pension bill this date, reversing a previous move to shelve the bill. The bill, in its original form, would have provided $90 per month for World War I and II veterans reaching age 65. It appeared that it would be applied in its final version, however, only to World War I veterans.

A House Labor subcommittee voted to approve repeal of Taft-Hartley and replace it with the Administration-backed former Wagner Act with modifications. The bill had already been approved by the Senate Labor Committee.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors gave support to the President's drive to strengthen rent controls but without the "home rule" provision in the House bill, allowing for states and localities to abandon Federal rent control at will. The Conference also endorsed public housing and slum clearance, as championed by the Administration.

In Washington, a woman filed suit for separate maintenance from her husband, once a secretary to Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, and named Ms. Rogers as having contributed to the break-up of the marriage. Ms. Rogers called the claim "ridiculous".

In Arlington, Mass., a veteran of the late war deliberately electrocuted himself in an electric chair he fashioned in his attic.

The North Carolina Senate killed a bill which would have legalized horse and dog racing and pari-mutuel betting in Currituck County. The House Committee on Propositions and Grievances gave a favorable report on a bill allowing bingo games in Dare County and another authorizing an election in Pasquotank County regarding legalization of pari-mutuel betting on horse racing.

On the editorial page, "Kremlin Grows Restless" tells of the inevitability of Soviet reaction to the North Atlantic Pact, starting with the recent statements of the Communists in France and Italy, as well as the U.S., declaring fealty to Russia in the event that Russia had to invade one of those countries to chase an enemy. Then, the previous weekend, the East German government was set up by the Communists, completing the division of Germany.

On Sunday, the Western powers announced that the Soviet currency used in East Germany would not be negotiable in the Western sectors. West Berliners then immediately crossed into the Eastern sector to spend their marks.

On Monday, the Soviets billed the British over two million dollars and the Americans over five million for use of cables between Berlin and West Germany. The Americans had an agreement on the cable, but the British did not. Both ignored the bill.

The high-stakes game of international chess thus continued. No one knew what the Russians might do next. Russia had lost the initiative the previous year in the elections in Italy and France, in which the Communists were soundly defeated.

The piece speculates that the signing of the NATO agreement might convince the Politburo that peace was the best hope for continued Russian growth and development and, if so, the agreement would be worthwhile.

"Reversing a Trend" discusses the exodus from the South of the best trained and most skilled persons to the North or West for better paying jobs. At the N.C. State School of Engineering, according to the dean, however, the trend among graduates was toward remaining in the state. Industries in the state had indicated that they were willing to do their part as well.

It hopes for the success of the trend, as the departure of such persons from the region had hurt the South over time.

"Reasonable Position" praises North Carolinians who had testified before the Senate Labor subcommittee the previous day, protesting the V.A. decision to cut out two planned V.A. hospitals, in Charlotte and Salisbury. Given the logical argument made, that part of the reason for cancellation of V.A. hospitals was that they were understaffed and that North Carolina could supply adequate staff for the pair of proposed hospitals, there was a good chance of success and restoration of the projects.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "The South Doesn't Mind", finds that while the South stood solid for states' rights when it came to resisting Federal civil rights legislation, it had no qualms about accepting Federal aid. Between 1942 and 1947, five of six states in the nation which had increases in receipt of Federal aid exceeding 100 percent were in the South and the sixth was Oklahoma, a border state.

While the Southern states as a group were the poorest in the nation and thus in need of the most Federal assistance, there remained the inconsistency. It urges creation of a true states' rights party in the South, one which was not merely devoted to resisting civil rights.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Homer Ferguson having first claimed in a letter to have informed Attorney General Tom Clark two years earlier of the woman in the Justice Department recently indicted for passing confidential documents to a Russian agent, an employee of the U.N. Secretariat, then having, upon the demand of Mr. Clark, apologized for the claim in a letter to the Attorney General, indicating that it was not true. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada had the original letter and provided it to Mr. Clark, despite having been asked by Senator Ferguson not to show it to anyone.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson had advised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Communists were in control of China and could march south at any time they chose, that therefore all American arms should cease going to China as 90 percent of them were winding up in the hands of the Communists. Fifty Senators had filed a petition demanding aid for the Nationalists, to which Mr. Acheson was responding.

Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland was opposing a Senate investigation of claims of mistreatment by the Army of German prisoners accused in the Malmedy massacre of December 17, 1944, claims that various coercive techniques had been employed to extract confessions. The Army obtained convictions in 73 of 74 cases and the 74th defendant had committed suicide. As a result, Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall was conducting a review of the convictions. The Senate Expenditures Committee had started an investigation, prompting Senator Tydings reluctantly to begin an investigation in the Armed Services Committee.

Marquis Childs tells of Senator Huey Long in 1933 engaging in a filibuster which drew giddy guffaws from the Republicans, until he warned them that in the vacuum left by the Democratic failure, the Republicans need not expect victory. In fact, he believed he would be the victor with his "share the wealth" program fueled by demagogy, until his assassination in 1935.

Mr. Childs sees a parallel in the current coalition formed between the Southern Democrats and Republicans on the cloture issue, resulting in a compromise arrangement whereby debate on all matters before the Senate, except rules changes, was subject to cloture by a vote of two-thirds of the membership. The Republicans hoped that the resulting inevitable failure of the Administration's civil rights program would lead to their coming back to power in 1951.

But, Mr. Childs points out, the Republicans, particularly Senators Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, Owen Brewster of Maine, and Eugene Millikin of Colorado, who had engineered the coalition, bore equal responsibility to the Southern Democrats for the cloture compromise.

To box the opposition was a traditional strategy. But then a party had to have an affirmative stance to replace that of the opposition. In the past, the lack of such a positive program had led the Republicans to failure, and the present appeared no different. Another crisis and another failure, he warns, would almost certainly lead to the rise of another demagogue ready to take advantage of the opportunity. "Somewhere in the dust, well in the rear of his noisy progress, the Republicans would still be waiting to enter the Promised Land."

James Marlow discusses the learning lessons leading to NATO, starting with World War I and the ensuing creation of the League of Nations, which the U.S. did not join, not having learned the lesson imparted by the war, that matters abroad impacted the world and the U.S. Then came Hitler and World War II. The U.S. had supported the democracies initially, beginning in fall 1940, with lend-lease materiel, but had to be attacked before awakening to the reality of the need for participation directly.

By the end of the war, the U.N. was a priority for U.S. foreign policy. But when the U.N. faltered in the face of continued Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe, the President, in March, 1947, put forth the Truman Doctrine to send military aid to Turkey and Greece. Three months later, Secretary of State Marshall outlined the Marshall Plan, which came to reality in the spring of 1948.

In the meantime, in February, 1948, the Communists in Czechoslovakia staged a coup, prompting the Brussels Pact in March, made between Britain, France and the Benelux countries, providing for their mutual defense.

In June, 1948, NATO was first proposed as a mutual defense alliance between the Brussels Pact nations, the U.S., and Canada, and the Senate that month gave its initial approval. The previous Friday, the agreed text of the treaty was put forth, with Norway now included and Italy, Portugal, Iceland and Denmark likely soon to join. The simple idea was that an attack on any member nation was considered an attack on all of the nations of the alliance, while each nation reserved the right independently to determine the response to such an attack.

NATO still had to be ratified by the members, including by the U.S. Senate.

Such, he concludes, was the point to which the country had reached in the school of hard knocks.

A letter writer finds the United World Federalists supported by many of the leaders of the country, speaking well for the aims of the organization.

A letter writer finds that the General Assembly's abrogation of the State mechanical inspection law for motor vehicles to have been ill advised.

A letter from the American Bandmasters' Association thanks the newspaper for providing it publicity during its visit in Charlotte recently and thanks the city for its hospitality.

A letter writer forwards a letter sent to State Senator Jack Blythe and four State representatives, encouraging passage of a fair trade act, to prevent "loss leaders" from being sold by non-resident merchants, driving small businesses out of existence.

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