The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 31, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, according to French sources, the three Western powers voted against Russia's proposal to invite a delegation from the Communist-dominated German People's Congress to appear at the conference. The three Western powers also conferred on the dual currency issue in Berlin.

The State Department ordered the closing of the U.S. consulate at Mukden in Manchuria, which the Communists had kept isolated for the previous six months.

In La Paz, Bolivia, strikers hurled dynamite from hilltop redoubts in a battle with Bolivian troops trying to maintain order after the weekend rioting in the Andean tin mines. Bolivia was under a Government-declared siege as a result. A U.S. citizen continued to be held hostage by the strikers. At least 29 persons, including two American engineers, had been killed, with two miners killed and six others wounded the previous day. The Government blamed the rightist nationalist revolutionary movement for the uprising.

General Lucius Clay, former military governor of the American occupation zone in Germany, retired this date from the Army. He had recently come home from Germany.

The House Armed Services Committee began its hearings into potential conflicts of interest between new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson and the award of contracts to Consolidated Vultee Corp. for the B-36 bomber. Mr. Johnson had been a board member and the attorney for Consolidated before becoming Secretary of Defense, and executives of Consolidated had given generous contributions to the Truman campaign the previous year, which Mr. Johnson had been instrumental in collecting.

Senator Millard Tydings proposed that all members of Congress take a five percent pay cut should they pass the proposal to make across-the-board cuts of five percent in the Federal budget for all departments and agencies.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal would be called to testify the following day before the joint Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee investigating charges brought by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper that Mr. Lilienthal had mismanaged the AEC.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in N.L.R.B. v. Crompton-Higland Mills, Inc., 337 U.S. 217, delivered by Justice Harold Burton, that an N.L.R.B. cease and desist order was justified on its findings of facts regarding its determination that a union had to be notified before a substantially higher wage increase could be granted during contract negotiations than that which the company had been willing to grant during negotiations with the union representative, unless the increase had been rejected by the union. The Court specifically upheld the Board decision that it was an unfair labor practice for a textile mill to raise wages twelve days after contract talks with the CIO Textile Workers Union of America had transpired, that such conduct violated the duty of the employer under the National Labor Relations Act to engage in collective bargaining and, in effect, coerced the employees to accept the wages offered in lieu of union negotiations.

Justices William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge differed on part II of the decision, holding that there was no need for the order of the N.L.R.B. to go further to require the employer to undertake affirmative remedial steps as posting notices of the employer's action, thus dissented to that part of the decision.

In New York, the trial began of Alger Hiss on a charge of perjury before the Federal grand jury the previous fall, regarding his claim that he had not provided secret documents from the State Department to confessed former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers, as well as his claim that he had not talked to Mr. Chambers at all in February or March, 1938, when Mr. Chambers alleged the documents were passed to him. Jury selection was in process.

In New York, stocks hit a new low for 1949, with the leading stocks declining on average three cents to around $3 per share.

In Hamlet, N.C., a policeman had been shot and was near death as a massive manhunt was underway for three men in a car, one of whom had allegedly shot the police officer as he tried to serve a warrant on the man for the murder of the man's wife and two children. The manhunt involved police and sheriff's officers from surrounding counties and two South Carolina counties, plus Highway Patrolmen.

In Montreat, N.C., the Southern Presbyterian Conference continued, with a proposal being debated whether to apologize to the estate of a Greensboro man who had left stock to the Church. The Church had sued his estate for fraud for alleged mishandling of the stock, a suit eventually dismissed. No decision was reached on the resolution.

Tom Schlesinger of The News tells of the chief of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Hugh Bennett, describing as miracles the one-day demonstrations he had witnessed across the country in soil conservation. He was in Charlotte to see the results of the one-day demonstration the previous October on the Kelly brothers' farm, rejuvenating a farm which had depleted soil to make it productive again, utilizing community labor and donated equipment, all performed in a day. He placed the Kelly farm among the top such miracle operations. He predicted that by increasing present facilities, the job of major conservation in the country could be completed by 1970.

Well, it won't matter as we'll all be dead by then from the atomic bomb.

