The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 9, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N., Andrei Gromyko, speaking to the political committee of the General Assembly, charged on behalf of the Soviets that the three Western powers had set up bases in Italy's prewar colonies for aggressive purposes against the Soviet Union. He also contended that the three nations had dragged out the Big Four treaty talks anent the disposition of the colonies for three years so that the matter would have to go before the General Assembly where they had an assured majority. He made no mention of the NATO accord signed the previous Monday.

The U.S. proposed the previous September that Libya would be placed under a U.N. trusteeship and that Britain would administer the eastern part of Cyrenaica, that eastern Eritrea would go to Ethiopia outright, and that Italy would administer Italian Somaliland under a trusteeship. Britain generally agreed with the proposal but France wanted all of the colonies, except those to satisfy Ethiopian claims, returned to Italian supervision.

As the Communist forces in China began new assaults on the Nationalist bridgeheads north of the Yangtze River along a 650-mile front, Communist leader Mao Tze-Tung promised a "lenient settlement" of the civil war while insisting that the terms would continue to be the original eight demands, amounting to complete capitulation by the Nationalists.

Meanwhile, in Nanking, the Nationalist Government was preparing its reply to the eight-point surrender terms which had been transmitted in January. The Government admitted that in renewed fighting Nationalist forces had lost Icheng, 28 miles northeast of Nanking.

In Belgrade, Marshal Tito served notice in a speech before the Peoples' Front Congress that he felt free to deal economically with the West. He charged that Russia and the other satellites were trying to foment civil war within Yugoslavia. The official Yugoslav news agency in London said, however, that the West could not count on Yugoslavia to join "war plans" against the Soviets.

In Budapest, Hungarian Government officials rejected the joint American and British diplomatic protest against the treason trials and resulting imprisonment of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty and other Catholic clergy based on human rights violations under Hungary's treaty. Hungary asserted that there was discrimination being practiced in the U.S. and Britain against their own citizens based on race and color and that, in any event, the trials in Hungary were an internal matter. It also said that the aim of the two nations was to protect the large estates and capitalist monopolies in Hungary, which had been "the most faithful satellites of Hitler".

In Berlin, 75 mph winds resulted in the deaths of eleven persons and rendered scores homeless, forcing evacuation of war-weakened structures.

The Senate the previous day passed the Marshall Plan appropriation bill for the coming fifteen months, authorizing the full amount sought, 5.58 billion dollars. The vote was 70 to 7. It now went to the House where some members threatened to lop off 500 million dollars, wanting to increase aid to China. Speaker Sam Rayburn, however, predicted swift passage.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a military budget of just under 16 billion dollars, saying that America had to prepare for trouble to avoid it. The breakdown of the budget is provided.

In Dothan, Ala., a States' Rights rally was held with the prospect in the offing of a States' Rights Party being formed by a coalition of Southern Democrats and politically aligned Northern Republicans. The rally was designed in appreciation of the members of the Senate who had blocked the President's civil rights program with the forced compromise on cloture of debate to end the filibuster of a proposed rules change to require a two-thirds vote of a quorum on all matters of business before the Senate, including rules changes. The resolution ultimately applied to all matters except rules changes and required a two-thirds vote of the entire membership for cloture. The keynote address at the rally was provided by newspaper columnist John Temple Graves II of Birmingham, promising the formation of the new party in time out of the coalition which had been formed in Congress.

Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

In New York, $50,000 stolen the previous day from the International Airport was recovered. An air cargo clerk for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines admitted taking the money, contained in an envelope on a desk at KLM, and pointed police to its burial location in a vacant lot. He was charged with grand theft.

In San Marino, Calif., a three-year old girl remained stuck in a 14-inch abandoned well casing at least 75 feet beneath the surface where she had been trapped since the previous afternoon after she had accidentally fallen into the well while racing with other children across a vacant lot. The rescue squad believed that she might still be alive as they had been pumping warm air into the shaft since the previous afternoon at 5:30, when she was able to answer her mother's calls. Nothing had been heard from her, however, since an hour after that point. Rescuers were drilling a rescue tunnel from an adjacent lot and had reached the well casing. The casing went to a depth of 120 feet and the child had apparently slipped to at least 100 feet.

In Reno, Nev., Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., was seeking to establish residence at a dude ranch that she might seek a divorce from her husband. She had arrived under an assumed name.

