The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 5, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Russia had replaced Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov with Andrei Vishinsky, though both apparently remained part of the 12-member Politburo and deputy prime ministers. Mr. Vishinsky, in his U.N. performance, was given to sharper, more vindictive rhetoric than Mr. Molotov, who had headed the foreign ministry for nearly a decade, taking over from Maxim Litvinoff who had favored alliances with the West prior to the war. Mr. Molotov's first major action was to sign the mutual non-aggression pact with Germany in August, 1939.

Observers believed that Mr. Molotov might have been assigned some of the duties of ailing Josef Stalin. His removal also might have been triggered by the Soviet failure to disrupt the Marshall Plan and the advent of the North Atlantic Pact, especially the loss of Norway and, perhaps, Denmark from the informal Scandinavian "neutral" alliance. The defection of Tito's Yugoslavia toward the West and away from the Soviet orbit was also believed a contributing factor. U.S. official reaction ran the gamut from belief that the change signaled a dangerous shift to sterner Soviet policy toward the West, to one that it might indicate a softer approach was in the offing.

President Truman had said recently, receiving raspberries from some of the columnists for an apparently unfounded, impromptu remark, that there was dissension in the Politburo, perhaps now borne out by this change. The President gave no comment on the switch.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, senior Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee and responsible chiefly for the bipartisan foreign policy, said that he regarded Mr. Vishinsky as a "ruthless" man, replacing a "relentless" man in Mr. Molotov. He regarded both as the most accomplished filibusterers he had ever seen in thwarting peace efforts.

Italy, Portugal and Iceland, it was believed by observers, might also soon join the prospective North Atlantic Pact, which was expected to be completed between the principals, the U.S., Canada, France, Britain and the Benelux countries, the following week and signed by the end of March.

Norway's Ambassador to the U.S., Wilhelm Munthe de Morgenstierne, said that joining the North Atlantic Pact was designed to prevent the advance of any "crazy Hitler" who might "challenge the free world". He said that Norway's former neutrality now had no "relation to the facts of life". He also believed that Denmark, which had dispatched a representative to begin talks in Washington regarding joinder of the Pact, would follow suit. He also gave praise to the "glorious Red Army" which had liberated Norway from the Nazis at the end of the war.

In Sofia, the seven-day Bulgarian Government treason and espionage trial of the 15 Protestant churchmen ended after all of the defendants had pleaded guilty and made confessional speeches, claiming allegiance to the Government. The prosecution sought death sentences for the four principal defendants and long prison terms for the rest. Four defendants burst into tears in emotional pleas to the court. The lawyers for the accused begged for mercy.

In Washington, a woman on the Justice Department staff at a low level was arrested for providing documents to a Russian agent, also arrested. The Russian was a member of the U.N. Secretariat. Both were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. Secretary-General Trygve Lie said that the Russian had been suspended from his Secretariat post, pending the outcome of the case. The documents were described by Justice Department officials as worthless, as they had been suspicious for some time of the woman in question, an employee of the Department since 1943, and had therefore restricted her access to crucial documents. The case fueled suspicions that Russians enjoying diplomatic immunity as part of the U.N. diplomatic delegation had entered the country for the purpose of spying. Diplomatic immunity would also be a key defense in the case of the Russian. The FBI had arrested the pair as the woman was caught in the act of handing the documents to the Russian. She had in her purse typewritten summaries of information abstracted from confidential documents.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia said that Southern Democrats could count on 58 Senate votes, including those of some Republicans, to stop an expected ruling the following week by Vice-President Barkley that cloture of debate on a resolution or motion could be effected by a two-thirds majority vote, that is 64 votes of the 96 Senators. An Associated Press poll showed that 43 Senators would oppose the expected ruling of the Vice-President and only 19 definitely would support it.

The cloture rule had been applied to bills only. At immediate issue was the motion for a Senate rule change to permit resolutions and motions to be subject to the two-thirds cloture rule. The long-range issue was an attempt by the Southern Democrats to block the civil rights program of the President via filibuster without cloture. Senator Russell said that he believed that the Southern position would be victorious. The Southern filibuster on the rule change, itself, was in its sixth day. Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas was biding his time for seeking a ruling from Vice-President Barkley on a cloture vote.

