The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 26, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in New York, two Canadians, one a delegate to the National Council of the Arts, Sciences & Professions Conference, were seized at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel by authorities and allowed immediately to return voluntarily to Canada. A third Canadian, also an attendee of the Conference but not a delegate, was taken into custody, but allowed to remain.

The keynote session of the Conference began at Carnegie Hall, with 1,500 people in attendance. Speakers blamed both Russia and the U.S. for the cold war, urging the President to accept the invitation of Josef Stalin to engage in peace talks.

Admiral William Leahy, the President's personal chief of staff, resigned his position the previous day. He reportedly had played a large role in the development of the "tough" attitude toward Russia after the war. With the recent resignations of General Marshall as Secretary of State in January and Lt. General Walter Beedle Smith the prior day as Ambassador to Russia, increasingly, the military men in civilian roles in Government were departing. Also, Secretary of Defense Forrestal was leaving at the end of the month, to be replaced by Louis Johnson, already confirmed to the post. Whereas Secretary Forrestal had been deeply involved in the development of foreign policy, it was anticipated that Mr. Johnson would concentrate on military matters, stopping short of directly impacting foreign policy.

The exodus of the military men was not planned, but acted as anodyne to the Soviet charge that America had been war mongering since the end of the war, starting with the "tough" anti-Soviet policy begun under Secretary of State James Byrnes in 1946, coming in the wake of the "iron curtain" speech of Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in March of that year, following through with the Truman Doctrine, involving military aid to Turkey and Greece, a year later and the Marshall Plan, to rebuild Europe economically, first enunciated three months after that.

According to reliable sources, Britain was seeking to tighten trade restrictions on war materials to countries behind the iron curtain. The sources said that the move was based on a confidential list of materials which the U.S. sent to the Marshall Plan recipient nations. One official stated that complete compliance with the request, however, would seriously affect Britain's trade with Eastern Europe.

The U.N. Commission on Indonesia determined to hold new talks on the resolution of the Dutch-Indonesian dispute.

In Paris, the French Foreign Office announced that 52 square miles would be taken from the territory of Germany and provided to France and the Benelux countries, pursuant to agreement by the three Western allies. The permanence of the arrangement would depend on the ultimate peace treaty with Germany. Germans reacted bitterly to the scheme, with the State Cabinet of North Rhine-Westphalia saying that the move violated the Atlantic Charter of 1941 and international law. Those Germans living in the 31 affected localities, populated by 12,500 persons, were given the option of relocating to other areas of Germany.

Also in Paris, France and Italy signed a customs union treaty, effective in 1950 and to run in merger until 1955.

The Senate-House confreres agreed to a fifteen-month rent control extension, with "home rule" decontrol available to the states and localities, subject to approval of each state governor, at any time they chose, regardless of whether they had any rent control on the books. The confreres had not yet worked out a provision, however, on rent increases.

Get back to us when you get that done, boys. We have to watch basketball.

The Trustees of UNC approved the resignation of Dr. Frank Porter Graham to assume the Senate seat to which he had been appointed by Governor Kerr Scott on Wednesday, succeeding deceased Senator J. Melville Broughton, who had been in the Senate only two months when he suffered a heart attack earlier in the month. In the interim, until a new University president could be named, comptroller W. D. Carmichael—for whom Carmichael Auditorium on the Chapel Hill campus is named—would assume the duties as president and, with the three chancellors of the Greater University campuses, including N.C. State and Woman's College at Greensboro, would form a committee to administer the Greater University.

Governor Scott claimed that opposition groups were "muddying the waters" to confuse the people regarding his proposed major programs, road and school construction and teacher pay hikes. He said, for instance, that the State Senate's action in combining the one-cent gasoline tax hike with the 200-million dollar bond issue for rural roads was an attempt to defeat the program. He wanted the Assembly to pass the gas tax irrespective of the approval by the voters of the bond issue.

He said other things but we have to move on. There are no pictures on the page today to take up space.

In New York, police were searching the Bowery for other victims of "smoke" ingestion after eight deaths had come from the lethal mixture of wood alcohol and water, the largest death toll from such means since the Prohibition era, when scores of such deaths were reported.

In Edmonton, Alberta, search planes looked for an American Air Force C-82 Fairchild Packet along the ice of Barrow Strait. The seven crewmen reported by radio that they were safe and uninjured, but thus far had not been located. The plane had departed the Air Force base at Greenville, S.C., several days earlier with a four-man crew embarking on an undisclosed mission. The plane crash-landed on Thursday night after the crew reported that they were lost.

