The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 24, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House voted, by a one vote majority, to shelve the veterans' pension bill sponsored by Representative John Rankin of Mississippi, sending it back to the Veterans Committee for further study. Congressman Rankin declared the bill therefore dead. It had already been heavily amended to apply only to World War I veterans. It was the closest vote in the House since late 1941, when a one vote margin decided the renewal of the draft law.

The State Department declared that Russia was afraid to allow its citizens to obtain a true idea of American freedoms and living standards and so had shut off its citizens from receipt of information from the West and refused entry to Western scientists and thinkers.

The National Association of Manufacturers extended an invitation to the Russian delegates to the conference sponsored by the National Council of the Arts, Sciences & Professions, meeting in New York, to tour American factories. One organization attending the event, Americans for Intellectual Freedom, which included as members the columnist Franklin Pierce Adams, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, and actor Canada Lee, had withdrawn from the conference.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Committee that the Marshall Plan would take precedence over any program to rearm Western Europe pursuant to the NATO agreement.

Newly appointed Senator-designate Frank Porter Graham was expected to be seated without controversy the following week. Both Senators Claude Pepper of Florida and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee welcomed the appointment as another progressive Southern Senator. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia stated that Dr. Graham was an able man, but, as a states' rights Senator, he could not understand why Governor Kerr Scott had consulted with the national Democratic leadership prior to the appointment. Governor Scott denied the claim, saying he had consulted with neither the President nor national Democratic leaders. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina stated his belief that there would be no opposition to Dr. Graham being seated.

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, the Republican vice-presidential candidate with Thomas Dewey in 1944, had urged to the Senate that the joint Congressional Atomic Energy Committee investigate reports that a security officer and loyalty review board had refused to clear Dr. Graham for top secret information, though he had later been cleared by Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal. Senator William Jenner of Indiana said that Dr. Graham had been soft on Communism, having been a member of several Communist-front organizations. Senator Hoey responded that Dr. Graham was as loyal as any American alive. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who served on the War Labor Board with Dr. Graham, also praised him.

President Truman was pleased with the appointment. Governor Scott said that 95 percent of the response to the appointment was positive. He said that the first two times he asked Dr. Graham to accept the position, he refused, finally consenting provided he passed a physical examination. But after passing, he again refused, until a meeting on Sunday night with the Governor, at which he finally accepted.

The House and Senate differing versions of the rent control extension bill went to a Senate-House conference committee for reconciliation.

In the trial in New York of the eleven top Communists for violation of the Smith Act, a manual was introduced into evidence which stated that the final objective of the Communist Party in America was to convert the United States to a Soviet socialist republic and that party members had to be willing to sacrifice their lives to do so. Defense counsel had objected on the basis of remoteness in time, as the manual had been published in 1935 and the indictment was for a conspiracy occurring between 1945 and 1948. The objection was overruled.

John L. Lewis ordered that the UMW two-week walkout of Eastern coal miners would end the following Monday. The walkout had been called in protest of confirmation of James Boyd as director of the Bureau of Mines, for claimed Federal safety inspection lapses. Mr. Boyd had been confirmed two nights earlier by the Senate.

The North Carolina House refused to consider Governor Scott's 200 million dollar bond issue to fund the rural road program, and also the one-cent gasoline tax hike which went with it.

Near Baton Rouge, La., the Mississippi River broke through a levee and flooded a rich sugar planting area, sparsely populated, spreading water three to four feet deep near the "V"-shaped break and extending over eight square miles. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Damage was expected to run into hundreds of thousands of dollars to crops, livestock and property.

In Waynesville, N.C., a fourteen-pound rainbow trout was caught, almost double the record weight for North Carolina and believed to establish a record for the Eastern United States. The fisherman hooked the big fish with a black minnow lure on a five-foot casting rod with a fifteen-pound test line. The fish was on display in an Atlanta sporting goods store and would soon be exhibited in Knoxville.

You better hurry before they gobble up that fish.

On the editorial page, "The Record Will Tell" finds the appointment of Dr. Graham to succeed deceased Senator J. Melville Broughton to be one of the most significant political events in state history. No one in the state was so controversial as Dr. Graham, inspiring both intense devotion and bitter enmity.

He possessed many assets, independence of mind, learning, compassion, a national and international reputation, skill as a politician, and competence as an administrator. But he also had liabilities, including being too trusting of his fellow man, too reliant on Federal Government to provide for the country, and a militant advocate for unionism. These characteristics and beliefs, however, might not be such liabilities after all, as there was reason to believe he might temper his positions in the face of the realities of government and the need to fit programs to a budget. The piece so hopes.

In 1950, the state would have the opportunity to pass on his stewardship, and time and the record, suggests the piece, would tell whether Governor Scott had chosen wisely.

As indicated before, the people, swayed by the racist rhetoric of a Jesse Helms-managed campaign for Raleigh attorney Willis Smith, would choose to turn Dr. Graham out of office in the primary a little over a year hence. Mr. Smith, however, would die in 1953 and be replaced by Alton Lennon, appointed by Governor William B. Umstead, the man appointed by former Governor Gregg Cherry to succeed deceased Senator Josiah W. Bailey in latter 1946, Senator Umstead having been defeated by former Governor Broughton in the 1948 primary. Former Governor Scott would then win the seat in 1954, but would die in office in 1958 and would be succeeded by B. Everett Jordan, appointed by Governor Luther Hodges, who, as Lieutenant Governor, would succeed Governor Umstead upon his death in 1954, and then be elected to his own term in 1956. Governor Hodges would become Secretary of Commerce under President Kennedy in 1961.

