The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 7, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Communist radio in China accused the Government of stalling during the ceasefire in the civil war to build up its forces and that the only thing for the Communists to do was to cross the Yangtze River, wipe out the Nationalist Government's army and capture the Government's leading officials, whom it labeled "war criminals". The Communist ultimatum, rejected by acting President Li Tsung-Jen, had provided for creation of a committee by the following Saturday to plan orderly surrender of the Nationalist armies or face resumption of the civil war.

The U.N. steering committee ordered debate before the General Assembly of the proposal by the U.S. to determine whether treaty violations had occurred by Bulgaria and Hungary in their treason trials against clergy, involving 15 Protestant churchmen in Bulgaria and Josef Cardinal Mindszenty, sentenced to life imprisonment, as well as others, in Hungary. The vote was 11 to 2 with Iran abstaining. Russia and Poland dissented based on the trials being internal matters of the two nations.

Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska said that there would be no further effort by economy-minded Senators to amend the 5.58 billion dollar ERP appropriation measure for the coming fifteen months. It was likely that the measure would pass during the afternoon.

The President hoped to be able to reduce the 15 billion dollar military budget for the year to provide 1.25 billion dollars in military aid to the Western European nations of the North Atlantic alliance. In addition, about 600 million more in military aid would be sought from the Congress for other nations.

Housing Administrator Raymond Foley told the House Banking Committee that the Administration's public housing and slum clearance proposals were not "socialism" as suggested by critics, but rather provided the best bulwark against the spread of socialism or communism.

General Eisenhower, meeting in Key West with the chiefs of staff of the three military branches, trying to effect cooperation between them as the temporary chairman of the Joint Chiefs, expressed optimism about world affairs and approval of NATO.

The President nominated Steve Early, longtime former White House press secretary under FDR, to be Undersecretary of Defense, a new position. He would handle the administrative details of the Department, leaving the Secretary free to spend his time on policy.

The Administration put forth, through Agriculture Secretary Charles Brannan, a new farm program aimed at giving consumers a break on food prices and providing a fair, stable income to farmers.

In Yazoo City, Miss., a 17-year old boy told authorities that he had killed his mother with a shotgun blast because she had whipped him. No charges had yet been filed.

Maybe they were trying to figure out whether he had acted in self defense.

In New York, one Joseph William Cash, a Navy sailor, was court martialed and placed in the brig for 20 days for being AWOL. Meanwhile, another sailor, of the same name, arrived in the brig. The first Cash was to be returned to active service at the end of his sentence, while the second was to receive a bad conduct discharge. The Navy confused the two and released the first man, after which, discovering the error, tracked him down and returned him to the brig. The second Cash was then released. But the lawyer for the first man argued that the Navy had released his client via the discharge from the service, thus no longer had jurisdiction over him, and could neither incarcerate him further nor restore him afterward to active duty. The Navy pleaded honest mistake.

In Atlanta, teachers were walking out of their classrooms in protest of the voters not raising taxes to provide for higher teacher salaries. State officials warned them that their pay would be docked for the time not present, but the movement gained steamed anyway. The State Superintendent of Education predicted that some 5,000 or more teachers would leave their jobs permanently for higher paying jobs elsewhere.

The North Carolina Senate refused to adopt the House amendment to the rural roads legislation and instead made the one-cent gas tax contingent on passage of the referendum on the 200 million dollar bond issue. The House bill allowed for separate enactment of the gas tax, irrespective of the outcome of the bond measure. Thus, the bills would have to go to a conference for reconciliation, possibly ending in deadlock.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of a 150-year old marginal note discovered in a locally owned 1793 edition of Blackstone's Commentaries on English Law, authorship of which appeared attributable to Thomas Jefferson, apparently implying that the idea of equality of man, as contained in the text of the book, was a "foolish opinion". A handwriting analyst, based on examination of known exemplars of Mr. Jefferson's handwriting, said that he believed the note, signed simply "T. Jefferson", to have been indited by Thomas Jefferson. The note, under that interpretation, would directly contradict the founding principle of the Declaration of Independence, which Mr. Jefferson drafted, that "all men are created equal".

