The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British delegate to the United Nations Economic & Social Council meeting in Geneva had stated that the British Government claimed to have proof that the Soviet Union had established a legal policy of forced labor involving ten million persons in labor camps. The British had copies of texts of the original documents so providing. The Council was investigating the charge. The U.N. had demanded that a survey be undertaken of the conditions in the U.S.S.R., to which it objected as a means to obtain access by British and American spies to Soviet soil. The Soviets flatly denied the claims of forced labor and had charged in response that there was British forced labor within the colonial possessions of the Empire. Britain had agreed to permit Russian inspection of its colonial territory if Russia reciprocated.

Senators Robert Taft and H. Alexander Smith asked the Administration to delay its request for approval of a foreign arms program for the NATO Western European nations until a common defense plan could be drafted for NATO, just ratified the prior Thursday by an overwhelming majority of the Senate. Senator Taft had been among 13 votes against ratification. He said that he favored continuance of the Truman Doctrine program inaugurated in 1947, providing arms to Turkey and Greece, and might be in favor of providing surplus arms to some of the NATO nations, but was not in favor of providing arms which would ignite an arms race.

In Los Angeles the previous night, Dr. Lawrence R. Hafsted, director of reactor development for the Atomic Energy Commission, told the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences that Canada had developed the most advanced atomic reactor in the world.

In Wolverhampton, England, Winston Churchill asserted at a Conservative Party rally at the local football stadium that the Labor Government had led Britain into "imminent peril" of Communism and national bankruptcy. He said that every country west of the iron curtain had made a better postwar recovery than Britain, including Italy and Germany. He promised that if the Conservatives were returned to power in the mid-1950 elections, they would provide the cure.

In Washington, the diary of "five percenter" James V. Hunt had figured prominently thus far in the investigation of the two suspended major generals accused of cooperation in a scheme of influence peddling in letting of Army contracts. A Massachusetts manufacturer had told the Senate Investigating Committee, chaired by Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, that he had entered a contract with Mr. Hunt awarding the latter five percent for any Government contract he could arrange through his stated influence with the two generals and Maj. General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, not suspended. The diary had implicated the two generals and led directly to the suspensions announced earlier in the week by Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray.

In Altoona, Pa., a 13-year old boy who had been struck in the head three days earlier by a baseball during a sandlot game, came home after completing his paper route complaining of his head hurting and told his mother that he was going to die. He was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage and died the previous day.

Near Omaha, Neb., an elderly man, 72, was being sought for questioning in connection with the death of a 79-year old woman by hitting her with a hammer, as well as regarding the beatings of two other related women, all occurring the previous night. The man had performed odd jobs at the farm where the women lived. He had been seen running from the farm in his underwear shortly after the beatings, but denied any involvement. The two surviving women were in fair to good condition. One of them said that the man had been asked to move from the farm because of recent drinking. When he did not leave, the women dismantled his bed, causing him to become enraged and kill one of the women and then beat the other two when they sought to come to her rescue.

In Santa Fe, N.M., it was determined that the former public relations director of the Atomic Energy Commission at Los Alamos had to serve 12 to 18 months in prison for embezzling Red Cross funds following a plea of guilty to the state charge.

It was them Martians what made him done it.

In Melbourne, Iowa, burglars took advantage of the noise of a passing train to break glass of store windows and conduct a raid of 11 of 16 businesses in the small town. They escaped with $100 in cash and broke $300 worth of windows. An alert resident living over one of the stores alerted the telephone operator who set off the town fire alarm, causing the thieves to flee.

They should have left the windows intact, removed them and resold them.

In Birmingham, Ala., a minister who had prayed for a flogging victim just before the flogging commenced, was arrested on a grand jury indictment for aiding and abetting in the floggings and one count of first degree burglary, potentially a capital offense. The minister denied knowledge of the floggings and denied that he was a member of the Klan. On weekdays, he was a mule-handler at a coal mine.

Dr. Lycurgus Spinks, 1947 gubernatorial candidate in Mississippi, told a gathering of the Klan in Tarrant City, Ala., that revenge would be exacted against anyone who gave information on the floggings to authorities. Thus far, 21 men had been indicted, including the four new indictments. Dr. Spinks promised that "the birds" in the State capital of Montgomery were going to be retired to their country estates, an apparent reference to progressive Governor Jim Folsom and his Administration.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a dynamite bomb was tossed onto the porch of the residence of a black family who had recently purchased the home from a white family on a block inhabited by white families, one block from a section inhabited mostly by black families. Despite an explosion on the porch, no one was hurt.

In Media, Pa., John A. Harris, 100, once a slave on a Virginia plantation, registered to vote for the first time, having moved to Pennsylvania a decade earlier.

