The Charlotte News

Friday, June 3, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the four-power Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Paris had discussed this date reuniting Berlin, but the brief press release did not disclose specifics or provide for the usual press briefing. The Western diplomats believed that the fate of the discussions would be determined in the ensuing couple of days.

In Berlin, for the first time in nearly a year, the four-power military commanders met to discuss the rail strike in Berlin. No agreement was reached.

In New York, Federal District Court Judge Harold Medina ordered one of the eleven top American Communists, John Gates, on trial for violations of the Smith Act, jailed for contempt for refusing to answer questions about who had helped him prepare a Communist Party publication. When the other ten defendants then rose in the courtroom, the Judge ordered two of them, one of whom had shouted the word "lynching", jailed for contempt as well. The other defendant had remarked that he had seen fairer justice in police courts.

In Washington, the Defense Department rescinded a directive which reminded all armed forces personnel of security regulations in connections with public speeches. It was stated that because of merger of the armed forces, the directive, heavily criticized as a "gag order", was no longer necessary. The directive had been issued while James Forrestal was Defense Secretary.

Vice-President Alben Barkley told a closed caucus of Democratic Senators to pass the best labor law they could, indicating an Administration shift from a firm stand in favor of repealing Taft-Harley to a compromise position to accept what it could get in the way of a modification of the law.

In Oak Ridge, Tenn., a strike of 2,000 workers at an atomic production facility was planned for the following Thursday, a strike which would stop production of U-235. The union was seeking a 15-cent per hour wage increase. Carbide & Carbon Chemicals Corp., operator of the plant, proposed a wage decrease of six cents. Employees averaged $1.59 per hour at the plant.

In San Mateo, California, Bank of America founder A. P. Giannini died at age 79 after being ill for a month. He described himself as having left school at age 12 to become a produce peddler with his father, while growing up on the waterfront. Bank of America was the largest bank in the world, with 5.7 billion dollars in assets. He had started the bank as the Bank of Italy in 1904. It had 500 branches, most in California.

In Moundsville, W. Va., fourteen prisoners, including six serving life sentences, had escaped from the State Penitentiary. The men used a homemade drill to cut the bars and concealed the activity with blackened soap.

In Carrollton, Ohio, four hours after the break and 60 miles from Moundsville, a farmer and his wife were murdered by an intruder who stole their car and fled. The Sheriff was investigating the possibility of a connection.

In Winston-Salem, a judge found a man guilty of liquor law violations for selling bootleg liquor while in the Forsyth County jail to his fellow inmates.

Governor Kerr Scott was set to end his statewide campaign for the two bond issues on the ballot the following day, a 200-million dollar rural road program and a 25-million dollar school construction bond for a 50-million dollar overall program. The Governor would provide a radio address statewide this evening at 7:30. It would be the first statewide bond election in state history and, if approved, would be the greatest assumption of debt by the state in its history, the previous high being 175 million dollars in 1929.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of NBC radio commentator Richard Harkness, in a luncheon address to local civic organizations at the Hotel Charlotte, saying that despite the lifting of the Berlin blockade, the U.S. was losing the cold war. The U.S. was being left behind by Russia in the defense program. The blockade was lifted because of the country excelling in transportation, enabling the airlift. The fact that China was being taken over by Communists, however, showed that the U.S. was losing ground across the world stage. And the huge bill for defense was affecting the country's economy. He proposed that if Russia was sincere in its stated desire for peace, then it ought cooperate in disarmament. The U.S. controlled or was allied with four of the five greatest industrial areas of the world, the U.S., itself, Japan, Great Britain, and the Ruhr in Germany.

On the domestic front, Mr. Harkness stated that the Administration would not be able to repeal Taft-Hartley, but that Congress would pass Senator Taft's modified version of it. He asserted that real security was in private enterprise, not dependence on Washington.

Another front-page editorial summarizes the views previously expressed in the column against passage of the road bond issue. Don't let a word escape your undivided attention before casting your ballot tomorrow. Your very life blood may depend upon whether you make the correct decision.

