The Charlotte News

Monday, May 9, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in China, fighting was was within seventeen miles northwest of Shanghai, at Kaiting. The Communists had driven 200 miles south of the Yangtze River at some locations. Inside Shanghai, the Nationalist troops had ordered Chinese and foreign business firms to turn over 950 trucks and 300 jeeps for military purposes. The American and British consulates were seeking to prevent this action. As the city was under martial law, those refusing compliance were subject to execution.

West Germany, after eight months of deliberation, had agreed the previous night on a new constitution for its government, and it was being sent to the three Western military zone commanders for approval. It had to be ratified by the eleven German state legislatures before becoming effective. The constitution allowed for joinder later by the Eastern zone, provided free elections took place.

Moscow radio reported that the Russian zone commander had issued orders restoring transport, trade and communications services in Berlin, would lift the blockade at midnight Thursday as agreed the previous week.

In Greece, 400 bodies of guerrillas frozen during the winter while fighting the Greek Army were discovered on a mountainside southeast of Patrai.

Former Secretary of War Robert Patterson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the NATO treaty would preserve peace because Russia would be deterred from going to war against the 12 signatory nations. He said that Russia shared guilt with Germany for starting World War II for its Russo-German non-aggression pact of August, 1939.

Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, stating that he was tired of being humiliated by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Tom Connally, walked out of hearings on the NATO treaty, of which he had been a vocal critic.

Jonathan Daniels, Editor of the Raleigh News & Observer, stated that he had declined appointment by the President to be the new Secretary of the Navy, a position held by his father Josephus under President Wilson and under whom had served FDR in his first Federal Government post. Mr. Daniels reached the decision after a weekend conference with Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. He had previously served as an adviser to both FDR and President Truman and also had been, briefly, shortly before FDR's death, the White House press secretary. Speculation had run that because Steve Early, the man he succeeded as press secretary, did not get along with Mr. Daniels and was Undersecretary of Defense, that he would not be acceptable as Secretary of the Navy, though that rumor had been denied by Mr. Johnson and the President.

The President named Gordon Dean, a law professor at the University of Southern California, and Henry Dewolf Smyth, a professor and chairman of the physics department at Princeton, to the Atomic Energy Commission, to replace two resigned members. Dr. Smyth was the author of the Smyth Report on atomic energy, released in 1945 after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, criticized for its revealing of atomic secrets. The terms would run until June 30, 1950, the expiration of the unexpired terms of the commission members they would replace.

The President urged Congress to act quickly to give him power to reorganize the Government. The House, with several exemptions had passed the bill and it was awaiting Senate action. The Senate bill had no exemptions.

The chairman of the American Veterans Committee reported that the President had told him that there were "too many Byrds" in the Congress, referring to the opposition of his policies by Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, and that he wanted more members who could see things in terms of national rather than strictly parochial interests.

In Monaco, Prince Louis II died at age 78.

In Detroit, the Acting Mayor, George Edwards, former UAW organizer, urged Henry Ford II to meet with UAW president Walter Reuther to settle the strike at the Dearborn River Rouge plant which had begun the previous Thursday, regarding a dispute over an assembly line speedup. He offered to serve as mediator.

Also in Detroit, a man who had been a bombardier during the war admitted fatally stabbing three men and rendering a fourth in critical condition in a street fight, utilizing a trench knife which he had procured as a war souvenir. He turned himself in at the police station after reading that three of the men had died.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a St. Louis physician was being tried for murder over alleged blackmail, jealousy and robbery. The doctor had allegedly stabbed the victim to death with a knife in a hotel room after the man supposedly made advances to the doctor's wife. The defense, in its opening statement, contended that either the doctor did not inflict the fatal wound on the "seducer" who had "carnally" known his wife or that if he did do the deed, it was done in self-defense.

Not a propitious start, counselor. Stick with one or the other. Such factually inconsistent defenses usually serve only to confuse the jury from the outset, leading them to wonder whether you are out of your mind.

The doctor, in 1951, following affirmance on appeal of his conviction for second degree murder and sentence to 70 years in prison, killed himself.

In New York, the man who had accused Giants baseball manager Leo Durocher of assault was arrested, himself, inside a New York courtroom for alleged theft of a purse, shortly after withdrawing the charge against Mr. Durocher and shaking his hand. The latter charge had arisen from an allegation that the manager had knocked down the fan after a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 28. The woman accusing the man of purse-snatching said that he and another man had done the deed on March 27. She identified him from his picture appearing in the newspaper after he had filed the charge against Mr. Durocher. The man denied being in the vicinity of the location of the crime at any time.

The Mecklenburg County Commissioners approved a tax rate increase of eight cents per $100 of property valuation and authorized the County to spend 4.7 million dollars in the coming fiscal year. The current budget was 3.9 million.

In Charlotte, a conference of merchant managers was held at which adjustment of policies was stressed to meet new competition in retail merchandising. We wish we could have been present. It sounds exciting.

On page 7-A, "Desert Love Song", a serialized story by Vida Hurst begins. The story's subject, Marjorie Wainwright, had "looks, clothes and a fascinating boyfriend". So you won't wish to miss a single scintillating installment, even if reading this first one might put a slight crick in your neck.

On the editorial page, "The Course Is Charted" regards the need for the new City Council to undertake improvements to eliminate traffic congestion in downtown Charlotte, through rerouting of traffic, offstreet parking facilities and street-widening in some areas, among other things. The City Planning Board had completed a study the previous August and the piece hopes that the new Council would undertake vigorously to implement it.

