The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Acheson re-emphasized, this time in executive session before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the importance of prompt ratification of NATO and backing it up with a program of military aid to the Western European members. The previous day, the Secretary had stressed to the Senate the need for the two programs, as part of his briefing on the recently concluded Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Paris.

In elections in The Netherlands, the Communists lost nearly half their seats in municipal councils as right-wing parties gained substantially. The moderates, which formed the coalition Cabinet, maintained their dominant position.

Democratic House leaders claimed to hold a 20-vote margin in favor of passage of the Administration's public housing and slum clearance bill as it entered the second day of debate. But Southern Congressmen and Republicans insisted that the matter remained in doubt. The opposition, aiming their criticism at affordability, was split over whether to contest the measure or propose a compromise alternative. The estimated cost of the program ranged between 7.5 and 20 billion dollars over the course of ten years.

Representatives Adolph Sabath of Illinois and Ed Cox of Georgia are shown in a photograph shaking hands, following their exchange of insults, a slap and blows, the previous day, regarding whether Mr. Sabath as chair of the Rules Committee would allow Mr. Cox opportunity to be heard during floor debate on the housing bill.

A close Senate vote was predicted for the injunction provision of Taft-Hartley.

The President told six members of Congress at a White House meeting that he planned to provide to Congress in July a message on unemployment. The delegation, planning to introduce legislation to encourage economic expansion, included Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas of California.

The President signed an appropriation bill which provided money for thousands of payless Federal employees and making 5.4 million dollars available for repair of the White House. The deficiency measure provided the emergency money for agencies which had exhausted their appropriations for the fiscal year ending June 30.

A House subcommittee, reversing a previous decision, voted to allow Maj. General Harry Vaughan, military aide to the President, to retain the medal awarded him by El Presidente Juan Peron of Argentina.

The joint Atomic Energy Committee began looking at operations at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and at Los Alamos, N.M., as part of its inquiry into operations of the Atomic Energy Commission.

In New York, in the perjury trial of Alger Hiss, a former handyman of the Hiss household testified that the FBI had offered him $200 for an old Woodstock typewriter which the defense had produced in evidence the previous day, claiming it to be the Hiss family typewriter. The handyman said that Donald Hiss, brother of the defendant, had given him about $40 to track down the machine. The defense contended that the Hisses had disposed of the typewriter prior to the time it was alleged by the prosecution to have been used by Priscilla Hiss, wife of the defendant, to transcribe some of the State Department documents which Whittaker Chambers claimed to have received from Alger Hiss in early 1937.

In Washington, in the espionage trial of Judith Coplon, the defendant complained that she wanted the Government to produce all of her work sheets to show the kind of work she normally had performed at the Justice Department. Her duties as a political analyst at the Department included determining whether propagandists were registered as foreign agents as required by law. She admitted during cross-examination by the Government that she had considered in 1948 visiting Russia but had dropped the idea. The Government tried to establish that the Russian she was meeting when arrested, her claimed love, had used a standard Russian spy technique of separating and then reuniting an hour later if the meeting was prevented from occurrence. She denied knowledge of any such technique.

In Chicago, automaker Preston Tucker entered a plea of not guilty to a 31-count Federal indictment charging mail fraud, conspiracy, and SEC violations in connection with production of his automobile and its failure to reach the market. Six of seven co-defendants likewise entered not guilty pleas. (No one pleaded "innocent", as the piece suggests. For to do so would impliedly shift the burden to the defendant to prove his innocence.)

In New York, the judge in the trial of the eleven top American Communist Party leaders refused to reduce bail on a jail sentence provided one defendant the previous Monday for contempt. Three other defendants had been sentenced for contempt on June 3.

In Boston, a 14-year old boy said that he did not wish to speak to his mother, who allegedly had maintained him in a guarded room most of his life. He had escaped to the outside world on March 14. The mother said that she was trying to keep secret his illegitimate birth. A hearing was being conducted to determine whether the mother had been neglectful and should retain custody.

In London, Lord Milverton resigned from the Labor Party, denouncing the Government's increasing nationalization of industries, finding it heading toward a totalitarian state. Also, a leader of the Trade Union Congress declared that the national economy was being harmed by inflation.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, Bamangwato tribesmen, discarding advice of their elder regent, voted to accept a white queen, Ruth Williams, a former London typist who had married the chief-designate of the tribe the previous October.

Off Bari, Italy, at least 25 persons, all aboard, including an undetermined number of Americans, had been killed in the crash of a Dutch Airlines Constellation, crashing into the sea less than 350 yards offshore. Hundreds of bathers witnessed the crash.

