The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 4, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the State Department announced that the Big Four had agreed to end the Berlin blockade and the Western counter-blockade which had been implemented in response the previous summer. The agreement followed the first four-power meeting on the matter, which had convened just after 12:30 this date on the 23rd floor of 2 Park Avenue in New York, offices of the U.S. delegation. Previous meetings had been between the U.S. and Russia or between the U.S., Britain and France. No date was provided for the lifting of the blockade, but, according to a source, it would probably occur on May 13. The communique said that after an interval, a date would be set for a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to consider questions relating to Germany and Berlin, including the issue of currency—over which, ostensibly, the blockade was implemented by the Russians the previous June. That meeting, according to the source, would likely be scheduled for May 23. Another State Department communique was set to be released the following day, provided details could be settled in the interim.

Future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that unless NATO were ratified by the U.S., war was highly probable, as other nations would regard failure of ratification as a major shift in U.S. foreign policy away from allied cooperation.

Former Undersecretary of State Will Clayton told the Committee that the Russians were thus far winning the cold war, though America had won the "battle of Berlin" regarding the blockade. But, he cautioned, the battle of Greece had not been won and the battle of China had been practically lost. The cold war, he added, was still raging in Western Europe.

In China, Shanghai was isolated from the inland by Communist troops threatening to force abandonment by the Nationalist troops of Hankow within 48 hours. Hankow, with 200,000 defenders, was being surrendered without a fight as its gasoline supply was within three days of exhaustion. The loss of Hankow meant the loss to the Communists of all land routes into Shanghai. The Communists nevertheless remained 26 miles distant from the city and there was no sign of an impending attack. Reports continued to persist that Chiang Kai-Shek was in Shanghai, with some indicating his purpose being to prevent surrender of the city to the Communists.

The President was urging John J. McCloy, president of the World Bank, to accept the position as U.S. civilian high commissioner of the Western occupation zones in Germany, to replace General Lucius Clay as military governor of the U.S. zone, following agreement the previous month to merge the three zones and establish civilian administration of the occupation. The high commissioner would serve on an allied high commission with the other two high commissioners representing Britain and France. General Clay had resigned, effective May 15.

Administration Democrats, in a close vote, succeeded in having the labor bill proposed by Congressman John Wood of Georgia, an alternative measure which would retain much of Taft-Hartley, sent back to the Labor Committee for further study, leaving the House without a labor bill pending. The Administration bill to repeal Taft-Hartley and substitute for it an altered version of the Wagner Act of 1935, retaining the Taft-Hartley provisions banning secondary boycotts and jurisdictional strikes, likewise, however, had not been passed. The labor issue thus, for the nonce, had resulted in a stalemate in the House.

The President nominated Capus Waynick of North Carolina, former Editor of the High Point Enterprise and chairman of the state Democratic committee, to be Ambassador to Nicaragua.

In Vienna, a U.S. Army private, somewhat in his cups, had slugged a sentry outside a Soviet-occupied hotel, then walked across the street to another hotel and slugged a Russian officer, finally entering the latter hotel to begin swinging at any Russian officer he encountered, hitting between eight and twelve more, before being finally subdued by American M.P.'s.

On the editorial page, "Home Rule for Schools" finds no inconsistency in supporting state expenditures for schools and opposing the proposed 300-million dollar Federal aid to education bill. The Governor, both U.S. Senators, and the Congressmen of the area supported the latter bill, as did educational leaders and teachers in the state. Likewise, most other newspapers supported it.

The opposition of the News was based, first, on Federal aid to education being a departure from the tradition of local and state supplied education.

Second, the Supreme Court, in 1942, had stated with respect to farm subsidies in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 US 111, at 131, that it was no denial of due process for the Federal Government to regulate that which it subsidized—albeit nevertheless limited and gauged by the extent of the statutory authority so to regulate, the case holding in this regard only that which was on its face self-evident insofar as passing Constitutional muster, the power to use the taxpayers' money to subsidize being coextensive with the power to regulate under the Constitution, viz., Article I, Section 8. (While there, gun advocates who think the Second Amendment is absolute, that it recognizes an unrestricted right to bear arms and that the language regarding "a well-regulated militia" is merely archaic surplusage, pay attention, as it relates to the Second Amendment, to the clause providing Congress with the power, "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress".)

Thus, the piece believes, the Federal Government in time would begin to exert control over the curricula of the schools and, given the trend in Federal court decisions toward eradication of separate-but-equal doctrine for it not being realized and mandating instead integrated higher public education, would ultimately deny Federal benefits where segregation was being practiced. It also believes that the budget did not have the 300 million dollars to spare, after supplying defense spending and foreign aid and payment toward retirement of the huge national debt from the late war.

North Carolina, as one of the "poorer states", would likely receive 21 million dollars from the program, more than it would pay in as taxes. The General Assembly had appropriated 178.5 million dollars for education for the ensuing biennium, a 48 million dollar increase over the 1947-49 biennium. The state had a school system, it suggests, which in many ways was a national model, one which had been built by the state's own efforts. It thinks it much too valuable an asset to be compromised by Federal aid.

Home rule for schools: go ahead and play the fool.

If a state or locality wants to educate its children not to be little minions of the province, steeped in notions, some fanciful, born and nourished in the province and neither tested nor challenged strenuously by the ideas of the outside world, but rather to have an education which can be respected across the nation in every locality and in every state, thus to shape a better informed democracy and a more perfect union among the states, then uniform national standards in education have to be applied. Of course, the real issue in 1949 was not so much that as it was a fear, of irrational genesis and sustenance by superstition, of integrated schools.

