The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 20, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that with the Communist ultimatum of surrender not having been accepted by the Nationalist Government, fighting in the Chinese civil war was resumed all along the Yangtze River front this night in the vicinity of Nanking. Across the river, Pukow was under attack and Kiangpu on the north bank had been hit, among other locations. The attacks appeared aimed at the few remaining Nationalist positions along the north bank of the river.

In the vicinity of Shanghai, the Chinese Communists shore artillery crippled a British sloop in the Yangtze River and drove away a British destroyer seeking to help the stricken vessel. The sloop, with at least twenty wounded or dead among its crew of 148, was aground on Rose Island, 60 miles northeast of Nanking, close to the renewed fighting. The aiding destroyer had 17 of its crew wounded.

A map is included of the areas of the renewed fighting and the location of former Nationalist President Chiang Kai-Shek at Chikow. The civil war had been in a de facto ceasefire since January 20 after Mao Tse-Tung issued an eight-point surrender demand to the Nationalists on January 14 and the Nationalist Government on January 19-20 then called for a formal ceasefire to negotiate a peace.

In Berlin, a high German source reported of a Russian plan shortly to be presented to the Western Allies by which the blockade of Berlin would be lifted. The proposal entailed barring Germany from joining the NATO pact, removal of Western troops to behind the Rhine, and creation of a central German government by the four powers. In addition to lifting the blockade, the Russians would agree to remove their troops to behind the Oder River.

Meanwhile, Communist police tightened the blockade by closing down more streets along sector borders.

The Western powers had already taken the position that the blockade first had to be lifted before any four-power talks could be held on the future of Germany. Removal of Western troops had generally been deemed not acceptable as the well-trained Communist police force in the East would represent the equivalent of a Russian Army contingent, capable of controlling all of Germany absent Western troop presence.

Secretary of State Acheson said that he planned to discuss the cost and extent of needed arms for rearming Western European members of NATO when he appeared this date in executive session before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee, in response to a letter by a former Army court reporter in Germany alleging that coercive tactics were used to extract confessions from the German soldiers accused of executing 160 American prisoners of war at Malmedy in December, 1944 during the the start of the Battle of the Bulge, a prosecutor assigned to the case denied that there was any physical abuse involved but admitted that mock, candlelit trials, proper under the rules of military justice, were held to facilitate obtaining of information. He doubted that most of the German soldiers believed the trials were real. He added that the military courts did not operate on normal American rules of evidence, permitting, for instance, admission of hearsay evidence.

An American military tribunal had tried 74 former SS troops for the massacre and 43 were sentenced to death as a result. The Army later commuted the sentences of all except twelve and General Lucius Clay then commuted six of those sentences to life imprisonment. Senator Joseph McCarthy of the subcommittee was taking an active interest in the matter and had been critical of the Army's conduct, said that he was planning to call the court reporter to testify before the subcommittee.

Admiral Alan Kirk, Ambassador to Belgium, was appointed to be the new Ambassador to Russia, replacing Lt. General Walter Bedell Smith who had resigned the position to return to the Army. During the war, Admiral Kirk had participated in the Allied landings on Sicily as the commander of the amphibious force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and also had helped to direct and prepare the naval phases of the Normandy invasion.

In Paris, a Communist-sponsored world peace conference got underway with a speech by the French Communist atomic scientist Frederic Joliot-Curie appealing for world organization to fulfill Communist aims, asserting that the "warmongers" had to reckon with the Communists and that atomic warfare would not be decisive in a new war. The meeting was similar to that of the World Peace Congress held in New York the previous month.

In Washington, the D.A.R. passed a resolution opposing participation by the U.S. in a world government. There was a hot debate over whether to oppose or support participation in the International Trade Organization and action on that matter was postponed. The Daughters praised HUAC for its reports and investigation of Communism in the country, found a "doctrine of collectivism" in the country challenging the faith of the founding fathers, took a stand against introduction of "subversive ideas" by left wing educators seeking to indoctrinate the nation to participation in world government, and opposed Federal aid to education on the ground that it would "hasten the advance of state socialism".

In Big Rapids, Mich., searchers found a three-year old girl after a 15-hour hunt through swampland underbrush. She was reported to be in fair condition. She wanted to know where her doll baby and her buggy were. The child had wandered away from her home while her grandfather was busy minding an infant grandchild.