In Raleigh, a 19-year old convict returned to prison authorities after he had escaped the previous Tuesday from the Nash County Prison Camp, encouraged by his mother to do so as she advised that he could not make a living dodging the law. He had been sentenced to 16 months for larceny. Prison officials decided to treat his return as voluntary and not seek additional time for the escape.

In Charlotte, setting up of an information and telephone answering bureau for those in need of medical services would be discussed by a committee of physicians, probably the following week. The bureau was being modeled after one established in Denver, Colorado.

The nationwide heat wave was punctuated by 40-degree temperatures recorded in northern Wisconsin, upper Michigan, and across the Great Lakes.

In Green Bay, Wisc., a six-year old boy in a cast from his chest to his toes, save for his right leg, was forced to lie prostrate as he took his piano lessons. He had Perthes' disease, which causes the head of the hipbone to die. Doctors predicted that he would be able to walk again, however, in three to six years. Hearing of his plight, a local piano teacher provided him free lessons for a year for his birthday in April. The boy now played boogie-woogie and some semi-classical selections.

In Wytheville, Va., the State Police said they were contacting authorities in nearly every state for information on a "lonely hearts correspondent" who allegedly had defrauded women of money. The man had been arrested the previous Saturday in Gate City, Va., after an unsuccessful attempt to pick up a woman in the town's railroad station. Inside a suitcase in his car were found 300 "love letters". A woman from Carroll County, Va., accused him of obtaining $2,500 of her money for investment in a Florida land deal after promising to marry her, then absconding. In Pittsburgh, a woman said that she believed him to be the man who had taken her life savings of $14,000 for investments he had promised to undertake for her after courting her daughter.

In Spokane, Wash., a black panther and a 300-lb. gorilla engaged in a bloody fight the previous night after the panther had slipped under the gate of an adjoining cage in a traveling wild animal show. The gorilla had to be shot and killed with three bullets from a .32 caliber pistol. A crowd of 400 persons observing the fray were cleared away before the shots were fired.

That is a good thing because you would not want young children to observe such a traumatic event as that.

A 600-lb. lion had also been on display but did not become involved in the fight.

On the editorial page, "An Untenable Position" comments on the controversy between Eleanor Roosevelt and Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of the Diocese of New York, after Cardinal Spellman had written a caustic letter to the former First Lady complaining of her "anti-Catholic" stance, "unworthy of an American mother", against public funding of private and parochial schools on the ground of separation of church and state. The "My Day" column of Mrs. Roosevelt from June 23 and the letter which Cardinal Spellman had recently addressed to her in response are reprinted on the page.

It finds it regrettable that Cardinal Spellman had felt it necessary to respond to Mrs. Roosevelt as he had to Representative Graham Barden of North Carolina, sponsor of the bill which would prevent public funding for private and parochial schools, calling him a "new apostle of bigotry". Such expressions would not likely gain Cardinal Spellman admirers.

No one was denying Catholic schoolchildren equal opportunity to attend public schools and it would be monstrous if such were the case. It was not a problem for parents to place their children in private or parochial schools as they chose. But it was also not a denial of rights for the Government to deny funding to such schools on the basis of the First Amendment Establishment Clause providing for separation of church and state.

The Cardinal primarily objected on the basis of "taxation without participation", that is that Catholic parents had to pay taxes and yet be denied the benefits from that revenue for the schools to which they sent their children. But again the appropriate counter was that it was their choice not to send their children to public schools.

And the Cardinal simply misunderstood the Barden bill insofar as he believed it to discriminate against Catholic schools by denying public funds for such welfare services as transportation and health. The bill denied those services to both public and private schools, as a necessity to avoid the Supreme Court decision of 1947 in Everson which mandated that public funding, insofar as it was provided public schools for such services necessary to the general welfare of the children, had to be provided to private and parochial schools for the same services to accord Equal Protection.

The piece states that public funding of religious schools would greatly weaken the barrier between church and state, a barrier which goes hand in hand with freedom of religion, a freedom which had allowed the Catholic Church to thrive in the country and permitted Cardinal Spellman to speak his mind on any matter he chose.

"Lesson of the Sandhills" praises the Sandhills region of the state for having brought in the foreign crop of peaches and adapted it to local conditions to produce a thriving annual crop, just as dairy farming had been brought to the Piedmont. Some 25,000 persons had gathered in Rockingham for the Sandhills Peach Festival during the week and it salutes the region for its industry in producing the peach crop in towns such as Mt. Gilead, Ellerbe, and Candor.

