The Charlotte News

Friday, April 1, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that an unidentified top State Department official had said that NATO was purely defensive, that the Russians need not worry about it as long as they refrained from attacking any member nation. The statement came in response to an official Russian note of protest regarding the pact, forwarded to the Western foreign offices.

The treaty was set to be signed the following Monday.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, speaking the previous night to 14,000 persons at the Boston Garden, said, in an address carried by radio and television, that Europe would have been communized and London bombarded since the war were it not for the deterrent of the atom bomb being in the possession of the United States. He urged not appeasing tyranny and wrongdoing, to enable the peace to be preserved. He attacked the Soviet Politburo for aiming to rule the world and having self-preservation as the basis for their "sinister and malignant policy". He said further that the Soviets had the largest army in the world and had fifth columns in every country, amounting to a system as wicked and more formidable than that of Hitler. He said that there was not an unlimited amount of time available before a settlement should be achieved, but that no precipitate or violent action should be undertaken at present. Repeatedly, he said that the West had no hostility in mind toward Russia. He also said that many had been shocked by what he had said in his Fulton, Mo., "iron curtain" speech three years earlier, but that his statements had been vindicated through time.

The Government reported the first drop in unemployment in five months, declining by 54,000 between February and March. The increase in employment was attributed to seasonal expansion and agriculture, plus some other industries, offsetting further layoffs in some sectors of the economy.

House Appropriations subcommittee members stated privately that they had agreed to revive the veterans hospital program to the size it had been before the President trimmed it, a cut which had resulted in cancellation of plans for 24 hospitals, including one in Charlotte and another in Salisbury, as well as two in South Carolina.

In its latest weekly report to Congress, the Hoover Commission recommended that, to avoid favoritism and conflicts of interest, the Government get out of the lending business, except in national emergencies, and eliminate 30 Federal agencies by merger or liquidation. But no recommendation by the Commission on the subject received majority approval. A majority did recommend reorganization of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the major source of Federal credit during the depression and the war.

A bloc of five Commissioners, led by former President Herbert Hoover, recommended that the Government end hydroelectric operations at the dams and not engage in transmission and distribution of electricity. Secretary of State Acheson and two other Commissioners, however, said that the Commission exceeded its authority in that recommendation, that it was up to Congress to determine.

In New York, taxi drivers went on strike, virtually emptying the streets of taxis. There were only 923 operating out of the usual 9,618 at the noon hour. More than 3,000 extra police were on duty patrolling special safety lanes set up for non-striking drivers. There were no immediate reports of violence, as had occurred in a 1934 strike in which scab cabs were overturned, drivers beaten and passengers terrorized. Twelve men had been arrested for disorderly conduct in connection with alleged threats to non-striking drivers. Both sides, strikers and non-strikers, predicted violence.

In Raleigh, State Highway Patrol Major Charles Farmer, 66, who had organized the Patrol in 1929, died after a two-week illness.

In Hollywood, silent film actress Faith Hampton and her husband, both about 40, died from smoke inhalation in a fire in their one-room apartment.

Charlotte became the first city in the Southeast to implement water fluoridation. The fluoride, instrumental in preventing tooth decay, was introduced into the water system at 4:15 p.m. Dental professionals said that the 1.1 parts of fluoride per million of water, or a drop per 27 gallons, would prevent 60 to 70 percent of normal tooth decay in children. About 277 pounds of fluoride would be introduced every 24 hours, based on an average consumption during that period of 15 million gallons of water. The fluoride powder sold for 11 cents per pound. Mayor Herbert Baxter declared it "Fluorination Day" and ceremonies accompanied the event.

Dr. Frederick McKay, an expert on fluoride, told News reporter Tom Schlesinger that the process would not act as a panacea against tooth decay but would be an important step in insuring the city's dental health. Experiments had been conducted in 1938 in Bauxite, Ark., where residents had changed from fluoridated to unfluoridated water for a decade because they found the fluoridated water had been causing structural stains to teeth. After elimination of fluoride, the stains went away but tooth decay substantially increased among children. It was also determined that the stains had been caused by introducing too much fluoride into the water and adjustments therefore were made to the level of concentration to eliminate the problem. In 1945, Grands Rapids, Mich., became the first city to use the new concentration deemed effective, 1.2 parts per million. Since then, over fifty towns and cities had adopted fluoridation and it had been proven beyond doubt that the process was effective in eliminating 70 percent of children's tooth decay. After age ten, it would not have much effect.

