The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 1, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, the four powers addressed the issue of control of Berlin, and clashed immediately on the determination by Russia to restore the unilateral veto of the four-power Allied Control Council, moribund since March, 1948 when the Soviets had walked out. The dual currency issue in Berlin was the second problem on the agenda but there was no indication as to what was discussed.

The Atomic Energy Commission's general manager, Carroll Wilson, told the joint Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee that he retained two scientists on the AEC payroll despite his security officer, Admiral John Gingrich, finding that they were bad risks because they were deemed "subversive". He made the decision himself without consulting the Commission.

During testimony before the Committee by AEC chairman David Lilienthal, Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, who had launched the investigation on charges of Mr. Lilienthal's mismanagement, introduced figures showing a 97 percent turnover rate in personnel at AEC in 1947 and 1948, indicative, he claimed, of mismanagement.

The House passed a veterans' pension bill for World Wars I and II veterans, knocking out a provision which had required proof of inability to work. The bill was estimated to cost 65 billion dollars over a period of 50 years. It was estimated that 57 billion dollars of the cost would have been eliminated by the requirement of inability to work at least half a day.

In Washington, a Federal prosecutor disclosed that the Government would not seek to introduce twelve documents found in the purse of Judith Coplon, Justice Department employee accused of espionage with a Russian employee of the U.N. Secretariat. The documents were considered too sensitive to introduce into evidence. The Judge overruled a defense objection and allowed the prosecutor to ask an FBI agent about the papers without their being introduced.

Ralph Gibson of The News tells of a section of the North Carolina Criminal Code which allowed for declaring a known felon to be an outlaw, subject then to being killed on sight, invoked against the man sought in the Hamlet manhunt after he had critically wounded a police officer in the face during an attempted service of an arrest warrant for murder of the man's wife and two children. The piece questions whether the procedure was not a remnant of frontier justice. The State Supreme Court had interpreted the law to require a warning before killing the outlaw. Mr. Gibson concludes that while the law provided a better shake to the outlaw than he likely gave his victim, the die were still loaded against him. And whether his killer would have anyone testify that he did not warn properly, irrespective of the fact of the matter, was dubious.

The outlaw remained at large after 33 hours since the shooting. The search by scores of law enforcement officials was centered around Bennettsville, S.C. The victim remained in critical condition.

In Atlanta, a school teacher on strike for $65.78, was promised her money but not unless she first resigned. The money in question was deducted from her paycheck for the State retirement fund. She said that she needed it to pay for treatment of cancer. The retirement fund director said that he was precluded from refunding the money unless she resigned. The teacher in home economics, with a doctorate from Columbia, said that she wanted to pay for her treatments at the Mayo Clinic rather than claiming that she was too poor because she was a school teacher in Georgia.

At its meeting in Montreat, N.C., the Southern Presbyterians rejected a proposal that they withdraw from the Federal Council of Churches on the ground that it was "leftist". The conference endorsed greater cooperation with the Northern branch of the Church, separated since 1861 at the outset of the Civil War.

Governor Kerr Scott predicted victory for the 200-million dollar rural road bond issue set for referendum on June 4. In Durham, two prominent Democrats in the state would debate the issue, one, Capus Waynick, recently appointed Ambassador to Nicaragua, to take the affirmative, and the other, former Lieutenant Governor A. H. Graham, opposing it on the low road. Who would afirst to Loch Lomond was yet to be determined. Senator Frank Graham issued a statement supporting both the roads and school construction bonds.

In a poll taken by The News, eighteen newspaper editors across the state believed the school bond issue would pass, while ten had doubts that the road bond issue would pass in their counties. Various responses are recorded.

Dick Young of The News tells of the City's efforts to clear its railroad grade crossings in the downtown area, a problem ongoing since 1854. He provides the history.

On the editorial page, "The Price of Productivity" praises the U.S. Soil Conservation Service for promoting soil conservation techniques to preserve the land from erosion, so prevalent before the New Deal. The director of the Service, Hugh Bennett, was in Charlotte to see the results of a one-day conversion of a depleted farm to a fecund enterprise through community effort, staged the previous October.