In Chicago, three police officers saved a woman who tried to jump from an eighth-floor hotel window but was inhibited by the window closing on her coat tail, holding her suspended three feet below the window ledge. One of the police officers dangled from an adjoining window while the two other officers held his legs as he was able to grab the woman and bring her to safety. She had urged the police officer to leave her alone, that she wanted to die. She was charged with disorderly conduct and released on a $10 bond.

In Missouri Valley, Iowa, about a thousand persons had been evacuated from their homes because of a flood after the Boyer River broke through a dike, sending four feet of water into the business district.

In Peachland, N.C., in Anson County near Charlotte, the sawdust fire which had smoldered for three weeks at a lumber company was under better control as 400 gallons of water was being poured onto it per hour to keep it from spreading to nearby houses. Several fire departments, including those of Greensboro and Charlotte, had dispatched equipment to the scene. There were no longer signs of any blaze, only smoke.

In Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania banned the fraternity hazing practice of paddling pledges as well as that of making them wear outlandish clothing all day. Fines and possible expulsion were instituted for violations.

That's no fun. That only leads to pent-up frustrations, lack of camaraderie, and more sinister, far more sinister, manifestations of aggressive tendencies in the superannuated adolescent male. By this simple utilitarian instrument, the haze, neophytic Greek atomism dissolves into sapient Greek harmony, not forsaking, however, its base atomic constituency, producing a unified field of endeavor, "in form and moving how express and admirable". Take your silly, priggish notions, you sissified mama's boys, and stick them where the moon does not shine.

"Mr. X" will not be identified by the newspaper on the front page and so we shall not have confirmation of his identity. We have, however, proceeded on the assumption all week that he was, in all likelihood, Clyde "Rabbit" McDowell, formerly of Texas, the new Charlotte Hornets baseball club manager, named the previous November 1, though a photograph of him for confirmation has not been obtainable. You can look back to the sports page of November 1 for that probable confirmation, but we have no access to it. We do not know either whether some Scrooge again deprived the Empty Stocking Fund of $50 by identifying him.

Surely, in any event, you guessed that it might be Mr. McDowell, given our exceptional clues toward that end all week.

On the editorial page, "Go Forward … But Where?" discusses Governor Kerr Scott's "Go Forward" program, finding that most North Carolinians supported it in spirit, insofar as it favored improvements in the State's educational system, roads, and social services generally. But the high costs and the idea that the program was short on detail had caused that support to waver.

The piece suggests that the Governor needed to show the people where they ought to go and how fast they ought to travel there, and then they would begin the journey. The opposition was not composed simply, as the Governor had suggested, of those who opposed every action which was thought to result in heavier taxes.

"Train of Tomorrow" tells of the G.M. "Train of Tomorrow" stopping in Charlotte, a model for train travel in the future, designed for maximum luxury and streamlining but with limited passenger capacity to enable economical operation, in an effort to compete with air-conditioned buses and commercial airlines. It hopes that the train would soon become a reality.

"Re-Examination of Drivers" finds that the State House had done the right thing in killing a bill which would have allowed drivers to obtain renewal of licenses without re-examination. In combination with ending the State vehicle inspection law, the piece suggests, it would have added to the safety problems of cars in disrepair by enabling drivers who were not sufficiently skilled to remain on the roads.

Roscoe Drummond, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, discusses the stalemate in Congress regarding all of the President's legislative package, shaping up as truncating the shortest post-election honeymoon enjoyed by a President in the history of the country, one which had died aborning. President Truman was so frustrated that he had threatened a cross-country tour to try to kick-start the process among members of his own party.

But many on Capitol Hill complained that the President was overly complicating some issues, such as the minimum wage, causing problems for coalescence around his programs. The Administration's replacement for Taft-Hartley was too vague for cohesive support. The Democratic leadership had dallied too long on the filibuster issue, losing crucial Republican support for that rule change.

He concludes that the President needed to provide the broadest possible legislative program which would embrace agreement between the President and the majority party in both houses, rather than simply issuing forth the "President's program".

A short piece from the Raleigh News & Observer suggests waiting until the next biennial session of the Legislature in 1951 to provide raises to State employees who could not, under the State Constitution, partake of them until 1953.

