The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 26, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the State Department announced that it had consulted with Britain and France regarding proposed terms published by Tass in Moscow for lifting the Berlin blockade and had agreed that they were acceptable. The two conditions were that both the blockade by Russia and the Western counter-blockade would be lifted simultaneously and that a date should be fixed beforehand for a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Big Four, to meet after the blockade was lifted to discuss Germany. But the State Department statement cautioned that there would first have to be further consultation with the Russian U.N. delegate to determine whether these were the extent of the conditions.

According to the State Department disclosure, talks had been ongoing between Russia and the Big Three since January 30. The talks had begun based on Premier Stalin having stated to a reporter that the crisis could be ended on conditions which did not mention the requirement of the uniform Russian-mark currency for Berlin, previously the sticking point and the original source of the crisis, as it meant financial control of Berlin by the Russians. The U.S. representative had asked the Soviet U.N. delegate whether the omission was deliberate, beginning the talks in mid-February. A month later, the Soviet delegate said that the omission was "not accidental", that the currency issue remained important but could be discussed at a subsequent Big Four meeting. Further contacts led to the current proposals.

General Lucius Clay, military governor of the U.S. occupation zone of Germany, said that if the Russians lifted the blockade, it would have no effect on creation of the planned West German government. Ambassador Robert Murphy counseled caution in receiving the terms, said that he believed the effort by the Russians was to swing public opinion against creation of the West German republic. But, he said, based on his contacts, he believed that the West Germans would not be swayed.

In Shanghai, U.S. Navy vessels departed as two Chinese Communist troop contingents moved toward the city, reported 40 miles away at Soochow. An estimated 100 Americans, mostly women and children, were aboard the American ships, which departed along the Yangtze estuary, out of harm's way from fire in the civil war. About 150 British nationals were scheduled to leave on a Dutch steamer. Virtually all of the French nationals were remaining.

The State Department reported that it was in radio communication with U.S. Ambassador to China J. Leighton Stuart, following the entry of the Embassy residence the previous day by armed Chinese Communist soldiers. Ambassador Stuart appeared free, however, at present to move about after the troops departed.

The President told Congress that price drops would result in a savings of 158 million dollars on authorized ERP aid. He asked that the Congress quickly appropriate from the authorized aid 5.272 billion dollars for the ensuing 15 months. The bill had authorized 5.43 billion.

As expected, Navy Secretary John L. Sullivan resigned his post, citing as the immediate reason Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson's order to halt construction of the 65,000-ton supercarrier United States five days after the laying of its keel the previous week. The resignation had been expected, however, for several weeks, as Mr. Sullivan was dissatisfied with the role consigned to the Navy generally in the Defense Establishment. Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the decision of Secretary Johnson to halt the costly project which had angered the Air Force for its belief that the supercarrier was designed to circumvent Air Force long-range strategic bomber capability.

In Detroit, an effort was being made by Walter Reuther to get UAW members and Ford management together to avert a strike against claimed production speedups.

In Raleigh, the election on the bond issue of 200 million dollars for Governor Kerr Scott's rural roads program would be held on June 4, a date decided by a meeting called by the Governor after the Legislature had authorized the election.

In Newton, N.C., the Maiden Spinning Mills had to suspend operations temporarily for want of orders.

You maidens hurry up and place some orders, get those spindles spinning with yarns.

In Charlotte, three-term incumbent Mayor Herbert Baxter was soundly defeated by opponent Victor Shaw in the primary election held the previous day. A final election would be held the following Tuesday but the margin of victory was so decisive that it was a certainty Mr. Shaw would win.

Mr. Baxter, originally from Boston, said that he still loved the town and that he had been defeated by an old friend from whom he had bought a couple of tires during the campaign.

Mr. Shaw assured voters that he would not let them down.

Free tires for everyone.

In Fullerton, Calif., the two fliers, Bill Barris and Dick Riedel, who had been aloft in an airplane continuously for six weeks to the minute, over 1,000 hours, would land this date. They said that they were so tired that they had ceased talking to one another as the final hours elapsed. Their third attempt at the record had ended after 568 hours and they needed to learn how to walk again, a problem they expected to encounter this time doubly so.

In Bakersville, N.C., a 65-year old man showed a bullet taken from his head which he said dropped out after being lodged there for 43 years. He had been shot in the jaw in 1906, and the bullet deflected upward, lodging beneath an eye. The bullet dropped down through a nasal passage into his mouth.

At least he did not bite the bullet.

