The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 26, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Shanghai, the Nationalist troops ran up a white flag over the post office as the defense of the lower Soochow Creek appeared to collapse. Unconfirmed reports rippled through the city that the fortress at Woosung to the north, escape route for the Shanghai garrison, had fallen, with 15,000 Nationalist troops captured. Cannonade could no longer be heard from that direction.

In Paris, at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, a British diplomatic source stated that the Western allies were demanding from the Russians that the agreement on ending the Berlin blockade be carried out precisely.

Because of the continuing West Berlin railway strike to obtain Western marks as payment from the Soviet-controlled railways, supplies to Berliners were again coming primarily from the airlift, carrying 8,000 tons per day. Allied officials accused the Russians of imposing thereby a new type of blockade by refusing to agree to the demands of the workers.

According to the British source, unless the railway strike were settled, the Western foreign ministers would ask Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky to intervene.

Secretary of State Acheson had told the conference the previous day that a third of the industries in the Russian zone of Germany were owned by Russian trusts, with ninety percent of some key industries under Soviet control. The West wanted this grip loosened.

According to the British and American aides, their delegations were taken aback by the demands made by Mr. Vishinsky in the opening sessions of the conference, seen as a retreat to Potsdam in demanding a return to the Allied Control Council as a means of administrative oversight of the German government, rather than the Western-desired political and economic unity under the new West German constitution. The Russians opposed that latter form of government for the Soviet zone.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal told Congressional investigators of the joint Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee that the AEC had cleared both Dr. Edward Condon and then UNC president, now Senator Frank Graham of North Carolina for secret work despite both receiving adverse recommendations on security clearance. Mr. Lilienthal stated that the Commission had overruled its security officer Admiral John Gingrich in only two cases which he could recall, those of Dr. Condon for clearance as head of the Bureau of Standards and Frank Graham to head the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Institute of Nuclear Studies. The security advisory committee providing the adverse report on Mr. Graham was headed by former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts.

Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut urged that Senator Graham should be afforded the right to appear before the Committee as long as his name had been dragged into the proceedings.

The object of the hearings was to investigate Senator Bourke Hickenlooper's charges of lapses of AEC security which had led to the provision of an AEC scholarship to a Communist graduate student at UNC and the disappearance of a small amount of U-235 from a Chicago laboratory. Senator Hickenlooper assured that he was not impugning the integrity or personal patriotism of Mr. Lilienthal, but rather was criticizing his policies.

Senator Harry Cain of Washington announced that he was proposing legislation to abolish the AEC and to entrust atomic energy instead to a board comprised of the secretaries of the armed forces and a scientist.

In response to the Hoover Commission Report, the President issued a statement to all executive departments and agencies asking whether they were doing the best possible job at the lowest cost. The President was urging Congress to give him authority to reorganize government based on the recommendations of the Commission.

The Federal Reserve Board reported that for the fifth straight month, industrial production had dropped.

Starting in 1950, the Congress would place all spending bills in a single omnibus appropriation bill rather than considering each agency appropriation separately as at present.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the defense rested in the trial of the doctor accused of murdering his wife's paramour. His wife testified that she was not friendly with the man after he had plied her with alcohol and forcibly seduced her. Seven co-workers had testified for the prosecution that she had gone to see the victim several times after the alleged date of the forcible seduction. A boyhood acquaintance of the victim, an engineer, testified for the defense that he had a bad reputation for peacefulness. The defense claimed that the victim fought with the defendant and that the victim pulled a knife which wound up, in the course of the ensuing struggle, accidentally stabbing him to death. The prosecution claimed the doctor brought the knife to the scene, waited for the victim in his hotel room, and used it deliberately to stab the victim.

The doctor would be convicted of second degree murder, sentenced to 70 years in prison, and after his conviction would be affirmed on appeal in 1951, killed himself.

You don't want to miss a single thrilling moment of this unfolding drama in the life of others.

Dr. Ralph Bunche, U.N. mediator for Palestine, was named father of the year for his achievements as a mediator. Others honored included actor John Garfield, television commentator and columnist Ed Sullivan, Connie Mack for sports, Nelson Rockefeller for brotherhood, Herbert Hoover for government, Bernard Baruch for statesmanship, and Arthur Miller as a playwright, presumably for Death of a Salesman, winner of a 1949 Pulitzer Prize.

