The Charlotte News

Friday, July 22, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that after overwhelming Senate ratification of NATO by a vote of 82 to 13 the previous day, the President was preparing to send to Congress a proposal for a billion dollars in the first year in military aid to the Western European members of NATO. It was anticipated that the President would provide for a bar to giving atomic weapons to the members as part of the aid. In 1949 at the outset, there were twelve member nations of NATO. The basic pledge of the treaty was that an attack on one member would be considered an attack on all nations but that each nation would determine independently whether and to what extent to utilize force in response to that attack. It marked the first time in history that the United States was joining with European nations in a military alliance.

Efforts by Senators Taft, Wherry, and Watkins to attach reservations to the treaty under which there would be express statements that the U.S. would not be obligated to provide military aid or military support in the event of an attack on a member nation were badly defeated.

The armed strength of the bloc of NATO nations stood at 600,000 more than that of the Soviet bloc, 5.7 to 5.1 million. The NATO bloc was far ahead in naval strength and while the balance might be close in air power, the West had longer range aircraft with greater bombing capacity, including exclusive possession of the atomic bomb. The West also had a substantial lead in industrial production.

Atomic Energy Commission member Sumner Pike, in an address to be delivered to Bowdoin College this date, planned to say that the stockpiles of atomic weapons could be converted to peaceful use in the area of energy if and when the threat of war was eliminated.

The AEC was planning to build two atomic reactor plants during the ensuing two years and start construction of two more within two or three years.

In New York, Francis Cardinal Spellman criticized Eleanor Roosevelt for her opposition to Federal funding of private and parochial schools on the basis of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, providing for separation of church and state. In a letter, he accused the former First Lady of anti-Catholicism in her newspaper column "My Day", "unworthy of an American mother".

The letter and her "My Day" column of June 23, not expressing one way or the other her position on the Barden bill to limit Federal aid to public schools, would be printed the following day on the News editorial page. She expressed in her July 15 column that some had written in response to her columns on the subject that the Barden bill was discriminatory against blacks in the South. She said that she had not read the bill in detail but believed in the concept that Federal aid to education should benefit the poorer districts of the country and provide for better education for all public school children, regardless of color.

According to the Washington Evening Star, a thousand-page diary of "five percenter" James V. Hunt was being used to establish leads in the Senate Investigating Committee inquiry into the conduct of two major generals of the Army, suspended for alleged involvement in influence peddling in letting Government contracts.

The AMA and the ADA announced opposition to the President's plan to create a department of health, education, and social security services. They wanted an independent health agency directed by a doctor.

The UAW was planning to poll its Ford employee membership regarding whether to strike for higher wages.

A Congressional delegation from North Carolina had invited the President to attend the bicentennial celebration of Duplin County in late September.

The UNC Board of Trustees met in Greensboro regarding selection of a new president for the University to replace Frank Porter Graham, who had been appointed as Senator in March to succeed deceased J. Melville Broughton, who had assumed the seat in January.

In Wisebech, England, all twelve crewmen of a B-29 parachuted to safety as the bomber crashed and burned.

In Pittsburgh, a casket fell from a funeral home elevator onto the head of an employee and killed him.

In Lancaster, Pa., a postcard took 41 years to travel via the post office 14 miles to a town in another county. The Post Office did not know what had happened to the card in the interim.

Probably fell off a desk and became lodged in the wooden slats on the back.

In Lumberton, N.C., the Sheriff interrogated a 19-year old bank clerk on the theory that he may have aided the robbery of the Scottish Bank the previous day of $20,000—or $22,000, depending on accounts. Meanwhile the two robbers remained on the lam and the search for them had extended into South Carolina. The clerk said that he had been forced to accompany the two men and was slugged in the back of the head two miles south of Pembroke, did not regain consciousness until they had reached Fairmont, fifteen miles down the road. The Sheriff believed the story did not "tally", that there was no evidence that he had been hit on the head. The vice-president of the bank had said that the gunman had referred to the clerk by his first name and that the two men had entered the bank with the clerk via a rear entrance as he returned from the post office. The clerk was unable to provide a coherent description of the two men. He was to be discharged from the bank the following day. The bank had been robbed two other times since January and one additional time in March, 1947.

