The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 6, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal testified before the joint Atomic Energy Committee that the country was virtually without atomic weapons when AEC took over atomic energy management in 1947. But to maintain its leadership, he said, the Commission had to tolerate "careless, stupid, and negligent" personnel at times, sticking its neck out to make progress and avoid bureaucratic snafus. He denied Senator Bourke Hickenlooper's charge, however, of mismanagement of the AEC, which had prompted the hearings.

The National Education Association passed easily a resolution against allowing Communists to teach in the schools of the country. Some of the educator-delegates present believed, however, that the move would result in dismissals based on political grounds, even though a teacher was not disloyal or in fact a Communist.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, GOP leader on foreign policy, asked during debate that the Senate ratify the NATO treaty. He agreed with Senator Tom Connally, speaking the previous day, that a vote for the treaty was not either a commitment to fight in the event of attack on a member nation or a commitment to support of military aid for the Western European members. He said that the organization's principal strength would derive from the potential military might of the combined twelve nations, not from a limited program of military aid. Senate leaders expressed optimism that ratification by two-thirds vote would occur in the ensuing week.

In London, because of the financial problems in Britain regarding the sterling area's low reserve in gold and dollars, 400 million below the critical two billion dollar mark, resulting from reduced export trade to the U.S., Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Scripps ordered a halt to spending of Britain's dollars except under either existing contracts or where importers could show the spending to be a matter of urgent national necessity. Britain received large quantities of gasoline, tobacco, wheat and cotton from the U.S. and other countries which demanded payments in dollars or other "hard" currencies. He said that Britain had not the "slightest intention" of devaluing the pound. Instead, exports should be reduced in price to compete in the world markets. The strictures would remain in effect until at least September when new ERP aid would be available and a new scheme of payments among European nations in effect. Mr. Cripps said that the problem of trade between the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world, of which the sterling area formed an important part, had to be resolved cooperatively to formulate a long-term remedy.

Secretary of State Acheson said that the British economic crisis was not great and that its principal issue was Britain's power in competitive export trade. He said that he was confident Britain could adjust from a sellers' market to a buyers' market. He had been informed generally in advance of the comments made by Mr. Cripps.

The U.S. had on hand 24.46 billion dollars in gold, a record high, amounting to 60 percent of the world's monetary gold. All of it, save a bit over a billion dollars worth, was backing outstanding paper currency. Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder opposed any change in the price of gold, currently at $35 per ounce. The President's Council of Economic Advisers opposed any allocations by ERP to build up foreign exchange reserves.

Incidentally, to the idiots who think that somehow there has been a giant conspiracy to convert U.S. currency to Federal Reserve notes as opposed to something else prior to sometime in the not too distant past, you need to get a grip on reality. That to which we commonly refer as a dollar bill, regardless of denomination, is merely a promissory note, always has been in the past 100-plus years and still is, backed by gold. Nothing has changed since the country went off the silver standard in the 1870's and went exclusively to gold in 1900. Since 1971, notes have not been convertible to the equivalent amount in gold. So what? Unless you are planning to purchase something abroad, it makes no difference. Currency is simply a means of barter.

Of course, if you are accustomed to a mode of exchange in Confederate money, backed by sawdust, filling in the gaps in your mind, we suppose that we can understand your issues.

In New York, in the perjury trial of Alger Hiss, defense counsel Paul Stryker gave his summation to the jury, saying that an indictment proved nothing, was merely an accusation, read to the jury the indictment's two counts, that Mr. Hiss, during February and March, 1938, provided to Whittaker Chambers secret documents about which Mr. Hiss allegedly had lied to the grand jury the previous December, and that he had also lied about not ever seeing Mr. Chambers after the beginning of 1937. He said that a finding of not guilty on count two precluded a finding of guilt on the other count, that they really amounted to one count. He said that only Mr. Chambers had implicated Mr. Hiss, and so whether the jurors could accept beyond a reasonable doubt the veracity of Mr. Chambers constituted the heart of the case. He stressed that Mr. Chambers had admitted perjury before HUAC the previous August when he had denied knowledge of any espionage activities. Mr. Stryker referred to Mr. Chambers as an atheist whose life was a "long masquerade of deception", a man against everything which was decent, engaged in "psychopathic sadism".