Donald McDonald of The News tells of cats in Mecklenburg County being persecuted and not receiving the same cordial treatment as dogs. But the Mecklenburg Humane Society came to pussy's aid whenever there was a cat-astrophe. The reason people hated cats, he posits, was: "The change from jungle cats, which used to cause such a cat-awampous in native villages, to domesticated pets has perhaps been too sudden. Almost cat-aclysmic, let's say." And he proceeds to cat-egorize cats, including cat-fish, cat-birds, catcalls and catsup, as well as the Catawba River, named for some cat.

Well, what would you say if you worked for a newspaper and they told you to go out and cover cats for a day? He probably needed to give that cat a tonic.

On page 13-A, three former News writers, former Editor and Associate Editor Burke Davis, presently with the Baltimore Evening Sun, John Harden, and Cam Shipp, former book-page editor who had been responsible for the original hiring of W. J. Cash as a weekly book reviewer before the latter was named Associate Editor in 1937, comment on books.

On the editorial page, "School Bond Issue—II" provides the primary arguments against the 25 million dollar school construction bond issue set for referendum on June 4. The principal problem was that the separate bill passed by the Legislature to appropriate 25 million dollars of additional money would give $250,000 to each of the state's 100 counties without regard to size or need and so would not actually do what the North Carolina Education Commission had recommended, provide a remedy with State money for lack of funds with which to build schools and improve education generally in the poorer counties, without adequate tax revenues.

"On the Threshold" tells of the old cliché about the United States being a land of opportunity for citizen and immigrant alike remaining true because people worked to make it true, and that such things told the graduating high school seniors each spring, that it took a little luck, a lot of work, and a small measure of inspiration to be successful, no matter how oft repeated, were largely true.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "The Dry St. Lawrence", tells of Yale scientist Dr. Richard Foester Flint, writing in Natural History, having determined that the St. Lawrence River over the course of several thousand years would dry up and Niagara Falls would come to a trickle. The St. Lawrence would pour over the streets of Chicago and flow seaward via the Illinois Waterway and the Mississippi. Three of the Great Lakes were shrinking by an inch per decade. Eventually, therefore, the St. Lawrence Seaway would come to be naturally without costing a billion dollars for a man-made version.

It notes that there had never been a study performed on the economic soundness of the Seaway project.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of State Acheson having received advice from Capitol Hill before going to Paris for the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. Senator Arthur Vandenberg advised not to be too tough on Russia while refraining from engaging in appeasement. Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah wondered whether Germany should be rearmed as a buffer to Russia, which Mr. Acheson advised against for the Germans being closer to the East than the West and being thus prone to join with Russia after rearmament.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., advised strengthening of Germany's economy without building up its war-making capability. Mr. Acheson agreed that German manufacturing had to be monitored closely. The Secretary also asserted that Russia would have nothing to do with the Ruhr as it got nothing from it in peacetime. But Senator Thomas interjected that the Russian satellites had an interest in the Ruhr, giving Russia an interest.

Senator Vandenberg also insisted that the right-of-way to Berlin through the Eastern sector had not been spelled out clearly enough at Potsdam and should be done to avoid another blockade.

Congressman Vito Marcantonio of New York had fought hard against the election of FDR, Jr., to Congress, replacing deceased Sol Bloom in New York. But after the election, Mr. Marcantonio had told Congressman Chet Holifield of California that Mr. Roosevelt was "going places".

He notes that the victory would bode well for James Roosevelt who intended to run for governor of California.

CIO president Philip Murray recently had thoroughly denounced Communists in the CIO unions, more so than had been told in the press. He had even wondered aloud how many of them were really FBI agents. The New York trial of the eleven American Communist Party leaders had produced many witnesses who had posed as Communists while working for the FBI.

Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas was investigating former RFC employees who had arranged loans while at RFC and then went to work at lucrative jobs for the companies receiving those loans.

As many as 2,000 lobbyists had descended on Congress to oppose the public housing bill, working on Southern Democrats. Republicans generally believed the bill "socialistic", even though Senator Taft was a co-sponsor in the Senate. House Minority Leader Joe Martin, however, strongly opposed it as did House minority whip Charles Halleck. Twenty progressive Republicans in the House favored it.

He points out that the housing bill would be less costly than the potato subsidy pushed by the farm lobby. That program had cost the taxpayers over a million dollars per day.