In Shelby, N.C., a man found that his radio dial would not work, then saw it turning by itself, and after it happened a second time, removed the back to find a 26-inch king snake wrapped around the dialing mechanism. He did not know how it got into the house, but he deduced that it had crawled through a small hole to enter the radio set.

That radio would be, we presume, a king's lair live.

Okay, the hissing is unnecessary.

We wish good fortune to the Spartans tomorrow against the Orange in the battle out in the peach orchard in Houston.

On the editorial page, "Cities Fare Badly in Legislature" is the second of a series of by-lined pieces by Editor Pete McKnight on the General Assembly session. He says one result would be a wider rift between rural and urban residents, which could retard long term progress in the state. The anger was greater than ever witnessed by most legislators and probably resulted from the continued concern of Governor Kerr Scott, a farmer himself, looking out for the interests of those "in the mud". He believed that the cities could take care of themselves.

Traditionally, the Assembly had been rural-minded. In this session, the cities had lost every round. A home rule bill, to provide municipalities constitutional recognition to carry out their own functions without State approval, was defeated in committee. An effort to have a one-cent gas tax returned to the municipalities for city streets also died in committee. A bill to exempt municipal vehicles from State gas tax was defeated, and so on and so forth.

The 200 million dollar rural road improvement bond measure was the most significant attempt in many years to use State resources for rural areas. The 50 million dollar bond issue for school building, if approved, would provide $500,000 per county, regardless of population density and need, enabling disproportionate benefit to rural counties.

The more thoughtful members of the Assembly were concerned over the dichotomous treatment and wished to see it ended, as harmony needed to exist between urban and rural dwellers to enable progress. But, Mr. McKnight concludes, there were not enough such persons in the Assembly.

"The Blood of a City" encourages giving of blood to the Regional Blood Center, citing a recent case of a mother giving birth who would have bled to death were it not for three pints of available O-Rh negative blood.

A non-by-lined piece explains the proposed overhaul of the 1935 Social Security Act, presently pending before the House Ways & Means Committee because of its tax ramifications. It would expand coverage to 20 million persons, mainly farmers and farm workers, businessmen, professionals, and other self-employed persons and domestic workers. It would also add disability insurance. It would alter the formula for Federal contributions to state relief payments such that poorer states would receive a greater share. The piece then explains how that latter provision would affect Federal contributions to various categories of relief payments for North Carolina.

Drew Pearson tells of former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, having realized that he could no longer remain as Secretary, having asked the President to allow the resignation process to be gradual. He had sought May 1 as his resignation date, but the President desired April 1. Mr. Forrestal volunteered to assist his successor Louis Johnson in making the transition to the job.

Mr. Johnson, at the same meeting, had indicated he would leave town so that there would be no hint that his impending appointment was leaked by him to the press, as it was already leaking. The President demurred, saying that he had told no one, to which Mr. Johnson inquired as to whether he had not told General Eisenhower and Senator Millard Tydings. The President agreed that he had and Mr. Johnson then reiterated that the news was leaking.

The Senate Campaign Investigating Committee had uncovered some apparent illegal contributions made by Detroit area auto dealers to the Wayne County Republican Committee, and were investigating to determine the degree to which the contributions may have influenced the dealers' non-payment of sales taxes.

Marshal Tito was seeking from the U.S. artillery, communications equipment, and spare parts to ward off a feared Soviet pincers move from Albania and Bulgaria. The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade had passed along the request, together with information showing that, on average, two Russian ships per day had been unloading at Durazzo in Albania during the previous three weeks.

The French had objected to British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery continuing as NATO commander after the agreement was signed. Command would rotate until war threatened, at which point an American would be placed in command.

U.S. Ambassador to Italy James Dunn had stated that because of the Marshall Plan and the Friendship Train and other good will gestures from the U.S., Communist Party membership in Italy had dropped from more than two million to less than 1.5 million.