In Landis, N.C., a boiler explosion at an uncompleted high school building caused the death of two workmen.

Governor Kerr Scott named a nine-member committee to recommend a new president for the Greater University to replace Frank Graham who had been appointed to the Senate seat by the Governor the previous month, following the death of Senator J. Melville Broughton two months into his first term.

On the editorial page, "And Now Television!" tells of television coming to the area within a radius of 50 miles from Charlotte by August via radio station WBT's new television affiliate. There would be no live local fare at first as the station lacked the facilities to produce it. There would also be no live network programs available from the East until AT&T's coaxial cable could be linked between Richmond and Charlotte by booster stations. But the station would film regular tv shows at existing studios and then rush them to Charlotte by plane and broadcast them the following day.

The new device in the living room, it predicts, would work a revolution in the lives of viewers. The art was young but had already proven itself. Just as radio had been at first welcomed only as a novel fad, television, it finds, would soon be present to stay.

"People's Victory" praises the State House for killing the "fair sales practices" bill which would have required merchants to sell items at cost plus a markup to prevent unfair competition. The piece finds that the measure would have been an undue infringement on free enterprise and of questionable constitutional validity, the Florida Supreme Court having recently struck down such a measure as "arbitrary and unreasonable" and beyond the police power of the State, tending to stifle competition and foster monopolies.

"Candidates on Display" tells of a gathering at the courthouse of the candidates for the municipal elections to provide interested citizens a chance to hear them briefly state their qualifications and positions on important local issues. The success of the event was due the Charlotte League of Women Voters who had sponsored it.

"A Federalized Agriculture" tells of a leading business columnist and U.S. News having found the new agricultural program necessary to provide controls on the farmer to avoid over-production. The Christian Science Monitor and the Richmond Times-Dispatch had criticized the program for essentially guaranteeing the farmer an income and making him accountable to the political party in power for his living. All four had found that the program amounted to nationalization of agriculture.

The piece finds that while there was wisdom in the program, its ultimate advisability was questionable because to guarantee the farmer an income begged the question of why should not the wage earner and industrialist also be guaranteed their wages and profits.

Drew Pearson tells of the RNC warning that unless the GOP was able to counteract the adverse publicity from joining with the Dixiecrats on the cloture issue, they risked the defeat in 1950 of Senators Robert Taft in Ohio, Homer Capehart in Indiana, and Forrest Donnell in Missouri. The RNC wanted GOP Senators to sign a petition limiting debate on civil rights to offset the negative publicity occasioned by the Republican Senators siding with the Southern Democrats on the rule change on filibuster. The proposed gag petition could offset the rule change on filibuster, requiring two-thirds of the membership to effect cloture, a number nearly impossible to muster.

The black newspaper Afro-American had editorialized against the Republican coalition with the Southerners and found that though it had supported Republicans traditionally, it was a mistake to continue to do so.

Parenthetically, the editorial within the adjacent column of the same referenced issue of the Afro-American appears to misunderstand the application of the rather complicated rule to effect cloture of debate on a motion for a rule change, itself. Both the rule before the filibuster on the rule change, as determined by a vote of the Senators, and the compromise afterward to end the filibuster did not allow cloture of debate on rules changes under any circumstances. The prior rule, requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senators present in a quorum to effect cloture on "pending measures", was deemed by Vice-President Alben Barkley, overruling a decision of the previous August by former Senate president pro tem Arthur Vandenberg, to include motions and resolutions and not just bills, as previously determined by Senator Vandenberg. The matter before the Senate which was filibustered was a motion to change the rule on cloture. But the ruling of Vice-President Barkley was then overruled by a majority vote of the Senators to exclude motions and resolutions from the ambit of "pending measures". Then came the motion for the attempted rules change which was designed to allow for a two-thirds vote of the Senators present to effect cloture on all matters, including motions and resolutions. The President had even proposed a simple-majority rule, angering some of the Southern Senators.