In San Francisco, the treason trial began of Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri, with opening statements of counsel. The Government declared that it would not seek the death penalty, presumably to make it easier to obtain a conviction. The minimum sentence for a conviction was five years in prison. Ms. Toguri was facing eight counts of treason, based on her radio broadcasts from Tokyo aimed at demoralization of G.I.'s during the war. The Government challenged peremptorily only two potential jurors, both black, during selection the previous day. The prosecutor said that there were many reasons other than their race for the challenges. The defense used nine challenges.

Today, and for the last 30 years in the Federal system, longer in some states, such a pattern of peremptory challenges might prompt a defense motion for mistrial premised on systematic exclusion of members of one race, based on the minority status of the defendant. The burden would then shift to the prosecutor to provide his explanations outside the presence of the jury to support the exclusions on other grounds, and if done satisfactorily, given the number of exclusions, whether members of other races had been treated similarly in exercise of challenges, and whether there were reasonable grounds for exercise of the challenge other than race, lack of apparent attention to the proceedings, educational or other background issues, personal conflicts with schedule, expressions of lack of sympathy with authority or the government, and the like, the court would likely deny the motion and continue the process. In the instant case, it is likely, under existing law, that an initial case for discrimination would face tough sledding with a court based on the fact of the defendant being of a different race than the minority excluded, though both were of racial minority groups. But, notwithstanding that fact, a reasonable argument could be made that the exclusion was based on race to eliminate interracial sympathy for the defendant's plight and the case of discrimination in the jury selection process therefore might still have merit.

A showing of a pattern of discrimination within the jurisdiction resulting in systematic exclusion from the entire jury venire of members of a particular race, such as by selecting jurors from economically or racially biased lists, has been available as a challenge under the U.S. Constitution since a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1965.

In New York, an assistant manager at a bank was sentenced to three years in jail for stealing nearly $900,000 from his bank following his plea of guilty in May.

Perle Mesta was confirmed as Minister to Luxembourg. Only Senator Forrest Donnell of Missouri dissented, based on his belief that she was appointed for her giving of lavish Washington parties and raising money for the Democrats.

In Venice, Italy, a 17-year old fisherman had to have surgery to remove a whole fish which had jumped into his mouth and became stuck in his throat as he emptied his net.

In Charlotte, Donald McDonald of The News reports of a police alert having been issued regarding four young men who had held up at gunpoint a Spur service station during the early morning hours, getting away with $240. They also kidnaped the proprietor but let him go after a few blocks when they found he had no money.

You haven't seen one of those Spurs in a long time, have you? They used to be everywhere, had the tan pea-gravel driveways, made the tires on the car sound as crunching, pleasant respite from the hum of the enduring road beneath.

They escaped in a 1940 gray Ford coupe thought to have a Georgia tag, partially obscured by a rag. Be on the lookout therefore for a ragtag two, with probably two on the floor, in a 1940 Ford Tudor, last seen heading east, beating a retreat on Penman Street.

Police were still looking for three persons, two men and a woman, who had jumped a man and taken his wallet with $40 aboard plus his high school ring during the early morning hours of the previous day. He was jumped after one of the men had asked him for a match.

A Harvard University student discovered on July 2 a new comet during his first night of observation at the University's Oak Ridge observatory in Harvard, Mass. The comet was in the constellation Cygnus, the Northern Cross, was discovered after the student took a photograph of the night sky, which showed the comet's tail. It was too faint to be seen with the naked eye.

On the editorial page, "Labor vs. Hoey in 1950?" tells of the North Carolina House, during its 1949 legislative session, having gone along with the program of Governor Kerr Scott more frequently than the conservative Senate, having passed all of his major requests except repeal of the state ban on the closed shop for business not operating in interstate commerce and thus not subject to the Federal ban under Taft-Hartley.

There were good arguments, it opines, for the provision of Taft-Hartley allowing for the validity of more strict state laws on the closed shop than the Federal law, as carried over in the newly passed U.S. Senate version of the bill. But there were also good arguments for having State law conform to Federal law on the basis that labor in the state should have the same rights as labor across the nation.