In Los Angeles, a man was crushed to death by his brand new car, as his wife was trying to learn how to operate it. She had asked her husband what a particular button did and he told her that it was the starter button, then walked behind the car, whereupon she apparently shifted the car into reverse and pinned him against a neighbor's house.

In Raleigh, tired legislators were ready to adjourn after being in session 82 days, making it the fourth longest biennial session since 1929. The legislators only received pay after the 60th day. No action was taken on a motion by one legislator to adjourn.

In Charlotte, in the fourth major raid since ABC-controlled sale of liquor was instituted in September, 1947, County and State ABC agents arrested 23 persons on liquor law violations. Three more arrests were anticipated. Those arrested were thought to be "pint-peddlers", part-time salesmen who worked on weekends and after-hours and otherwise worked as textile workers, cafe operators and workers, as well as at other occupations, the arrested having included also a truck driver, a painter, mechanics, and a barber. Only one defendant listed his occupation as "bootlegger". Two cars seized in the raid were also being held under $1,500 bond.

Ralph Gibson of The News reports of the Welfare Department having conducted a study of juvenile crime and found that the term "juvenile delinquency" was overworked, that, in general, the children of the time were no worse than their parents' generation. The difference was that there were more social workers and juvenile court staff available to take care of issues which were once settled between parents over tea or the back fence. With officialdom and accompanying publicity had come "do-gooders" who were genuinely committed to the interests of the youth of the community but also sometimes confused the issues.

The report also laid part of the problem on fast-changing conditions in the society, with which parents were unable to cope. Children were also more mobile and thus encountered social standards different from their own neighborhoods. Conditions in the home were different from earlier times, with the father forced to be absent for longer periods and mothers taking time for more activities outside the home. Changed living environments from the old rural settings meant that fewer people knew one another in the community. Such living environments carried over to the consolidated schools, where the teachers were not always residents of the community in which the children lived. The schools also were more given to production-line methods of teaching.

In the second half of 1948, the juvenile court had handled over 500 cases, a 250 percent increase over the 200 handled in the six months of 1946 after the juvenile court staff had begun its work. The staff, however, attributed the increase only to the fact that more was being done to eradicate the problem, not resultant of an increase in juvenile crime. The cases were divided into three classes, injury to property and others, injury to self, and injury to a juvenile inflicted by a parent.

On the editorial page, "Money Wisely Spent" recommends donating to the Charlotte Woman's Club drive to raise $25,000 for the cure and control of cancer. It urges that early detection was key to success in fighting cancer, that for too long, it had been ignored as a disease, kept hidden based on stigmas associated with its scourge.

"A Matter of Record" finds that a letter writer on the page claiming that former Mayor Ben Douglas, presently State Highway Commissioner, had been able to profit from sale of three properties along the right of way of the new crosstown boulevard, was incorrect. Mr. Douglas had allowed the Superior Court to appoint an independent appraiser to value his properties and it was subsequently determined that the amount paid for them was in line with other property settlements along the right of way. It concludes that there was no basis in fact to the rumor put forth by the letter writer.

"Molehills from Mountains" tells of three efforts to effect the title of the piece. A State legislator was trying to get a bill passed which would make it illegal to inscribe on a tombstone an accusation of crime, aimed, in this instance, at the case of Hamp Kendall, who, over three decades earlier, had been convicted of murder but later cleared after another confessed to the crime, yet had his name tainted indefinitely by the tombstone of the man he had supposedly murdered, bearing Mr. Kendall's name as the murderer. The law would be fine except that its target could claim that it was unconstitutional as applied to the family of the victim for being ex post facto, if not a bill of attainder. The better approach is the suit for an ongoing libel, seeking injunctive relief.

Second, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had suggested that a small quantity of emetic be included in sleeping pills and potentially lethal intoxicants so that an overdose would cause the ingesting person to vomit—which would be fine as long as the person was not rendered first unconscious and then choked on his or her own vomit.

Third, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson was seeking to have the three service days combined into an Armed Forces Day, symbolically to encourage unity. But then you are liable to have a scrap on that day to determine which branch representatives would be first and which last to give the ceremonial speeches.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Lively Times in Tarheelia", provides an outline of the movement in state politics in North Carolina toward a liberal Fair Deal-type program, following that process explained in The News editorial of April 2, and, also following The News, the legislative dichotomy developing between treatment of rural and urban areas of the state, with deference to rural areas in the school construction and roads programs, under the new term of Governor Kerr Scott, a dairy farmer.

