The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Shanghai, a noisy battle was taking place between Communist and Nationalist troops after the Communists marched into the city this date. Fleeing Nationalists were blowing up everything they could in the city, including fuel dumps and bomb and ammunition installations, as they sought escape via Woosung Harbor. The Communists sought to block that escape route. The Nationalists appeared to be buying time in the hope that their fellow troops would form a line on the outer edges of the city for another fight or reach ships waiting in the Yangtze to take them south.

The U.S. urged that all other nations with direct interests in the Far East agree on a common policy toward Communist China and avoid granting recognition to it hastily. The chief concern of the State Department was that Britain and the U.S. have a common policy on the matter. Britain appeared more anxious than the U.S. to establish a working relationship with the Communist Government, based on the British business interests in the area, including Hong Kong.

In Paris at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, according to French sources, the three Western allies demanded political unification of Germany as a condition for German economic unity. They also insisted upon the West German republic being the basis for government rather than the four-power council urged by the Russians, considered by the Western allies to propose a return to the failed policies of the past with the four-power Allied Control Council and the Kommandatura, both of which had been moribund since the Russians had walked out in March, 1948.

West Berlin railway workers rejected a peace feeler by the Russian-sponsored railway system to end their strike, based primarily on seeking payment in Western marks. The president of the system had offered such form of payment, but there were also two other demands, recognition of their union as the legal bargaining agent for the workers and re-hiring of employees fired for political reasons during the previous year. The president of the railway said that workers would be taken back except those guilty of damage to property.

At Arlington National Cemetery, the nation paid its final tribute to James Forrestal, former Secretary of the Navy and first Secretary of Defense, who had resigned his post at the end of March and died the previous Sunday. Mr. Forrestal was buried in Arlington with high military honors and a 19-gun salute, after a ceremony in the packed Amphitheater. The President and Vice-President were present, along with various Cabinet officials, the Joint Chiefs, and diplomats.

The President, while receiving the annual Robert S. Abbott Award, given to the citizen who had done the most during the year to advance full citizenship without regard to race, creed, or color, pledged continued fight for civil rights. John H. Sengstacke, editor and publisher of the Chicago Defender, presented the award in the White House Rose Garden. The award was named for the founder of the Defender.

The President nominated Nathaniel Davis, Ambassador to Costa Rica, to be Minister to Hungary. The country had no diplomatic representative in Hungary since the trial for treason and life sentence of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa in saying that he hoped that David Lilienthal would be ousted as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission because he thought him "unworthy" of the position. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who knew Mr. Lilienthal from his time as head of TVA while Mr. Kefauver was a Congressman, said that he had complete confidence in him.

The primary charges against Mr. Lilienthal were that he allowed Hans Freistadt, a graduate student at UNC, to receive an AEC scholarship despite his being a Communist, and that he had not undertaken adequate security for protection of nuclear facilities, allowing a small amount of U-235 to disappear from a Chicago laboratory.

An atomic scientist teaching at Princeton, David Bohm, refused to tell HUAC this date whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party, pleading the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination during a proceeding in executive session. Mr. Bohm had been a scientist during the war at Lawrence Laboratories in Berkeley, California. He would testify the following day in open session. The previous day, Communist Paul Crouch was brought face to face with atomic scientist Clarence Hiskey and claimed that Mr. Hiskey was an active Communist.

Well, what about the former Nazis out at Los Alamos and White Sands working on rocketry? you stupid morons. They be just good ol' boys chewin' blades o' grass now?

In Detroit, the younger brother of UAW president Walter Reuther, Victor, had been shot by a shotgun in an attempt on his life after an assailant sneaked up to his home the previous night and fired through a window. It was believed that Communists, rooted out from the CIO with the support of the Reuthers, might be behind the shooting, as in a similar shooting of Walter Reuther 13 months earlier. Victor Reuther was the UAW educational director.

The Victor Reuther family had reluctantly given away the previous Sunday their pet cocker spaniel after complaints had arisen regarding its barking.