That is not very nice to put his name all over the state if he turns out to be completely innocent. He may have had nothing to do with the matter. Besides, there appears to be a variance in the accounts across newspapers, as, according to the News version by Bob Sain, the vice-president of the bank said that the gunman referred to the clerk as "James", whereas, according to the Robesonian, a spectator said that the gunman said, after having James lock the cashier in the vault, "Come on, Jimmy, let's go." (Or, taking the account very literally, one might query whether James merely called himself "Jimmy".)

James, however, could have made a blunder by allegedly telling the Sheriff, in explanation, that the gunman called everybody "Jimmy", suggesting at very least some degree of familiarity beyond just the walk across the street from the post office—unless, while waiting in line, they were casually discussing all of the Air Force recruiting pamphlets in there showing pictures of the new jet planes, became involved in a friendly conversation whereupon the gunman suddenly called James "Jimmy", to which James then may have asked how he knew his name. And then the gunman might have responded: "Why, I call everybody Jimmy based on the tools of my trade. Now, supposing we take a walk back across the street to your bank, Jimmy, because what I have here in my pocket is not a rocket. Don't bother to yell or it will be your last squawk, not to mention your mama and papa. Oh yeah, I know where they live." It could have been that simple. Jump to no conclusions based on newspaper accounts. Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence until all of the evidence is before the jury, even sometimes thereafter.

We see that there is a new International Harvester deep freezer, worth $400, available free down at the new, modern Walgreen Drugs, courtesy of the Lumberton Implement Co. So you better hurry on down there before it gets gone by 8:00 Saturday night.

On the editorial page, "The Pact—A Reality" finds the ratification of NATO the previous day to have set a new precedent in international relations, a determination based on greater understanding of peace and war and the causes of each in the world in the modern age. NATO merely recognized the unfortunate but hard truth that the world had been divided into two spheres. It offered the best chance in the future to preserve the peace as no aggressor nation would dare attack any of the signatories.

The world now looked to the United States to preserve the peace. A new era had begun from which there was no turning back.

"Miracle of the Law" tells of State Attorney General Harold McMullen advising that the law authorizing the election regarding the 200-million dollar road bond issue permitted the Highway Commission to use one-tenth of the money for purchase of road-building equipment. It quotes the language of the law from which he found such authority.

The piece finds the interpretation questionable, that the ten percent limitation appeared instead to apply to special projects important to the state highway system, not to be charged to any county. It cites language from Governor Kerr Scott which suggested that he agreed with that latter interpretation.

"A Loan to This Country?" finds ridiculous the idea being proposed in the Senate, approved by the Appropriations Committee, to grant to Fascist Spain 50 million dollars in ERP aid. It was based on the absurd notions that Spain was a bulwark against Communism and that it could provide effective bases in the event of war with Russia. But no one knew what a war with Russia would be like or where it would be fought.

Another motive was to provide Franco with dollars that he might purchase goods he sought from the U.S. But that dollar motive was shortsighted and appalling, risking alienation of allies in Western Europe.

Communism could not be defeated with Fascism. The goal was to advance democracy, not merely to resist Communism. And Franco's Spain, as elucidated in the Associated Press piece below, was the antithesis of democracy in practice, offering only an unrealized and severely conditioned "bill of rights" as an hollow promise of democracy.

"Good Behavior in Harnett" tells of the Dunn Dispatch speculating that readers looked for the salacious news story of rape, murder and mayhem, averted eyes when the subject appeared as good news. The newspaper had published two weeks earlier a record of only one homicide and three suicides in the county during the first half of the year.

The newspaper believed that publicity of the fact that murder would not go unpunished in the county had helped to bring about the positive statistics. For there had been quite a lot of untoward behavior in the county in earlier, recent times.

The News commends the efforts in the county.