"A New Administration" tells of the local primary runoff the previous day, as detailed on the front page, having gone about as expected, with Victor Shaw winning the mayoral election, having defeated the previous week incumbent Mayor Herbert Baxter. Likewise, five of the seven City Council seats were filled by the slate of Shaw candidates. The other two seats were won by independents. Two were incumbents. The piece congratulates the winners, including News columnist Reverend Herbert Spaugh, re-elected to the School Board, and believes the winning candidates would supply good government.

"A Prize for Living" tells of Pulitzer Prizes for literature going to a novel which few had read, Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens, and to a play which only a few more had seen, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

The piece suggests a Pulitzer prize for living and for contributing to the lives of others, perhaps named for Epicurus. But the problem would come in finding deserving recipients as few in the world seemed to recall how to live. Yet, it concludes, such a prize might act as inducement to relearn the art.

State Representative Arthur Kirkman of High Point, in a piece from Southern City, tells of three bills sponsored by the municipalities of the state having gotten nowhere in the 1949 session of the General Assembly. He thinks more people ought be elected to the Assembly with experience in problems of local government.

Drew Pearson tells of the status of relations with Russia, some good, some bad. With the Berlin blockade negotiations had come Russia's relenting completely in its aggression toward northern Iran. Austria was nervous regarding the establishment of pillboxes and barbed wire along the border in Hungary. The Joint Chiefs had informed the President that the Army had enough surplus equipment to arm 25 divisions in Western Europe. An American steel company had begun secret negotiations with Yugoslavia to establish a plant there, in furtherance of the effort to keep Tito from patching up relations with the Russians. The State Department had approved the transaction.

Senator Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut, who had accepted a position on the State Supreme Court effective at the end of the year, was in the meantime preparing, along with other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to look at the propriety of medals and honors provided government functionaries by foreign heads of state, such as the medal given presidential military aide General Harry Vaughan by Argentine dictator Juan Peron. The State Department was holding the medals for safekeeping pending Congressional approval, required under the Constitution. But the Senators were wondering whether the awards should have been accepted at all, as the propaganda value in the case of Sr. Peron had already echoed throughout Latin America, raising questions regarding the consistency of U.S. foreign policy toward the region.

Senator Baldwin had objected to committee approval of twelve British-presented medals because, while not controversial, they might set a precedent for approval of the others. He thus opposed such piecemeal action.

General Lucius Clay, military governor of the American occupation zone in Germany, was ordered in early April by the State Department to present immediately to German leaders the Big Three's agreed terms for a new West German state. But for unknown reasons he had delayed. Meanwhile, news of Western negotiations with Russia on the Berlin blockade began to leak out, potentially causing the German leaders to stall implementation of the new charter and play the Russians off against the West. Finally, special Ambassador Robert Murphy was sent to Germany to speed up General Clay, and the charter was then presented to the German leaders.

He notes that during the Russian-U.S. talks in New York, the Russian representative had stated that the blockade would not be lifted unless the plans to establish the West German state were canceled. The U.S. representative had flatly refused and the Russians said no more about it.

Marquis Childs tells of Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington being forced to cancel an off-the-record conference with a group of newspaper reporters because of a new policy by new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson forbidding such off-the-record communications. It was ironic because Mr. Johnson, in the short time he had been in the post, had already issued several off-the-record statements, three of note just during the previous week, which Mr. Childs believes should be attributed to him.

The first was that Jonathan Daniels would not become Secretary of the Navy because of his not being on good terms with Undersecretary of Defense Steve Early, FDR's former press secretary. (Mr. Early was succeeded briefly by Mr. Daniels just before FDR's death in April, 1945, and briefly served under President Truman until being replaced by Charles G. Ross. Mr. Daniels had, however, served as a key adviser to the President during the 1948 campaign.) Subsequently, the President stated that Mr. Daniels was under consideration for the post.

The second occasion was the announcement that Curtis Calder, utility head, would become the new Secretary of the Army, to take over the post in 60 days. Shortly afterward, Mr. Calder denied that he would do so, but the President indicated that he hoped that he would accept the appointment.

The third instance was a statement by Mr. Johnson that the Marine Corps air unit would be absorbed into the Air Force or Navy's air arm. Then shortly afterward, Mr. Johnson, himself, stated through Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia that such was not contemplated.

The President, without knowing who the unidentified source of these statements was, had been quite annoyed.

The public had approved of Mr. Johnson's cancellation of the supercarrier project for its 200 million dollar cost outright, plus task force support costs bringing total project cost to more than a billion dollars. Someone had to rein in the military's costs to promote efficiency and eliminate duplication. But, suggests Mr. Childs, knocking heads together was not the only way to effect unification of the military. Some finesse and tact could avoid the prospect of everyone becoming upset at the ordeal.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of the U.N., with the resolution of the Berlin blockade crisis, being cautiously optimistic that better East-West relations generally were in prospect. General Lucius Clay had said that, given the negotiations, the Russians probably would behave more reasonably in the future, but that Communism would still be striving for world domination as its ultimate aim.

There was definitely room for a new attitude, utilizing more subtle methods than those employed by Russia to take over Eastern Europe. The great issue at present was the future of Germany, with one Soviet sector and three Western sectors. It could not regain economic strength unless the four sectors were reunited. But Russia wanted to exert control over all of Germany and many observers believed it to be the actual motive for the sudden willingness to lift the blockade, to lull the West into complacency.

But if the four powers could agree on a reasonable solution for Germany, it could mean the end of the cold war and peaceful coexistence. The Red offensive in Asia would continue as would the efforts of fifth columnists throughout the Western world. But it would likely be better to have such a quasi-peace than the cold war, threatening at times to become a hot war.

With these facts in mind, he concludes, it was possible to join the diplomats in the cautious optimism that a form of peace might be in the offing.

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