Seventy-two hours earlier in Windsor, Ontario, a rank and file member of UAW had been slain by a shotgun blast through a window of the man's home.

Communists appeared to favor a modus operandi of shooting people through windows.

In Atlanta, a Humane Society officer had to take a seeing-eye dog from a blind beggar because the dog was malnourished after having been given to the man six weeks earlier. The man promised to get the dog a sirloin steak to fatten it up. A court hearing was to be held. The officer expressed regret at having to perform the unsavory task.

Dick Young of The News tells of Charlotte real estate man Jack Armstrong having been appointed by the City Council as tax collector for the City. He also lists the other appointees of the City Council.

On the editorial page, "School Bond Issue—I" tells of the 25 million dollar school construction bond issue set for referendum on June 4. The bond would be retired from taxes paid into the general fund.

The bond issue was likely to be approved, not because it was a good measure, but rather because it held out the illusory hope for better school plants across the state.

The piece promises more editorials on the subject, as to why it was not a good measure.

The first argument which had regularly been presented by the column was that it gave $250,000 each to the 100 counties of the state, regardless of need or population size of the county, rendering a disproportionately large per pupil allotment to smaller counties versus those with larger population centers.

"Stampede in Congress" tells of the plan of the Republicans to cut five percent from the budget across the board for every agency and department of the Government to have run, so far, into roadblocks at every turn since the first effort to that end on April 28.

Consequently, Richard L. Strout, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, had sought to pass the buck to the President by proposing that Congress wait until the final appropriations bill and attach to it a rider requiring the President, himself, to go through each executive expenditure and make a five percent reduction.

Such, the piece asserts, would be an artless attempt to shift blame for a resulting deficit to the President, who had sought to raise taxes to provide for a surplus to pay down the war debt. It concludes that Congress ought undertake the responsibility to reduce spending as necessary to balance the budget and not be stampeded into more and more spending.

"The Coker Plan" applauds the plan enunciated on the page by Dr. Donald Agnew of Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., which had instituted a program of education to instill in the student an understanding of human culture while also enabling preparation for a specialized field. It had determined that there was no practical way for a college student to become well-versed in all of the major liberal arts curricula of a college while also preparing for a specialized field of endeavor, such as business or science.

Dr. Donald Agnew, as president of Coker College, shares the college's new plan as described in the piece. The four-year curriculum in Civilization would be fully implemented during the school year 1949-50.

Earlier, until the Twentieth Century, colleges and universities had stressed the classics and specified virtually the entire course of study. The trend in modern colleges and universities was toward introductory electives with a few general requirements, having little organization except that orchestrated by the individual student.

The new limited elective plan at Coker was designed to afford well-integrated and systematic training in the arts and sciences while allowing students to choose fields of specialization.

Drew Pearson tells of a friendly exchange of banter as the President and Vice-President Alben Barkley had bid bon voyage to Secretary of State Acheson on his way to Paris the previous week.

U.N. chief delegate Warren Austin was now in the doghouse with the State Department for disobeying orders regarding the issue of admission of Israel to the U.N. When the question had come up, Mr. Austin was supposed to vote for admission but not to make speeches for it because Israel then was in violation of the mediation orders issued by the U.N. Mr. Austin proceeded to make a strong speech in favor of admission and sought to impress the matter on several delegates, to the end that Israel was admitted. Mr. Acheson was now considering what to do about Mr. Austin's disobedience.

Senator Ed Thye of Minnesota had chastised his fellow Republicans for coming before the Appropriations Committee seeking special appropriations for projects at home and then signing onto the across-the-board five percent budget cuts. Senator Forrest Donnell of Missouri echoed the sentiment and said that agencies and departments would simply ask for five percent more if the five percent cuts were made.

Mr. Acheson had told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the decision not to support lifting of diplomatic sanctions against Franco's Spain at the U.N. was ultimately his own. There had been a 3 to 2 split in the U.N. delegation, with Eleanor Roosevelt, Ben Cohen, and, surprisingly, John Foster Dulles voting against Franco, while Warren Austin and Ray Atherton favored lifting the sanctions.

