The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 17, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, a third of the voters in the Eastern sector voted against the Soviet-selected slate of candidates for the municipal government. As a result, the Soviets withheld the election results for 20 hours and the Soviet press declared the results a double-cross by the opposition parties, the Christian and Liberal Democrats, by pledging allegiance to the Communists and then campaigning against them.

The President welcomed General Lucius Clay home from Germany and presented him with a second Oak Leaf Cluster for his service as military governor of the American occupation zone.

The President withdrew the nomination of Mon Wallgren to be chairman of the National Security Resources Board after Mr. Wallgren requested the withdrawal. The nomination had been tabled several weeks earlier after hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee when Senator Harry F. Byrd joined the Republicans on the Committee voting for the inaction. The previous week, the President had said to a veterans group visiting at the White House that there were "too many Byrds" in the Congress opposing his programs based on local rather than national interests.

In New York's Twentieth District, voters went to the polls to replace deceased Congressman Sol Bloom. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., was running against the Tammany candidate, Judge Benjamin Shalleck, his principal opponent.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld the earlier District Court ruling of Judge J. Waties Waring allowing blacks to vote in the South Carolina Democratic primaries after determining the attempt by the State and the Democratic Party to privatize the primaries to be violative of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, denying effectively the right to vote. The Court of Appeals decision was authored by Chief Judge John J. Parker.

In Washington, the appellate bonds of Gerhart Eisler were declared forfeited on his convictions for passport fraud and contempt of Congress, after he had sought to make passage for Poland aboard a ship and was discovered as a stowaway, was now in England contesting extradition on grounds of political asylum.

Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming wanted the Atomic Energy Commission to explain how a known Communist had been able to acquire an AEC-sponsored scholarship to UNC. The student was scheduled to testify the following day before the Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee. Senator O'Mahoney pointed out that there was a provision of the law banning use of funds for the support of anyone who belonged to a group advocating the overthrow of the Government by force or violence and that it carried criminal penalties for officials violating it. He believed that the provision applied to the matter.

In Detroit, the UAW refused a Ford Motor Co. request to reopen the strikebound operations occasioned by the unresolved dispute over a speedup of the assembly line at the River Rouge plant. A union spokesman said that the Ford proposal was a trick to divide the workers.

At Fort Bragg, N.C., one paratrooper was killed and twenty were injured, most only slightly, when a parachute failed to open during Army maneuvers.

In Kannapolis, N.C., a Charlotte man was killed when a train hit him. The death was ruled a suicide as he had jumped in front of the train as it approached within 100 feet of his position.

Governor Kerr Scott of North Carolina said that newspaper accounts in Charlotte criticizing the rural roads program for asking urban dwellers to foot more of the bill than rural dwellers were not accurate because city dwellers also used rural roads and were dependent on their use for getting produce to market. He was not specific as to the publication in question, but apparently referred to the two front-page articles by Tom Fesperman appearing in The News the previous week.

News reporter Tom Schlesinger tells of a student from Britain who had lived on the women's campus of Duke University for eight months having good things to say of American women. He described American girls as more friendly than the "generally aloof" British girls.

On the editorial page, "That Gas Tax Increase—II" finds the ongoing squabble between Governor Scott and the gasoline industry, anent the one-cent sales tax to be added to gasoline in the event of passage of the 200-million dollar bond referendum on rural roads, to be a sidelight of little interest to the people. The real issue was whether the tax itself was a good idea on a necessary product for travel and whether it was wise to engage in deficit spending to improve rural roads.

"Death, Also, Is 'Inconvenient'" tells of North Carolina having come in first the previous year, according to the National Safety Council, in making the state safer, partly because of the mechanical inspection program for motor vehicles, abolished by the recent General Assembly session. Separate prizes had been won also for reduction of fatality rates on the highways and for the inspection program itself.

But in the first three months of 1949, the fatality rate had risen by 25 percent versus that of the same period for 1948. Traffic accidents had increased by 19 percent, and traffic-related injuries, by 25 percent.

One legislator said that he was voting against renewal of the inspection law because his constituents found it "inconvenient". The piece concludes that the increased fatalities, accidents, and injuries were also inconvenient.

"Damaging Indictment" tells of the Hoover Commission having criticized the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation for being in competition to spend public money on irrigation, flood control, and power development. The two agencies routinely underestimated costs of their projects, bamboozling Congress into approving them, only to find that there were subsequent cost overruns, known from the beginning.

