The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Congress was studying the President's proposal to establish a fund of 45 million dollars for development of underdeveloped nations over the world and provide authority to the Export-Import Bank to guarantee new American private investments in those countries against the risk of losses peculiar to foreign investment. The target areas were in Africa, the Near and Far East and Central and South America, where shared-cost programs in conjunction with local governments would be offered. The President wanted the program conducted in conjunction with the U.N.

Democratic leaders in the House believed the proposal would have strong support if it made it out of committee. But its chances of emerging from the Foreign Affairs Committee were in question. Already under consideration were ratification of NATO and the accompanying military aid program for the Western European members, likely to produce much debate and take up most of the remaining calendar prior to the coming mid-summer adjournment.

In Berlin, the three Western occupation military commanders conducted a closed session to study the rail strike, ongoing in West Berlin for over five weeks. The strikers had proposed to open the rail yards to trains from the Western zones, but that proposal was rejected by the Russian railway management.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian Republic executed a Moscow-trained Communist leader and three other Indonesian Communists, including a former Republican Premier.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee voted to place new restraints on the Atomic Energy Commission's construction projects. The restrictions required that the Budget Bureau had to approve and the Senate and House appropriations committees be notified before undertaking any new construction costing more than a half million dollars and for which an estimate was not included in the budget, or when such a project's cost exceeded its estimate, either before or after construction had begun. Senator Bourke Hickenlooper had complained, as part of his charges of mismanagement at AEC, that spending on construction had exceeded estimates. But Senator Joseph O'Mahoney had suggested the spending restrictions even before Senator Hickenlooper's charges.

The UMW began its ten-day annual vacation amid negotiations of a new contract to replace the current one which would expire on June 30.

In Detroit, the UAW was about to air at its upcoming convention the results of its investigation into a Paterson, N.J., local on claims of racketeering and gambling. The New York Times had published a story that in 1947, the UAW executive committee had suppressed a report on the charges.

In Glen Cove, N.Y., the former mansion of the late J. P. Morgan, situated on 76 acres and including 23 baths and 57 rooms, once assessed as worth a million dollars, was bid by the City at auction for $5,233 in back property taxes.

In South Harpswell, Maine, a woman, 24, shot herself after a quarrel with her artist husband over washing dishes in their automatic dishwasher. It occurred after a dinner at their home at which poet Robert P. Tristram Coffin was a guest. She was in serious condition with a good chance to live. Her husband said the argument was nothing, but that his wife, a former airline stewardess, was "high strung".

In Chicago, an aged Lothario, 73, who had for years charmed widows out of their fortunes, wound up trapped by one of his quarry, a 55-year old widow who led him into a police net as they went shopping for luggage for a proposed holiday trip. She had become suspicious of the man as he started a whirlwind romance earlier in the week, and contacted police to find that he had pulled the scheme previously and was sought for defrauding a widow in Chicago of $8,000 earlier in the month after posing as a Hollywood movie producer. The police urged her to accept his proposal and then lure him into the trap. The man used several aliases, including "Lord Beaverbrook", under which he was apprehended by a detective identifying himself as "Sherlock Holmes". The woman he had previously scammed identified him, then rushed at him and called him "a dirty bastard". She was restrained by police. He admitted taking $5,000 from the woman and promised to return it. He said that in taking the widows' money, he had never married them as it would be wrong, and that he had done nothing more wrong than what the politicians did every day.

In Richmond, Va., Douglas Southall Freeman, 63, Editor of the Richmond News Leader, announced his retirement after 35 years to devote his time to historical writing. In 1934, Dr. Freeman had won a Pulitzer Prize for biography for his four-volume R. E. Lee. He was expecting to complete his six-volume work on George Washington in 1951, two volumes of which were completed. He had also completed in 1944 the three-volume Lee's Lieutenants, a study of the command structure of the Confederacy. He intended to continue his radio broadcasting and lectures.

James Kilpatrick, 28, Associate Editor, would become the chief editorial writer, but no replacement would be named immediately for Dr. Freeman.

The month-long drought in the Northeast continued, as temperatures would reach the high 80's and 90's. Hot weather prevailed across the country to the Rockies, with the exception of the areas along the Canadian border.

In Miami, Fla., the police department horse, Buster, had a couple of beers on a hot day. The patrolman who rode him said that Buster liked beer and drank it as a gentleman. He could not have more than two, however, because if he drank too many, he believed the pedestrians were Indians and that he was General Custer.

