The Charlotte News

Friday, June 10, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, according to French sources, Russia had called for a new conference within three months to draft a German peace treaty. Russia proposed that all four powers withdraw occupation troops within a year after that peace treaty would be signed. How that might have differed from previous Soviet proposals was not explained.

Russia accepted the proposal of the three Western powers that if the Berlin talks to resolve the West Berlin railway strike did not produce results by Monday, the Council of Foreign Ministers would take up the issue in relation to establishing an East-West trade agreement, a sine qua non for which, under the Western view, was resolution of the railway strike.

In Berlin, the three Western powers were seeking to hold negotiations on the strike through the weekend, but had not yet heard from the Russians on the proposed schedule.

Before HUAC, Robert Davis, a wartime employee of the atomic laboratory at U.C.-Berkeley, testified that he had been recruited by the Communist Party through a scientist working at the laboratory, Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz, then attended two or three Communist Party meetings. Mr. Lomanitz, since, becoming a professor at Fisk University in Nashville, also testified, refusing under the Fifth Amendment to say whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party or ever encouraged anyone else to join. He said that he had not been disloyal to the United States or provided restricted information to anyone. He did not believe Communist Party membership necessarily entailed disloyalty to the U.S.

The two men were called to testify after Congressman Richard Nixon had stated that the Committee would seek the prosecution of Philip Keeney, who had just testified before the Committee, for trying to leave the country without a passport aboard the Polish liner Batory, the same upon which Gerhardt Eisler had recently been found in Britain as a stowaway, after which Britain refused to extradite him to the U.S. on two convictions, having a forged passport and contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions before HUAC on whether he had ever been a Communist. Mr. Nixon wanted a full-scale investigation of the operations of the Batory.

—Yeah, Bob, everybody is saying that this stuff is boring, putting them to sleep, not so good as last summer with Hiss and Chambers, the bad teeth, the cocker spaniel, and so forth, and in December with the pumpkin—a stroke of brilliance on that one, Bob.

—Yeah, with the Hiss thing going on, you would think...

—Yeah, we need something with some life in it. How about the President? Can't we pin something on him, pretty much pink?

—Right, call him a pink crook.

—Yeah, "Truman for Prison, '52" tee-shirts. "Traitor". That will catch some eyes, Bob. Good thinking. You don't think, on second thought, though that it might remind them a little too much of that movie a few years ago, "Citizen Kane", you know, about Hearst and all that, where Kane caricatures his political adversary in the newspaper dressed in prison stripes?

—Yeah, good thinking, could backfire. Maybe wait on that one, Bob.

Before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Senator James Eastland of Mississippi called C. B. Baldwin, former head of the Farm Security Administration and former campaign manager in 1948 for former Vice-President Henry Wallace, a "son of a bitch" after Mr. Baldwin accused Senator Eastland of fighting against rights for blacks. Mr. Baldwin had refused to answer whether he had ever been a Communist, whereupon Senator Eastland dismissed him from the witness chair, prompting the statements by Mr. Baldwin, saying he had never been treated so badly in 15 years of testifying before Congressional committees. He also said that Mr. Eastland was a member of the "Cotton Council" made up of "plantation owners". He protested that the full Judiciary Committee had promulgated a list of organizations who were supposedly Communist-front organizations, including the Progressive Party of Mr. Wallace, a charge he described as a "damnable lie".

Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told ERP administrator Paul Hoffman that the sooner he resigned the better it would be for the President. He accused Mr. Hoffman of trying to bully the Committee not to cut ERP funding for Europe. Mr. Hoffman denied the charge and denied that his indication to the press the previous day, that he might resign if he could no longer administer the program effectively, had been a threat to bully the Committee. Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan said that he agreed that Mr. Hoffman's statement had not been a threat or intended as such. He also complimented Mr. Hoffman, former head of Studebaker, on his continued public service.

The Senate continued to debate the provision of Taft-Hartley governing injunctions against strikes imperiling the nation's welfare. Some Senators expected the fight to continue all of the following week on whether to eliminate the provision or modify it in some manner. Senators remained angry at the call of a coal strike for a week by John L. Lewis to draw attention to the claimed overproduction of coal and to allow a recess in coal production to adjust the supply.

The Civil Aeronautics Board awarded to Resort Airlines of Southern Pines, founded by veterans, authority to operate an international air carrier for passengers on all-expense vacation tours. The authority extended for five years. CAB agreed to re-examine the application of Resort to operate within the U.S. on the same basis. The major airlines had objected to the business, claiming that it would compete with their air routes. Resort had countered that because of the limited scope of their travel, catering only to passengers paying in advance for all vacation accommodations, it would not.

New Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray stated that the Army had never investigated TVA chairman Gordon Clapp and had no derogatory information on him. A report had surfaced that the Army had found him "unemployable" for service with the American military government in Germany. But Mr. Clapp had no idea that he was ever considered for such a position. Apparently, the word "unemployable" was used in error in a report to refer to his unavailability for such employment because of his post at TVA. Mr. Gray said that the matter was being investigated to determine why the error was made, said that new safeguards had been in place since April to avoid such problems.

In Columbia, S.C., the South Carolina Democratic Party determined not to appeal the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming the decision of Federal District Court Judge J. Waties Waring, ordering the South Carolina primary to be open to all races and condemning as unconstitutional the practice of privatizing the primary by stripping all laws from the books governing it and contending that the parties sponsoring the primaries were private organizations able to determine who could vote.

In New York, in the Alger Hiss perjury trial, Esther Chambers, the wife of Whittaker Chambers, testified for the Government that she had seen Mr. Hiss after January 1, 1937, after which Mr. Hiss had claimed never to have seen Mr. Chambers, a period the latter had alleged was that during which Mr. Hiss had passed to him the secret State Department documents for transmission to the Soviets. One of the two counts of perjury specifically alleged that Mr. Hiss lied in stating to the grand jury that he had never seen Mr. Chambers after January 1, 1937. Mrs. Chambers contended that she had seen Mr. Hiss at the Hiss home at a party on New Year's Eve, 1937, with her husband also in attendance. She said that she saw the Hisses on another occasion in December, 1937 at a wedding anniversary party thrown by her and Mr. Chambers. She said that she and Mr. Chambers were close friends with Mr. and Mrs. Hiss.

The prosecution also produced an FBI report in which Mr. Hiss was said to have claimed that he had not seen Mr. Chambers after spring or summer, 1936, and denied ever providing him with Government documents or ever being a member of the Communist Party or engaged in any espionage underground, as alleged by Mr. Chambers.

That's swell prosecution. Convict the man for perjury based on having been present at two purely social occasions in 1937 with the Chambers couple. You better keep a diary accounting for every minute of every hour of every day, at least as long as Richard Nixon is on the job. Tapes, record every single conversation you conduct. That's a good idea, too.

In New York, in the trial for espionage of Judith Coplon, the former Justice Department employee, another secret FBI report, claimed to have been found in Ms. Coplon's purse at the time of her arrest, was introduced which stated that a woman might be a Russian agent with contacts in high places in the Government. It had centered mainly on Irina Efimovna Aleksander and focused on meetings held at her friend's home where Army officers appeared carrying briefcases. Several other extracts from the reports summarizing the documents alleged to have been found in the defendant's purse were introduced and are quoted in the story. She stood accused of intending to pass the secret documents to a Russian, an employee of the U.N. Secretariat, fired after his arrest with Ms. Coplon.

In Burtonwood, Eng., an Air Force court martial convicted an airman who had deserted after being assigned to latrine duty just after the Japanese surrender in 1945, then spent four years AWOL while performing on the English music hall stage as "Donna Delbert", girl fire-eater. He was sentenced to two years at hard labor for deserting "to avoid hazardous duty". When arrested April 6, he was wearing women's clothes, had plucked his eyebrows. He had performed previously with the circus as a magician and fire-eater in the latter Thirties, as well as appearing as a female impersonator. A girl, he said, who had taken a fancy to him turned him in to authorities when he took a fancy to someone else.

Dick Young of The News discusses the local parks and recreation bond issue for a million dollars on the following day's ballot. He lists the proposed improvements to be made with the money.

On page 3-A, Ralph Gibson of The News tells of the Welfare Department, under the direction of Wallace Kuralt, calling the parents "saints" in the 70 foster homes of the county which took in homeless or unwanted children.

Oklahoma A&M was to meet Texas in the NCAA baseball regionals after beating Kansas 12 to 2. You didn't even cover the NCAA basketball tournament on the front page. What the hell are you doing covering college baseball regional action, involving teams in Texas and Oklahoma? Have you lost your minds? Or did you just not have another story or little picture to fit?

On the editorial page, "Way to a Better Life" favors the entire 4.575 million dollar bond issue on the ballot for the next day as a way to assure continued growth and progress of the city while remaining fiscally responsible.

"Paving Bond Issue" favors the local bond issue on the next day's ballot for street improvements, necessary for Charlotte. It lists some of the projects which the bond would cover.

"No Time for Anger" advises the Congress to make a decision on Taft-Hartley in a calm, deliberative fashion, not influenced by anger generated by the latest threat of a week-long strike by John L. Lewis and UMW, beginning the following Monday, by his asserted reason that the nation's coal had been overproduced and a cessation in production was necessary to bring supply into relation with demand. The people's interests, it suggests, were at stake, not that of Mr. Lewis, and so the Congress should ignore this latest antic and continue to find a reasonable substitute for Taft-Hartley.