"There Is Still Hope" tells of mistakes being made on both sides of the pending labor legislation. The backers of the Administration bill to repeal Taft-Hartley and replace it with an amended version of the Wagner Act had falsely assumed that the November election victory of the President had been a mandate for doing so. Similarly, the forces backing the Wood bill, retaining most of Taft-Hartley, erred in thinking that the public wanted to put down labor.

Most would want to see what kind of bill passed the Senate, which, it was hoped, would be fair to both labor and management while protecting the interests of the American people.

"Dewey Maps New Plan" tells of Governor Thomas Dewey considering a run for the Senate from New York after Senator Robert Wagner stepped down for his prolonged illness, expected soon. If Senator Wagner did so prior to July 1, then the seat would be on the November ballot. If afterward, then Governor Dewey could appoint the successor who would serve until 1951. Whatever the case, the Governor would likely not be the nominee of the GOP a third time in 1952, though there was talk that a Senate seat would elevate his stature for such consideration.

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Hard to Prove", finds things hard to prove anymore. Fire burned. But some inevitably would disagree, such as the audience familiar with the "contraconventionalitydisestablishmentarianisticalameter, ball-bearing, free-wheeling, dynasputem, weighted index model." One had to have the peculiar knowledge of the "eccentric gear which controls the eugenic essential of the dynamic kinetic factor in the periodic fluctuations of the helical modulations of the variable condenser in the contraconventionalitydisestablishmentarianisticalameter" to convince them to the contrary, that fire does burn.

It concludes that if one wanted to be happy, one should arise at 5:30, before the hustle and bustle of the workaday world began to hum, and then go back to bed at 10:30 "when the idiot elders and the noxious young take over."

A piece by Roscoe Drummond of the Christian Science Monitor tells of Washington politicians already planning for the 1952 election campaign. On the Republican side, Senator Kenneth Wherry was being touted as a potential candidate and new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson was a Democratic hopeful.

The President appeared to have eliminated himself from consideration for another run, as had Governor Dewey, even if the latter might reconsider.

The leading Republican prospect was Senator Taft, with former Minnesota Governor and University of Pennsylvania president Harold Stassen, a 1948 Republican contender, as a possibility. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., was a potential dark horse in the race.

For the Democrats, other than Mr. Johnson, Connecticut Governor Chester Bowles, former OPA administrator, was a likely prospect, as was Justice William O. Douglas, whom the President had sought as his running mate the previous summer. Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois was considered the best of the new governors and also could be a candidate.

General Eisenhower, he concludes, was a dark horse candidate for either party, though his views were more Republican than Fair Deal Democrat.

So, Mr. Drummond fairly predicts in his latter two entries the party nominees for 1952.

Drew Pearson tells of former German Ambassador to Russia Rudolf Nadolny, a follower of Bismarck, having advised the Russians to stop goading the West and instead develop peaceful relations which would soften anti-Russian opinion and cause the Congress not to fund arms for the Western European members of NATO. The Russians appeared to be following this advice. He also had told the Russians that Germany's future lay with Russia as Russia could provide more to Germany than the West because of Russia's control of Silesia, which could be returned to Germany, and because Britain and the U.S. needed markets, inducing them to maintain Germany in an agrarian state. Meanwhile, Russia had ample markets in China.

The result was that the West German leaders had turned down the first U.S. proposal for a West German government. Only after concessions by the Big Three did they acquiesce.

The Congress was receiving many phony letters on behalf of the housing lobby opposing public housing. California's Congressional delegation was being besieged by such a lobby operating under a cover name, the "Commitee for Home Protection", a front for the National Association of Home Builders. The Committee passed out handbills which appeared as telegrams and asked people to choose one of ten to sign. The Committee then mailed them to the Congressmen. He provides the verbatim instructions which went along with the handouts, which the lobby had been careful to maintain in secret as it demonstrated the organization's craft.

Joseph Alsop finds that the President would not obtain repeal of Taft-Hartley and revival of the Wagner Act, but he would likely obtain a diluted version of Taft-Hartley, at least a partial victory. The re-submission of the Wood bill, which would have continued Taft-Hartley with amendments, to the House Labor Committee indicated the likelihood of this result as there were far more supporters of moderate labor legislation than most supposed. But the primary arena for the labor bill struggle would be the Senate, in which the outcome also was likely to be moderation.

At present, the Administration bill to repeal Taft-Hartley was before the Senate after a favorable report by the Labor Committee. A Committee minority report, led by Senator Taft, was also before the Senate, recommending a middle ground between Taft-Hartley and the Administration bill. Senators George Aiken, Wayne Morse, and Irving Ives, all Republicans, had sided, however, with the Committee majority, but could shift when the legislation reached the floor.

Two years earlier, Taft-Hartley was thought to be necessary to avoid danger to the country, but now was down the drain because of its lack of moderation and consequent unpopularity, helping to defeat the Republicans the previous fall. The moral, he concludes, was to maintain moderation even when in power because one day the majority would once again be the minority.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of Mayor Ernst Reuter of West Berlin finding the Big Four agreement to end the Soviet blockade to be the beginning of a "tug-of-war" between the East and West. He appeared to imply the beginning of a struggle for control of Germany. Many international observers believed that if the West won the struggle, then the iron curtain would be shattered, as Eastern Europe depended on Germany for necessities which Russia, alone, likely could not supply.

Hitler had carefully set up this system of interdependence between Germany and the smaller states of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The latter were kept agrarian in their economies and thus dependent on the Reich for industrial goods. Gradually, just before the war, the Reich was able to order the smaller states to import anything which the German economy could produce, such as 200,000 useless harmonicas which Greece was ordered to take from Germany.

Most of those satellites were now under Russian control and if Russia could not supply them with the needed industrial goods, they would fall away from the Russian sphere. Russian control of Germany would solve the problem.

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