Emery Wister of The News reports of a new twenty-dollar bill issued by the Treasury which had a new, updated back with the Truman Balcony added to the image of the White House, plus some new shrubbery. The bills had caused an initial stir with some local residents as counterfeit tens and twenties had been showing up in the vicinity in recent months, triggering a spate of complaints about the new bills. The face of the twenty, bearing the likeness of President Andrew Jackson, had not been changed.

On page 4-B, the story appears of the Athlete of the Year award recipient for Charlotte, Don Thomas.

On the editorial page, "Poker at Paris" tells of the poker game between the West and Russia at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. But the Western ministers did not expect agreement, believed that Russia called the meeting only to sound out the Western demands, which included a federal German government for the entire country, operating under the new West German constitution, with a four-power council overseeing certain aspects of government, assuring that industry would remain non-military, among other things.

The Russians wanted to return to the four-power Allied Control Council, with unilateral veto power to each nation, abandoned the previous year when Russia had walked out in March. Russia also wanted participation in the industrial Ruhr and continuation of the extant reparations policy, under which Russia received ten billion dollars of current industrial production of Germany. The West had turned thumbs down on these proposals, with the reservation of the veto power being the primary sticking point.

Russia was now in a Council of Foreign Ministers meeting with its back to the wall for the first time, with NATO forming and the Marshall Plan working well, its satellites restive. The question was not whether Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe could be halted, as it already had been, but rather whether the Russians could retain the territory they had.

"All Loss and No Gain" tells of the Associated Press estimating that Ford Motor Company had lost 77 million dollars during the 24-day UAW strike, based on an assembly line speedup at the River Rouge plant in Dearborn. Even more had been lost secondarily through layoffs of suppliers and the like.

The UAW and management agreed to submit the matter to an arbitration board for resolution and the company agreed to withdraw disciplinary action against 35 employees. The UAW admitted that no great victory had been achieved.

The piece concludes, therefore, that the strike was probably not worth the loss to workers of wages.

"Two-Edged Weapon" tells of Southern Senators wanting the bill to eliminate the discriminatory tax on margarine to come the floor of the Senate, after it had passed the House two months earlier. But the dairy state Senators were objecting and promised a long floor fight. Before becoming too indignant about it, the piece suggests, the Senators needed to realize that the strategy being utilized was their own regarding cotton.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Teen-Age Drivers", tells of the Winston-Salem Police Department urging the reading of an article in Collier's, "Kid Killers at the Wheel", as Twin City youth under 25 had contributed substantially to the city's automobile death toll the previous year.

The article recommended better education of drivers, stricter law enforcement, and better parental oversight, a regimen generally followed in Winston-Salem. The driver training program required 45 hours, 30 hours observing other drivers and 15 hours behind the wheel—a requirement which we can report did not change over at least the ensuing twenty years, except that the 30 hours would subsequently be required in classroom training at the junior high school level, the year prior to obtaining the in-car training—eight months before you take your mama's brand new car out and run a stop sign, hitting the side of the car of the wife of the other driving instructor at your high school, albeit with no injuries, of course, as you apply your brakes, quite rightly, as the car appears in your field of vision.

The piece does not try to explain why youthful drivers in Winston-Salem still had the problems despite the efforts at training and tighter law enforcement and parental oversight.

Maybe, we venture, it was because the cops were a little too vigorous in their effort at enforcement against teenage drivers, maybe still are for all we know, resulting in too much concern by inexperienced drivers about the cops in their rearview mirror, with accompanying inattention to the paramount task at hand of driving the automobile properly down the road.

Then, complicating further proper attention to the road, there were those irresponsible radio practical jokes regarding the supposed death three years earlier in a car crash of singer-songwriters. And Elvis wasn't even dead.

Drew Pearson discusses the House Armed Services Committee hearings into the award of contracts to Consolidated Vultee Corp. for building the B-36. Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson had been a board member and attorney for Consolidated and now was approving those contracts. Congressman James Van Zandt of Pennsylvania was charging that politics lay behind the award of contracts to Consolidated, as its officers had made heavy contributions to the 1948 Truman campaign, contributions collected by Mr. Johnson. Mr. Van Zandt was spearheading the Navy's campaign against Mr. Johnson and the Air Force.