The Russians had sent 74 experts to Paris for the Foreign Ministers Council meeting, suggestive that they were ready to negotiate. It was the largest delegation in recent history provided by the Russians.

A row had emerged in the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding access to atomic energy information, with subcommittee chairman Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming countermanding an order by three Committee Republicans, Senators Wherry, Bridges, and Ferguson, to dig up technical data. Senator Wherry demanded a showdown from Committee chairman Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee.

Marquis Childs comments on the mental illness of James Forrestal which led to his suicide the prior Sunday morning in Bethesda Naval Hospital. He had come to believe that he was being persecuted. While it was exaggerated in his own mind, there was persecution going on, he posits, within the press and radio commentary. The extent to which that attack had driven him to suicide could not be determined. He was a broken man in the end, believing himself a failure for not being able adequately to effect unification of the military, an impossible task from its inception.

The same kind of attack was being launched against David Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, coming from quite different elements of the press and radio commentary. His task as first AEC chairman was as impossible as that of Mr. Forrestal as first Secretary of Defense.

Mr. Forrestal was attacked as a symbol of big business for his having been a partner in the Wall Street firm of Dillon, Read before entering the Government in 1940. Mr. Lilienthal was attacked as a symbol of the New Deal and the radicalism of the Roosevelt Administration, with his opponents suggesting that he could not be trusted with the nation's atomic secrets.

The loss in Chicago of a small amount of U-235 was exaggerated out of proportion, even after espionage and theft were eliminated as the cause. The issue of the UNC graduate student Hans Freistadt receiving an AEC scholarship, though a Communist, was also exaggerated by those seeking to discredit Mr. Lilienthal and thereby civilian administration of AEC, wishing its return to military control as after the war.

Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa had demanded Mr. Lilienthal's resignation. Even though possessed of conscientious motivations, his statement served the campaign to get Mr. Lilienthal.

Mr. Childs regards press and radio commentary to be a clear and present danger, exceeding the limits of a free press, when it sunk to the level of personal bigotry and feud to target particular people. Such could result in driving from public life all except "timid hacks and military automatons".

Neither Mr. Forrestal nor Mr. Lilienthal had been the perfect heads of their respective Department and Commission. Many believed that the AEC needed to be more open about the atomic bomb. But when it tried to do that, as in its last annual report, it wound up with the attack on Mr. Lilienthal by "ignorant and prejudiced men" in the Senate, fearful that secrets would be betrayed.

The effort, he concludes, was an abuse of democracy which threatened democracy. It was no wonder that Soviet propaganda was able to acquire such useful fodder for its mill, proving to the world that the U.S. was panic-stricken and obsessed with fear.

James Marlow tells of the Democrats having come into control of the Congress after complaining of the "do-nothing" Republican 80th Congress. But in five months, the new Congress had only managed to pass a watered-down rent control extension bill.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas expected to finish by the end of July three major areas of legislation, Taft-Hartley repeal, extension of reciprocal trade agreements, and ratification of NATO. The latter two would likely get done, but the Taft-Hartley debate would rage for weeks. Mr. Lucas had said that there would be no time for the President's health care program in the current session. Nor would there be time for civil rights. The House was still considering the housing bill passed by the Senate, facing a stiff Republican challenge. Even the Marshall Plan aid for the coming fiscal year had not been appropriated, though previously approved. Nor was there apparently any room on the schedule for the Administration's new farm program. Raising of taxes also appeared dead.

He concludes that the program enunciated by the Democrats was becoming smaller and smaller, but that maybe something would get done in the 1950 session as Congressional elections would be coming up then.

A letter from the public relations director of the Atlantic Union Committee thanks the newspaper for its stories anent the Committee and its work in support of NATO before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A letter from the Charlotte Branch of the National Association of College Women thanks the owners and managers of the new Sears store in Charlotte for providing a restroom and lounge for black women.

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