He had told the local Rotary Club that the state was among the leading three or four in the nation in soil conservation. He urged that the price of productivity was eternal care. He said that there were 460 million arable acres of land in the U.S. and exhorted that it be maintained in that condition to assure a base for food production.

"First Lynching of 1949" relates of the lynching of Caleb or Calif Hill in Irwinton, Ga., following a struggle at a roadhouse with the Sheriff, trying to arrest him for assault, during which Mr. Hill had grabbed the Sheriff's gun and shot at him, missing. According to the Sheriff, after taking Mr. Hill to jail, he returned to the roadhouse to retrieve his gun, during which time, according to the Sheriff's wife, a mob of white men arrived and took Mr. Hill from the jail. Later, he was found a couple of miles away shot and beaten to death.

The piece suggests a more sinister story appearing between the lines, resembling so many other like scenarios of the past. First, the Sheriff had left his keys to the jail cell on the dining room table of his home, on the first floor of the jail building. Second, his wife said that she thought the car pulling up was that of her husband. Third, the County coroner said that he would not remove the bullet, critical forensic evidence, from the deceased unless ordered to do so. Fourth, the Sheriff said that there was no clue to the killing, but said he believed that more than two men caused Mr. Hill's death.

It finds it a sinister pattern, "Dixie style", which accompanied all such lynchings.

No one would be indicted by the county grand jury for the murder despite the arrest of two men, identified by others in the jail at the time as the men who took the victim from the jail. The FBI would become involved in the matter but the Justice Department would conclude that there was insufficient evidence to procure an indictment against any of the accused. No one has ever been tried in the matter. The victim was considered bellicose by both the local black and white community and thus there was no local outcry of injustice at the time for the lynching, though it did stir national attention, especially in the Atlanta and Macon press, for the repetition of a familiar pattern, especially in Georgia, where just the prior November 20, a respected black man of Toombs County, Robert Mallard, had been killed by a mob of robed, masked white men, and on July 25, 1946 in Monroe, two black couples had been lynched in broad daylight by a mob of unmasked white men after one of the two black men had been accused of assaulting a white farmer.

"Man vs. the Insect" recommends handling insecticides with care as Representative Frank Keefe of Wisconsin had proposed a resolution to investigate them, particularly in the dairy industry.

The local health department had certified as safe the use of DDT to fog the streets in the summer. But, it cautions, food should be kept covered and unusual exposure to insecticides should be limited.

We used to play in the DDT fog. It never.

"Rites of Spring" tells of playing baseball with children and winding up with aching muscles, being told of getting old by his masseuse, confessing the malady.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Short-Short Story", remarks on a News editorial which had suggested a conversation between a doctor, alarmed at the prospect of socialized medicine, and a friend in real estate who wondered why the doctors had not challenged socialized housing. The piece had concluded that every interest group let the other interest groups fight their own battles alone, never got together, enabling a divide and conquer strategy to work against them. The piece agrees with the notion.

Drew Pearson discusses chairman of Consolidated Vultee Corp. Floyd Odlum, who had become a person of backstage importance in the Truman Administration. He had been recently offered the position of chairman of the National Security Resources Board after the withdrawn nomination of former Washington Senator and Governor Mon Wallgren. Mr. Odlum reportedly was also being considered for the position of Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Odlum had given generously to the 1948 Truman campaign and arranged for other contributions. He and his friends also had a habit of asking for favors from the Government. Curtis Calder, head of Electric Bond & Share, long dominated by Mr. Odlum, had just been offered the post of Secretary of the Army, though he had yet to accept it. Ambassador to Guatemala Richard Patterson was being pushed by Mr. Odlum's forces to become Ambassador to Argentina because of his position as a director of one of Mr. Odlum's sub-holding corporations. Substantial investments by Electric Bond & Share in Argentina had been made without knowledge of its stockholders.