On the editorial page, "The People Have Spoken" finds that the experts had predicted a close mayoral race but no one had predicted that Victor Shaw would beat three-term incumbent Mayor Herbert Baxter by a margin of two to one, winning 41 of 42 precincts.

Mr. Baxter's administration had been progressive and he had served the people well. He was a good sport and would accept the defeat, even if it was bewildering.

Mr. Shaw was a lifelong resident, a successful businessman and civic leader. It believes that he would lead the city well.

In the City Council race, five of the six-member Shaw slate and five of six members of the Greater Charlotte ticket had survived the first primary out of 36 candidates. Independents were also going to be in the run-off for the seven Council seats.

"One Out of Ten ...." tells of Surgeon General Thomas Parran stating that one in ten persons would need the services of a psychiatrist sooner or later during their lives. One out of twenty persons would also be a patient in a mental hospital, according to the National Mental Health Foundation, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts.

But there were not enough mental hospitals or psychiatrists and so the person in need of the care might not get it. There were 4,500 psychiatrists in the country and it was estimated that 15,000 were necessary. According to Dr. Parran, there were an estimated eight million persons suffering from some form of mental disease.

The first step toward prevention was understanding what a mental illness was, that it was a sickness like any other. Teachers and parents could help in the process by detecting early signs of childhood emotional disturbance. Employers could do likewise through use of mental hygienists to detect employee problems.

The Jaycees were sponsoring National Mental Health Week to raise awareness by education.

"Cult of the Casual" tells of the person able to achieve sangfroid under trying circumstances always being the subject of admiration. A man had walked into a dry cleaning establishment in Chicago and wanted a special rate for a volume of cleaning.

Then, as the woman went to check with her boss, he pulled a gun and explained that it was a stickup, took $25 from the cash register, whereupon the woman stated that it was the fourth time in a year she had been held up and that she was tired of it. The gunman then said that he was also tired of doing stickups and left.

"Quiet, it was. Sort of peaceful like, as the Westerners used to say."

A piece from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, titled "Semantic Obstacle", tells of greeting Frank Aston of the Scripps-Howard News Service after his arrival in Memphis from New York. Though arriving at 5:30, Mr. Aston had written ahead of time that he would be there in the evening because he believed a Southerner would understand anything after noon to be "evening". But the recipient, knowing that the communication was from a Northerner, thought that "evening" meant precisely that and so was confused by the earlier time of arrival. Then the two had a debate on what "dinner" meant, Mr. Aston insisting on it as an evening meal while the author of the piece claimed that dinner was only served at noontime.

They remained separated, says the piece, by semantics.

Drew Pearson tells of the Chinese Nationalist Government having insisted on controlling supplies in the country in the face of a desperately needy population, discouraging U.S. purchases by other Chinese. Powerful in the hierarchy responsible for this situation was T.V. Soong and M. H. Kung, both wealthy brothers-in-law of Chiang Kai-Shek. While the Chinese were pleading with the U.S. for more ships with which to import supplies, Dr. Soong's Government Board of Supply was stopping the delivery and sale of U.S. merchant ships because they had been purchased from the U.S. by private firms, eliminating the sale by the Government and profit to the Board. The action prompted complaint in 1946 by the U.S. Foreign Liquidation Commission, overseeing the sale of the ships to private investors. Dr. Soong's personal representative, however, did nothing about the complaint. The Board offered to buy the ships at the black market rate plus five percent, the same black market it had declared illegal. Eventually, the U.S. Consul-General informed the State Department of the situation, that the Government was forbidding the sale so that it could be the exclusive agent for the sale and pocket the profits.

Dr. Oscar Gans, Cuban Ambassador to the U.S., had been born in Brooklyn, as had his father who had gone to Cuba as a military aide during the Spanish-American War, where he remained and married before returning to Brooklyn.

American veteran Florian Niederer had guided 300,000 G.I.'s across Switzerland after the war. He told of all of them being very well-behaved. He was now in the U.S. forming the "Swiss Kilroy Club", encouraging veterans to return for a trip to Switzerland with their wives. Many did and so Switzerland had become known as the country labeled "Kilroy Was There".

Stewart Alsop, in Tokyo, tells of the city still retaining the air of a wartime city, with General MacArthur in command, virtually inaccessible except to Army brass, and with an American civilian caste having developed as a new Japanese ruling class. The latter lived only the standard suburban middle class American lifestyle, but juxtaposed to the depressed living standards of the Japanese struggling to survive, the contrast was striking.

