The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that several thousand Chinese Communist troops had crossed the Yangtze River just three miles from Nanking's west gate. The city's gates were open and undefended as the Nationalists were fleeing and had abandoned the city by dawn, blowing up the train station and setting the waterfront on fire. Looters had then taken to the streets and many had been shot. Entry to the city was planned by the Communists for 6:00 p.m. EST this date. Crowds stood in the streets awaiting the entry of the Communists.

The telephonically communicated report, filed by Seymour Topping of the A.P., had been cut off before completion, fueling rumors that Nanking had been entered by the Communists.

In London, a British Foreign Office spokesman said that both Chinese Communist and Nationalist guns had fired on a British cruiser in the Yangtze River trying to effect rescue of a grounded British sloop, but that the British had not joined, as claimed by a Communist radio report, Nationalist troops in attacking Communist positions on the north bank. He said that the three rescue ships and the sloop fired only in self-defense. Forty-four men were killed in the attack. The sloop had been on an humanitarian mission to carry supplies to the British Embassy in Nanking.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson ordered the Navy to cease work on the 65,000-ton supercarrier United States, just five days after the keel had been laid in Newport News, Va. He said that he had reached the decision after consultation with the President and Joint Chiefs. The project had been controversial as the Air Force saw it as an attempt to circumvent their long-range strategic bomber capability. The total estimated cost of the project had been 189 million dollars, of which six million had been spent in the planning phase.

The State Department issued to the Bonn City Council three compromises for the new West German government proposed by the Big Three to try to eliminate the opposition by the German Social Democratic Party. Under the concessions, Berlin would not be included in the new government for West Germany, the central government would be provided "sufficient" power over matters involving more than one of the eleven individual states, financial independence would be given both the federal government and the individual states, and the federal government would be given power to distribute tax revenues to the less wealthy states. The concessions were being greeted with approval by the West German leaders. Ambassador Robert Murphy was being sent to West Germany by Secretary of State Acheson to discuss the proposal with the German leaders.

Spring training maneuvers for 70,000 American troops in Germany were ending this date.

The Federal Reserve Board announced the previous day that is was allowing creditors to loosen credit terms on consumer items such as cars and refrigerators by lengthening the permissible term of payment from 21 months to 24 months and reducing the down payment from a minimum of 15 percent to 10 percent on everything except cars, the down payment on which remained one-third of the sales price. It also exempted all items costing less than $100, raising the exemption from $50.

Governor Kerr Scott praised the State Legislature, saying they had done a "pretty good job", but that they could not please everybody. He said that the only thing which they failed to do which should have been done was to raise teacher salaries to the $2,200 to $3,100 range, higher than the raise provided.

The State House Judiciary Committee killed the bill to outlaw the Communist Party by postponing it indefinitely.

In Atlanta, the police continued to search for the killer of Metropolitan Opera tenor John Garris, shot in an Atlanta alley two days earlier. Police in Clinton, S.C., had arrested a man who had been paroled two years earlier on a murder conviction in North Carolina after serving seventeen years, were testing a gun found in his possession with bullets matching those found in Mr. Garris. The criminalist was still conducting the tests. Meanwhile, police were looking for a green Buick with a small, sallow faced man and a handsome woman, seen by three people in the area where Mr. Garris's body was found.

Near Charlotte, three men were killed early in the morning when their car hit a Pilot Freight tractor-trailer truck head-on along Highway 29, a few miles outside the city. All three men died almost instantly. The truck driver was not injured though the car flew into the cab after crossing the center line trying to pass another truck.

In Los Angeles, Eagle-Lion Studios was suing the estate of Carole Landis for $7,500 for an advance the studio claimed it gave her prior to her suicide the previous July 4.

In Fullerton, Calif., Bill Barris and Dick Riedel had flown continuously for nearly six weeks, 1,008 hours, a goal they would reach the following Tuesday. They had made three previous long-duration flights, with one lasting 24 days, after which they could barely walk.

In Pinehurst, N.C., Frank Stranahan came back to square his North and South Amateur Golf Tournament finals match with Harvie Ward after eighteen holes this date.

Major cities would begin Daylight Savings Time on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. If you live in those areas listed, be sure and turn the clock ahead an hour so that you will be on time for work on Monday. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Detroit decided to go off savings time after trying it the previous year. If you live there, you can keep your clock the way it is. Most of the rural South also shunned the hour of daylight savings as farmers' hours were set by nature, not the clock. Two hands were employed on the clock at Grand Central Station to distinguish trains headed to destinations in Daylight Savings Time areas from those on Standard Time. Follow the right hand and be on time, lest you be late.

On the editorial page, "Easy Way Out" opposes the housing bill just overwhelmingly passed by the Senate with bipartisan approval. It offers the apology that the position placed it in the uncomfortable company of Senators John W. Bricker and Harry Cain, and to the right of normally conservative Senator Taft. But, nevertheless, it finds such a program in principle repugnant, as there was no right to have a home and the Government had no business assuring it.

Practically, it finds that public housing would only exacerbate the materials shortage and send prices rising again, and that, with the commitments to foreign aid, the country could not afford such a program.

It would support guarantees of long-term loans but finds that in its present form, the bill was a confession of surrender by both parties to a politically expedient path not to oppose handouts to constituents.

"Pay for Legislators" tells of another proposed amendment to the State Constitution to provide for higher pay for the State legislators, $15 per day for a 90-day session and $20 per day for the presiding officers. Presently, they were paid $600 per session, while the officers received $700. The pay was so low that many qualified persons did not run for the offices. Once someone of moderate independent means reached the Assembly, that person was wined and dined by lobbyists.