But because of another marginal comment immediately afterward and because the note appeared beside a longer passage from Blackstone at page 407, footnote 23, which took issue with the concept of the equality of man as stirring up discontent and rebellion, but not on the basis as suggested by the piece, rather on such differences as parent versus child and judge versus prisoner, and the readily observable physical and mental inequalities among individual human beings, not premised on disagreement with the inherent concept of equality of rights, per se, which the Blackstone footnote agrees is a "self-evident truth, which no one ever denied", the marginal comment was at worst ambiguous and at best completely consistent with Thomas Jefferson's views as expressed in the Declaration.

Moreover, the entirety of the argument presented in the piece is hinged to an underlining in pencil of the Blackstone phrase, "that all men are by nature equal", beside which is the marginal comment: "The most foolish opinion ever advanced by man. T. Jefferson". But did the comment refer to the underlined text or the entire passage? And, in any event, one obviously could not pin down with accuracy whether the underlining was accomplished by the same hand or at the same time as the comment. Nor does the qualifying phrase "by nature" necessarily conflict with the idea of all men being "created equal"—not, mind you, created equally—, "nature" implying within the context of the footnote the basic observable physical and mental characteristics at variance between individuals, while "created equal" refers, in its context within the Declaration, to basic human rights and liberties.

Taking this distinction down to cases at hand, was, in the above story, the sailor Joseph William Cash of an equal nature to the sailor Joseph William Cash, such that either one could have been released and the identity and justice of the matter satisfied? Or was it not the case that both were entitled to application of the principles of justice and law equally, both for instance entitled to a certain type of military tribunal to adjudicate their cases, both entitled to certain incidents of procedural due process, to testify, present witnesses, cross-examine witnesses against them, have effective counsel, etc., have the relevant substantive statutes and case law applied to each of them the same as to other similarly charged defendants, but, as between them, for the fact of differing infractions and different facts leading to those infractions, not entitled to a form of justice regardless of the peculiar and unique identity and identifying characteristics of each separate Joseph William Cash?

Further complicating the matter, a letter writer the following Saturday, we have mystically discerned, will venture an opinion that the "T. Jefferson" in question was one Throckmorton Jefferson, an ancien régime contemporary of Charlotte who hated Thomas Jefferson and sought regularly to undermine his reputation by signing "T. Jefferson" to various texts designed to represent that which was antithetical to everything for which Thomas Jefferson stood. And, indeed, the comment would, if interpreted as the piece does, stand as a singularly bizarre anomaly to everything for which Thomas Jefferson stood publicly. It is thus either of doubtful authenticity or simply misinterpreted contextually.

On the editorial page, "Which Paper Do You Read?" tells of the battle raging in Winston-Salem between the dry Winston-Salem Journal and wet Twin City Sentinel, both owned by the same publishing company, both recently adverting to statistics on arrests out of Charlotte since the inception of ABC-controlled sale of liquor in fall, 1947, the morning-published Journal finding that Charlotte prohibition advocate F. O. Clarkson had marshaled statistics showing that the arrest rate had risen from 25 to 28 percent since the new program had begun, and the afternoon-published Sentinel having cited findings of Winston-Salem attorney William Mitchell that arrests for drunkenness had risen steadily between 1944 and 1947, but in 1948, while still on the rise, had risen by only a third of the percentage of rise in 1947 and far less than the differences between the earlier years.

Concludes the piece, it all went to show that you could prove anything through statistics and that Mecklenburg residents drank whiskey both under prohibition and the ABC system. But neither paper had elucidated the principal point, that Mecklenburg residents had voted overwhelmingly for the new ABC system and did not wish to return to the former system with its vagaries of bootlegging and speakeasies, and a concomitant "empire of crime".

"Pig 311 and the Rest of Us" begins with "This little piggy went to market", relating of Pig 311, which underwent radiation in the Bikini tests of July, 1946, and was alive but sterile. The same thing, it predicts, at best would occur to many people after World War III. Many others would simply be killed.

Pig 311 was on display at the National Zoological Park in Washington and was viewed by visitors every day. "Maybe they wonder how long the little gilt will be an oddity, how long she will be in a class by herself."

"Exercise in Optics" finds competing visions of Senator Frank Graham. He was viewed by admirers as a courageous, Christian liberal, by the likes of Congressman Edward Hebert of Louisiana as a dangerous Communist sympathizer, and now by Junius Scales of Chapel Hill, North Carolina's leading Communist, who had written a piece for The Daily Worker, reprinted first in the Twin City Sentinel and now on this day's editorial page, as not being nearly so liberal as he had been during the New Deal, finding Dr. Graham spending much of his time engaging in Red-baiting.

