The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 14, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House and Senate agreed on a compromise measure of 5.58 billion dollars for ERP aid for the ensuing 15 months, that which the President had sought. The Senate, however, nixed the President's request for an additional 150 million for long-term contracts beyond 1950, but did agree to guarantee that profits from contracts of American private investors would be converted to American dollars. The bill would next go to the President for approval. The swift action on the compromise came after 13 days of delay in the Senate on the bill.

The bill only approved the extension of the aid and set a ceiling on the expenditure but it had to be separately appropriated by another measure. Some Senators, including Senator Taft, expressed hope that the appropriations committees would cut ten percent from the amount.

In Nuremberg, the 19 Germans convicted of war crimes after a fifteen-month trial before an American tribunal were sentenced this date to time in prison ranging from 4 to 25 years, the longest sentence going to SS Lt. General Gottlob Berger for his convictions, including that of conspiracy to commit mass murder and atrocities. Baron Ernst Von Weizsaecker, former envoy to the Vatican and former State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, received seven years for helping Hitler plot aggressive war in Czechoslovakia and participation in the campaign of atrocities against Jews. One of the three judges dissented on most of the convictions on the basis that the defendants were not adequately shown to be personally responsible for the Nazi crimes. The defendants appealed on the ground that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction.

Russian shipments of goods to the country in February doubled those of January, amounting to 3.3 million dollars, most of the increase being in fur shipments, while U.S. exports to Russia, limited by a ban on war-potential goods, remained at $200,000. U.S. shipments to Yugoslavia, increasingly friendly to the West, increased for the fifth consecutive month, to 1.7 million from 1.4 million for January. Yugoslavia's exports to the U.S declined to $800,000 from 2.2 million in January. U.S. exports to Czechoslovakia increased from 1.6 to 4.5 million dollars, primarily because of shipments of raw cotton.

The President urged again at a press conference that Congress extend controls on installment buying, set to end at the end of June. He said that he expected the budget to show a billion dollar deficit by the end of the fiscal year.

He also said that he would not withdraw the tabled nomination of Mon Wallgren for chairman of the National Security Resources Board.

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee agreed to delay action on a proposed constitutional amendment to change the electoral college to a proportional award system, as opposed to winner-take-all, so that a writer for the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times could have time to muster more opposition to the amendment. The Constitution leaves the determination of how electors are chosen to the state legislatures.

Senator Frank Graham said that he did not want a position as trustee on the Board of Trustees of UNC, as Governor Kerr Scott had urged and pursuant to which the State Senate had passed a bill that all former presidents would be ex officio members of the Board as long as they remained North Carolina residents. Senator Graham expressed hope that the State House would kill the measure. He said that it would be an unwise precedent as he had served for 18 years as president of the Greater University and it would unduly encumber the sitting president to have a former president on the Board.

In and around Seattle and Olympia, Wash., an earthquake struck the previous day at 11:55 a.m., killing eight people and causing between two and ten million dollars worth of damage. Tacoma also was rocked and the shaking was felt as far south as Salem, Ore., and north to Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. The quake was ranked as an eight on a scale to twelve—not to be confused with the Richter scale which runs only to ten. It remains the worst earthquake ever to hit the Pacific Northwest.

In Summit, N.J., police reported that they had found $23,000 worth of equipment stolen from the Celanese plant in Rock Hill, S.C., following the arrest of two truck drivers who had no invoice for their loads. The two drivers had been returned to Rock Hill the previous Wednesday for prosecution. An engineer at the plant and a construction foreman had also been arrested in connection with the theft.

In Windsor, Ontario, a physician ruled that the death of a ten-year old boy had probably not been caused by a blow to the head from a yo-yo with which he was playing the previous night. He went to school during the day and appeared fine, but then became ill and died in the afternoon. The doctor ruled that he died of a ruptured brain tumor and that the yo-yo strike to his head could have at most been incidental to the ruptured tumor.

In Tracy City, Tenn., a seven year old boy fell down an abandoned well and drowned, the same day as the funeral of the three year old girl in San Marino, Calif., who had drowned the previous Friday in a well accident.

The campaign in Mecklenburg County to identify and cap abandoned wells was gaining momentum.