Military regulations maintained strict segregation between all Americans, military and civilian, and the Japanese citizenry after 11:00 p.m., subject to arrest by the M.P.'s for violation.

Japanese Cabinet officials sought out subordinate American officials for "advice" which carried the force of law.

While there were positive aspects to the military occupation of Japan and it would be foolish, he offers, to propose ending it, the way in which Japan was being governed was politically unhealthy for the U.S. and would become more so as the months would pass. He suggests that perhaps a better way could be found.

Marquis Childs tells of Consolidated Directive No. 1, issued by new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson to make subject to review "all informational material" originating from the Defense Establishment, including transcripts of testimony by military personnel before Congressional committees meeting in executive session before public release, material dealing with military matters prepared for public release, material proposed for public release by manufacturers of military equipment, material proposed for publication relating to the Defense Establishment submitted voluntarily or under agreement, and material dealing with matters prepared for Reserve or National Guard personnel, obtained through postwar military training.

The design appeared to preclude criticism of military policy. The conflicts and errors of commanders in World War II were instructive and to squelch public knowledge of same would, in the process, chill future criticism of the Defense Establishment by military personnel, past and present. It might help, as intended, the merger process of the three branches, but such censorship, he stresses, would also have grave disadvantages in a democracy.

A letter from a local minister tells of there being several organizations advocating world government, chief among which was the United World Federalists, headed by Cord Meyer, Jr.

Often, the charge was made against UWF that it was a Communist-front organization or that it was dominated by one religious body. He lists the members of the new Advisory Board, including Protestant and Catholic clergy and Rabbi Milton Steinberg of New York. He asserts that this diverse membership was, alone, enough to dispel the charge of it being either a Communist-front organization or one dominated by a single religious sect.

Incidentally, while on the subject of Cord Meyer, Jr., and the implication of him by Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, in his so-called "deathbed confession" of 2005, as being complicit in the assassination of President Kennedy, we once again stress the complete lack of credibility of the theory that Vice-President Johnson had anything to do with the assassination of the President. The various theories in that regard are so full of obvious holes that they do not deserve to be refuted at any length. But one such piece of "evidence", abounding on the internet and apparently believed by those credulous souls who do not take the time to analyze carefully that which they think they see or do not see, can be easily discredited. The theory runs that the Altgens photograph, snapped at the moment a shot hit the President causing him to clutch at his throat, does not show Vice-President Johnson in his car, indicative of his having ducked before the shooting began. But a blow-up of the Vice-President's gray Lincoln, second car back from the President's Lincoln, shows plainly the left side of the Vice-President's head, as we have circled in the below photograph, sitting to the right of Mrs. Johnson—to the far left in the limousine from the viewer's perspective. Yet, because the Vice-President's face is obscured, viewers of this photograph have claimed that Mr. Johnson is not visible at all, proving that he had ducked out of view by this point, supposedly demonstrating his foreknowledge of the assassination. The Vice-President is sitting upright, plainly visible, just as the other occupants of his car. He never "ducked".

Some, seeing the image in question, try to claim that it is not the Vice-President, rather either a piece of clothing of a bystander or a bystander. But as it is precisely where the viewer would expect to see the Vice-President, leaning in the direction of the crowd, and is clearly the side of someone's head, it could be no one other than Vice-President Johnson. To be the head of a bystander defies common sense, as the bystander would have to be standing immediately astride the moving limousine, looking away from it, and be no more than about four and a half feet tall or in a semi-crouched position.

Some viewers of the image continue to protest, however, that the Vice-President was wearing sunglasses during the course of the motorcade route and that those are not visible in the image. It is true that in at least one picture he was wearing sunglasses, but sunglasses obviously can easily be removed momentarily when lighting conditions change and so their absence poses no logical inconsistency.

The image is the head of the Vice-President, where he is supposed to be in the limousine, moments before Secret Service Agent Rufus Youngblood, by his subsequent testimony, realized that shooting was taking place and, after first telling him to get down, stepped over the front seat to shield the Vice-President.

A letter writer finds the piece by Bob Sain on alcoholism the previous week, identifying it as a public health problem, to have demonstrated also that the community was lending to the problem through ABC-controlled sales of alcohol. He also believes that the review of a book by Richmond Times-Dispatch Editor Virginius Dabney, Dry Messiah, on the life of Bishop Cannon, showed that the book was no more than an attack on prohibition. He says that he had no time to read such books.

He gives praise to the WCTU.

A letter writer urges giving to the campaign to raise money for the Spastic Hospital, a worthy cause.

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