"Georgia's Hospital Row" suggests that Georgia's Governor Herman Talmadge follow the example of the late Governor J. Melville Broughton of North Carolina, who in 1942 had set up a special board to investigate conditions at the state mental hospitals after the report of the late Tom Jimison, who voluntarily committed himself as a patient at Morganton for a year in 1940-41, had appeared in newspapers across the state. The result had been that North Carolina had made great strides in the interim in its care for the mentally ill.

In Georgia, thirteen doctors at the State Hospital had threatened to resign unless two politically appointed administrators were dismissed. One of the administrators then fired the doctors and ordered them to leave the grounds within 24 hours or be treated as trespassers. They left.

The people of Georgia then became upset and the result had been that the two administrators were fired and the thirteen doctors had been asked to return. They did.

The piece concludes that conditions had to be very bad for the medical staff to threaten to resign en masse.

Drew Pearson tells of how the Marshall Plan came to be two years earlier, from an idea launched by then Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson in a speech in Cleveland, Miss., substituting for the President who had opted out of appearing because of the potential political fallout from Senator Theodore Bilbo being in the state after being refused his seat in the Senate and then going home to die of throat cancer. The President got Mr. Acheson to fill in and hastily approved his speech, as did the Army and Navy brass. Mr. Acheson then suggested the idea he had proposed in Cleveland to Secretary of State Marshall, who then made his formal proposal at the Harvard commencement ceremonies in June, 1947, giving birth to that which became known as the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe economically, as a bulwark against further encroachment of Communism.

Mr. Acheson then suggested formation of a committee of prominent businessmen and economists to set forth specific plans for the program, an idea which was accepted.

News from Paris at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting was that Secretary of State Acheson was not getting along too well with Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin of Britain. Mr. Bevin had not liked the fact that Mr. Acheson appeared to be hogging the spotlight and was irritated by his refusal to agree to the Bevin plan of secret diplomacy.

Stewart Alsop discusses the terms on which the Chinese Communists would be allowed to trade with the West.

The "Red Spears" was a traditional peasant underground group in Honan Province, who rebelled against oppressive dynasties. They had already begun to rebel against the Communist attempts to collect food from the peasant farmers for the cities.

The Communist movement had been essentially a peasant movement. But now with the urban populations to feed, it was not as easy as in the past to placate the peasants.

The Communists hoped that trade with the Western world would extricate them from this mess and they expected to be able to manipulate the Western nations, playing one off against the other.

It was important for the U.S. to establish this trade to have a measure of control over Communist China and thereby prevent it from being able to take over the Far East. There would be a need to exchange products and raw materials for other goods and freedom for the Chinese. Such would require adroit handling but, Mr. Alsop ventures, it could be accomplished. The aim would be to promote Western contacts and Chinese national independence rather than interference with Mao Tse-Tung's Government.

Robert C. Ruark, in Columbus, O., tells of it being graduation time at Ohio State University, including graduation of 1,500 veterans. The wives of these veterans had withstood as much, it appeared, as the pioneer women of the previous century. The $90 per month, later increased to $120, paid to G.I.'s as students, was not enough to maintain much more than a subsistence standard of living. The students themselves, often with families, had made a valiant effort to remain in school, often while holding down part-time work and living in barracks-style living quarters, trailers or cheap, furnished apartments. Most had proved superior students.

He predicts that at least one of these students attending college on the G.I. bill would one day wind up in the White House and none would ever be on relief rolls.

A letter from the president of the Charlotte chapter of the League of Women Voters favors the local bond issue for parks and recreation improvements as a means to combat juvenile delinquency, and keep Little Joe out of the juvenile court for stealing apples just to rile up old Smudgy.

A letter from the executive secretary of the National Association of Consumers urges Congress to complete its action in repealing the discriminatory tax against margarine, enacted at the behest of the dairy lobby.

A letter writer imparts an editorial from The Miami Herald appearing June 6 which had decried the impugning of the character of public servants as former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, who had committed suicide in May. Personal attacks had been launched against former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, and former Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, as well as against President Roosevelt. All had been attacked with too few voices rising in protest of the vilification.

A letter writer advises that the law had been changed since prior local bond elections, such that now the bonds were determined by majority of votes cast, not by a majority of registered voters. A failure to vote no longer therefore counted as a nay vote.

A letter from the executive secretary of Better Schools & Roads, Inc., thanks the press and radio affiliates of North Carolina for thorough coverage of the two bond elections of the previous Saturday, both issues, for 200 million dollars in rural road improvements over four years and 25 million for school construction, having been approved.

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