The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 6, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. proposed to the U.N. General Assembly's 14-nation steering committee that the Assembly decide whether Hungary violated its peace treaty in trying for treason and sentencing to life imprisonment Josef Cardinal Mindszenty. The proposal also wanted similar consideration given the Bulgarian trial of the 15 Protestant clergy. The Polish delegate, however, challenged the right of the U.N. to deal with such internal matters.

At the opening session of the General Assembly, there was no attack, as had been expected, on NATO by Soviet chief delegate Andrei Gromyko.

The U.S. decided officially to ignore the official Russian protest of the NATO treaty.

In Nanking, acting President Li Tsung-Jen reportedly had rejected a Communist ultimatum to surrender the Nanking Government and was seeking better terms.

Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall, in an Army Day speech in Chicago, said that if the U.S. were to let an aggressor army sweep over Europe, the resulting war would last at least ten to twenty years.

In a speech in St. Louis, Undersecretary of the Army William Draper said that American troops would need to remain in Europe until the end of the cold war. General Omar Bradley, Army chief of staff, had uttered a similar statement the previous night.

General Eisenhower, temporary chairman of the Joint Chiefs, would resume his efforts the next day to effect unity among the three service branches and try to get them to end their bickering and inter-service rivalries, especially with regard to which branch was better equipped to deliver long-range bombing.

The House Appropriations Committee approved 110 million dollars for the Atomic Energy Commission and 43 million for the Berlin airlift.

A three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals ruled, in a case brought by State Airlines of Charlotte, that the Civil Aeronautics Board lacked authority to award routes to an airline which had not specifically applied for them. State had challenged the CAB ruling, awarding to Piedmont Aviation of Winston-Salem various feeder-line routes, though Piedmont had not sought many of them. State had sought the routes.

The Supreme Court in 1950, in a 6 to 2 decision delivered by Justice Hugo Black, would ultimately reverse the decision, holding that CAB had ruled on substantial evidence that while both airlines were capable of handling the routes, Piedmont was better suited to do so, and that awarding, as part of a package, the routes for which Piedmont had not specifically applied fell within CAB's Congressionally authorized regulatory mandate.

Dr. Edwin Nourse, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, said that the Council was inclined to interpret current business trends optimistically. The Senate Banking Committee then announced that it would not consider for at least another month the President's proposal for standby allocation and price controls.

In Washington, an unexpected strike of pressmen took place, hampering news dissemination, causing radio stations to increase their news broadcasts. The Washington Post and The Times-Herald did not put out a morning edition. The union's international representative said that the strike was not authorized. The union turned down a $6 per week increase in pay, which would have brought average pay for day work to $85.10 and $88.85 for night work, based on 37.5 hours per week.

In Effingham, Ill., the death toll in the St. Anthony's Hospital fire of the previous day was reported to have risen to 69, with 55 bodies recovered. Unconfirmed reports that the fire was started either by arson or stored paint were being investigated by fire inspectors and, as to the arson theory, the FBI.

In Raleigh, the State House passed on a third reading the one-cent gasoline tax, designed to help fund the Governor's 200-million dollar rural roads package, and authorized the bond measure on the package. The bill went back to the Senate for reconciliation.

In Lumberton, a 65-year old suburban grocer was hacked to death and robbed in his small store the previous night. Neighbors had also heard shots fired. Bullet holes were found in the floor near the body. The man slept in the store.

In Charlotte, eleven to fifteen year old boys were being encouraged to enter the Soap Box Derby, with the final race to be held August 14 in Akron, O. Entry applications were available at local Chevrolet dealers. Twenty-three boys had already signed up. Wheel and axle sets could be purchased at either Goodyear or Firestone stores. The local race would occur in June. Better get started.

On the editorial page, "Solutions to an Impasse" tells of the State Senate and the House being at an impasse on the Governor's proposed 200 million dollar rural road improvement program, to be spread over four years. The Senate had an alternative measure which made the one-cent gas tax, designed to help fund the program, contingent on passage of the 200 million dollar bond issue, while the House measure would implement the gas tax independent of the bond issue. The two had to be reconciled or the entire program would die.

The newspaper supports making the gas tax independent of the vote on the bond issue, as the taxing authority belonged to the Legislature. If the bond measure were defeated, there would be even greater need for the gas tax increase to help improve the rural roads. The newspaper also believes that the bond issue was extravagant and favors a pay-as-you-go basis for financing the roads program.

"It's Still a Bad Bill" tells of the State House Education Committee first amending the school construction bill to provide that 20 of the 50 million dollars would be allocated equally to the 100 counties of the state, rather than the total, while 25 million would be allocated on average school attendance in 1947-48, with the remaining five million set aside for relieving cases in special need. The latter fund was then stricken, apparently out of fear that black citizens would bring lawsuits to obtain the funds for black schools. So the present bill would divide the fund equally, half for proportionate allocation by county and half by pupil enrollment.

The piece finds the new bill only half as bad as the original, still begging for revision to provide all of the funding on an enrollment and need basis. The new bill still discriminated against the cities in favor of the sparsely populated rural counties with far less need for school construction.

"The First Step" discusses the opening of the first segment of what would become Independence Boulevard, yet to be named, the brainchild of former Charlotte Mayor Ben Douglas, now State Highway Commissioner. The purpose was to alleviate congestion in the downtown area and the piece says that whether it would accomplish that goal would await its completion and adoption by motorists for use to get around.