It concludes that the incompatible views represented the notion that the perception of the country's leaders remained a function of the perceiver.

Junius Scales, in the piece above referenced, tells of the perception by most North Carolinians of Dr. Graham as a "radical". He finds fault with his belief that the fight against fascism and white supremacy needed to be waged without offending anyone, dulling his ability to come to grips with the centuries-old subjugation of blacks.

He had engaged in red-baiting while in the Southern Conference for Human Welfare before the war and had more frequently done so since the war. He was a disciple of the President's foreign policy. The State Department had used him to provide liberal support for its "machinations" in Indonesia. He was not so defending of free speech now as he had been during the New Deal, having upheld as president of UNC the action of University officials in barring John Gates, editor of The Daily Worker, from speaking on the campus because he was being prosecuted under the Smith Act as one of the top Communists in the country.

The reason, Mr. Scales finds, for the peculiar appointment of Dr. Graham to the Senate was that North Carolina, since the days of the turn of the century, had turned away from harsh treatment of black citizens, and, under the guidance of men such as deceased Governor Charles B. Aycock, deceased Raleigh News & Observer Editor and former Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels, and former Governor O. Max Gardner, who had died two years earlier on his way to take his post as newly appointed Ambassador to Britain, "corporation rule" had proceeded under the guise of liberalism, paternalism, and "Go Forward" programs, setting North Carolina apart from the other Southern states.

But despite all the positive talk, actual progress of the black population in the state was little better than in other parts of the South. Fewer blacks in North Carolina, for instance, voted than in Georgia. Police brutality was a daily occurrence and there remained the threat of lynching. Unemployment among blacks was increasing. The proportion of money spent on black schools compared to that on white schools was one of the lowest in the South.

Conditions among white workers also were bad, with a law banning the closed shop having been enacted, the average unemployment compensation being one of the lowest in the country, and the minimum wage for businesses not engaged in interstate commerce and thus not covered by the Federal law having just been raised by the Legislature from four to only six dollars per week.

Under such conditions, the people were becoming more demanding and the appointment of Dr. Graham recognized that fact. He would likely vote for repeal of Taft-Hartley, against the Mundt-Nixon bill, designed to curb Communist activities by requiring registration of party members and making it a crime not to register, for the Federal minimum wage increase, and national health insurance.

He would face pressure from both reactionaries regarding his support for the Truman foreign policy and domestic policy, and from another source on the left, which, Mr. Scales asserts, should take the form of "mass movements of the working class and Negro people to influence" the Senator toward progress.

There are also short-sighted fools who push too hard in a society plodding along, with many under-educated people in it who haven't the sense to get in out of a shower of rain, such that what you finally wind up with are the presumably unintended consequences of such rash action, the Strom Thurmonds, and, more to the point, the Jesse Helmses, elected by those under-educated in reaction to the perceived attempt to move things along in the wrong way, that is through brash pushing and revolution in the streets, making for a nice tv show with the pushers as the 15-minute stars, rather than working quietly and diligently to effect cooperative action from within the system.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Government by Volume", looks at the various analogies in stacks of quarters, dollar bills, etc., which represented the taxes collected by the Government, the number of employees of the Government, its freight bill, automobiles, and so forth, finds that the "qualitative assay of our Federal Government may be a tricky feat, but the quantitative analysis is positively staggering."

Drew Pearson tells of his having attended the conferences which led to the signing of the Washington Arms Treaty, the London Naval Conference, both limiting arms of the signatory nations, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war, and that they came back to him as he had witnessed the signing Monday of the NATO accord. Each of the prior agreements was supposed to have ushered in a new era of peace and yet despite it, World War II came to be.

He tells of the Washington Arms Conference convening on November 11, 1921—the same day of the interment of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington—, with former Supreme Court Justice and 1916 Republican presidential nominee, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, presiding. President Harding had opened the affair. Mr. Pearson had gone to the Conference as a youthful reporter just out of college and filled with ideals.

In the end, the treaty, providing for scrapping of battleships, was faithfully adhered to by the U.S. while the remainder of the signatory nations continued to build cruisers. The Nine-Power Pact guaranteeing the sovereignty of China then was destroyed by Japan, a signatory nation, when it invaded Manchuria in 1931 and had been ignored since by the Russians. The Four-Power Pact, preventing naval bases on the Pacific islands, was violated in secret by the Japanese, establishing bases at Okinawa, Truk, Tarawa, and Iwo Jima, coming to light only during the Pacific war.