In New York, a battle at 3:45 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of a strip club between two strippers regarding who got the closing spot in the show and whether one of the pair wore falsies ended when they were separated by two males. One of the strippers had said that she did not know if the other wore falsies during her act but that she did place them in her evening dress, prompting the altercation. The other said that she could have taken her rival but did not really want to fight.

On the editorial page, "Averting a Tragedy" tells of the Mecklenburg County Police soliciting public information for abandoned wells which remained uncapped. Attention had been focused on the problem by the death of the three-year old girl in San Marino, California.

A study would be made in the county and the authorities would use whatever power they had to compel property owners to correct the danger of uncapped wells.

"Small Scale Operators" tells of the best argument for ABC controlled sale of liquor being that it reduced bootlegging to a minimum as the bootlegger could no longer turn a profit and the trained force of ABC agents were able to devote their full time to eradicating bootlegging.

The previous weekend, Mecklenburg ABC officers had arrested 24 alleged bootleggers at 18 different locations. The officers had to work for three months to obtain the necessary evidence, whereas there had been a time when it could have been accumulated in a day.

The dry Winston-Salem Journal had remarked of the arrests as a reminder that bootlegging persisted in spite of the ABC system. The piece wishes to correct the misimpression by pointing out that the bootleggers had been reduced to a small scale operation in Mecklenburg, compared to the way they had operated when the county was dry and the way they undoubtedly operated still in dry Forsyth County.

"Another Two Months of Music" tells of a long-hair music event attracting 6,000 young people in Rocky Mount. Such events had happened regularly since the early 1930's when the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra first had begun touring the state, putting on free children's concerts. The year marked the fourth consecutive annual tour of the state. The theory was that as the children grew up, they would be hard to convince that good music was worthless. Charlotte would be on the tour on April 21.

"April Shower" relates of a brief spring shower. "The street was busy again and in a very few minutes it was as if the rain had happened yesterday."

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "White Glove Diplomacy", tells of a British Foreign Office guide to diplomatic practices having advised such things as affability to "bores", not paying heed to the "latest love affair", and not strolling in the garden with "some girl" while attention might be given to a "boring but important person".

The piece questions whether this was the diplomacy which "built the empire on which the sun never sets".

The Congressional Quarterly tells of the Republicans in the Senate having less party unity than Senate Democrats, a reversal of the positions found in the previous two Congresses.

The Democratic majority had prevailed in 19 of 24 votes on which they were opposed by Republicans during the first three months of the current 81st Congress. Of the five votes on which the majority was defeated, two were on the issue of changing Senate rules of cloture, two were on tax exemptions and one on a local amendment to rent control. Southerners were primarily responsible for the defeats.

In four other votes, each on rent control, Republicans helped Democrats to carry the majority despite Southern defections.

Twenty Democrats supported the party in every vote, while only six Republicans supported their party in every vote. The names are listed. Three Democrats, Senators Harry F. Byrd, John McClellan, and Richard Russell, had party unity records of less than 70 percent. Twelve Republicans were in that category.

A table shows how the North Carolina Senators stacked up against the Democratic leaders in the Senate in each such category.

Drew Pearson again looks at the American Enterprise Association, a Washington lobby which prepared summaries of legislation for members of Congress, skewed to the interests of big business, without all of the members realizing its bias. Georgia Congressman Gene Cox, one of the most reactionary members, claimed to be the brains behind the lobby. The lobby had been formed in 1946 after the Republicans won the majority in both houses in the elections. But, with the Democratic victory the previous November, the lobby had been relegated to the outside again. So it went to the law firm of Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan, a loyal Democrat, and was hired to analyze legislation and write daily reports for Congressmen.

Mr. Sullivan denied any connection with his old law firm when queried by Mr. Pearson. But he admitted that Malcolm Hardgrove, Washington representative of the lobby, had talked to him about various matters on three or four occasions. Mr. Hardgrove claimed that Mr. Sullivan had been a close friend for several years.