Drew Pearson tells of a recent meeting between the national commander of the American Legion, Perry Brown, and Congressmen John Kennedy of Massachusetts, George Smathers of Florida, Glenn Davis of Wisconsin, Harold Patten of Arizona, and Jim Nolan of Indiana, regarding the veterans pension bill, sponsored by Veterans Affairs Committee chairman John Rankin of Mississippi. The Congressmen had voted against it on the premise that it was motivated more by intention to embarrass the Administration than to help veterans. Mr. Brown agreed, said that he did not support the bill, but would support an alternative measure which was not so broad in conferring benefits, the bill of Mr. Rankin having promised benefits to every World War I and II veteran, later modified only to those of World War I, on reaching retirement at 65. The bill had been tabled in the House and sent back to the Committee for further study. Mr. Brown, who told the Congressmen that he could only so state privately as he did not want to provoke the rancorous ire of cantankerous Mr. Rankin, also said that no vindictive action would be taken against the Congressmen opposing the measure, as had been promised by Brig. General John Thomas Taylor, chief lobbyist for the Legion, who had said that he would stir up local Legion posts against those opposing Congressmen. He would, he said, nevertheless not discipline General Taylor as he had performed long service for the Legion.

The President had let down a friend when he canceled attendance at a testimonial dinner for Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, originally arranged several months earlier by Louis Johnson, now Secretary of Defense. The President had agreed after Mr. Johnson told him that Abe Feinberg, who had contributed $100,000 to the re-election campaign, wanted him to attend. Privately, notes Mr. Pearson, the President had informed friends that he believed Jews had let him down in the November campaign by failing to carry New York.

James Keeley, U.S. Minister to Syria, had alertly predicted nine months earlier the revolution in the country which had just taken place. He provided to the State Department even the names of the leaders of the revolt. He now reported that the shooting was over and that there was nothing more about which to worry. Hosney El Zaim, he related, had become disgusted with the corruption in the old Syrian Government and wanted to allow the younger men a chance at running things.

The President's Council of Economic Advisers continued to believe that there would be no depression in 1949 but were worried about 1950 unless steps were taken immediately to avert it.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was sponsoring a bill to deny Marshall Plan aid to any country which discriminated against any race or religion, based on the French in Morocco having refused to release 500 pounds of Passover bread for the Jewish holidays, purchased with ERP funds and supposed to be distributed in Casablanca.

A person in the British Information Service, while combing through 40-year old magazines, had run across an ad for a soap, featuring Winston Churchill, with the quote: "The peoples of Britain and the United States are divided by a large ocean of salt water. But, they are united by a bathtub full of fresh water and soap."

Joe Farrington, Hawaii's delegate in Congress, was upset by the delay in consideration of statehood for the territory, wanted Hawaii to set up the machinery for a constitutional convention to show Congress that it was ready for statehood.

Statehood would yet not come for another decade.

Marquis Childs advocates statehood for Alaska, citing the blocking in the Senate, led by Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska, of popular Governor Ernest Gruening for confirmation to his third term as Governor. As a territory, Alaska had an appointed Governor. While the Governor had great support among the people, he had offended powerful economic interests, mining, canning, and shipping, who appeared to believe that Alaska was their private economic territory to exploit. Thus, Senator Butler, who had been one of the chief blockers of Alaskan statehood, was delaying his confirmation. The solution to the dilemma, suggests Mr. Childs, was statehood. He predicts that in that event, Governor Gruening would be elected one of the state's first two Senators.

He was correct. Alaska would achieve statehood finally ten years later and Mr. Gruening, who remained territorial Governor through 1953, was one of the two first Senators from the State, serving from 1959 until 1969.

James Marlow discusses the NATO accord, the first peacetime military alliance in the nation's history, set to be approved by the Senate within a few weeks. But then the debate would begin on whether to arm the European signatory nations to the treaty. The President was planning to seek from Congress a billion dollars to accomplish this end. If the Congress voted no funding or only a small amount, then the other nations of the treaty would undoubtedly feel let down and the agreement would appear little more than a piece of paper. That could cause the European members to become subject to cuittling by the Russians.

It appeared questionable whether the Congress would approve the funding to the extent sought by the President, given that a budget of 15 billion dollars would be allocated to the U.S. military and another five billion to Marshall Plan economic aid to Western Europe for the coming fiscal year.

Some Senators, in consequence, had developed a new attitude of isolationism, while others wanted to practice economy. The two moods would join when the question arose of arming Europe and then anything, he suggests, could occur.

A letter writer urges registration and voting in the upcoming municipal election.

A letter writer objects to the radio stations of the state not covering the historic signing by the twelve nations of the NATO agreement in Washington. She points out, in contrast, that Voice of America had broadcast the ceremony to the nations of the world. She finds the omission to deprive the youth of the state of a valuable educational moment.

A letter writer who describes himself as a liberal tells of his wife, a conservative, having brought to him the April 2 editorial, "State Political Power Shifts to the Left". He found it clearly written and informs that his wife had shown more interest in the editorial than she normally paid to the editorial page. He adds that his wife would ordinarily cancel his vote on election day, provided she remembered to register and on what day to vote. And he did not remind her.

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