It points out that North Carolina had spent more than any other Southeastern state in 1947, indicative of a state trend toward social legislation.

It concludes that while the voters in 1950 might defeat the new liberal combine represented by Governor Scott, Senator Graham, and Democratic national committeeman Jonathan Daniels, it could also work the other way. In either event, the state, it predicts, was in for some lively times.

We could call those times, in hindsight, the Helmsian Dark Age.

Drew Pearson tells of new Senator Frank Graham of North Carolina having been quickly confronted with a controversy regarding whether to cut off Marshall Plan aid to the Netherlands as a result of the Dutch action the previous December against Indonesia. The State Department opposed the sanction as it did not want to anger the Dutch. But Senator Graham, having been part of the U.N. Good Offices Commission which worked out an agreement between Indonesia and the Dutch to allow for Indonesian independence and having seen the Dutch action first-hand, was prevailed upon for support by both Senator Vandenberg, supportive of the State Department position, and Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, who was sponsoring a resolution to cut off the aid. Senators Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Claude Pepper of Florida, who believed that some action had to be taken against the Dutch even if they agreed that the Dutch could not be angered without compromising U.S. security, also discussed the matter with Senator Graham. The latter three then got together with Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas and said that they would have to vote with Senator Brewster unless the State Department was willing to take some action.

Senator Graham called upon Undersecretary of State James Webb, also from North Carolina, and agreed to a compromise whereby the State Department would put pressure on the U.N. Security Council to vote to apply sanctions against the Dutch, and that if the Council did so, then ERP aid would be withdrawn. The following day, a majority of the Senate backed the compromise.

Senator Graham then had to go to the hospital with pneumonia.

Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska had blocked in committee for nine months confirmation of the appointment of territorial Governor of Alaska Ernest Gruening to a third term after he had received 80 percent of the vote in the advisory election.

While testifying before the committee, a former U.S. Marshal read a prepared statement in which he said, "The Governor entices people into his luxurious mansion and beguiles them with food and drink." He then interjected, "Oh, hell, that don't sound like me." When asked whether he had drafted the statement, he replied in the negative, that it was prepared by a secretary to Cap Lathrop, the richest man in Alaska, whose Senate lackey was Senator Butler. Mr. Lathrop was upset with Governor Gruening because he had convinced the Legislature to pass an income tax for the first time in the territory. Committee chairman Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming gave the opponents of Governor Gruening a full day to testify while the 41 supporters of the Governor collectively received 30 minutes, five minutes each to six of them, despite having flown from Alaska to testify. Eventually, however, the committee voted unanimously to recommend confirmation of Governor Gruening.

Congressman George Grant of Alabama was seeking to have the pharmaceutical industry cease selling benzedrine inhalers because they were being used by water-front bums and teenagers as doping devices. The two manufacturers agreed to cease selling the device in Alabama and said that they were working to change the formula of the medication so that it could not be used for doping. Mr. Grant was still persisting in his efforts.

Joseph Alsop tells of John J. McCloy, head of the World Bank, one of the ablest Roosevelt wartime appointees as Assistant Secretary of War, having just turned down an appointment to become Undersecretary of Defense, but probably shortly to be offered the position of civilian governor, under direction of the State Department, of the American occupation zone of Germany, replacing military governor General Lucius Clay, under direction of the Army and thus the Defense Department.

The President, however, had in mind Averell Harriman for the position, but the nominee would probably, nevertheless, be Mr. McCloy—as it would be. Mr. Alsop thinks him a wise choice.

Marquis Childs tells of the Congress preferring now a more restricted version of Taft-Hartley rather than repeal and replacement of it with a modified version of the 1935 Wagner Act, however unlikely that scenario had appeared at the start of the Congress in January. Such implied the vast change in political climate in Washington during the interim.

The Senate appeared bogged down. After it extended ERP, it needed to consider the extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act and then important appropriations measures, housing legislation, and ratification of NATO, including a determination of whether, pursuant to it, to extend military aid to the Western European signatory nations.