The other Senate seat, less troubled by death, would nevertheless suffer the loss of Clyde Hoey in 1954, replaced by Sam J. Ervin, appointed also by Governor Umstead, winning re-election later in 1954.

And the rest, as they say, and said in 1972...

"The New Labor Bill" tells of the Senate Labor Committee and the House Labor subcommittee having both approved, along partisan lines, the Administration labor bill, repealing Taft-Hartley and replacing it with a modified version of the old Wagner Act.

It believes that repeal of Taft-Hartley was unnecessary, that modifications ought include, as recommended in Business Week, protection against strikes which could bring national disaster, regulation of the closed shop so that employees would not be deprived of their individual liberties to choose whether or not to belong to a union, withholding of Government support from Communists in the labor unions, and protection against undermining management efficiency by keeping foremen in the management team. The piece also adds that unions should be made liable for civil damages from breaches of contracts.

All five of those recommendations would be abolished under the Administration bill. It believes the bill would return collective bargaining weight to unions over management. The new bill, however, would likely be amended extensively before it would become law.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "The Student and the Athlete", finds that while the suspicion persisted that athletics was the tail which wagged the dog of scholarship at colleges and universities, it was refreshing to note that at UNC, 74 percent of those freshmen earning at least an average of half A's and half B's were from North Carolina, while on the football squad, only 72 percent were from within the state.

What, precisely, that proved to the editors, we cannot propose to say. They seemed to divine from it that there was more stress therefore on scholarship in the state than on athletics, relative to other regions of the country, thus tending to confute the argument for raising out-of-state entrance standards based on supposed inferior education of in-state students vis-à-vis those from outside the state's borders, presumably in reference only to those from regions northward. There is nothing like comparing apples to helmets and finding significance in the comparison. Perhaps, the editors had gone to Wake Forest.

The freshman honorary fraternity of which the piece makes mention, culling from it the statistics on scholarship, was Phi Eta Sigma. Don't ask how we know that. It's a secret.

Frank Porter Graham, in a response of January 13 to written questions submitted by radio commentator Fulton Lewis, Jr., provides his basic statement of principles, best summed verbatim in his concluding paragraph:

"I have been called a Communist by some sincere people. I have been called a spokesman of American capitalism by Communists and repeatedly called a tool of imperialism by the radio from Moscow. I shall simply continue to oppose the Ku Kluxism, imperialism, fascism, and Communism whether in America, Indonesia, or behind the 'Iron Curtain'."

Dr. Graham had just returned, he explains, from his time at the U.N. as an adviser on the Dutch invasion of Indonesia the previous December. During 1947, into early 1948, Dr. Graham had served on the U.N. Good Offices Commission, which had effected a truce between the Netherlands Government and the Indonesian Republic, broken by the December 19, 1948 invasion on the Dutch pretext that the Republic had been infiltrated by Communists.

Certainly, his beliefs in civil rights for all, freedom of expression and belief, were nothing short of radical and revolutionary.

Drew Pearson tells of the Foundation for Economic Education, run by the largest corporations in the country as a powerful lobby for business interests, though masked as an educational foundation, allowing therefore deduction for contributions made to it. During the previous 11 months, the large corporations had given $275,000 to the Foundation, costing them a fraction of that amount.

The Foundation had paid, for instance, $25,000 per year to the former Western manager of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to write speeches against the Marshall Plan and provide them to members of Congress. Another drafted speeches about the evils of rent control. The Foundation denounced tax exemptions for co-ops but readily accepted them for itself.

Among the many large companies contributing to the Foundation, listed by Mr. Pearson, was R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem.

Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, jubilant over the South's victory on the cloture issue, was telling everyone that it only took ten days to reduce Majority Leader Scott Lucas to a minority leader.

Marquis Childs comments on NATO's historic importance as an extension of the Monroe Doctrine, but that, as with that earlier Doctrine, it would be meaningless without achievement to back up its words through time.

Top military personnel in Britain and the U.S. were not pleased with the final form of the treaty being extended beyond the original Western European powers to include northern and southern extremities, as it meant stretching limited arms availability too thin.

The goal of the pact was peace and self-defense, not a military alliance, and that fact had to be driven home to the paranoid Russians, who professed the belief, whether actually held or not, that its purpose was to make war on Russia.

From the military standpoint, all which could be accomplished for several years to come was to begin to restore the strength sapped by the war. Politically, it was a "franchise to a brave, new world."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that Secretary of State Dean Acheson had collaborated well with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in drafting suitable language for the NATO agreement. He had learned the art while Assistant Secretary of State, telling the members of Congress the basis on which the policy makers were making their decisions.

Secretary Acheson had assigned to Assistant Secretary of State Ernest Gross the role of liaison to the Congress, to inform them of the foreign situation so that the members would understand the reasons for policy steps.

The renewal of the coalition between Senate Republicans and Southern Democrats regarding the cloture issue could portend effects on foreign policy, especially regarding implementation of the treaty over the long term. The coalition wanted, above all, to avoid new taxes. Yet, implementing the treaty meant at least a 1.5 billion-dollar appropriation for Europe over the ensuing year. To meet this burden properly meant realization of the Soviet rearmament program, with 3,000 heavy tanks now being produced annually. The Truman military budget reductions had caused the Army to abandon its pilot program for modernizing 400 of the World War II tanks, which would only be classified, relative to the Soviet tanks, as medium.

If the supply of arms for Europe was to be effective, then new taxes would be necessary. And if Congress refused to take that step, then the treaty would rapidly disintegrate and the member nations would instead seek terms with the Soviets for their internal security. Making that point clear to Congress was the first task of Secretary Acheson and Assistant Secretary Gross.

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