In Rockingham, N.C., a commercial peach-grower claimed that bad calculations by the Federal and State Crop Reporting Services had harmed peach prices. He said that the estimate was based on counting peach trees listed for tax purposes rather than accounting for actual weather conditions, resulting in an estimate of a greater crop than actually produced. The estimate was 1.56 million bushels and the peach-grower claimed no more than 660,000 bushels had been produced in the state. He said that the estimate for the previous year's production was 1.9 million bushels when only 600,000 had been produced. A spokesman for the State Crop Reporting Service said that confusion sometimes developed because of the report combining commercial and farm crops, and that the report was accurate for the previous year.

On the editorial page, "Communism and Education" reflects on the HUAC effort to find out about the nation's textbooks and its having stimulated a conversation regarding the distinction between teaching of Communist doctrine in the schools and indoctrination of Communism.

Top educators, including Dr. James B. Conant of Harvard and General Eisenhower of Columbia, had favored the teaching of all forms of government and economics while disfavoring a teaching Communist as being constrained by party doctrine to inculcate Communism in the students.

The superintendent of North Carolina Public Instruction, Clyde Erwin, had recommended stern discipline for students subscribing to Communist doctrine, which the piece finds a "loose, unprincipled blast", not discriminating between Communist theory and practice. Illinois had proposed measures to ferret out teachers of Communist doctrine and dismiss any professor refusing to resign Communist organizations.

UNC chancellor Robert House had responded to the textbook inquiry in a more enlightened and calm manner, saying that the only reason the University did not have in its library every book printed was that it could not afford them.

Harvard, also exhibiting equanimity, had said that while steps would be taken to eliminate Communist teachers from the faculty, there would no harassment or methods used to maintain a close watch on professors.

The piece finds that the furor was beginning to subside amid the virtually unanimous protest against an academic inquisition. Perhaps, it concludes, the HUAC inquiry had inadvertently resulted in a salubrious dialogue which would avoid a repetition of the temptation to throw out academic freedom in the midst of hysteria.

"Mr. Johnson Speaks Out" tells of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson setting forth two rules which he would follow, that the Joint Chiefs would determine which branch of service to emphasize and that each branch could no longer be an autonomous arbiter of its own policy.

The piece finds his adherence to these rules wise, as the best experts on military policy were the Joint Chiefs, and the elimination of waste and production of efficiency in the military establishment were best achieved through cooperative effort in merger.

"James M. Godard" regards the resignation at the end of the summer of the dean of Charlotte's Queens College to be a loss to the whole community, in which he had been active. Dr. Godard had been with the College for 13 years. He would become executive secretary of the organization which determined accreditation for Southern colleges and universities.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Keeping Baby Quiet", tells of medical experiments conducted in an effort to keep infants quiet during radiological filming having shown that sugar water was effective to that end. It suggests that with new scientific techniques there was no telling what incidental discoveries might be made.

The tenth article in the series reprinted from Fortune regarding the Hoover Commission report and recommendations on Government reorganization, examines the Departments of Labor and Commerce.

The Labor Department, while still large, had for ten years been gradually stripped by Congress of many of its functions and much of its funding, such that, according to the Commission, it had lost much of its significance. The INS had gone to the Justice Department in 1940; the U. S. Employment Service was transferred to the Federal Security Agency in 1939; the Children's Bureau, save its labor functions, had gone to the same Agency in 1946; and in 1947, the Department's conciliation activities had been made independent as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.

The Commission recommended transferring to the Department labor services performed by other agencies, as well as the duty of enforcement of labor standards in Government contracts. The most controversial recommendation was that it take over the Selective Service Administration.

The Commission recommended that the scatterad transportation services be consolidated within the Department of Commerce. The Government had spent 30 billion dollars during the previous thirty years on such things as subsidies for early railroad construction, loans to financially ailing railroads and guidance in reorganization of same, dredging of rivers and harbors and construction of canals, operation of and subsidies to the merchant marine and aids to navigation, grants to the states for highway construction, and research in these fields. It would likely spend 1.2 billion in these areas in 1949.

The Commission favored the Maritime Commission, Interstate Commerce Commission, and Civil Aeronautics Board keeping their current regulatory functions while divesting their promotional activities and operations in favor of the Department of Commerce. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the Public Roads Administration, the Office of Defense Transportation, the Coast Guard, and possibly some marine functions of the Bureau of Customs, should all be subsumed, it had recommended, under Commerce.

Drew Pearson tells of a backstage battle between Generals Omar Bradley and Douglas MacArthur regarding the presence of U.S. troops in the Pacific. General Bradley wanted full withdrawal except in Japan and Hawaii, to prevent a Bataan-type sacrifice in the event of war. General MacArthur, in contrast, wanted troops around the Pacific to create spheres of influence to prevent the spread of Communism. He opposed withdrawal of troops from South Korea and the Philippines. General MacArthur had been so overbearing in his cables that General Bradley had been forced to remind him of who the chief of staff of the Army was.

