The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 8, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, there was a move to adjourn the deadlocked Council of Foreign Ministers meeting for three months while deputy ministers considered the specific technical issues of a uniform rate of exchange for the currency of Berlin, trade between the Western and the Soviet zones of Germany, and a plan for transportation between the Western zones and Berlin.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas said that the breakdown of the conference could speed action on the Administration's proposal to send 1.13 billion dollars worth of arms to the Western European members of NATO. But first NATO had to be ratified by the Senate.

ERP administrator Paul Hoffman proposed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that a three-year "Little Marshall Plan", consisting of 150 million dollars worth of economic aid the first year, be approved for the Republic of Korea so that it could effectively block Communism in the Russian-controlled Northern portion of the country. Mr. Hoffman said that unity of the country could only be achieved if South Korea's government and economy were placed on a sound footing, convincing the people of the North that their best interests lay in union.

A 54-page report by twenty top educators, including Columbia University president General Dwight Eisenhower and Harvard president Dr. James Conant, urged that Communists should not be allowed into the teaching profession. But they also stated that principles of Communism should be taught though not advocated.

Ruth Cowan of the Associated Press provides a biographical sketch of Gordon Gray, Secretary of the Army-designate. Senator Millard Tydings, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, predicted speedy approval of the nomination. Mr. Gray had been confirmed as Undersecretary of the Army in late May. He had been Assistant Secretary since September, 1947.

In Athens, Greece, a Greek military court sentenced to death seven of 36 persons charged with assisting the guerrillas through a Communist underground. Two others drew life sentences and five received terms ranging between nine and eighteen years, while the remainder of the defendants received minor sentences.

Senator Bourke Hickenlooper said that the Atomic Energy Commission had sent to Norway radioactive isotopes for use in studies of steel for jet engines and rockets, a violation, he said, of the spirit if not the letter of the law. One AEC commissioner, who had dissented to the shipment, said that he thought the Commission had violated the law in the matter. AEC chairman David Lilienthal argued that the shipments did not communicate any vital information, that knowledge of radioactive isotopes had been commonly held since before the war. Senator Hickenlooper also questioned shipments of isotopes to France and Finland and said that none of the shipments were for humanitarian purposes, permitted under the law.

In New York, in the perjury trial of Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers continued his testimony on redirect examination by the Government's attorney, stating that five Government sources had provided him with documents for transmission to the Soviets prior to the war. He said that one of the sources was Julian Wadleigh, at the time a State Department employee. He did not identify the others. He also reiterated his claim that he received from Alger Hiss 47 State Department documents from which two rolls of microfilm were made, as submitted in evidence by the prosecution.

Mr. Chambers testified earlier that he had never been treated for mental illness or examined by a psychiatrist. During the HUAC hearings of the previous August, Congressman Richard Nixon had stated that it had been suggested by Mr. Hiss, based on admitted hearsay, that Mr. Chambers had been confined to a mental institution.

You and your pals should have been. It might have saved the country a lot of mess over the ensuing two and a half decades.

The previous day, Mr. Chambers had testified that he had lied to the grand jury which indicted Mr. Hiss because he wanted to protect the spies from the consequences of what they had done and was particularly anxious to protect Mr. Hiss because of their close friendship through the years and because he was "a very able man".

Well, your sense of loyalty and protectiveness is obvious and quite touching. But you failed to mention that concealment of espionage most especially protected Mr. Chambers and his reputation as a senior editor at Time, until it came to be a matter of money in the defamation suit brought by Mr. Hiss, at which point Mr. Chambers suddenly changed his tune and was extremely cooperative in discovery.

In London, an official spokesman for Buckingham Palace stated that Princess Margaret, younger sister of Princess Elizabeth, would make a private visit to the United States during the fall.

Sub-freezing temperatures were recorded in parts of the Midwest, with 21 recorded at Cadillac, Mich. The nation's hottest location was Yuma, Ariz., hitting 104.

Cadillac needs to blend with Yuma for a moderate 62.5 degrees.

In Bakersfield, California, an escaped convict was fleeing from police in a stolen car believed to have 50 pounds of explosives in the trunk. The convict was apparently unaware of his cargo. The convict and his brother had overpowered two deputies from Bakersfield while they transported the two brothers to San Quentin Prison to serve time for armed robbery. The brothers then forced the deputies to drive back some 200 miles to Bakersfield. One brother had been captured the previous day.