Tennessee Congressman Percy Priest said that he would not have endorsed the AEA had it not been for its association with Mr. Sullivan's law firm, a connection put forth in a letter from Mr. Hardgrove seeking the endorsement. That letter of Mr. Priest and endorsements by two other Congressmen had caused other Democratic Congressmen to begin subscribing to the AEA service. Congressman Francis Myers of Pennsylvania, however, who had also initially endorsed the service, said that he might send out another letter warning of the bias of the service based on the facts uncovered by Mr. Pearson.

The digests themselves were fairly non-partisan but questions were added which were slanted. The AEA also sent out pamphlets on economic problems, which regarded only the views of big business.

The man who had previously drafted the questions said that they were fair under his watch but changed when Sinclair Weeks of the RNC took over the the presidency of the lobby, taking control of the drafting of the questions.

Marquis Childs discusses the political ambition of new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, whose ardent supporters wanted him to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952.

He had been a director of Consolidated Vultee which produced the B-36 and had recently made a decision to divert 157 million dollars from manufacture of various other types of planes to the B-36, a decision said to have been made by his predecessor James Forrestal. Mr. Childs suggests that it may have been a wise decision, as the B-36 had made its mark, but was at least questionable in light of the connections of Mr. Johnson.

The new Secretary of Defense was pushing Floyd Odlum to become the chairman of the National Security Resources Board, the position to which the President had appointed his old friend Mon Wallgren, whose nomination had been tabled by the Senate Armed Services Committee. But Mr. Odlum was president of Atlas Corp., a holding company which owned 418,200 shares of Consolidated Vultee.

Mr. Childs finds that such appointments raised the point of relationships between government and "so-called free enterprise".

Joseph Alsop finds that it was likely that Taft-Hartley would be repealed after all, as Senator Taft appeared to be willing to allow it to occur. The result was from the fact that the Senate Labor Committee had recommended a bill repealing the law, leaving Senator Taft with the choice of trying to substitute a new measure or amending the present bill. The latter course now appeared likely as Senators Wayne Morse and Irving Ives believed that it was time to remove the stigma of Taft-Hartley from the Republican Party, proving disastrous in the previous election.

Most of the provisions which labor had hated would be jettisoned by Senator Taft, himself, with the loathed closed shop ban to be greatly modified to allow the practice to continue in industries where it already existed. The loyalty oaths, assuring non-Communist affiliation, required of labor union officers under Taft-Hartley, would also be broadened to include management.

By realizing the need for a workable, moderate law, Senator Taft was serving both his party and his country.

The question was whether it would affect his re-election to the Senate from Ohio in 1950. If he won, he would likely seek and obtain the Republican nomination. If he were to lose, then the whole conservative Republican faction in Congress would be crippled. The problem for Ohio Democrats was to unite before the election.

That which was happening in Washington and in Ohio showed that the seemingly once impregnable bastion of American conservatism was beginning to "become a mere deceptive shell".

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, in a piece appearing the previous day in some newspapers, finds that there would be a "fantastic hullabaloo" arising regarding the Administration's new farm price support program, that some would accuse the President of acting in accord with Karl Marx. The program had been discussed in an editorial in The News two days earlier. Mr. Grafton finds that the most interesting part of it for consumers was the provision to hold down retail prices on perishable produce while paying the farmer the difference between that price and a "fair price" determined by a complex formula. Presently, the Government maintained prices high with supports, but that approach curbed consumption. Experts ventured that such price supports cost as much as direct subsidies to farmers. The new program was designed to keep the farmer happy while maintaining low prices.

Yet, much of the American farm community and political opinion generally did not cotton to the idea of subsidies. Thus, there would be a hue and cry set up against the program. The criticism, however, usually came from those who wanted Government help, but not Government planning. Another source of the criticism was from the fact that the Government intended to help the small farmer and not the corporate farm, producing a natural divergence of opinion within the farming community. Most of the criticism took the form of labeling the lower retail prices illusory because the difference would be made up in higher taxes. But that contention was confounded by the fact that under the present price support system, both higher prices and higher taxes resulted.

He concludes that the new system was returning to the Roosevelt idea of subsidies which should never have been dropped.

A letter writer from Winston-Salem urges repeal of Taft-Hartley and replacing it with the old Wagner Act, to stem the rise of Fascism in the country and encourage progress toward the "Century of the Common Man".

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