Dan Tobin, head of the Teamsters, had sent to all locals a letter cautioning against strikes to avoid an economic downturn. Presently, he reminded, rank and file members received better wages than brick masons, plasterers, and skilled mechanics because of seasonal layoffs. He also warned of Communist infiltration in the locals.

The President had refrained from taking a group of 4-H visitors into the rain for pictures in the Rose Garden outside the White House, to avoid getting in trouble with their parents.

Congress was investigating the shortsightedness of the oil industry in opposing construction of new roads based on the fact that many states were raising gasoline taxes to do it, even though the new roads meant inevitably more consumption of gasoline. In North Carolina, the oil industry opposed the 200-million dollar bond issue and one-cent rise in gas tax for a rural roads program, but the farmers had outvoted the city population, the latter having voted five to one against the program. Roads generally across the nation, for neglect during the war, were in the worst condition since the Depression, while traffic had steadily increased. The unimproved roads were hard on cars, and traffic snarls and accidents resulted. Yet, the oil industry still opposed the improvements which would benefit safety and traffic flow.

Marquis Childs, in New York, tells of the joint Atomic Energy Committee investigation of charges by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of mismanagement by Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal having been reduced to such trivialities that it was hardly any longer receiving press coverage, even in the newspapers which had sought to smear Mr. Lilienthal.

The Committee chairman, Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, had proposed that the Committee have veto power over the AEC, effectively a finding of mismanagement against Mr. Lilienthal. But such a move would place atomic energy in the thick of political crosswinds.

Mr. Childs predicts that if Congress approved the proposal, then Mr. Lilienthal would resign, probably with two or three of the other four commissioners, and the President would have difficulty finding replacements. The move would ultimately retard atomic energy development.

He cites the example of political pressure being brought to bear on the Committee regarding the AEC-approved construction of a natural gas pipeline to the Oak Ridge plant. The railroads, coal miners and owners had brought pressure on the Committee to nix the proposal as they favored coal as a fuel for the plant. A subcommittee was appointed to examine the project and disapproved it, as did the full Committee. But the AEC nevertheless was going ahead with the project, based in part on its contention of having already formed an irrevocable contract for the construction.

Under the McMahon proposal, there would be no orderly operation possible of AEC and its billion-dollar budget. Members of Congress would tend to favor pork-barreling to get atomic energy projects into their states and districts.

He concludes that the AEC needed to remain independent to continue progress in the field of nuclear energy.

Stewart Alsop, in Saigon, tells of the French realizing that their colonial power could not be restored in Indo-China and so planning a holding operation to buy time. Such a stall would work to the advantage of the West to prevent another loss to the Communists immediately following the loss of China.

The French planned to create a "redoubt" across the eastern coastal route to inhibit Chinese Communist infiltration, in the process rooting out Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas from that area, bounded by Langson, Moncay, Hanoi, and Haiphong. The redoubt would not seal the Indo-Chinese borders because of mountainous jungle topography but would cut off means of transportation except by jungle trails, making transmission of aid difficult from the Chinese Communists to the Viet Minh.

It would allow the time necessary for establishment of an independent Viet Nam under the leadership of Bao Dai, the former Emperor, hoping to siphon off all but the small core of support from Ho Chi Minh.

Many believed the plan nonsensical as Bao Dai was a French stooge who could never attract nationalist support. Furthermore, the French Army and colonial services were determined to sabotage the effort to create an independent Viet Nam. Thus, it was believed by these observers that the only salvation lay in working with the Communists to form a coalition government as was being sought in China.

Asiatic nationalism was a deep-rooted force which the West appeared to oppose, while Moscow had managed to present itself, however illusorily, as its champion. If that process continued indefinitely, believed the most informed observers, it would result in the loss of Asia to the Communists.

Thus, it would be disastrously fatal to American interests throughout the region to support the remnants of French colonialism in Asia and to supply military aid to such an effort, which could never really be won by the French.

Affirmatively, however, the West could support the Viet Nam experiment in independence, a move which would irritate many of the French in Indo-China. Mr. Alsop thus recommends such a course, supported by economic, diplomatic, and military aid. But there still had to be addressed the problem of Bao Dai being perceived as a puppet of French colonial interests while Ho Chi Minh was viewed as the wave of the future.

There was no more than a fighting chance for true independence to flourish in Indo-China, but a fighting chance, he concludes, was better than no chance at all.

A letter writer remarks on the 200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar in San Diego being probably the largest which would ever be produced, magnifying the moon 10,000 times. Scientists were hopeful of being able to use it to photograph the canals on Mars. He suggests that at some future time, an invention might be developed to penetrate more deeply into space than possible by any telescope or radar.

A letter from a member of the State Municipal Roads Commission thanks the newspaper for the editorial "Streets and Roads", appearing June 15.

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