In Whiteville, N.C., a woman was murdered in the midst of a love triangle and a woman and a man were held in the matter by the police. The dead woman's husband had been critically wounded. The woman in custody, who claimed to be the third and last legal wife of the wounded man, admitted to the shootings. She said that his marriage to Lula, the dead woman, was bigamous.

Ralph Gibson of The News reports of a man who was the production manager at a textile mill in Cornelius having been charged with stealing $100,000 worth of yarn. He was arrested at his luxurious home on Country Club Drive in Charlotte. He had no comment for the press.

It helps to talk to the press in Charlotte, we have observed, because you could get the chair otherwise. Repent while there is still time, before the jury convenes tomorrow.

Tornadoes and high winds swept through the Mississippi River and Western Gulf states this date with eight known deaths and an estimated 76 others injured. Six of the dead and 33 of the injured were in Greenwood, Miss.

The bout between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott for the vacated heavyweight crown brought on by the retirement from boxing of former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, would take place June 22 in Comiskey Park in Chicago.

Not mentioned on the otherwise loaded front page, this night in Seattle, the University of Kentucky would win its second consecutive N.C.A.A. national championship in basketball, defeating 1945 and 1946 national champions Oklahoma A & M, 46 to 36. In the consolation game, Illinois beat Oregon State 57 to 53 for third place.

On the editorial page, "That One Vote Margin" finds that Congressman Hamilton Jones's decision to oppose the Rankin veterans' pension plan, which had been referred back to the Veterans Affairs Committee on a vote of 208 to 207, therefore proved decisive. Congressman Jones had voted for the plan in the Committee based on his belief that it would be less costly than other measures proposed to care for veterans.

The piece applauds his courage in changing his position and urges that he steer the Committee toward better care of disabled veterans and their dependents rather than providing a pension for all veterans reaching 65, as under the shelved plan.

"Creating New Citizens" tells of the Carolina Spastics Association undertaking a campaign to collect $100,000 for the year on behalf of victims of cerebral palsy. It points out that it was a common mistaken belief that those afflicted with the disease were lacking in intelligence, when that was not the case. It suggests that the campaign served to heighten awareness of this latter fact and that victims could be trained to assume their rightful place in the society.

"It's Their Decision" supports the decision of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra board of directors to submit to a vote of its members, union and non-union, the decision on whether to retain Lamar Stringfield as its conductor, recently becoming the object of controversy among the union musicians for his decision to quit the union, prompting the union members to refuse to play under his direction. The decision, it concludes, was the only democratic one to reach.

"Higher Truck Limits" tells of the North Carolina House having passed a bill with three categories of maximum truck weight limits for roads in the state, the top category allowing for trucks of 50,000 to 64,000 pounds.

The piece finds that the bill did not take into account the move to produce uniform weight limits across the states, but appeared as a unilateral action by North Carolina, and that the top limit allowed for too large trucks trundling over the roads of the state.

A piece from the Greenville (Miss.) Delta Democrat-Times, titled "Boy and Bread", tells of having recently seen a small drama in which the main ingredients were a loaf of bread, a tricycle, and a small boy. The boy repeatedly tried to carry the bread on his trike, pretending to whip his imagined horses as he proceeded, but it continually fell off, getting the more mashed and squeezed each successive time, with bread scattered on the ground from the broken packaging. Eventually, frustrated, he stuffed the remains under his red sweater and rode home.

The writer hopes that the mother of the small boy was able to obtain another loaf before the dinner bell and understood that at five years old, "a tricycle can be both a horse and a wagon and that a loaf of bread can be any one of a dozen things like coal or wood or even sand and gravel."

We might add that we hope she did not give him the chair.

Drew Pearson tells of Chief Justice Fred Vinson having been able to discuss with the President, during his Key West vacation, how better to get along with Congress, with the result that the President had returned to Washington sporting a more humble mien.

A close friend of Presidential aide General Harry Vaughan had just been appointed to the D.C. Municipal Court, despite the Judge's family liquor firm having been given one of the largest fines by OPA during the days of price control. The family had contributed $15,000 to Democratic coffers in the late campaign, as well as furnishing liquor to Democratic gatherings.

