The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 5, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Big Four had agreed to lift the Berlin blockade and the Western counter-blockade on May 12 and that the Council of Foreign Ministers would meet in Paris on May 23 to discuss Germany and Berlin, including the currency issue raised by the Soviets as the pretext for the blockade, initiated the previous June, with some prior restrictions in place since March 1, 1948. The report was released simultaneously in the four capitals and by the U.N. It ended the most critical period yet in the cold war. The text is provided.

The airlift, which had supplied West Berliners with necessary food and supplies in spite of the blockade, would be continued for the time being to avoid the Soviet temptation to restore the blockade, a prospect which the Western allies deemed remote. General Lucius Clay, U.S. military occupation governor, said that the airlift would likely continue until West Berliners had a stockpile of 220,000 tons of food and supplies, as the rails were not adequate to restore the stockpile quickly. The airlift could handle 200,000 tons per month. The pilots and planes would likely be maintained in standby condition thereafter. Since the previous June 26 when the airlift began, it had carried 1,159,948 tons through Tuesday at midnight. The cost had been 173.5 million dollars. Twenty-seven men had been killed and 28 planes wrecked.

The British Defense Minister told Commons that the Chinese Communist attacks on British ships in the Yangtze River had been by "incident", not the result of a deliberate trap.

Dr. Edwin Nourse, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, predicted further easing of the cost of living, down in March 3.2 percent below the August, 1948 peak.

In Detroit, a strike at Ford Motor Company's Rouge plant by 65,000 workers began at noon this date and talks between labor and management shortly thereafter ceased. The walkout was in protest of a speedup of the assembly line.

Congressman Hamilton Jones, representing Mecklenburg County, said that he believed the Congress would pass a new labor bill which would be satisfactory to employers, employees and the general public. He had voted for the Administration measure, as amended by suggestion of Speaker Sam Rayburn early in the week, and against the Wood bill, retaining most of Taft-Hartley. The Wood bill had been referred back to the Labor Committee the previous day on a close vote and the Administration measure also still languished.

In Girardville, Pa., faint hope remained for four men trapped in an anthracite coal mine 800 feet below ground since Tuesday night.

In Lowville, N.Y., a mother and six sons perished and the father was seriously burned in a fire at the family farm caused by an exploding fuel stove. Eight children escaped injury or were not at home.

In Paris, French movie actress Michele Morgan divorced American actor William Marshall.

Governor Thomas Dewey left New York aboard the Queen Mary for a six-week vacation in Europe. He tersely responded to reporters, "Nope," when asked whether he would run for the presidency a fourth time.

On the editorial page, "Berlin: Past and Future" posits that the U.S. had not adequately provided for a means of ingress and egress to and from Berlin in the original agreement regarding establishment of the occupation zones, leaving an opening for the Soviets to have imposed the blockade the previous June. That the costly U.S.-British airlift had spoiled the attempt by the Russians to force the West from Berlin with the blockade did not change the fact that the oversight had left the door open in the first place.

The lifting of the blockade not only opened the land routes into Berlin but also opened the way to peace, even if the German issues remained unsettled, along with those in Austria, and the Communists were overrunning all of China. But an avenue had been opened to allow the prospect of peaceful coexistence between capitalism and Communism.

It urges that pressure had to be applied to Russia to preclude any future blockades.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962, President Kennedy would wisely seek and take the advice of Dean Acheson, that the way to handle the Soviets was with firmness, counsel acquired during this first stern test of Mr. Acheson's tenure as Secretary of State. The President, also wisely, did not accept the October 17 advice of Mr. Acheson at the inception of the crisis for an immediate, limited airstrike against the missile sites to take them out, with the consequences stated by Mr. Acheson at the time that it would provoke a reaction somewhere by the Soviets, probably against the obsolete missile sites in Turkey, which would then provoke the necessity of a reponse by the U.S. pursuant to NATO, after which, it would be hoped that cooler heads in Moscow would prevail. The very darkness of the scenario he painted triggered the restraint shown by the President throughout the crisis, ultimately avoiding nuclear confrontation. Mr. Acheson's concern in 1962 was that the missile sites would shortly become operational, foiling the option to remove the missiles with a limited airstrike.

Such situations as the country found itself in October, 1962 are not black and white as subsequent historical analysis, with perfect hindsight in play, sometimes tries to paint them; they require during their course fluid and creative thinking outside the box. The problem in 1962 was to exert firmness of resolve and action, as counseled by Mr. Acheson, but to translate it, to the extent possible, into non-combative modes which would allow for mutual testing of the waters on both sides, as if during military maneuvers, without engaging in the actual combat which inevitably would trigger the reactions of which Mr. Acheson's advice served to warn.

