The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 18, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American officials in Berlin charged that the Russians were seeking subtly to reimpose the Berlin blockade. An American Military Government official was being dispatched to investigate why 150 West German trucks had been detained at Helmstedt in the frontier of the Soviet zone. The East German guards were demanding that truck drivers present permits issued by the Soviet-appointed East German Economic Commission to carry cargo, whether consigned to West or East Berlin. The Russians were also claiming control of exports from Berlin, blocking rail and truck shipments westward. American officials said that such a blockade a year earlier had, in some ways, hurt the Western sectors of Berlin more than the actual blockade which ensued. The object was to control economic life in West Berlin.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson stated that at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting on Germany in Paris May 23, he intended to make clear publicly the U.S. position on all issues, even when he was prohibited by joint agreement from revealing the full discussion at the meeting. He said that it would be his desire to make public all of the discussions but that he would have to abide by the joint decision regarding transparency.

The Secretary ruled out for the time being any participation by the U.S. in a Pacific defense pact, despite dangers existing with regard to the Communist takeover of China.

John J. McCloy, president of the World Bank since February, 1947, accepted the job of representing the U.S. as the new civilian governor of the American occupation zone of Germany, replacing General Lucius Clay as military governor. Mr. McCloy's title would be “high commissioner” to Germany. He submitted his resignation to the World Bank and its board of directors chose Eugene Black, a member of the board, to be the new president. Mr. McCloy would receive $25,000 annually in his new position, the same as ambassadors, compared to $30,000 as president of the World Bank. He would oversee transfer of the non-military aspects of occupation from the Army to State Department and ERP administration. The transition would take place around the time of the establishment of the West German provisional government, following the ratification of the West German constitution by the eleven constituent states.

Mr. McCloy, in 1964, would serve as a member of the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President Kennedy.

In a large turnout for the special Congressional election to replace deceased Sol Bloom, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., won the Twentieth Congressional District race in New York. His enthusiastic supporters touted him as the next Governor of New York, a position in which his father served between 1929 and 1933.

The joint Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee heard testimony from UNC graduate student Hans Freistadt, recipient of a $1,600 Atomic Energy Commission scholarship, effective July 1, to study the special theory of relativity. A self-avowed Communist, Mr. Freistadt warned the Committee that if his fellowship were taken away, then the same might happen to a “militant New Dealer, a Progressive, or even a Republican”. He stated that despite his Communist beliefs, he was loyal to the United States and would quit the Communist Party if he thought it was under foreign control.

The native-born Austrian, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had received his undergraduate and master's degrees in physics from the University of Chicago in 1946 and 1948, respectively. He had been a graduate student at UNC since the previous September. A G.I. student at UNC, J. R. Cherry, Jr., had told Senator Clyde Hoey of Mr. Freistadt being a Communist with an AEC scholarship, prompting the investigation. (Mr. Cherry had written several letters to the editor of The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill in response to Mr. Freistadt's letters during the spring semester, prompting ridicule toward the ongoing controversy from UNC students.) Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming said that the new appropriation for AEC would disallow any money for Mr. Freistadt or anyone else with similar beliefs.

Senators seeking economy on the budget vowed to continue the fight despite a setback this date after the Senate voted the previous day to override its prior vote of April 28 to require a 5 percent cut in the operating costs of the Labor Department and the Federal Security Agency. The motion to reconsider that earlier decision was approved 43 to 41.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson sought authority from Congress for a 623 million-dollar housing and building program for the armed services to provide for a “critical” need. A Presidential committee reported that members of the armed services were required in recent years to pay “penthouse rents for chicken coop homes” which had sprung up near military installations. The requested money had been included in the President's 15 billion dollar defense budget. The funds to be included in the requested appropriation were 6.666 million dollars for family quarters and utilities for Fort Bragg, N.C., 5.8 million dollars for the same facilities at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and $528,000 for such facilities at Fort Jackson, S.C.

In Texas and Oklahoma, the three-day tornado and flood death toll had reached thirteen, with more than 13,000 homeless and a hundred injured. The Trinity River in Dallas was expected this date to reach a crest of 48 feet, twenty feet above flood stage, the highest since 1908—the year of Lyndon Johnson's birth in Stonewall. It remained within its 60-foot levees.

The Fort Worth Health Department ordered controls on the city's water and food supplies after a flood of certain areas of the city. No food could be sold until Health officials checked and approved it. Residents were warned to boil drinking water before consumption. But let it cool first.

In Lancaster, S.C., a man was burned to death after his wife and two children escaped from a fire in their apartment.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of money paid by Mecklenburg County for the needy having tripled in the previous decade, with about two million dollars being spent in 1949, or about $11 per capita. He provides the uses of such money. A table of expenditures by year and purpose is included.

Welfare Superintendent Wallace Kuralt—father of later News reporter and CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt—said that about 70 percent of the administrative costs for welfare went to such social services as parolee investigations, work with juveniles, adoptions, etc. About 40 percent of all persons seeking welfare were turned away for lack of qualification or for lack of funds to take care of them.

In Rutherfordton, N.C., the Western North Carolina Goat Association was formed at a meeting the previous Saturday. Its first meeting would be June 11 and all goats were asked to attend.

On page 15-A, News reporter Tom Schlesinger—son of historian Arthur Schlesinger and brother of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.—provides his story on the Morrow Mountain State Park, a popular local tourist attraction near Albemarle, N.C. Just don't try to get there by train and back again today.

There is no editorial page available for this date. Maybe to-morrow.

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