The Senate Elections Committee had turned up a $17,400 contribution by automaker Preston Tucker to the RNC campaign fund, transmitted via the committeewoman from Michigan, also the secretary of the RNC, allegedly made to bring an end to the probe by Michigan Senator Homer Ferguson into Mr. Tucker's wayward automobile manufacturing company. The RNC committeewoman had come to Washington several times in May and June, 1947, calling on Senator Ferguson each time, and shortly afterward, the probe of Mr. Tucker's enterprise ended, though in full swing prior to that point. Several Tucker employees had told the Senate investigators that Mr. Tucker informed them that he had employed a political figure in Michigan to get the investigation terminated and had never spent any money more wisely. The investigation had never resumed.

Eventually, the $17,400 was returned to the woman and she deposited it in a bank in Clarksburg, W. Va., not in Michigan. The Senate investigation into the matter was continuing.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest that Russia's current maneuvering had little more meaning than the action of the Duke of York, as memorialized in the lines: "The good old Duke of York; he had ten thousand men. He marched them up the hill; then he marched them down again."

Months earlier, the Russians had begun threatening that if Norway were to join the North Atlantic Pact, then Russia would invade Finland. Thus, those who wanted to criticize the Pact did so on the basis that Norway was being included. Sweden was easily convinced that the Russians meant what they said. The Swedes, in turn, convinced the more nervous European foreign offices and, eventually, the contingency was communicated to the U.S.

About two weeks earlier, Pravda echoed the warning to Finland as Russian Army maneuvers occurred along the Finnish and Norwegian borders with replacements of troops, even if the same number of troops resulted.

It was believed that there might be a Communist coup within Finland, as there had been a year earlier in Czechoslovakia. But the conditions for such a change were not present in Finland.

Nor were they in Yugoslavia, where there was also Soviet saber-rattling against Tito via troops on the Bulgarian and Rumanian border frontiers. But those troops were of insufficient numbers effectively to penetrate through the 400,000-man Tito force. Likewise, the Yugoslav police appeared able to deal with the guerrillas of Macedonia and to thwart reported attempts at assassination of Tito.

Regardless of whether Russia could make trouble as a result of Norway joining the Pact or as a result of Western aid to Tito in the future, it was always wrong to use the arguments of the appeasers in the 1930's to avoid taking reasonable defensive action, as afforded by NATO, on the basis that to do so might provoke reaction from an aggressor.

Marquis Childs finds the question of whether to veto the new rent control extension bill to be one facing the President, similar to his decision in mid-1946 to veto an OPA bill with price controls running out. He had vetoed the first bill and then finally signed a second bill in late July after he was confronted with the prospect of otherwise having no price controls at all. As it was, during an 18-day interim, there had been no price controls.

Many of the President's advisers were saying that the House and Senate "home rule" provisions, being reconciled in the joint committee, effectively emasculated rent control to the point where it had no further vitality. As it was, rents had been creeping upward under the exceptions allowed in the previous extension law, to the point that rents were four percent higher than a year earlier, a percentage point of that increase having occurred in the latter two months of 1948, nullifying the effect of a drop in the cost of food, rendering a net decline in the overall cost of living of only two percent, 72 percent above the prewar base line.

Without rent control, it was estimated that the cost of rents would rise between five and nine percent per month over the ensuing year, with a commensurate increase in cost of living by one to 1.5 percent, touching off a new round of wage demands. Such could trigger a depression in a boom-bust cycle.

A letter writer concludes: "Integrity of both our Government and our citizens: fruition of the concepts of the founders of our political system: social justice, and the enjoyment of constitutional liberty: all contributing to the welfare, happiness and tranquility of the American masses will be, and are, ultimately, the only safe bulwark, imponderable but invincible, against the forces of Communism and discontent. So it is."

A letter writer disagrees with the Governor's appointment of Frank Porter Graham to the Senate seat. He says that he had roomed across the hall from him for three years as an undergraduate at the University, from the time they entered in the fall of 1905, knew him as an able and good person, but also as an "irrepressible idealist" who could not accept conditions as they were, for, in his eyes, all men were lovable and good at heart. Acts 2:44-45 embraced his economic philosophy and only in that limited sense could he be suggested as a communist.

The writer's primary objection is that he would not represent the South in the Senate, nor any other section of the country, and would be most unhappy as a Senator. He could not say whether he would support the Truman civil rights program, but he did always pull for the underdog. Frank Graham, he says, was in a hurry to bring the promised land to realization and was unwilling to wait on evolution to bring it about.

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