Mr. Pearson explains in detail some of Mr. Odlum's financial dealings, some of the practices having drawn condemnation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He reiterates that Mr. Odlum's influence, however, did not cause Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson to give the B-36 contract to Consolidated, as the decision to switch emphasis to the B-36 had been made a year earlier and Mr. Johnson had been in the post only since late March. But, he stresses, the backstage maneuvering of Mr. Odlum would remain important and the American people had a right to know about it and the falsity of the myth that men with Wall Street backgrounds were best qualified to be heads of the Departments of the Army and Navy.

Joseph Alsop discusses high Government posts, especially in the State Department, being essentially for sale to the highest campaign contributor, the case for a long time but arising now to dangerous levels.

He cites the example of Ambassador to Argentina James Bruce who was being touted as the next Ambassador to Great Britain to replace Lewis Douglas, in ill health. His only qualification was that he had worked well with dictator Juan Peron and his wife, Evita. At present, Anglo-American relations were especially important, as Britain's economy was threatened by the downturn in the European economy and the success of the Marshall Plan turned on Britain's complete recovery.

Mr. Bruce's brother, David, though not a Democratic contributor, was an excellent choice for Ambassador to France. But even he had the backing of well-heeled Averill Harriman.

The casting out of James Forrestal as Secretary of Defense had in part been from the fact that he had not contributed to the 1948 Truman campaign and supported instead Governor Dewey. Ambassador Douglas was in the same category insofar as not contributing to the campaign.

The President had named Louis Johnson as the new Secretary of Defense after he had been a major force in collecting funds for the campaign. He, in turn, had urged the President to appoint Francis Matthews, another prime contributor, as the new Secretary of the Navy.

In addition, the corporations and businessmen who made large contributions were also suspected of seeking government favors. The entire system needed overhaul and the country, Mr. Alsop proposes, ought be indignant about the blatantly interested practices. He recommends that Congress consider passing the long-proposed plan for public financing of campaigns to end such unseemly barter.

Marquis Childs discusses the harsh practice in Washington of casting aside experienced persons in mid-career. Such was a force at work in the recent suicide of former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal.

He names several people who were in the category of being set aside mid-career: former Housing Expediter Wilson Wyatt; former Undersecretary and Secretary of War Robert Patterson; former Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton; former Senator from Wisconsin Robert LaFollette, Jr.; former Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle; former member of the Board of Economic Warfare Milo Perkins; former Attorney General Francis Biddle; former Assistant Secretary of State William Benton, responsible for pioneering the Voice of America; and former Assistant Attorney General, in charge of the anti-trust division, Thurman Arnold.

All of these men had returned to the private sector and many would not wish to return to government service. But they each had the capacity for high office, as did many others sharing the "unhappy experience with the Washington buzz saw."

A letter from a student from Greece tells of his experience under a student visa, not allowing him to work and not able to continue to afford his education, forced therefore to return to Greece. He wishes to impart his impressions of Charlotte during his three-month stay while attending the Charlotte Center of UNC, an experience he found wholly gratifying. He congratulates the Center, its personnel, students, and the people of Charlotte for affording a quality education. He hopes that all of America would do likewise.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its fight against the 200-million dollar rural roads bond issue and the 50-million dollar school construction bond. He does not believe that the state could properly afford the programs. As a gasoline dealer, he especially opposed the one-cent increase in the gasoline tax to help to pay for the road bond. He wants the State to continue to operate on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A letter writer from Lagos, Nigeria, seeks a pen pal. He wishes to hear from "clean-cut old and young women, children and men." He says that he is fond of every sport and hunting in the jungles.

He was not alone in Lagos, seeking pen pals in Charlotte. As before, his address is included should you wish to reply.

But no shaggy people.

A pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "In Which a Matter of Preference Is Enunciated With Regard to Feminine Pulchritude:

"I'm not very fond
Of the brassy blonde."

But the sassy brunette
Is a nice little coquette.

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