In Mount Holly, N.C., the police chief reported that a thief had managed to defeat an open-top soft drink machine with a straw, sipping the contents of six nickel bottles. The chief had to pay 30 cents to get the empty bottles out of the machine.

There's nothing betta on a hot summa's day than sippin' one of those ise-cold Coca-Colas from an open-top soft drink machine, with the metal slides to hold the bottle necks down in the ise-cold watah. But six is a bit much.

On the editorial page, "Doing Our Own Home Work" finds that Charlotte builders were demonstrating that home construction was not dependent upon Federal subsidies, as building permits for new residential units in Charlotte totaled in June about 4.5 million dollars worth of housing. New plans had been unveiled for 1,100 units worth 6.8 million. And most of the new housing was for low and middle income families.

Construction, however, continued to lag in housing for black residents. One contractor was building a 2.5 million dollar housing project with over 500 units, but it was not enough.

"The South on Trial" finds that such efforts as that of the Organized Veterans Committee Against Crime and Violence, and the Judiciary Committee of the Alabama Legislature, recommending a bill making it unlawful to wear masks in public, were salutary reactions to the Klan and other mob violence, involving floggings and other such assaultive conduct, occurring recently in the Birmingham area, aimed primarily at white people, prompting investigation by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

It posits that such conduct started usually from small talk among men in the South, that such and such person beat his wife or otherwise did something against community standards, until they talked themselves into agreement that something ought be done, then formed a mob to undertake vigilante action. It could occur anywhere in the South, and unless the Southern states undertook to do something to curb the activity, recognizing the while that the state was unable to legislate against hate, the Federal Government would move in and legislate instead.

"Bird in the Hand" finds that chicken-eating was in need of an organization to promote free-handling of the cooked bird, to avoid the various controversies which arose at the table on how to consume it. It finds one of the most annoying methods to be the fastidious cleaning of hands and mouth after each bite.

The editorialist is looking forward to Col. Sanders.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "A Happy Omen", tells of the North Carolina American Legion commander leaving office saying that the Legion should not favor pension benefits for veterans which were not in the public interest, including those which were to be obtained only by reaching the age of 65, not based on need and disability. The piece thinks it a wise stand, not to give in to the desire of such politicians as Congressman John Rankin to obtain votes by appealing to veterans. Such excessive benefits would only deprive more deserving veterans, those maimed and injured in war, and the families and dependents of those who had died, from their just benefits.

The twelfth article in the series reprinted from Fortune regarding the Hoover Commission report and recommendations for reorganization of the executive branch of the Government addresses nine regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission, able to make and enforce regulations outside the normal course of government, as well as Social Security, education, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Commission had found that the nine independent commissions were not fulfilling their intended functions, partly because of incompetence from inadequate appointees and partly the result of inadequate or poorly organized staff, with excessive responsibility resting on the commissioners, forced to be involved too much in regulatory functions. The commissions generally lacked firm leadership. And unnecessary red tape led to useless delay and expense.

The recommendations of the Commission were: that all administrative responsibilities should be vested in a chairman, assisted by an executive director; that the salaries be raised to attract better personnel at staff and commission levels; that Congress should authorize commissioners to delegate routine duties to staff; that the Administrative Management Division of the Office of the Budget suggest methods of simplification and expedition of commission procedures; and that the purely executive duties be shifted to executive departments.

Social Security had spent about 550 million dollars in 1948, plus 800 million to the states, against revenue of 1.68 billion dollars. The Federal Government was spending about 2.5 billion per year on education, including that covered under the G.I. bill.

Welfare and education had become so important as functions of the Government that the Commission recommended that a separate Department be formed for their administration and a Secretary appointed at the Cabinet level. Presently, they were administered by the Federal Security Agency.

As to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Commission recommended that it be transferred from the Department of Interior to independent status, and that its primary goal become assimilation of Indians into the general population and culture, that is, to eliminate the need for the Bureau.

Perhaps, it is noteworthy in this regard that President Hoover's Vice-President, Charles Curtis, was Native American on his mother's side, the only person with such heritage thus far ever to serve as either President or Vice-President. Mr. Curtis had died in 1936.