On the editorial page, "Social Security for Veterans" discusses the pension bill for veterans passed by the House, providing for $72 per month at age 65 provided the veteran did not have an income above $1,200 per year if single and twice that if married. It was better than the previous bill sponsored by Congressman John Rankin but remained a bad bill.

The piece opposes making the veteran a preferred beneficiary of Government largess. The veteran already received preference in Civil Service ratings to obtain a Government job and received free medical care if indigent. The veteran received bonuses and disability pay if he could demonstrate any chance that his malady was traceable to his service.

The families of veterans who had died or were killed in service were in danger of being lost in the shuffle, as these additional veterans' benefits necessarily limited the amount which could be paid to veterans, especially to the dependents of those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

"The Atom—With a Halo" tells of David Lilienthal providing in Collier's an article about the beneficial uses of atomic energy, such as radioactive iodine as a treatment for thyroid cancer, successful in several cases. Radioactive tracers were being used to check heart disease and hardening of the arteries. Vegetables grown in mildly radioactive soil could be used to see what, if any, effects they had on sick persons.

Radiation was also useful in agriculture and industry, and atomic energy was being developed for power production.

Mr. Lilienthal therefore urged that the public consider these benefits and not dwell only on the destructive side of atomic energy.

"Rural Program of Progress" tells of the Waynesville Mountaineer publishing a 62-page special edition on the accomplishments of the Haywood County farmers. It compliments the edition and the effort of which it informed, operating under a Community Development program.

A piece from the Chapel Hill Weekly, titled "Who Changed Commission's Opinion?", tells of Governor Scott having appointed nine of ten members of the Highway Commission, one of whom was the largest operator of trucks in the state and had done the most effective work in lobbying for the bill to increase truck weight limits on the state's roads.

The Highway Commission, prior to those appointments, changed its opinion during the recent biennial session of the Legislature between a Friday and a Tuesday without a meeting of the membership in the interim, regarding its initial opposition to the weight limit bill for its damage to the highways and bridges, suddenly altered to support of the bill. The lobbying effort of the trucking industry apparently had paved the way and crossed the shaky bridge.

Drew Pearson relates that the President found "asinine" the original citation as drafted for retiring General Lucius Clay, former military occupation governor of the U.S. occupation zone of Germany. The President had rewritten it. At the time, he was unaware that it had been written in the office of Army chief of staff General Omar Bradley to comport with the citation given General Eisenhower.

Army and Navy intelligence were busy tapping telephones again. Even Admiral Louis Denfeld, highest ranking naval officer, complained that his phone was not safe.

Curtis Calder was displeased with Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson for trying to get him appointed as Secretary of the Army. Mr. Calder told a friend that he did not want to go to Washington, that Mr. Johnson had floated his name to the press without his permission.

The Chinese Communists would not set up a new government in China until August, at which time they would seek to form a coalition of Communists and non-Communists, including elements of the Nationalist Kuomintang. The Russians were displeased at the prospect, but both British and American diplomats were quietly urging the coalition, promised recognition to Mao Tse-Tung if the new government included part of the former Nationalist Cabinet.

The Dillon, Read crowd at the State Department, friends of deceased former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, were out to get new Secretary of Defense Johnson. The Navy also was against him for the perception that he would relegate the Navy to a third position in the military branches.

The Department of Agriculture was concerned about a mysterious wheat disease spreading across the wheat-growing belt.

Two freshman Democrats in the House, Representatives Foster Furcolo of Massachusetts and Pat Sutton of Tennessee, had engineered the recent defeat of the bill to raise military pay, overcoming veteran Congressman Carl Vinson of Georgia, champion of the bill. The two Congressmen were outraged by the provision allowing for tiny increases for the enlisted men while the brass took the lion's share of the raises, placing different price tags on the lives of men by rank.

