The Charlotte News

Monday, June 20, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, at the close of the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, the Big Four announced their failure to agree on economic or political unity for Germany, but had agreed in principle on a treaty for Austria providing for independence. They agreed on a "live-and-let-live" arrangement for Germany until September when it was hoped that another meeting in New York would continue the efforts at negotiation. Meanwhile, discussions would continue at lower levels.

The Austrian treaty provided for its territory being set as that extant at the beginning of 1938, before Nazi annexation, guaranteed the rights of Slovenes and Croats, provided that Yugoslavia would be able to seize Austrian property within Yugoslav territory, and that Austria would pay 150 million dollars in reparations to the Soviets.

The President asked Congress to create a Department of Welfare—to become Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953. He also wanted the Commerce Department to be in charge of roads. He outlined five other changes as part of his first effort at reorganization to bring about more efficiency and reduce waste in the executive branch. The Congress would have 60 days to veto the plan, provided it remained in session, as Congressional leaders stated that it would.

In New York, in the perjury trial of Alger Hiss, the defense began its case with the testimony of Harry Hawkins, the immediate superior of Henry Julian Wadleigh between 1934 and 1936 at the State Department. Mr. Wadleigh had testified the previous Thursday that he had provided Whittaker Chambers with secret State Department documents during his tenure at State, including, "possibly", the so-called "pumpkin papers", which Mr. Chambers claimed to have obtained from Mr. Hiss. Mr. Hawkins testified that he saw Mr. Hiss's superior, Assistant Secretary of State Francis Sayre, on a daily basis. He never entered Mr. Sayre's office when he was out but did enter Mr. Hiss's office when he was out. He denied ever taking papers from Mr. Hiss's desk. He said that Mr. Hiss's reputation for loyalty and honesty was good. Prior to 1938, he had never heard that Mr. Hiss was a Communist or fellow traveler.

Another witness refuted the claim of Mr. Chambers that Mr. and Mrs. Hiss took a trip to New Jersey in early August, 1937. The witness said that they were at a camp in Maryland for that period, extending from mid-July to mid-August. Another witness testified that he operated the guest house where Mr. Chambers said he and Mr. Hiss had spent a night in New Jersey during that period, and the woman said that Mr. Hiss was not there. The testimony was relevant not only to the credibility of Mr. Chambers, but also to his claim that Mr. Hiss had passed to him the secret documents in the early months of 1937, contradicting Mr. Hiss that he had never met Mr. Chambers again after 1936, a basis for the perjury allegations, along with Mr. Hiss's denial of transmittal of any documents.

Veterans Administrator Carl Gray, Jr., authorized payment the following year of 2.8 million dollars as a dividend on National Service Life Insurance policies. The dividends would go to about 16 million World War II veterans at an average of about $175 apiece.

The President's Council of Economic Advisers studied plans for a Federal policy to develop farms and factories in the South.

In Warsaw, N.C., a farmer slashed his own throat and jumped into a well, killing himself.

In Raleigh, the North Carolina American Legion convention opened, with expected attendance of 4,000 delegates.

In Charlotte, dean James Godard would resign his position as dean of Queens College and professor of education in the late summer to become executive secretary of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, responsible for accreditation of colleges and universities throughout the South. Dr. Godard had been at the school for 13 years, coming from Duke.

Tom Schlesinger of The News reports on spring cleaning in the city, in an effort, among other things, to keep down polio, an epidemic of which had taken place the previous summer.

On the editorial page, "Plight of the Liberal" quotes the end of a piece from Marquis Childs the previous week, in which he had said that he would think long and hard, were he a member of Congress, before voting for Federal aid to education even though he believed it necessary, on the premise that such aid could tend eventually toward Federal control of education. The statement had caused many of Mr. Childs's fellow liberals some level of consternation, as it had come from one of the foremost liberals in the country.

Generally, conservatives had opposed Federal aid to education while liberals had supported it.

The piece thinks Mr. Childs's concern was well-taken, that the tendency would be toward Federal control, no matter how carefully the legislation was drafted to prevent it.

A special Illinois legislative committee, for example, had recommended that tax exemptions be withdrawn from educational institutions which employed Communists or members of "subversive" organizations, as defined by the Federal Government.

It advises to bear in mind the caveat issued by Phi Beta Kappa, firmly in opposition to any policy which would restrict freedom of teaching.

"Mr. Taylor Looks Ahead" finds that State Representative Frank Taylor of Wayne County had been convincing and consistent in his pleas for a balanced State budget. The State faced a six million dollar deficit, provided revenues met expectations. And that was after appropriation of 14 million from previous surpluses accumulated during the war.

It cautions that unless business conditions remained good, keeping tax revenues high, the state would be in trouble in two years.

"A Fundamental Change" tells of both major parties being committed to farm support prices to attract the farm vote in the 1950 Congressional elections.