Secretary of State Acheson had sent instructions to all U.S. diplomats in the Far East to refrain from any statements which might upset relations with Orientals, as the region was considered a powder keg, partly because of Communist anti-Western propaganda regarding imperialist aims and partly because of Western blunders such as the Dutch attack on Indonesia the previous December.

Marquis Childs discusses the rent control law which the President had enthusiastically signed, despite it not being entirely consistent with his original proposal. The belief at the White House was that it could be administered in such a way as to avoid most rent increases while protecting the small landlords who had genuinely suffered under rent control from higher prices, hence operating expenses, after the war.

The final version had a provision allowing landlords to recover "fair net operating income" as opposed to the original language in the bill which provided for "reasonable return on reasonable value", considered too difficult to administer.

The White House drew solace from the fact that the two Senators who most criticized the bill, Harry Cain of Washington and John Bricker of Ohio, were the loudest backers of the real estate lobby.

Mr. Childs ventures that in small towns and in the South, rent control probably would be abolished per the "home rule" provision, allowing states and municipalities to end Federal rent control with the governor's approval. There was no significant articulated demand in the South for continued rent control and large segments of the population did not vote. But in the North, it was unlikely that a governor would remove controls amid extant overcrowding and housing shortages. Governor Thomas Dewey of New York had already indicated that he would not remove controls unless clearly shown not to be necessary or desirable.

The result could set up another regional barrier which could bring new wage demands in the South, in turn hampering the ability to attract industry, as the South had been stressing with its lower cost of living than in the industrial North. Thus, he suggests that the South might want to consider that impact before removing rent controls on the premise of asserting states' rights.

James Marlow tells of the omnipresent gentility in the Senate, even as a Senator prepared to "heave a harpoon" at his colleague, always first dressing "the tip in shimmering praise". For instance, during the filibuster of the proposed rule change on cloture, Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois yielded the floor to Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, but only after prefacing his yield with the statement that he was doing so "with trepidation, as I face one of the subtlest men, and one of the most able field generals I suppose who ever appeared on the floor of the United States Senate; and though my knees are knocking, I am very glad indeed to yield."

Mr. Marlow, after years of observing the Senate in action, had determined that Claude Pepper of Florida was the best speaker. The most traditional and perpetually identical dressers were Clyde Hoey of North Carolina and Tom Connally of Texas. Senator Forrest Donnell of Missouri was the most tiresome speaker. Senators Douglas and George Aiken of Vermont were the most thoughtful in their speech. The most restless was Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, 30, hopping from seat to seat, "getting clubby".

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, finds that the American middle class was at risk of disappearing in the wake of the rearmament program. To defeat Marxism, the very thing which had made America a beacon for the world and had thereby blunted Marxism was in danger of being consumed by high taxes and high prices in finance of rearmament.

Lead reserves were estimated to last only about 10 to 12 more years, oil for about 20 years. Sawmills were cutting inferior grades of lumber, disregarded a few years earlier. To feed the world, the country's agricultural resources were being stretched to the limits, risking a return to soil eroison.

To fulfill the 18 billion dollar per year arms program, plus another billion or two for arming of the NATO countries, America risked its abundance and loss of the middle class as in Britain, France, and Italy. Current policies, if continued, he posits, rendered questionable the sustenance of the American middle class for more than another decade.

The "Better English" answers is: "pretty much successful"; eks-kwi-site; condosend; a French lawn chair; admixture.

A letter writer contends that Mayor Herbert Baxter did not keep his campaign promises and so a new mayor was in order. He urges voting for Mr. Shaw.

A letter writer provides a clipping from Texas regarding the weed known as marijuana, as there was little known about it. He professes to have some knowledge, saying it was the "loco weed" which grew mainly in the Southwest, so called because when cattle fed on it, they became loco.

He had talked to plainsmen 50 years earlier and learned that it was bootlegged all over the country. Charlotte had the weed, being sold as reefers, but could be purchased in other forms. It brought out the worst in one's nature and was deadly for teenagers. He says he had never seen a reefer, but his pet hobby was the "evil effect" which it had on its reefee.

Just say no to reefing. You can surf, but don't reef.

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