Drew Pearson publishes for the first time a letter written by Dr. Edward U. Condon, director of the Bureau of Standards, to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, withdrawing a prior demand for an apology for an FBI report which had smeared Dr. Condon's wife, made public in the Judith Coplon espionage case, suggesting that Mrs. Condon had been contacted by Ms. Coplon at some point, implying that Mrs. Condon was involved in the matter of the alleged espionage. In the letter, Dr. Condon continued to press for an investigation of the unchecked gossip which he describes as "slander", and wonders why the FBI had never once sought to interview his wife or himself regarding the matter, despite his having indicated fully his intent to cooperate. He says that the files were shot through with errors which could easily be corrected through ascertainable facts. Dr. Condon concludes by assuring Mr. Hoover that he wrote in a sense of cooperative friendship and respect.

Mr. Pearson notes that it was either an ironic twist of fate or deliberate trick by an FBI subordinate which resulted in placement of the file on Mrs. Condon within the material released to the defense in the Coplon case, as there was no relevance at all to it and the matter was not in the Attorney General's file when he read the FBI reports in advance of it being released to the defense. But when that time came, it was strangely included. The FBI claimed that the Condon file had gotten stuck in a paper clip behind another report. But insiders believed it was a strange bit of bureaucratic error which caused this document to turn up in the way it had.

The President was angry with his Council of Economic Advisers for refusing to endorse the plan of Agriculture Secretary Charles Brannan to subsidize perishable produce in a manner different from non-perishables as tobacco and cotton. Dr. Edwin Nourse, chairman of the Council, believed the plan to be "political".

The President, receiving such good reports on the Democratic farm rally, had decided to hold a Democratic labor meeting in September in Senator Taft's hometown of Cincinnati.

Marquis Childs, in New York, again provides his impressions of the trial of Alger Hiss, focusing on the defendant as an "American Dreyfus". No one would have believed a year earlier that someone with such a promising personal and professional resume would have wound under such an accusation, accused by an admitted Communist spy of being a supplier of secret Government documents in 1937. (Once again, Mr. Childs makes the mistake of suggesting that the accusation involved "treason", which it did not for the fact of the Russians not being at war with the United States or a declared enemy at any relevant time in 1937 or 1938, or, indeed, at any time.)

He finds that through it all, Mr. Hiss had remained serene in outward appearance, showing no fear, occasionally smiling during the proceedings, especially when defense counsel Lloyd Paul Stryker, one of New York's most prominent criminal defense attorneys, asked him on the witness stand to identify his wife, Priscilla.

He appeared to be getting as fair a trial as could be hoped under the American system, conducted in a calm atmosphere without sensationalism. The jury appeared to be upper middle-class and would do their duty, without sympathies for the New Deal.

The defense was likely costing $50,000, borne not only by Mr. Hiss but sympathetic friends convinced of his innocence. Mr. Stryker usually received around $1,000 per day. And his services included ferreting out the old Woodstock typewriter which belonged to the Hisses and which they were seeking to establish had been disposed of by them before 1937 when the Government contended that Priscilla Hiss used it, according to Mr. Chambers, to transcribe the State Department documents provided him by Mr. Hiss. On top of that expense, Dr. Carl Binger, a psychiatrist employed to make observations in the courtroom of Mr. Chambers and then testify as an expert witness about his findings, cost $40 to $50 per hour.

For all this psychological and financial pressure on Mr. Hiss, it might have been someone else on trial, given his detached reaction in the courtroom.

A letter writer tells of a misstatement contained in a previous letter from the N. C. Motor Carriers Association, contending that the commissioner of the U.S. Public Roads Association had stated that soil and climate conditions contributed more to road wear than traffic. Finding the statement suspicious, the letter writer had written the commissioner and ascertained that the statement had been made in 1931 when heavy truck traffic on the roads was not so great, that in fact the commissioner had been critical more recently of the wear caused by heavy trucks. He encloses the letter from the commissioner so stating.

The issue had arisen from the fact that the General Assembly in the 1949 session had raised weight limits for trucks on certain roads.

A letter writer finds Ralph Gibson's piece on "Beer Joints" to bring back memories of the days of saloons. He finds that one of the great tragedies of the modern era was that "good living is fast fading from the picture". The saloon had been one of the greatest contributions to that era of "good living". In Britain, not even the socialists tampered with the tradition of the corner pub.

"'Oh weep for those who wept by Babel's Stream'—and weep, too," he concludes, "for this fine old institution—the saloon which we may never see again."

Don't worry. Matt and Miss Kitty and Doc and Chester will revivify the era for you in no time, every Saturday night. You will be in hog heaven.

A letter from the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections thanks the newspaper for its publicity regarding the election on June 11 for the local bond issues.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its editorial, "Separation of Church and State", finding it a principle worth defending.

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