The guarantee of an income to one sector of the economy, farmers, because their product was basic to the needs of the people, did not take into account other such groups who supplied necessities, such as transportation workers, food packers, coal miners, steelworkers, etc.

The Christian Science Monitor had questioned at what level should the nation prop up a single sector of the economy and how best to accomplish the job. The piece adds that a third question was whether such a guaranty could be extended to one sector without extending it to others, answers the query in the negative.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Elixir of Potato Peels", tells of 40 prisoners at the State prison in Raleigh going on strike because they considered solitary confinement to be too harsh as a punishment for one inmate who made home brew from potato peels and corn meal, and of another who had cursed at a guard. The warden promised to investigate the incidents.

The piece suggests that it arose to an Eighth Amendment violation to separate a Tar Heel from his "potion".

The seventh in the series of articles from Fortune , anent the Hoover Commission report and recommendations on reorganization of the executive branch of the Government, addresses the Military Establishment, for the first time in U.S. history being maintained in peacetime as a large standing contingent. To avoid the prospect of huge military spending wrecking the economy, there had to be strict controls. But the 1947 Act creating the Defense Establishment had not provided for such controls. Defense was close to being the least efficiently organized bureaucracy of the Government. It proceeds to provide several examples.

The recommendations by the Commission were: to let genuine unification of the armed services take place, as required by the Act; let the entire budget system be overhauled with "performance type" budgets; give the Secretary of Defense staff assistance necessary to perform his duties; undertake steps to improve the CIA; complete plans for civilian and industrial mobilization, including defense against unconventional warfare, with more attention paid to psychological warfare; and empower the Secretary to appoint a chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to be the chief military adviser.

Drew Pearson addresses part of his column in the form of a letter to Acting Secretary of State James Webb of North Carolina. He tells of O. Max Gardner of North Carolina having been working on an idea when preparing to become Ambassador to Britain, a position he never assumed because of his death just before leaving New York to take the post in early 1947. Ambassador Gardner wanted everyone going abroad to receive a pamphlet from the State Department telling of the importance of spreading good will.

Every G.I. had been given a booklet imparting such information before going to England during the war.

He suggests to Mr. Webb that the idea be implemented.

Twenty percent of the money appropriated for the Marshall Plan was being spent for oil and the oil industry was making a huge profit, amounting to "carpetbagging" at the expense of ERP. The oil companies spent 40 cents for a barrel of Saudi Arabian oil. They had been charging ERP $2.20 for a barrel of fuel oil, reduced, after ERP complaints, to $1.75. The Navy paid only $1.40 for the barrel, despite distances from Saudi Arabia to Europe being considerably less than to the U.S. The reason was likely that ERP was not a tough enough customer, and the Senate might find it easier, he suggests, to insist on economy in such purchases than to cut appropriations.

Marquis Childs discusses the FBI file admitted into evidence on the motion of the defense in the Judith Coplon espionage trial in Washington. The Attorney General had personally reviewed the file during a weekend after it became apparent that the judge might rule in favor of the defense motion. He advised the U.S. Attorney first to seek to prevent the admission on relevance grounds and, failing that, to limit the material to that which was most relevant. The judge refused and admitted the entire file, which included hearsay and rumor from various interviews.

The file was a collection of documents on various subjects from which Ms. Coplon had copied a couple of sentences out of each document and then was planning, according to the prosecution, to submit these "data slips" to the Russian with whom she claimed to be in love. She claimed that her boss at the Justice Department had told her to copy the sentences onto the data slips, a request she found odd, but nevertheless complied.

Mr. Childs finds the court's ruling problematic because it allowed revelation to the public of all manner of material inherently irrelevant to the prosecution of Ms. Coplon, including collected information regarding Hollywood stars—hush-hush and on the q.t. He favors the approach of the judge in the Alger Hiss perjury case, albeit on a less onerous motion, quashing a defense subpoena for FBI records not directly related to the case. It was understandable, he concludes, that J. Edgar Hoover was upset about the revelation of the documents. He suggests that the age of the judge in the Coplon case being 75 had played a role in his ruling.

James Marlow discusses the Alger Hiss case entering its fourth week, Ms. Coplon's case, ongoing for two months, and the trial of the eleven top Communists on Smith Act violations, probably to end by late July after several months. Ms. Coplon had claimed that her notes from the documents were for the purpose of writing a book.

Meanwhile, based on a petition by the Sons of the American Revolution, HUAC had requested lists of books and authors being used in randomly selected school districts and in 70 colleges and universities, claiming that the Committee intended no censorship as a result. The SAR claimed that numerous textbooks were being used which were contemptuous of capitalism and were slanted toward Communism and socialism, making little distinction between the two systems.

The Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Paris was not getting anywhere and probably would adjourn in that status.