Drew Pearson tells of twelve Germans, including some of the major cartelists of the Hitler period, having been nominated by Dr. Herman Puender, to control the Ruhr steel industry, to the consternation of German labor unions and the liberal political parties struggling to fight German Communism. Dr. Puender had been an adviser to Chancellor Bruening, the last democratic leader of Germany, and had advised him not to oppose Hitler too vigorously when Hitler first threatened to come to power in 1932. Dr. Puender had served as the equivalent of the political commissar in the Abwehr at the start of the war, suppressing Anglo-American propaganda circulating in the Nazi ground forces.

The plan for the Ruhr had been put in place by Undersecretary of the Army William Draper, a member of Dillon, Read, the Wall Street firm which had loaned millions to the German steel industry prior to World War II. Mr. Draper had left the Government to return to Dillon, Read. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, a former partner in the same firm, was also leaving his post shortly. Justification for the move came from the fact that a committee of allied steel moguls would supervise the twelve German cartelists.

But one of those committee members had been a principal go-between for U.S. Steel in arranging with the European steel cartel a deal whereby there would be no U.S. competition for steel trade. Three other members had represented U.S. big steel interests in constructing that deal of 1938-39. Tom Girdler of Republic Steel had been the American representative in the deal. The deal had remained secret until after the war when the files of European steel barons were found by the Army in Luxembourg.

Mr. Pearson notes that former President Hoover had first recommended the rebuilding of the heavy industries in the Ruhr.

The Hungarian Government, which had recently found Josef Cardinal Mindszenty guilty of treason and sentenced him to life imprisonment, was also going after other religions. They had cut off Jewish emigration from Hungary and closed down the offices of the Jewish relief agencies in Budapest.

In France, both the Communists and the Gaullists, left and right extremists, were losing power, according to a report received by the State Department. The French moderates were reported to be gaining ground.

Marquis Childs, in Fort Worth, discusses the record-breaking round-the-world flight in 94 hours of "Lucky Lady II", the Boeing B-50 mid-range bomber, refueling in midair, establishing, according to Strategic Air Command head General Curtis Lemay, bomber capability to deliver atom bombs wherever they might be needed.

The first line of defense consisted of the B-36's which could carry a bomb payload 4,000 miles each way, roundtrip, at an altitude of 40,000 feet, above the range of most fighter aircraft. The B-36's would soon be based at Fairbanks, Alaska, Goose Bay, Newfoundland, and Limestone, Maine, from which bases, it could reach virtually any strategic point in the world. Now, the B-50, with its midair refueling capability, could meet or exceed the B-36 range. General Lemay had said that the B-50 could reach beyond Moscow after its first refueling in the Azores, and that "Lucky Lady II" had not been deflected in its course or slowed down by the refueling. Furthermore, the refueling could take place over the Arctic wastelands in time of war without the operation placing the array in danger of interception by enemy fighters.

After the 94-hour flight, the fourteen-member crew of the B-50 had appeared remarkably fresh. He describes them as "good faces, reflecting strength and character … American faces", and posits that if used for peace, this power could become "character and strength of every kind."

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of William Z. Foster and Eugene Dennis, top American Communists on trial under the Smith Act for leading an organization which advocated the overthrow of the Government by force and violence or for teaching same, having reaffirmed their allegiance to Moscow. Various Senators, including Claude Pepper and Richard Russell, as well as the President had reacted by calling them traitors or the equivalent for these statements. The statements were consistent with the recent statements of the French and Italian top Communists, Maurice Thorez and Palmiro Tagliatti, both of whom had said that they would support Russian troops entering the borders of their countries to chase an enemy of Moscow. M. Thorez had advocated a basic tenet of Marxist ideology, exhorting Communists to take advantage, in the event of war, of resultant political and economic crises. It appeared to observers that the concurrent statements had been coordinated from Moscow.

Such action as adovcated by M. Thorez could take the form of strikes, actual sabotage or, in some isolated cases, armed rebellion against the government.

The recent statements may have come in response to the proposed North Atlantic Pact and appeared to be directed toward producing fear in the leadership of the Western world and alerting the Communists of all countries to prepare for such contingencies as war, the belief in Moscow apparently being that the West was so preparing.

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