The President determined a course based on blockade and negotiation through the U.N., ultimately resolved with the informal agreement outside the public eye to remove six months hence the obsolete missiles in Turkey and pledge that no future invasion of Cuba would occur, in exchange for removal of the missiles in Cuba. The remedial course thus followed was quite similar to that used under less emergent circumstances to break the Soviet resolve in the 1948-49 showdown over Berlin, the extended airlift to circumvent the efficacy of the Soviet blockade and negotiations privately transacted outside the public eye for three months until the final days before the crisis was resolved. The President took Mr. Acheson's general advice and then used the playbook of 1949, instead of accepting the full extent of his advice which Mr. Acheson, himself, undermined, fortunately, by providing, under questioning by the President, the logical extension of the scenario which he specifically counseled. The more patient effort avoided a one-hour war which would have been the war to end all wars.

"An Expression of Faith" finds Sears, Roebuck to have placed faith in Charlotte and the Piedmont Carolinas by locating a big new store in the city. The piece finds it inspiring and comforting, welcomes the new Sears and General Robert Wood, chairman of the board of Sears, who had come to Charlotte this date for the opening.

"Contrast in Road Theories" tells of two bills which would have provided balance between rural and urban areas in receipt of State money for upkeep of local roads having been defeated in the General Assembly in favor of the rural roads program. It contrasts a more equitable system in Virginia which provided money for the municipalities as needed to maintain their roads.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "A Challenge to Winston-Salem", challenges Twin Citians to match the high turnout of Charlotte in its local election, 77 percent of registered voters, compared to the very low turnouts in Asheville, Greensboro, and Raleigh, varying between a sixth and a fourth of registered voters. The News nevertheless had bemoaned the fact that many thousands of eligible voters had not registered, considerably diluting the high turnout ratio, but the piece finds the fact not sufficiently detracting to take away from the impressive result.

Marse Grant, Morganton, N.C., journalist and Burke County correspondent for The News, examines the State Hospital in Morganton as part of National Mental Health Week and provides his findings. He starts by paying homage to the late Tom Jimison for his report in early 1942, printed first in The News and then throughout the state, based on his participant-observer status as a voluntary patient for a year in 1940-41. His report of the deficiencies in the facility and lack of adequate staffing, causing the facility to resemble a jail more than a hospital, led to a blue ribbon commission being appointed by the late Governor J. Melville Broughton to study the mental health facilities in the state and recommend improvements, which were implemented, beginning two years later.

Mr. Grant found the Morganton hospital clean, with rooms enough to care for the patients. Meals were well-balanced and servings ample. The kitchen was sanitary and well-equipped. Much of the meat and vegetables was raised on the model hospital farm.

Patients were receiving good diversionary activities. A Lutheran staff minister was on hand, making regular rounds, so that the patients could discuss their problems with a sympathetic friend.

A square dance was held the day Mr. Grant visited and the patients appeared to enjoy it.

There remained many needs of the facility but definite improvements had taken place since Mr. Jimison's 1942 report of the dismal conditions then extant. He suggests that Mr. Jimison would be pleased with the results.

We note that somebody at The News had an imperfect memory as to the timing of Mr. Jimison's report. It was seven years earlier, not ten years, as stated. Given the amount of history which had transpired, however, since January, 1942, we have no doubt that it seemed like ten years. Mr. Jimison died of natural causes shortly after the war, in September, 1945.

Drew Pearson tells of infighting going on to a degree in the Democratic leadership between Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas, exhausted and in the hospital, and Senator J. Howard McGrath, DNC chairman, stultifying the progress of Administration legislation. Senator Lucas thought that Senator McGrath was trying to usurp too much leadership power.

On the optimistic side, the Democratic committee chairmen had been plugging away to get Administration legislation, such as Federal aid to education, through hearings.

British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin had complimented U.N. Secretary General Trygve Lie of Norway for Norway having joined the NATO pact, in response to which Mr. Lie expressed appreciation. Mr. Lie, himself, had stated, notes Mr. Pearson, that had he still been Norway's foreign minister, he would not have approached the original seven NATO nations to join, as had the current Foreign Minister, but would have awaited the commitment of the other Scandinavian nations as a group to join the pact.