Joseph Alsop finds irresponsible the opening three-hour session of the joint Atomic Energy Committee's hearings into the charges of mismanagement of the Atomic Energy Commission, brought by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper against AEC chairman David Lilienthal. During this period, Senator Hickenlooper had grilled Mr. Lilienthal about the high turnover rate in personnel at the Commission, to no end save making the AEC appear to have done an outstanding job by weathering these problems.

The primary expressed reason for the personnel having left was their desire to do their work without government interference. The unstated reason was that which the investigation, itself, implied, that no one wished to serve a government whose best officials could be pilloried based on the slightest whim of anyone who voiced complaint.

The worst part of the first session was that no one seemed surprised or upset about the inconsequential nature of the charges and the waste of time thus occasioned by Senator Hickenlooper, resembling a "county attorney trying a chicken thief" more than a Senator questioning a great public servant.

"Even if nobody is shocked, everybody ought to be."

Marquis Childs discusses the distrust in Europe for both Communism and capitalism, favoring a mixed economy, part socialism and part private ownership. Such was expressed recently by Count Giuseppe Dalla Torre, the editor of the official newspaper of the Vatican, criticizing capitalism for concentrating wealth in the hands of the few, finding that, aside from its materialism and philosophy, Communism had therefore more in common with Christian principles than did capitalism.

Count Dalla Torre said that he was not speaking for the Holy See and was criticizing capitalism as it was practiced and abused, not on a theoretical basis.

He had quoted from the encyclical of 1931 by Pope Pius XI:

"In the first place, it is obvious that not only is wealth concentrated in our times but an immense power and despotic economic dictatorship is consolidated in the hands of a few, who often are not owners but only the trustees and managing directors of invested funds which they administer according to their own arbitrary will and pleasure."

A letter writer opposes the rural roads bond issue and the school construction bond issue, set for statewide vote the following day.

A letter writer says, in apparent response to a letter writer of Monday, that he thinks FDR was the greatest of all U.S. Presidents, the "greatest spendthrift, greatest warmonger, and greatest dictator the country has ever known." He adds that conservative columnist Westbrook Pegler was the "greatest writer of truth" and that his popularity was regularly increasing.

The reader may be the judge of the degree to which the writer was being ironic—or not.

A letter writer encloses a letter addressed to the D.A.R., regarding their letter to the newspaper published on May 26, defending the reservation of Washington's Constitutional Hall, owned by the D.A.R., only for white performers, until such time as the conventions of D.C. and the South changed to permit integrated performances. The previous letter had implied that Charlotte also practiced such segregation.

But this writer says that black artists had performed in the Charlotte Municipal Auditorium and that Marian Anderson had sung in the Asheville City Auditorium on several occasions, as had other black performers over a long period of years. The same was true in Atlanta, Raleigh, New Orleans, Montgomery, and many other Southern cities. Hazel Scott, twice barred from Constitution Hall, had sung to an integrated audience in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium the previous year. She had also played in Chapel Hill and in Charlotte.

He tells them that their Constitution Hall, therefore, appeared to be the only place in the South which still followed these "stupid practices" of segregation. He believes that D.C. was waiting on the D.A.R. to change its backward policy.

He adds that he is a white Georgia-born Democrat who had grown up in North Carolina, a college graduate and a veteran who had been twice-wounded in combat, was anti-Communist, anti-Socialist, and liberal.

A letter writer opposes the road bond issue and wants the state to proceed on a pay-as-you-go basis, as Virginia and South Carolina, with superior roads.

A letter writer finds FDR not to have held respect for states' rights, favored purging of his opponents. His "dictatorship", he asserts, had filtered down to the state and county level such that even the sale of milk was being controlled in Charlotte. The previous year during the polio epidemic, children were prevented from going to church. Had they faith in God, nothing would have kept them away from church. Americans had little freedom left. Democrats had controlled North Carolina so long that no real statesman could be found. There were not enough statesmen in the Legislature during the recent session to enable a statewide referendum on liquor.

Well, but, you see, the Commie Governor who appointed that Commie Senator Graham favored your statewide referendum on that one. Go figure.

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