To eliminate waste and duplication, the Commission recommendations needed to be followed and public pressure needed to be brought to bear to insure this salutary result.

A piece from the New Orleans (La.) States, titled "How Taxes Hurt", tells of added taxes to beer and gasoline hurting consumption of each product and thus cutting production and, consequently, jobs.

Carlyle Morgan, in a piece from the Christian Science Monitor, examines the aftermath of the end of the Berlin blockade. The end of the blockade appeared to have been the result of the NATO accord, the success of the British-American airlift, the effects of the Western counter-blockade, and the generally greater cohesion among the Western allies. More importantly, it might also have been the result of a belated realization by the Soviets that the foreign policy had taken a wrong turn at the end of the war.

The policy of aggression toward the Eastern bloc nations had been crude. The Kremlin leaders did not seem to appreciate that they were pushing the Marshall Plan onward by their policies, postponing the very economic depression on which the Soviets had counted to drive Western European nations into the Soviet sphere.

The former stubbornness of Stalin seemed to be replaced by the iron will of Molotov the previous fall, after Stalin agreed tentatively to terms of removal of the blockade while Molotov then insisted on settlement first of the Berlin currency issue. But now, since Molotov had been promoted out of the position of Foreign Secretary, that duality was absent. Thus, the shuffling in the Kremlin since the previous fall appeared to have caused a shift toward greater reason in settlement of the blockade issue.

The change of policy showed that at least one phase of the Molotov policy had not been considered a success within the Kremlin.

Drew Pearson tells of Electric Bond & Share having been the leader in the fight against FDR's Holding Company Act, designed to limit the monopolies of the private utilities, and against regulation of securities under the SEC. But by selecting Curtis Calder, head of Electric Bond & Share, to be Secretary of the Army, President Truman appeared to reverse these remedial policies of the late President. Mr. Calder in that position would control the Army Corps of Engineers, exerting powerful influence against public power projects. Mr. Calder, while head of Texas Power & Light, had led the fight against regulation of the utilities by producing a propaganda campaign in the schools to promote private utilities.

Mr. Calder had also headed American & Foreign Power from 1927 to 1944. That company, according to a complaint to the SEC by stockholders, had not distributed dividends on common stock since 1930. But if the SEC were to take action on behalf of the stockholders and against American, then it could incur the ire of the President. Hearings were about to start on the matter.

Marquis Childs tells of sectors of the economy, other than just agriculture, being subsidized by the Government. Many had criticized the new farm program announced by Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan for subsidizing farmers. But the airline industry was also subsidized to the tune of 100-125 million dollars annually for airmail service. Before airmail payments by the Government, the airlines were operating at a net loss of 91.6 million dollars in 1948 and 76.7 million in 1947. So the Government was underwriting the profits of the airlines and keeping the consumer's ticket prices much lower—just as with the proposed agriculture program regarding perishable produce.

In the Senate, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado had introduced a bill, consistent with a recommendation of the Hoover Commission, to have the subsidies paid to the Post Office by open appropriation so that the taxpayers would know the amount thereof. Similar legislation had been introduced in the House by Congressman John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The legislation would fix the costs between passengers, cargo, and airmail, to determine the amount of payment to the airlines for airmail service. The Civil Aeronautics Board would determine the amount of the subsidy necessary to provide for airline profits. Congress would then be asked to appropriate that amount, providing transparency. The two bills also proposed creation of an air equivalent to the merchant marine, to have the Government develop and build freight planes for lease to private carriers to make up for the deficit in the number of transport planes.

He concludes that with the expressed concern over increasing government control of private industry in the country, it was necessary for the taxpayers to know what was being appropriated insofar as subsidies.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of General Lucius Clay anxious to get home from his stint as military occupation governor of the American zone of Germany so that he could go fishing. Mr. MacKenzie finds that fishing was a pleasing pastime for many in public office, including most modern Presidents.

He relates that once an ambassador serving under President Hoover went fishing as a guest of the President at his summer camp, caught a large trout right off the bat. It turned out that he had caught "Moby Dick", presented as a gift to the President and hand-fed ever since.

He suggests that anyone could obtain rest from the worries of hard times by taking rod and reel and going fishing.

"Read and Remember" relates that the Secret Service first started protecting the President after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, with his successor, Theodore Roosevelt.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for the Tom Fesperman articles the previous week on the bond issues.

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