He next relates of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, signed in Paris at the Quai d'Orsay. Germany had signed it and then eleven years later attacked Poland, to plunge the world into the abyss of World War II. Likewise, Japan signed it.

The London Naval Conference of April 22, 1930 sought to limit the type of ship omitted by the Washington Conference, cruisers.

Thus, his skeptical side questioned whether NATO would have its desired impact of deterrence of Soviet aggression in Europe or would be just another transgressed stumbling block as had the previous treaties. But NATO was not disarmament. Rather, it represented an armed truce between the signatory nations to build up the arms of those nations again. He regards NATO therefore as depressing but necessary, given the realities of the world.

Marquis Childs discusses the formation of NATO out of the persistent obstruction and violation of human rights being perpetrated by the Soviet Union and its satellites.

At the first conference on the Marshall Plan in summer, 1947 in Paris, V. M. Molotov had arrived with 122 assistants and indicated initially that the Soviets would participate in the Plan. But at the very next session, after a one-hour recess, having in the interim received advice from Moscow, he backtracked and said that the Soviet Government would oppose the Plan. Speculation ran that Moscow determined that if the Soviet satellites participated in the Plan, they could never again be made subject to Soviet domination.

Yet, had the Soviets joined, it was unlikely that the Congress would have ever approved the Plan, out of fear that it would be sabotaged from within.

Thus, the Soviet hostility proved an error compounded repeatedly. The strikes in Paris the previous fall, orchestrated by Communists, had proved to the French that the Communists would not hesitate to go to any lengths to undermine the Plan.

Mr. Childs concludes therefore that it was not surprising that Russia was now howling outrage against NATO, out of frustration in not being able to undermine the Marshall Plan.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Senator Forrest Donnell of Missouri having given a speech at the Commerce Department auditorium on Monday as the NATO agreement was signed, explaining to his audience how it was unconstitutional, illegal, and improperly drafted. His speech produced concern as to whether the U.S. would stay the course with enough military aid initially to make NATO successful as a deterrent to Soviet aggression in Europe.

The core of remaining isolationists in the Congress who would determine the outcome of this question were mainly from states where local political organizations were rigidly controlled by reactionary big business groups, most appearing plainly as they were, representatives of big business, not the people.

But Senator Donnell was not among this group. Rather, his father had been born in the Civil War in North Carolina and had left in the 1880's, set up a store in a small town in Missouri, made a moderate success of it and sent his son to college and law school.

The law was very sacred to the Senator and on that basis, he had opposed U.S. membership in the League of Nations but favored joining the World Court. He supported ERP but now opposed NATO.

One of his legal precedents cited during his argument at the Commerce Department against the treaty was the 1870 case of The Cherokee Tobacco, 78 U.S. 616, holding, relevant to the discussion, that an act of Congress could supersede a prior treaty, just as a treaty could supersede a prior act of Congress, there being no statement in the Constitution otherwise to resolve a conflict between a treaty and a Federal law, both, along with the Constitution, being "the supreme law of the land" pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Exactly which U.S. statute or which provision of the Constitution the Senator referenced as offended is not provided by the piece, but if only a statute, then, in accord with the case, ratification by the Senate of the treaty would supersede it.

But, they continue, Senator Donnell did not discuss the problems of security in the modern world which had led to the necessity of NATO. And the Senator had no reason to do so, given the relatively comfortable world in which he came of age and had lived into adulthood in Missouri, far from the madding crowd of Europe.

He represented, however, millions of Americans who wished to do the right thing but were unaware of the impending facts for having lived so long in the midst of security. The Alsops venture that if the objective facts could be brought to these Americans, they would act "bravely and disinterestedly". So, in the last analysis, the ultimate question of whether the country would stay the course under the new treaty depended for its answer on leadership.

A letter writer from Carrollton, Ga., praises Frank Graham and his appointment as the new Senator, says that he sent his daughter to UNC because of him, and enjoyed the editorial regarding the appointment of Dr. Graham, which had been reprinted in the Atlanta Constitution.

A letter writer says that he would vote for any candidate for city office who pledged to repair the holes in the pavement at the intersection of Morton Street and Berryhill Road.

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