Labor, having vowed to defeat the Senators who voted against repeal of Taft-Hartley, would have a big target in Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, standing for re-election in 1950. If Governor Scott could find a strong Democratic candidate to contest Senator Hoey, that candidate might win. But it would be unlikely that organized labor's effort would have much impact on the state's voters, not likely to be swayed by labor leaders. The voters appeared not ready to return to the Wagner Act era, as indicated by the North Carolina House supporting continuation of the ban of the closed shop.

It finds therefore that Senator Hoey had followed generally the wishes of the people in his voting for the Taft amendments to Taft-Hartley, contrary to the votes of Senator Frank Graham, supportive of repeal.

"Out of the Dark" tells of cancer having been, historically, a disease maintained behind closed doors because of the stigma attached to it. The victim usually would be described by the physician and the family as having died of either old age or heart disease.

The piece encourages families to let it be known when their relative died of cancer as it would lead to heightened awareness of the pervasive nature of the disease and thus earlier diagnosis and treatment, as well as awakening public consciousness to the need for funding of research.

More recently, there had been a trend toward openness about cancer, as Babe Ruth had died of it a decade earlier. Broadway columnist Damon Runyon had died of it in late 1946 and a fund for research had been set up in his name. Forrest Warren, 72-year old newspaper columnist of the San Diego Daily Journal, had died of cancer during the week, having written of it, stressing each day the need for research, during the six weeks prior to his death.

In Mecklenburg County, there were 15 deaths per month from cancer and yet the local chapter of the American Cancer Society was having trouble meeting its goal for the year of $25,000. It encourages generous giving to this worthy cause.

"Accomplishment of 40 Years" finds that among the many attributes of UNC, giving it a reputation for scholarship, was its excellent Department of Romance Languages. Most responsible for this fact was Kenan Professor Dr. William M. Dey—after whom a classroom building would be constructed and named in 1962 to house the Department of Romance Languages. Dr. Dey had been head of the Department for 40 years and had attracted to it some of the preeminent scholars in the field. He had just stepped down as chairman but would continue his teaching career at the University.

Many of the graduates of the Department had gone on to State Department jobs in the diplomatic service. The faculty had volunteered as interpreters, translators, as well as intelligence and censorship officials during the war.

Dr. Dey's successor would be Dr. Sterling Stoudemire of Salisbury, a first-rate administrator and scholar.

It praises the University for the Department and notes that as many institutions of higher learning became famous for their athletic teams, it was comforting to see emphasis being placed on academics and scholarship, not only in the Department of Romance Languages but in other departments of the University as well.

For some reason, it makes us want to venture down to the Porthole and order a GS-9 from the bill of fare. But, the Porthole is, sadly, long gone, sailed away into the perpetual sunset, as are the GS-9's. Dey Hall, however, lives on.

¿Como esta usted?

O, no, Lacedaemonians, we did not take the romance languages at the University as we were able to opt out through a Latin test in advance of our studies, having become thoroughly and adequately romantic and romanticized in our prior schooling. We were left free therefore to take two courses in symbolic logic, which fulfilled the mathematics requirement, mandated if one opted out of the foreign language requirement, passing thus from the hot water into the fire as it were—all of which makes perfect sense to us, having taken symbolic logic for two semesters. For if A + B = C, then B – C = –A, provided both A and B are not nothing, as there cannot exist a negative of nothing without it being something, thus not nothing, which we learned elsewhere in the Philosophy Department.

If we recall correctly, the first logic course was taught in Dey Hall.

Comme ci, comme ça.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "...While Georgia Looks On", finds that, in response to the spate of recent floggings of white people by the Klan, Alabama legislators had proposed a law to ban the wearing of masks in public, whereas Georgia's Legislature had sat on their hands.

It offers that the Klan were cowards committing cowardly acts behind masks. Destroying their anonymity would destroy the Klan.

The effectiveness of the new Alabama law would depend on law enforcement, as the Klan had never been a serious threat except where it had strong political ties in the community of its locus.

In Alabama, it declares, the Klan was dead as a political force. Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, for all his faults, was not a Klan-supporting demagogue.