Marquis Childs discusses a proposed loan to Mexico from the Export-Import Bank to develop oil properties held by a Mexican Government corporation. The amount was reported to be 470 million dollars. Export-Import Bank chairman Herbert Gaston was not in favor of the loan. At one point, there was wide support within the Administration for it, to help Mexico counter wartime inflation, the cost of living in the fall of 1948 having stood at 3.25 times that of 1939.

A group of investors led by Ed Pauley had signed a contract with Pemex, the Mexican Government-owned oil company, providing that 50 percent of all oil produced by the Pauley group would go to it until the investment was recovered, after which the group would get 16 percent of all oil produced on land and 18 percent of all tidelands oil, all tax free, all without further work. It was a low risk, high return proposition. The only chance of loss would be if the group failed to find any oil, an unlikely prospect.

The presence of Mr. Pauley, the President's old friend, gave the deal the look of political favoritism and so was tainted. He had acquired the deal by virtue of a letter of introduction to the Mexican Government from the President.

Large American oil companies disfavored the loan as they had never been compensated for the expropriation of the oil below ground in 1938, though being recompensed for that taken above ground. They argued that it was wrong to provide a loan to a Government which had thus seized private property.

The result of political influence on behalf of a friend appeared to result in a stalemate on this enterprise, offset as it was by economic policy.

James Marlow discusses the case of Hans Freistadt, UNC graduate student in physics who had an Atomic Energy Commission scholarship despite being a Communist. There was now discussion in Congress whether FBI checks ought be conducted regarding such recipients even though not handling secret work. Routinely those who did handle secrets were investigated, but not those as Mr. Freistadt.

AEC chairman David Lilienthal was against security checks of young scientists not handling secret work on the ground that it would cause them to resent the fact and deter them from applying to the fellowship program.

The president of the National Academy of Sciences had warned that such investigations would not be far from what the Nazis did to scientists and what the Russians were presently doing.

Senator Vandenberg had raised the question why the Government should be paying to educate a Communist.

Mr. Marlow questions how far such probes would reach if started. Would the FBI start investigating the political beliefs of every G.I. receiving a free education under the G. I. bill?

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, discusses problem-solving in Washington. First, to solve the Russian problem, a military budget of 22 billion dollars was proposed. But then that led to a budget problem. The President proposed raising taxes four billion dollars, causing a tax problem for business. So, Congress sought to cut the budget. The House Republicans wanted to postpone public housing, producing, if approved, a housing problem and a consequent public morale problem, potentially causing Communist propaganda to get a foothold.

But as ERP aid and military aid to NATO promised good things for business, the problem began to suggest the solution, thus producing the situation that the problem was needed to act as the anodyne for the economic problem.

All of it, he concludes, pointed to the need for the Council of Foreign Ministers to construct a peace in Paris. Peace had its problems, too, but at least they were problems which could be handled, unlike those hydra-headed problems of the present which merely developed into more problems.

A letter writer finds that the Better Schools and Roads group in North Carolina was sending out orators to promote Governor Kerr Scott's program who were slick and full of ardor, that the 200-million dollar bond and accompanying one-cent gasoline tax increase were unnecessary to improve rural roads, as it could be accomplished more slowly on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A letter from the vice-president of the North Carolina D.A.R. objects to the editorial from the Fayetteville Observer appearing May 20 in which it had attacked the D.A.R. for continuing to practice racial discrimination in refusing to rent its Constitution Hall in Washington to black artists. She accuses Hazel Scott of a publicity stunt in applying for the hall, knowing that she would be turned down as she had been previously.

She wants to correct the story by stating that the D.A.R. policies on racial discrimination were in line with D.C. and Southern customs. She says that when D.C. changed its policies, then so would the D.A.R.

Spoken like a true Revolutionary.

A letter writer protests against the local bond election on June 11 which would provide a half million dollars for building off-street parking to be run by the City, on the ground that it would compete with private enterprise. He thinks it unconstitutional.

Yeah, the government shouldn't build no roads neither nor do anything. It should not even exist. The government is unconstitutional. More guns, that's what we need. Then when you come to town to park, whoever has the fastest draw gets the space.

A pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, this one "In Which It Is Pointed Out That Kindly Expressions Have Enduring Qualities:

"Words of praise
Stay warm for days."

And words of insouciant malaise
Produce only inattentive glaze.

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