The previous year, Albert Coates, director of the North Carolina Institute of Government in Chapel Hill, had championed such an amendment but it had been defeated the previous November. It quotes from his argument for it and agrees that it was a means of obtaining better qualified legislators, stressing that disagreement with their past service should not be the gauge by which the decision was made to vote for or against the amendment.

"A Woman's Work...." tells of the State Senate Manufacturing and Labor Committee not approving a bill to guarantee women $16 for working 40 hours in a week, a 40 cents per hour minimum wage. Former Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus had testified against the measure because it was riddled with so many exemptions. The bill did exempt all farm and domestic labor and those employed by businesses with fewer than three employees, as well as others. Mr. Ehringhaus, however, represented the hotels of the state and the bill was not on its face harmful to their interests as they were not competitive with the exempted businesses.

The lobbyists had been responsible for the exemptions in the bill reported out of the House.

The killing of the bill was no way to deal with the issue of guaranteeing a base minimum wage for women engaged in employment in intrastate commerce, thus not subject to the Federal Wage and Hours Act. The piece concludes that providing the minimum wage was the only decent way for the State to behave.

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "Product of Seniority", finds fault with the seniority system in Congress, citing the vote against the ERP funding authorization bill for the ensuing fifteen months by the ranking Republican minority members of the House Ways & Means and Appropriations Committees, Daniel Reed and John Taber of New York, respectively. Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House had voted 125 to 37 for the bill, though many would seek to pare it down when it came time to appropriate the money. The piece finds that such leadership, however, being so out of step with the party, signified the great fault in seniority to determine committee leadership.

Drew Pearson tells of a shortage of doctors in the Army and Navy. Yet, when former Defense Secretary James Forrestal summoned a military doctor for a reported accident at his home, two showed up, one a surgeon. The problem, it turned out, was that Mamie Eisenhower, visiting the Forrestals with General Eisenhower, had tripped and injured her ankle, requiring only an ace bandage. But since she could not then put on her dress shoe and did not want to appear in public in a slipper, the doctors had to remove the bandage, accompany the Eisenhowers to their hotel and reapply it.

Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin had warned the Congress in January that unless the stevedores were exempted from the wage-hours bill, a strike would be called in protest by the union boss by March. The Senate Labor Committee had not acted and yet no strike had been called. He notes that the real reason why the stevedores union wanted the exemption was so that the union boss could provide jobs to his favorites and not spread them around among all of the stevedores.

Russia was angling for concessions in the cold war and the State Department was considering these overtures. But if Russia were given a breather on trade restrictions to allow it to rebuild its industry, then the Politburo would only resume its cutthroat tactics. The only certain method of achieving lasting peace was through befriending the Russian people. But thus far, the State Department had made little effort, except via the Voice of America, to penetrate the Iron Curtain. The excitement caused recently in both Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia by the distribution of the Sears catalogue showed that the surface had not yet been scratched in this regard.

Secretary of State Acheson had ordered a full investigation of why American officials in Greece were living like kings while the Greek people starved, as uncovered by a House committee investigation. Secretary Acheson found it a poor example for democracy.

While in New York, Winston Churchill had stayed up to his usual hour of 3:00 a.m. playing gin rummy, easily won by outlasting his opponents each night.

Marquis Childs tells of the DNC having, through the influence of chairman J. Howard McGrath, Senator from Vermont, determined not to allow its executive vice-chairman William Boyle to serve two masters and so required that he give up his Washington law practice.

Mr. Boyle's secretary was the Washington representative for a prefabricated housing firm, Lustron, at a salary of $18,000 per year while receiving nothing for his work at the DNC. He was now severing that latter connection. But until the previous July, he had worked for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation which had passed on several loans to Lustron, before he was then hired by Lustron at two and half times his RFC salary.

Such was a routine practice in Washington and one which needed to be changed. It was appropriate to give the loans to Lustron, a new and pioneering firm, and there was no need therefore for it effectively to have hired influence to get them.

A recommendation had been presented to the President to revitalize the Commerce Department to make it a facilitator for small business, thus fulfilling a campaign promise to help small business and new firms. Such would remove the overhead which went to grease the skids by purchasing influence.

James Marlow tells of Senator Taft having stated that if homes could be purchased for half of their present price, then the problem of slums could be eradicated in the country. Forty-five percent of all American families, fifteen million, had an annual income less than the $3,000 requisite to support a mortgage on a $7,000 four-room house. Twenty-two percent earned less than $2,000. By the time these latter families obtained apartments, the rents had to be so low that the housing fell into disrepair, creating slums, the landlords not being able to pay the expenses of keeping the housing in reasonable repair out of the rent received.

More than four million families paid less than $20 per month in rent and thus lived in the least desirable housing. Even if there were new housing for them, at that rental, it would quickly become dilapidated.

Thus, there was the need for public housing and slum clearance funded by the Federal Government, as favored by Senator Taft.

The "Better English" answers was: "faze" should be "fuzz"; go-nash; time; a hep cat on Saturday night; adlib.

A letter writer praises the newspaper for publicizing the slums of Charlotte to enable eradication of diseases such as polio. He asks for more pictures and stories on both the good and bad of the city.

A letter writer addresses an open letter to Mayor Herbert Baxter demanding that he answer why his Administration had condoned favoritism toward certain business in the allocation of parking spaces on the street without parking meters, next to Ivey's, Mellon's, Belk's, and for guests of the Hotel Charlotte. The writer has other objections to the traffic planning and also has issues with the smoke abatement engineer who, in his estimate, had done nothing to remedy the dense smoke overhanging the city, despite being employed for several years at a $6,000 annual salary.

He urges voting for Victor Shaw for Mayor.

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