He concludes that after that, there would likely be quite a lot of news regarding relations between the U.S. and Russia, and the weather would likely be warm for awhile.

A letter complains of the proposed hike in the bus fare by Duke Power Company from a nickel to a dime.

No free rides in Charlotte; you must pay to play.

A Pome from the Atlanta Journal appears "in which is described the attitude some people assume during the Summer:

"No greater pleasure some would ask
Than just to bask and bask and bask."

But when your 'ide is fully tanned or burned,
Or even if you are just a little stumped in place,
You can, if you're a knight who sports the trump,
Proceed to kiss our royal ace.

The Herblock today appears somehow mystically dislocated to exactly 67 years hence and the actions of the Senate this date in 2016 regarding control of assault weapons, in fact passing two control bills by majority will but not by the requisite supermajority of 60 votes, necessary to effect cloture and thus, by agreement, only passing, instead, the buck to the states, which have shown through time great inconsistency in their various paths toward gun control.

One of these days, the law of averages will catch up and one of the mass shooters will kill, as part of an indiscriminate group of victims, one of the loudest of the gun advocates of the NRA or their close relative or friend, and maybe then things will change.

The shooting in Orlando last week which claimed 49 lives had nothing at all to do with Islam or "terrorism", any more than the shooting did at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, also by a deranged American-born citizen proclaiming some affinity to Middle Eastern terrorist organizational rhetoric. In all of the cases of mass shootings, there is one and only one common factor at work: the obvious desire of someone to commit suicide in a visible, vengeful way. Simply because an individual with Arabic heritage suddenly proclaims affinity to a foreign terrorist organization while he acts alone does not an Islamic terrorist act make it. The press places too much reliance on the words of the obviously insane gunman, just as last summer in the tragedy in Charleston, seemingly looking everywhere for explanation except in the obvious place, lack of adequate gun control.

Embracing the simpleton's explanation of someone fancying virgins in the hereafter by eliminating the infidels as the cause for the crazy person's actions is no more elucidative than to posit that the young man last summer in Charleston was chasing with the ghosts of Gettysburg across the field at Pickett's Charge to gain his place alongside them in Valhalla.

While no one can assert that making assault weapons or any firearms harder to get or illegal will cure the problem—as in the instant case, the two guns were obtained legally, as they usually are in these instances, the goal being a flaming suicide, not avoidance of detection—, making them less accessible would certainly curb the number of instances. Making ammunition clips holding multiple rounds and guns which accommodate same unavailable to the public will curtail the opportunity for mass shootings. Making those gun manufacturers and purveyors of such ammunition and weapons who advertise and sell directly to the public, regardless of other gun laws, absolutely liable, with or without negligence, to the families of the dead and the injured victims of deliberate gun violence utilizing those weapons, will curtail quickly such sale and manufacture for the public market.

Society finally got tough with the tobacco industry. It is time we do so with the gun manufacturers. What is an assault weapon but either a killing machine or a lunatic's dangerous toy? Outside of use in war, what is its societal utility? We do not allow people to make bombs and play with those. We do not allow switchblades to be marketed. Why do we allow assault weapons and ammunition clips to be sold?

For any lunatic—including crazy radio, television, and internet talky-talkers, eager to line their greasy pockets with blood money from advertising dollars by catering to the lowest common trash among us—, to blame the President for this or other of these type incidents, when this President has worked probably more diligently than any previous President, save perhaps President Clinton, to obtain effective gun control, supplies ground, itself, for placing that crazy individual on an FBI "watch list". Indeed, maybe it is time to put some of these radio-tv-internet talky-talkers on watch lists as they appear a major part of the problem, encouraging, actively encouraging in some instances, the pandemic mass violence in our society.

But the latest incident in Orlando is no more oriented toward foreign terrorism than the shooting in Charleston last summer or any of the other mass shootings of the last 35 years or so. To talk of it in those terms is to ignore the principal problem once again, and, once again, therefore, to invite, mindlessly, repetition.

The Republican Senate leadership today even contends that the Democrats demanded these four votes on assault weapons only for political reasons. But it is the Republicans who consistently vote against gun control only for political reasons, kowtowing to the gun lobby and the gun nuts who support them. As their presumptive nominee, it is a party today which has become morally bankrupt, as borne out and underscored by their recalcitrant insistence, in an unprecedented move, not to hold even so much as hearings on a well-qualified Supreme Court nominee because of election year politics, saying and doing anything to try to maintain and expand their political power.

Well, boys and girls, you had better take a long look at the polls and come to grips with the fact that you are grossly out of step with most of the American people and are not, insofar as most of the Republican majority goes, a representative Congress. It is time to leave. We have a mind that we will be saying a not so fond farewell to your majorities in both houses come November. Back to the drawing board—through the looking-glass, into Never-never Land.

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