"Crime and Comic Books" tells of a citizen of Charlotte campaigning to have crime comic books and "other harmful literature" studied for some possible solution to their sale to children. It had been found that in some cases, abnormally adjusted children had used comic books as a source for devious plots. But, it offers, had not those plots been found in comic books, they would have been discovered elsewhere. Responsibility had ultimately to rest upon the parent to provide some alternative form of entertainment for the child.

Moreover, the "other harmful literature" category could embrace a large area of reading. So the piece advises extreme caution in approaching this complaint, as censorship in any form could quickly become overbroad in its reach and thus dangerous.

The "My Day" column of Eleanor Roosevelt from June 23 is reprinted, in which she expresses support for separation of church and state and thus the concept that public funding should not go to private or parochial schools. She only incidentally mentions Cardinal Spellman as a way of introducing the topic which he had brought to the fore as a controversy.

The responsive letter of Cardinal Spellman is also reprinted in which he takes great umbrage at the "attack" by Mrs. Roosevelt, making the arguments as set forth in the above editorial on the controversy, stating the objection to the Barden bill based on a misunderstanding of what it actually said regarding funding for social services for the general welfare of children, denying it in fact for those services in both public and private schools, not just in private and parochial schools as assumed by Cardinal Spellman.

Thus, the whole matter was a tempest in a teapot, being stirred unnecessarily, except that doing so raised the consciousness of the public to a better understanding of the reasons for separation of church and state under the Constitution.

Mrs. Roosevelt told in her column of August 24 of an impromptu visit by Cardinal Spellman to her home at Hyde Park, N.Y., where they discussed their differences of opinion on the matter.

Her reply in the column to a twelve-year old who had addressed correspondence to her regarding the controversy is somewhat humorous for its display of grandmotherly impatience with both the lack of a signature and improper spelling, referring, for instance, to the "Barton" bill.

No one should desire a State-mandated religion, for one day that might represent a religion which few in the society would desire, merely resulting from a change in leadership of the nation. The lesson had been learned from periodic civil war in Britain regarding competing state religions prior to the formation of the U.S. Constitution. And the Constitution is not, as some people apparently believe in our society, merely advisory. It is, by virtue of the Supremacy Clause, the Supreme Law of the land and that by which we must abide or forfeit the entire social compact by which we live in a united society, and thereby completely undermine "the rule of law".

"The rule of law", quite fortunately, is not determined by the local policeman or sheriff, the local mayor or city council, or even, as a final arbiter, the governor, the state legislature and the state courts. If that were so at any such level, then we would have at best frontier justice, at variance town to town, state to state, and without any United States other than in name only, united only by hollow ceremony, salutes to a common flag, a common pledge, singing of songs before sporting contests, and generally, as a result, producing a cynical, vapid, incoherent culture, unworthy of anyone's respect across the nation or the world.

So, Republican Hate convention of 2016, we say again to take your version of "the rule of law", premised exclusively on local and states' rights, coupled with a weak, incoherent, nonsensical, do-nothing Federal Government, canalized by long ago tried and failed narrow concepts of nationalism, and stick it, with precision, where the moon does not shine.

Drew Pearson pays tribute to Justice Frank Murphy who had died the previous Tuesday. He had paid tribute to him while he was alive and so it seemed difficult to pay tribute to him after his death. He would be missed by many, most of all by the people of the world, to whom he was always a friend. Shortly after his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1940, Mr. Pearson was invited to his study in the Washington Hotel where Justice Murphy pointed to a stack of law books in the study of which he said that he spent his evenings. He remarked that the newspapers considered him more of a politician than a lawyer but that one day they were going to compare him to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

He had remained somewhat boyish to the end, concerned about what kind of Justice he would be and wary of criticism, fond of praise. Mr. Pearson believes that some of his dissents would stand up to the great defenses of freedom penned by Justice Holmes and that he would ultimately be regarded as one of the great champions of the common man, regardless of who that person was, convicted Japanese war criminal, labor leader, Filipino, father of a Nazi saboteur, Jehovah's Witness, or a newspaperman who had criticized him. If a person stood in danger of losing his or her civil rights, Justice Murphy was in that person's corner.

Yet, as Attorney General from early 1939, he had been one of the toughest chief prosecutors the land had ever had, launching a cleanup of graft and corruption, starting with Judge Martin Manton of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York for taking bribes to render decisions. Armed with Mr. Pearson's columns as a starting point, he had gathered supporting affidavits and flown to New Orleans personally to conduct a grand jury investigation into Louisiana graft within the machine created by the late Huey Long, wound up getting convictions of Governor Richard Leche, the president of L.S.U., and several others. During his tenure, Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast, the man who had made Senator Harry Truman, had gone to jail. Before his tenure was completed, he had begun to move against Atlantic City GOP boss Nucky Johnson, and Democratic bosses Frank Hague of Jersey City and Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago.