The filibuster, not subject to cloture therefore under any circumstances at the time, began on the motion to change the rule. Then the compromise was eventually reached, so that Senate business on other issues, as the urgent extension of rent control, public housing, compulsory national health insurance, and Federal aid to education, could resume, with Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas vowing to bring the civil rights legislation to the floor later in the session. The compromise allowed for a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate membership, 64 at the time, to effect cloture on all matters except rules changes. The key vote in the Senate in which 23 Republicans had joined with 23 Southern Democrats, effectively to allow the filibuster to proceed, was the majority vote to nullify Vice-President Barkley's ruling. There was no opportunity for 64 Senators, as the editorial suggests, to effect cloture of the filibuster, necessitating the compromise, given the GOP-Dixiecrat majority vote by the Senate nullifying the Vice-President's determination as to the meaning of "pending measures" under the extant rule. Thus, the entire issue posed by the Afro-American editorial, that the President could have acted diplomatically to include Republicans and thereby achieved cloture—or even to effect a majority on the key issue—is dashed as moot, as only 19 of 42 Republicans were onboard or abstaining even on the matter of overruling Senator Vandenberg and siding with Vice-President Barkley, requiring only a simple majority. Indeed, eight of 42 Republican Senators voted against even the final compromise. Old Chinese saying: Party loyalties often exceed good sense.

Mr. Pearson relates that the editors of the Saturday Evening Post considered newly elected Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota to be presidential material and had assigned a feature writer to present a detailed profile of the Senator for presentation probably in two articles.

DNC chairman Senator J. Howard McGrath blamed Republicans for the cloture debacle by joining with the Dixiecrats to avoid passage of civil rights. Speaker Sam Rayburn said that the Republicans were split worse than the Democrats.

The President intended to stay in Washington until Congress completed its work so that he could maintain personal contact with members of Congress.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, now Undersecretary of Commerce, had left a mess behind in his former post as Undersecretary of the Air Force in charge of the reserve program. He had not done his job. He had been given the job at Commerce only because of what he had contributed to the Democrats in the campaign.

Congressman Dwight Rogers of Florida had criticized Secretary of State Acheson for not opening the signing ceremonies on NATO with a prayer.

The Italian Communists were starved for money because Moscow had cut off their supply. The Italians believed it was going to the French Communists. The American Embassy reported that the Italian Communists had lost 600,000 members during the previous four months.

Marquis Childs tells of the British Foreign Office recommending to the U.S. that more military aid be sent to Greece, to be the third such increase since the Truman Doctrine was originally implemented in 1947. The recommendation derived from British military commanders. The British maintained, at the insistence of the U.S., a garrison of 5,000 men in Greece, still present.

The war was going better against the guerrillas than at any time in the previous two and a half years. There were now about 250,000 men within the Greek military, 200,000 in the Army. In 1948-49, the Greeks were receiving about 300 million dollars in American aid, 275 million of which was strictly for military aid.

Recently, a shakeup of the Greek Cabinet had taken place after one minister was accused of speculating in gold sovereigns. There was opinion among European officials that the U.S. should take a more active hand in Greek internal affairs, but it was against State Department policy to do so.

Mr. Childs concludes that it was fortunate that the Communists had blundered so badly in Greece, overshadowing American errors.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of the new Republic of Ireland being determined not to join NATO or any other military alliance with Britain until Ulster ceased to be a part of the United Kingdom. And two months earlier, Ulster had reaffirmed in an election its desire to remain a part of the U.K. Eire wanted a united Ireland. Both President Sean O'Kelly of Eire and Premier John Costello of Ulster had called for union. But feelings remained bitterly opposed to it in Ulster.

President O'Kelly, one of the founders of the rebel Sinn Fein organization, had recently given a speech urging a return to the Gaelic language as a means of re-establishing national identity. The campaign for it had begun several decades earlier. But of greater importance, concludes Mr. MacKenzie, was the call for union.

An open letter to Florida Governor Fuller Warren from the City of West Palm Beach is reprinted from the United States Municipal News. The editors note that the plight described was that also of many North Carolina towns and cities. The letter tells of the city not receiving enough from the State for municipal services, despite tax money going to the state from gas taxes and liquor taxes. The municipalities had to rely on ad valorem taxes from which the homestead was exempted. The municipalities were limited by the State in what they could charge for business and occupation licenses and prevented from imposing local taxes on beer and gas, but the State did not aid in providing taxes to pay for police or street maintenance.

It concludes with a demand for City Rights to justify State's Rights.

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