Watch out for the bumps.

In Columbia, S.C., the South Carolina Supreme Court considered the appeal of Nathan Corn, sentenced to death for the conviction of first degree murder of his employer, George Beam, Jr., in Rock Hill the previous year on June 5. The appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient for conviction and that the defense was provided inadequate time to prepare the case prior to trial. He also contended that he was not able to confront and cross-examine some of the witnesses whose testimony was admitted at trial, and that the court, in operating at night, had placed too much pressure on the jury. He also charged that the seating arrangement in the courtroom, with the decedent's family sitting close to the jury, was prejudicial to the defendant.

Except, possibly, for the argument re inadequate time for preparation, you have a tough hill to climb on those contentions.

Dick Young of The News discusses the million dollar bond issue earmarked for street improvements in Charlotte, on the ballot the following Saturday.

To justify its fare increase on Charlotte buses, Duke Power, in a report issued to the State Utilities Commission, revealed that it had sustained losses of nearly $160,000 in 1948, and had losses of $69,000 during the first three months of 1949, compared to $33,000 in the same period of 1948. The company had lost a total of $460,000 statewide. Even with the higher fare, net operating losses were estimated to be $60,000 for 1949, assuming the higher fare had been in effect the entire year. If granted, the higher fare would not take effect, however, until August 1.

You better hop on the bus, Gus, before the rate goes up. Hobbride.

On the editorial page, "Bus Fare Increase" finds Duke Power Co. to have presented a good case for raising its fares to ten cents or three tokens for a quarter. The State Public Utilities Commission would determine what Duke Power's profits were and whether the rate was justified. The City Council would then pass on the matter. The current fare had been set in 1918 when street cars had been in use. So the fare increase was not undue after 31 years.

"Things Are Slowing Up" tells of the rise in unemployment since the previous summer, now at the highest level since the war. There was also a decrease in hours worked, resulting in lower production and less income for workers. Nationally, 5.9 percent of persons covered by unemployment compensation were drawing it.

With a three billion dollar deficit looming, the Congress appeared unwilling to make cuts in the budget, which could be accomplished along the lines suggested by the Hoover Commission. It urges readers to let Congress and the Administration know that they expected these recommendations to be implemented.

"From Spokesman to Editor" tells of AMA Journal editor Morris Fishbein having editorially ventured from the field of scientific and medical issues into policy and political matters, to the consternation of the AMA, which had in consequence during the week at its convention issued a resolution preventing Dr. Fishbein from doing so in the future. He had become a symbol of reaction to the public for his attacks on everyone who criticized the medical profession.

The piece expresses admiration for Dr. Fishbein but finds that he would be better in his new role.

"Buttering the Boss" finds unbecoming the level of boot-licking associated with State ABC chairman Robert Winston, recently appointed to the post. He had sold 200 shares of oil stock at the behest of Governor Kerr Scott, who found the holdings inimical to the interests of the citizens of the state. The sale had occurred just a few days after Mr. Winston's appointment and a few days before the vote on the road bond issue.

Harlan Trott, in a piece from the Christian Science Monitor, discusses the hearings before the Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee on the charges of Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of mismanagement by Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal. The principal basis for the charge was lax security, as exampled by the granting of an AEC scholarship to UNC graduate student Hans Freistadt, a Communist, and the disappearance of a minute amount of U-235 from a Chicago laboratory. Some of the Committee members clearly resented the seemingly cavalier manner in which Mr. Lilienthal regarded both lapses.

He had said that he favored FBI loyalty checks for those who handled secret information, but not for those not coming in contact with such information, as Mr. Freistadt. He cautioned that loyalty and background checks of young scientists by the FBI would deter many from applying for the scholarships, necessary to insure continued scientific progress.

Mr. Lilienthal's friends believed that if he were to be judged on his two and a half year record as chairman, he would be reconfirmed as chairman the following year. But if other matters intruded, such as his past as head of TVA, drawing the ire of private utilities as a supposed enemy of private enterprise, and of the coal industry for switching Oak Ridge to natural gas to assure continued production in the event of a coal strike, or his being symbolic of the New Deal brand of "socialism", he might not be reconfirmed.

Many regarded Mr. Lilienthal as lacking in the perspicacity necessary to deal with Congressional critics, that he was too blunt with members of Congress when a level of diplomacy would better serve the security of his position. If he were to be forced out, ventures Mr. Trott, it would be because he was "too outspoken and unpolitical to play the game with Congress."