Drew Pearson tells of Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright's probe of lobbying within the Reconstruction Finance Corporation having uncovered a long list of RFC officials who had resigned to take jobs with companies for which RFC had arranged Government loans. Senator Fulbright had proposed a bill to limit former RFC employees for two years from taking such employment if they had been involved with providing the firm with loans. Mr. Pearson provides a lengthy list of such former RFC employees.

The President intended to wage his fight anew in the next year's session of Congress to try to repeal Taft-Hartley, as he had recently reassured labor leaders of that continued aim.

Despite donning disguises, the real estate lobby was still hard at the job of trying to influence legislation affecting their interests. Some had been indicted for failing to register as lobbyists as required by Federal law. Having lost their battles on public housing and rent control, they had now moved to the states to carry on campaigns against effective implementation of the programs.

Joseph Alsop tells of the monetary crisis resulting from the U.S. recession, causing in turn a reduction in purchase of British goods, interrupting the progress of the Marshall Plan. Britain had thus started drawing on its gold reserve to pay for American goods, dropping its reserve to below the two billion dollar minimum considered essential for maintenance of sterling as a world currency.

The danger was great that such a condition could imperil the entire Marshall Plan, as Britain was its keystone, thus the effort at rehabilitation of Western Europe to contain the Soviet bloc.

The response had been that the Administration had determined that sterling ought be devalued from its present artificial level, making it better able to compete with the dollar in trade instead of being over-priced. As well, the other European currencies, with the possible exception of the Belgian franc, needed like devaluation. Once done, the other currencies would follow, except for the dollar, placing Britain on a firmer financial footing.

But Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps disagreed with the American reasoning in this regard, did not favor devaluation as lowering the already depressed British standard of living, favored instead lowering of British production costs.

Sterling would, nevertheless, likely be devalued sometime in the ensuing month or so and such, Mr. Alsop ventures, should produce the intended results, such that the present monetary crisis would not become a disaster.

The problem pointed up, however, the complexities to be faced under a plan of European aid to combat Soviet expansion, bringing with it such difficulties in currency adjustment.

James Marlow reports that more than 25 million people lived in slums or depressed urban and farm homes, to be aided by the new Federal housing program to be spread over six years, with provision for 810,000 units during that period. It was not expected that it would eradicate all slums but would eliminate the worst of them, providing for construction of new public housing units and helping farmers to effect repairs. No one knew the exact cost because of the long term nature of the program, but it was anticipated to run between seven and twelve billion in grants for housing to last over 40 years, with another three billion in loans. As families became self-sufficient in income, they would be required to move out, leaving room for others.

The grants would go to communities, except in the case of farmers who would receive the money as needed individually. Before slums could be eliminated, a community had to have a place for the residents to go and so slum clearance would follow public housing construction. Rents charged had to be twenty percent under market value, and average rent would likely be about $23 to start plus $7 for utilities, with a sliding adjustment to be made for individual family income.

The program had been approved by Congress and only awaited the President's signature.

It was not the first public housing act, as Congress had passed in 1937 such provision for 193,000 units for 268 locales in 37 states.

A letter writer wishes to bring to fruition the dream she had as a WAC in 1943 to enable a field trip for her two young nephews to the Yorktown battlefield and to Williamsburg in Virginia. She had thus conceived of such a trip for young boys generally between 8 and 14, including "The Lost Colony" and "Common Glory" outdoor plays at Manteo, N.C., and Williamsburg, respectively. So she set about to raise the money for the trip. But the Interstate Commerce Commission had written to her a letter suggesting that she was in violation of regulations for unlicensed brokering of transportation of passengers in interstate commerce.

She wishes the public to be the judge and so reprints the ICC letter, telling then of her intent.

A letter from North Carolina Commissioner of Revenue Edwin Gill tells of his tenure ending July 1 and that his estimates provided the General Assembly in mid-April for revenue for the General Fund had come very close to the final figures, within $119,000 of over 140 million total. But the Associated Press had picked up the story and reported erroneously that his figures were too low by three million dollars. He says that it was an honest error by the A.P. but one needing correction.

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