Mr. Pearson urges that, appearances notwithstanding, politics had nothing to do with the award of the contracts. The decision by the Air Force had been made the previous July to switch emphasis from the B-50 and B-54 to the B-36, and the House Armed Services Committee had been so alerted in early 1948. The investigation, nevertheless, would be healthy to clear up these lingering issues.

The more proper criticism of Secretary Johnson, however, was his choice of Curtis Calder, head of Electric Bond & Share, as Secretary of the Army. Mr. Pearson promises more detail on the point in his next column.

The president pro tem of the Louisiana Senate was handing out vitamins from his company, Hadacol, to each member of Congress so that they could conquer their stress.

James Marlow discusses the fight between Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal and Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, calling for his resignation for mismanagement, principally concerned with the granting of a scholarship to a UNC graduate student who was a Communist and the disappearance of a small amount of U-235 from a Chicago laboratory.

Mr. Lilienthal had now attacked Senator Hickenlooper for a "campaign of smear … calculated to arouse fear and distrust", demanding that he hold a lengthy public hearing in which Mr. Lilienthal would be allowed to present evidence of the totality of AEC's administrative efficiency.

When Mr. Lilienthal endured a battle with the Congress three years earlier over his nomination to be the first chairman of AEC, Senator Hickenlooper had been a defender. His harshest opponent had been his old, bitter foe from his time as head of TVA, Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee.

Through most of those earlier battles, Mr. Lilienthal had been fairly restrained, but now, by his own assessment, he was "damn mad" and fighting back full tilt.

DeWitt MacKenzie addresses speculation that the recent setbacks of the Socialists to the Conservatives in Britain in the County Council elections portended a similar result in the national elections to be held the following year. But it did not necessarily work out that way as people voted based on local issues in the county elections, not necessarily indicative of the views to be expressed in the national election.

Yet, many observers believed that the local vote had expressed a general level of dissatisfaction with the Socialist program, the leveling off of individual income and destruction of private initiative by nationalization of industries. But it was also true that the leveling process had been ongoing during Conservative rule as well, as the landed gentry was fast disappearing under heavy taxation. Death taxes were so high that estates were often wiped out at the death of an owner of property. Britain now had only 250 people with net incomes annually over $20,000, 5000 pounds sterling.

Burke's Peerage had announced that it had lost track of 13 baronets, two of whom had turned up doing menial work.

Even Lord and Lady Mountbatten had been reduced, by dint of heavy taxes, to one-ninth of the annual income they had when they were married. The same had happened to many others in Britain.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, urges that the liberals of the Democratic Party, such as Senators Paul Douglas of Illinois and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, as well as Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas of California and newly elected Congressman from New York FDR, Jr., take the bull by the horns and undertake affirmative action to get the programs proposed by the Administration passed through the Congress, lest the liberals cease to exist as any force within the party. Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas had recently indicated that there would be no time this session for the civil rights legislation, the President's health care program, increase in the minimum wage, and other such programs. The liberals had taken control of the party at the convention of 1948 and could do so again. They would only be doing what the President, himself, had done when he broke with the Dixiecrats.

Failing to do so would do permanent injury to the party, as it had run on this liberal platform in the campaign. There could be no hesitation or delay in this regard, as hesitation and delay were precisely the problem.

The "Better English" answers mayhap: "yourself" should be "you more than him"; culi-nary, kind of rhyming with lunary; acomadation; to toss someone out; transcendental.

A letter writer favors removing the three percent sales tax rather than approving a 200-million dollar rural road bond issue.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for informing the public, as in its article of Friday on tax collections.

A letter writer urges voting for both the school and road bond issues on June 4.

A letter from the Knights of Columbus thanks the newspaper on behalf of their state council and local council for coverage of their state convention on May 29.

A letter writer favors a return to old-time gospel preaching to make "sinners tremble and cry aloud under a fearful burden of sin and guilt."

Calm down. Everything will be fine. They don't want to do that anymore.

A letter from the American Cancer Society thanks the newspaper for its support during the recent campaign.

A letter writer encloses a letter explaining the constituency which FDR, Jr., had been elected to represent in Congress in the Twentieth District of New York. Much of it was labor and lower income persons, not a silk stocking district.

The writer finds it to be "the repetition of the historical in usurpation, in destruction of all that is excellent by the best."

Whatever he means, you will have to figure out for yourself as he is a study in circumlocution without apparent point or end.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.