The President promised Congressman Charles Bennett of Florida, a decorated war veteran who had contracted polio in the Philippines and was crippled as a result, to consider legislation he was proposing to insure better education for Southern blacks if the Congress did not so provide in the Federal aid to education bill. Mr. Bennett had reminded the President that slavery in the South before the Civil War had been carried on in many instances by Northern moneyed interests and that after the Civil War, the Government had left Southern blacks largely to fend for themselves economically. He urged that the very least which the Government ought now do was to provide for education of the black population.

One of the toughest problems to be faced at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting with Russia regarding Germany was the proposal to withdraw troops from the country, which would have the effect of leaving Russian-trained Communist German police in charge of East Germany. It would not be long before these troops would take over all of Germany. The Western nations had decided to counter the Soviet proposal by proposing that the four zones be merged into a German state. They believed that the Western zones were now strong enough to dominate Eastern Germany once the Red Army would evacuate. They did not expect Russia to accept and so the troops would remain.

The publisher of the Chickasha, Okla., newspaper told new Federal Works Administrator Dave Vandivier that his first project would be getting a new water works for his hometown of Chickasha, a water works he had established when mayor of the town, outmoded by the town's growth. Mr. Vandivier promised that he would look into it.

Marquis Childs tells of a disturbing issue looming as to whether a fourth round of wage hikes would occur in the automobile, steel, coal, and electric industries, coloring developments on the labor bill. How these powerful unions behaved would determine how Congress acted.

It was doubtful that a final bill could pass both houses of Congress absent a provision allowing for injunctions to stop strikes which threatened the national welfare. Had the unions signed a pledge in advance to abide by a 30-day cooling off period recommended by the President before a strike, as provided in the Administration bill, then injunctive relief might not be necessary. But John L. Lewis and UMW would not sign such a pledge.

The left, primarily members of Congress from urban areas where the labor vote was significant, favored outright repeal of Taft-Hartley and replacement of it with a modified Wagner Act, in accordance with the Administration bill. The right, primarily Southern Democrats and most of the Republicans, favored retaining most of Taft-Hartley with some amendments, as embodied in the Wood bill. The Southerners feared that unions would enter and drive up the Southern workers' low wages and make the South less attractive to industry. In the middle were liberal and progressive members from border states and those who were conscientious Democrats fearful of a nationwide steel or coal strike without the ability to stop it.

House Speaker Sam Rayburn had wisely considered this group of moderates in adopting a compromise with amendments, among which included the ability to obtain injunctive relief. For to have ignored the moderates could have driven them into the conservative camp.

Stewart Alsop, in Tokyo, erroneously attributed to his brother, tells of the economy of Japan ailing because of the absent need any longer for Japanese silk in the U.S., supplanted during the war by the development of nylon and other substitutes. Before the war, Japan sent a quarter of its exports to the U.S., most of which was raw silk for silk stockings.

Japan was over-populated at eighty million people and it was estimated that by 1975, there would be a hundred and fifteen million people. The answer was birth control. The Shoguns had maintained Japan's population at 28 million by having midwives strangle at birth infants in excess of the permitted quota. It had been reported reliably that in isolated fishing villages, the practice still occurred, to keep the population within the limits imposed by the food supply. But even if conventional birth control methods were established, as recently proposed by the Premier, the problem attendant with over-population would not be solved as the island nation could only feed about two-thirds of the existing eighty million Japanese.

The solution would be more trade with China and Southeast Asia than in the past, with Japan able to send finished goods, such as locomotives and textiles, to North China, Korea, Indo-China, Siam, Malaya, Burma, Indonesia, and elsewhere in Asia. The only other solution would be Japan's permanent economic dependence on the U.S.

Thus, there was considerable danger for Japan's future in the prospect of China and the other Asian countries becoming Communist. It was fanciful to assume that a non-Communist Japan could for long withstand the competition from Communist Asia. And trying to turn nationalistic Japan into a colony of the U.S. would be futile, more difficult than that which the British encountered in India.

Thus, it was necessary to make a change to the manner in which American power was being exercised during the occupation. But the second job was by far the more formidable: determining how to stop the Communist movement south from China. If that task were shirked, he concludes ominously, a greater menace would occur in the Pacific than faced by the U.S. during World War II.

A letter writer tells of the Presbyterian Synod, the Methodists, and the Baptists asking their congregations to give liberally to their respective homes for the aged on the coming Sunday, Mother's Day.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper on behalf of the Charlotte Junior League for its publicity given their Follies and their project to build a new Children's Nature Museum.

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