A piece from The Reporter tells of the farm program but does not seek to promote either the Aiken plan of an adjustable support price between 30 and 90 percent of parity or the Brannan plan of supporting the low market price for consumer benefit while preserving the "fair price" through subsidies to farmers anent overproduced perishable produce to prevent having to warehouse it and losing most of it therefore to waste, or the Gore plan to restore the old parity system across the board for perishable and non-perishable produce. Rather, it sets forth the idea that the farm plan adopted should help the farmers, rich and poor alike, and that subsidies should give the farmer the chance to grow into a more skillful producer, up to date on technological developments.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman Paul Shafer of Michigan urging that Maj. General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, be suspended for his alleged involvement in the Government contract influence peddling scheme which had led to the suspensions of two major generals of the Army. The White House had then called and warned him that unless he stopped urging this action, he could expect no favors for his district from the Administration. Since, Congressman Shafer had said nothing more of the matter.

The column explains the connections between General Vaughan and "five-percenter" James V. Hunt who obtained as a go-between the Government contracts from the suspended generals. He also tells again of John Maragon, friend of the President and General Vaughan, who demanded up to fifty percent for his go-between services.

A piece from the Associated Press reports on Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain—particularly apt the day after the 2016 Republican Hate Convention. Franco had promised four years earlier to respect basic civil rights of the citizenry, still not realized. Martial law remained in effect ten years after the civil war. Military courts tried people without a jury. A citizen charged with "attacking the security of the state", including striking for higher wages, was subject to 30 years imprisonment.

But the sternest penalties were reserved for Communists, socialists and anarchists. The ordinary citizen received two to five years in prison for political dissidence.

The people silently proceeded without the basic civil liberties of freedom of religion, free speech and association, the right to habeas corpus or to work and own property, all of which had been promised in the "bill of rights" of July, 1945, all extant under the pre-Franco republic and monarchy. It provided a guarantee for "respect for the dignity, integrity and liberty of the human person", provided he gave "loyalty to the chief of state". Free speech was guaranteed as long as it was not used to attack the "fundamental principles" of the Falangist State. Freedom of assembly was permitted for "licit ends".

Sounds like the average Trump rally to us.

But even those limited freedoms had not been codified by the cortes, the parliament. Formation of political parties was practically impossible.

Another provision of the bill of rights allowed the Government to suspend the freedoms and freeze movement in the country, as well as suspending the guarantee against illegal entry to homes without warrant whenever it deemed it necessary.

Franco's official policy toward non-Catholics was that Catholicism was the state-protected religion but that no one would be molested for his religious beliefs as long as there were no external manifestations, reducing, in effect, Protestants to second-class citizens. No signs were permitted outside the 189 Protestant chapels to suggest that they were places of worship. No religious ceremonies could be held outside the chapel. And no statement on a tombstone to indicate Protestant affiliation was allowed. There was a ban also on missionary work.

Catholic Action leaders justified the practices on the basis that there were only 35,000 Protestants of the 28 million population of Spain and that any further spread of Protestant doctrine would divide the nation.

Joseph Alsop states that, according to one informed participant in the conference considering the problem of Anglo-American cooperation in atomic energy, the issue was nearly as explosive as the bomb itself. British research had progressed about as far as American research in 1944, making the American monopoly on atomic energy soon obsolete. (The Russians would detonate their first atomic bomb in late August.)

Two of the three known uranium sources were in the British Empire, in South Africa and Canada, the third, other than those controlled by the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, being the Belgian Congo. One of two known sources of thorium was also in the Empire, within the State of Travancore in India. The other source was Brazil.

A ten-year contract had been formed two years earlier between the Belgian Congo's Katanga Mining Co., which owned the uranium there, and the Combined Policy Committee, a joint body on atomic energy set up by the U.S., Britain and Canada. Ending cooperation with this agreement would place the U.S. in a much worse position.

But also, an end to Anglo-American cooperation would throw a wrench in the works of all Pentagon planning, centering around the viability of cooperation with the British Empire. American security planning would have to begin again, at ten times the cost.

Atomic Energy Commission member Lewis Strauss and Senator Bourke Hicklenlooper, however, supported, significantly, by Senator Arthur Vandenberg, opposed extension of the partnership with Canada and Britain on atomic energy to provide access to the atomic bomb. They wanted to preserve the atomic monopoly. The British Government would refuse to accept any dictate from the U.S. to halt research on atomic weapons, as it would not last long under the heat of British public opinion if it did so.

Thus, the whole Anglo-American partnership was endangered by the dispute over access to the atomic bomb. Competition could develop which could become a dangerous rivalry of spite.

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