It was rumored that he was promoted to the Supreme Court by FDR to take the heat off the Democratic bosses, a claim which Mr. Pearson personally believed to be true. Yet, when Justice Pierce Butler had died in late 1939, FDR wanted a Catholic to fill the seat and the President wanted Robert Jackson, being groomed for the presidency, to become Attorney General. So it was also for those reasons that Mr. Murphy was nominated to the Supreme Court. Still, Mr. Pearson believed that the primary reason was to take the spotlight off the bosses.

Mr. Murphy had told Mr. Pearson in 1939 that he had been told by the White House not to seek indictment against Mayor Robert Maestri of New Orleans, as the President needed the support of the bosses to obtain the nomination in 1940 and that Mayor Maestri was the only person who could deliver the Louisiana delegation.

Justice Felix Frankfurter had been a friend to Frank Murphy and Mr. Murphy had recommended his appointment to the Court in early 1939. But after Justice Murphy went to the Court, they quickly became bitter enemies. Justice Murphy was also upset with Tom Corcoran, FDR adviser who had helped to block the prosecutions of the bosses.

During the war, Justice Murphy had offered his services several times to FDR and he had informed Mr. Pearson that the President had discussed several times making him Secretary of War. But to afford political unity in 1940 at the beginning of the war in Europe, Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under President Hoover, got the nod.

Justice Murphy had known for some time that he was quite sick and might die. But he persevered. A few weeks prior to his death, he had told Mr. Pearson that the doctors had told him he was sick. But, he also said, his muscle was firm and they could not keep a man like him down.

"And Frank was right. For, though the unruly red hair and the laughing Irish eyes will no longer be seen at Madame Cafritz's soirees, the opinions Frank hammered out at midnight will go on protecting his friends—the little people—as long as there are little people to protect in this world, which is forever."

Stewart Alsop, in Bangkok, tells of interviewing an unprepossessing former premier of Siam, who, giggling, told him, in answer to how the country would react if both China and Indo-China fell to the Communists, "We cave in." Mr. Alsop concludes that it was probably a candid answer as the country had maintained its independence not by fighting but by caving in at the appropriate times. During the war, Phibul Songgram had been Premier, as he was again in 1949, when he was told that the British could spare no arms or men for defense of Siam. He had thus arranged a deal with the Japanese for occupation while maintaining considerable internal independence.

Phibul served a term in jail after the the war and was considerably disliked by many Siamese as he had been responsible for the executions of many politicians and his incompetent secret police annoyed the populace. But Phibul was strongly anti-Communist and so would not likely cave in to the Chinese Communists if they drove south. Yet, someone would likely be found to do the job, transforming Siam into a hybrid Marxist republic. The Communists would likely accept such an arrangement as it would make the British job in holding Malaya almost impossible, already beleaguered by a small number of Chinese guerrillas.

If Siam were to become a Communist safe haven as a source of supply and infiltration to Malayan guerrillas, then it would be a nightmare for the British. If Malaya were to fall, then Indonesia would then be threatened—and the later-dubbed "domino theory" would be afoot.

Siam had an army of some 30,000 reasonably good, but poorly armed infantrymen. Thus, if the British could provide sufficient arms to the Siamese, it would be a reminder that Mao Tse-Tung's forces were not the only power in Asia.

But more than that, a clear American policy in Southeast Asia was necessary to convince the peoples that the U.S. was not interested in restoring colonialism but also not willing to stand by as Communist imperialism substituted for that of European nations, as well establishing that U.S. power was formidable in the region.

Robert C. Ruark, having returned to the elongated form of his name, tells of a little brother bringing a wire recorder to a gathering, surreptitiously hidden to record the conversations of six adults, and that upon playback, revealing nothing of consequence. Only the dog barking at the device was notable. The people yammered on and on "like a flock of Australian aboriginals chattering over a kangaroo's carcass." Nobody finished a sentence and everybody interrupted each other.

He had once read that the art of conversation was a potent force in the days of Samuel Johnson, but he thinks that no one had ever listened respectfully to Caesar, Jonathan Swift, John Bunyan or Damon Runyon. The only thing said between refreshing of drinks was stated in the first person singular.

"They say that the world is so full of a number of wondrous things from the atomic-powered percolator to Joe DiMaggio's sore feet, that no circle need ever want for scintillant talk, but it ain't so. And all you ever seem to hear is taxes, taxis, and Texas, I, me, and I again, and I said to him, I said, look, you big jerk, you can't get away with that sort of stuff and furthermore I."

He concludes that while the gift of speech was meant to set man apart from the beasts, he believes it to have been a grievous injustice to the animals. "For my dough, you can give small talk back to the birds."

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.