Drew Pearson tells of the Democrats meeting to discuss the labor bill, with the hot topic being whether to allow the President to seize struck plants affecting national welfare. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina wanted to put such a provision in the new law. But Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois favored only having a 90-day cooling-off period, while Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota favored only 30 days. Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland said that unless an injunction provision were provided in the law, 19 Southerner Senators would vote against it, including him. Senator Matthew Neely of West Virginia, however, believed that such a move would cost the Democrats the labor vote in the next election.

Senator Douglas finally proposed five compromises worked out by a coalition of liberal Democrats and Republicans, and approved by organized labor. The compromises called for collective bargaining, non-Communist affidavits, financial reporting of unions, free speech and a 90-day cooling-off period in strikes affecting the national welfare. Senator Humphrey proposed four amendments not as strong as those proposed by Senator Douglas. He also said that he would not support a labor law which would only be a rehash of Taft-Hartley.

Most of the Democrats approved of compromise of Taft-Hartley, a better course, they reasoned, than leaving it on the books. Senator Neely was the most outspoken against a compromise. Senator Claude Pepper of Florida agreed.

Senators Spessard Holland of Florida, Ernest McFarland of Arizona, Willis Robertson of Virginia, and Clyde Hoey favored more compromise.

The debate in the Senate caucus had meanwhile spilled over onto the floor.

Stewart Alsop, in Hong Kong, tells of viewing China from the air and seeing it as a a "vast hungry antheap" rather than the virtually uninhabited place as most lands appeared from the air.

Now, the Communists had to figure out how the masses were to be fed. China's cities were suffering under deficit economies which the Communists had also inherited. The Communists were already having trouble with the peasants not being cooperative with food collections to feed the hungry populace. The Communists were also having trouble with urban industries for want of skilled technicians. A person had told Mr. Alsop that production at the Great Kailan coal mines in the north had dropped 50 percent after the Communists had taken control.

As a result, inflation was rampant, with the "peoples' banknote" having slid 90 percent from its official value of 80 to the dollar. In Shanghai, Communist currency was reported to have been depreciated by 50 percent in a day.

While inflation and corruption had not come close yet to that of Nationalist China, the problem of too many people and too little food was having its effect.

The Communists were planning to imitate Russia's five-year plans to combat the problems, with economic and political emphasis shifted from the peasants to urban industrial workers, causing problems from China's pro-Communists who believed that the Communists were agrarian reformers. It was obvious that the Communists would industrialize China, as Russia had done, on the backs of the peasants.

The Communists intended to trade with the West because they had no choice to avoid permanent abject poverty in the country. So, only the Communists could provide that which the West desired from China, a country independent of Russia. And only the West could provide what the Chinese Communists wanted, the means to industrialize China. From that prospect could come tremendous influence exerted on China by the West.

Robert C. Ruark, in Lowell, O., tells of Mister Billy Ray who did not hold to inflationary and deflationary trends, as they were not necessary. The way to be happy, he believed, was to save two dollars every day for 59 years, as had Mister Billy Ray, 79. He worked 14 hours per day in his barber shop, cutting 25 to 35 heads of hair at 15 cents a throw, the same price he had charged for half a century. Shaves were 10 cents and he thought both prices were too high.

A dozen signs in his shop warned of smoking the coffin nails.

His savings had accumulated to $20,000, plus he owned his home and some additional property. Without children, the only thing that worried him was to whom he might leave his money and property.

He had never owned a refrigerator as he frowned on gadgets. He shaved his customers out of a mug.

But his customers complained that he cut hair in such a hurry that he left hair in their collars.

He only swept the shop once per day.

Other barbers complained of his low prices, but Mister Billy Ray said that if they messed with him, he would hit them on the head and throw them in the river.

His shop was full of stuffed owls.

He was a religious man but chose his help without prejudice to their habits. His prior assistant, in jail about once per week, had been given to strong drink, or even hair tonic. Once, after a bender, he came into the shop and shaved himself with a shaky hand. He then paid himself a dime from the till for his effort.

Mister Billy Ray did not want to have to let him go but his irregular habits got on Mister Billy's nerves. He had been a symbol of hard times a-coming.

What happened to Jesse James?

A letter writer finds that the promised revenues to Mecklenburg County from ABC liquor sales since September, 1947 had not lived up to their forecast, as shown by the fact of the local bond measures seeking more revenue for improvements.

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