Meanwhile, Republican leader Senator Kenneth Wherry was contemplating a move to try to force adjournment in late June, potentially leaving the revision of Taft-Hartley and other Truman pledges unfulfilled. The Administration Senators might agree, based on the belief that the President could then call a special session the following September or October, after he had a chance to tour the country in the summer and promote his program anew, explaining the inaction of Congress.

The President had originally sought action on Taft-Hartley in the first thirty days of the Congress, but 90 days had passed without action and now it seemed further away than ever. It was a continuation of the climate which had prevailed during the 80th Congress—to do nothing, exactly as the current Congress in 2016.

But at least the 80th Congress, one of the worst in the history of the country, did not toss out the Constitution and refuse to hold hearings on judicial nominees of the President. Insofar as a Supreme Court nominee, there is no precedent for that inaction and so we vote for the 114th Congress as the worst in U.S. history, which is saying a lot, given some of the stinkers.

A letter writer, responding to a front-page piece by Tom Fesperman appearing the previous Thursday anent a copy of Blackstone discovered in Charlotte containing an apparent annotation by Thomas Jefferson, warns of Throckmorton Jefferson, a Tory at the time of the Revolution who fled the colony for Barbados disguised as a black woman, stayed until the Revolution was over, then returned to Charlotte. He hated Thomas Jefferson and all for which he stood, spent the remainder of his life signing his name as "T. Jefferson" to various statements which were designed to discredit the father of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the republic.

One of his inventions, says the letter writer, was the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, claimed to have been signed in May, 1775, over a year before the Philadelphia Declaration, an effort to steal the thunder and glory from Thomas Jefferson.

It was likely also, he concludes, that it was Throckmorton Jefferson who had signed as "T. Jefferson" the Blackstone copy with the putative annotations of Thomas Jefferson, one of which appeared to imply that the principle "that all men are by nature equal" was the most "foolish opinion" ever advanced.

The writer thus wishes to correct the record to avoid confusion and urges that it was typical of Republican attempts to smear Democrats. He advises readers to be wary of Throckmorton Jefferson, as he might turn up anywhere.

Perhaps, you can track down the inner page 6-A of Thursday's News and find a picture there of the annotations, including the seemingly contradictory, "Too fine spun an assertion for a citizen of independent America," adjacent to the same Blackstone passage, and then conduct your own comparison to the plates in Marie Kimball's Jefferson: The Road to Glory, which the handwriting expert used for analysis, bearing in mind that the expert appears a bit elderly and wore glasses. It may be that the entire matter therefore is a tempest in a teapot. It might not even be of Throckmorton Jefferson but rather emanating from the delicate hand of Thelma Jefferson of Hog Waller, a discontented widow of Romulus Jefferson who died and left her penniless, with only a mangy dog to console her in her waning years, during which she decided, in consequence, that she was the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette and everyone else part and parcel of her peonage.

Incidentally, the contention that Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake," is hardly disputed, as some claim, by the fact that a pre-existing statement of the phrase occurs in Rousseau's Confessions, for to do so ignores the rather obvious possibility that she simply read, herself, the phrase and, it having stuck, perhaps through currency of the time, then came to mind at the appointed moment when the peasants called for bread, hardly, if so, detracting from its condescending, insensitive force, suggesting her as not merely supercilious but a supercilious parrot. Those who, through such thoroughly inadequate disputations, profess certainty of the credibility or not of imputation to a given stentor of such utterances from two hundred years ago or more, prior to the age of recording devices, are obviously not given to much depth of thought and thus are consigned, among the various qualitative levels of ratiocination, to the realms of the disputatious booby. The point, in any event, is not "proof" or "disproof" of such esoterica, being completely academic in its outcome, but rather to indulge the exercise in rational contemplation for better self-indoctrination of the mind to discursive thought processes which do not, through dogmatic, egocentric insistence on "expertise" in a given subject, omit alternate explanations derived from grounded and not kited imagination, and thus not close the mind to better understanding of the subject than yesterday, being thereby thoroughly consistent with Mr. Jefferson's conception of levelling on the square, equal, if not equally endowed with measures of bread.

A letter writer opposes the 200 million dollar bond measure for improving rural roads in the state and believes the one-cent gas tax for partially financing it should be included in the voter referendum, not separated from it.

A letter writer accuses former Mayor Ben Douglas of profiting from the crosstown boulevard through sale of three of his properties along the right of way. The above editorial corrects this erroneous claim.

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