The Charlotte News

Friday, August 12, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Senate Investigating subcommittee looking into Army contract influence-peddling had uncovered evidence that both First Lady Bess Truman and Chief Justice Fred Vinson had been sent home freezers by a company being investigated by the subcommittee. The White House said it knew nothing of the matter and Chief Justice Vinson said he would let the facts come out in the course of the investigation.

How many cubic feet capacity had those freezers? Were they stocked with meat when presented?

Senator Karl Mundt said that evidence presented to the subcommittee in the form of a memorandum dictated to James V. Hunt's secretary by Maj. General Alden Waitt, suspended by the Secretary of the Army pending outcome of the investigation, had the appearance of an attempt to eliminate all of the competition for the job of successor to General Waitt as chief of the chemicals corps, and that Maj. General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, was complicit in the scheme cooked up with Mr. Hunt to have General Waitt succeed himself after expiration of his term, not normally the case.

Testifying anent the B-36 bomber before the House Armed Services Committee, Air Force chief of staff General Hoyt Vandenberg said that Russia was the only military threat to the U.S. and the world. He said false rumors and innuendo had produced the investigation and that Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington was not at fault or engaged in self-dealing in the B-36 contract with Consolidated Vultee, as Representative James Van Zandt had suggested.

General Vandenberg said, "The only war a nation can really win is the one that never starts." He also believed that atomic weapons were prerequisite to national and world security. He defended the B-36 as "the spearhead for the ready-for-combat force" for the ensuing few years. Its successor, he said, was in the design stage.

General Omar Bradley, chief of staff of the Army since the prior year, had been chosen by the President to become the first permanent chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a position temporarily held by General Eisenhower. The President had just signed the new Military Unification Act, replacing the Act of 1947, the new law creating the chairmanship and giving broader powers to the Secretary of Defense. The new position did not give the chairman veto rights or authority over the other chiefs of staff, but did carry weight in terms of prestige. The President had not yet chosen a successor for the position of chief of staff of the Army, but most believed it would be the vice-chief of staff, General Lawton Collins.

The proponents of a cut of the 1.45 billion dollar military aid program for Western Europe and other allies gave up their fight in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and instead decided to take the matter to the floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended by a vote of 9 to 2 to confirm as Justice of the Supreme Court Attorney General Tom Clark. The Committee recommended confirmation also, by a vote of 9 to 0, of Senator J. Howard McGrath as Attorney General. Senators Forrest Donnell and Homer Ferguson voted against Mr. Clark's confirmation.

U.S. High Commissioner for Germany John J. McCloy said that West Berlin was eligible for ERP aid.

Alaska Governor Ernest Gruening told Congress that Alaska was defenseless against even small-scale airborne invasion and appealed for 138 million dollars in defense appropriations for the Territory.

The President complained that Republican filibusters were delaying appropriations bills in the Senate, but Republicans claimed that the Democrats were stalling adjournment to keep GOP members off the stump in the fall. Senator Robert Taft said that there was no effort by the Republicans to stall legislation.

The President was asked about a statement attributed to former President Herbert Hoover that the nation was "on the last mile" toward collectivism, and the President responded that it sounded funny to him, that he did not believe it to be the case.

Rumors of another coal crisis were circulating in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., where a meeting was taking place between Northern and Western coal operators and John L. Lewis regarding formation of a new contract, as some operators reportedly were planning to cease paying the 20-cent per ton royalty to the UMW welfare fund, prompting the possibility of a strike.

Vice-President Alben Barkley said that he had not discussed the prospect of marriage with a St. Louis widow in whose company he had been seen of late.

In Buckhannon, W. Va., a 13-year old boy shot and killed his father to steal $60 for a bicycle. He then took $1,315 and hid all of it, save the $60, which he then took to town to purchase the bike.

Sixty dollars? That must have been a fancy bicycle.

In Gray Court, S.C., the black man sought by a huge posse of a thousand men, women, and children over the alleged attempted rape of a 16-year old white girl, surrendered to police after being encouraged by his wife to do so. He was then rushed to the State Penitentiary in Columbia for his protection against mob action. The girl and her boyfriend, 17, claimed that he had forced them to drive with him in the car for two hours, during which time he tried twice to rape the girl, from a prominent Greenwood family.

In London, actress Angela Lansbury was married.

In Atlanta, Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell had been hit and gravely injured the previous night by a car driven by a speeding, drunken cab driver, as she crossed Peachtree Street on her way with her husband, John Marsh, to see the 1944 British film, "A Canterbury Tale". She was dragged fifteen feet. She had blood running from her left ear, normally indicative of a skull fracture. She regained consciousness after four hours and muttered incoherently when interns called her by her given name, "Peggy". She was too fragile to be moved even for X-rays, which could take another 72 hours to conduct.

The taxi driver initially was charged with speeding, driving on the wrong side of the street, and drunk driving. He said to police that he tried to swerve to avoid her and would have, had she not sought to retreat to the curb.

The accident took place near the couple's home, in front of the Peachtree Arts Theater. Ms. Marsh would die the following Tuesday. Her only published novel was Gone With the Wind.

On the editorial page, "After the Storm..." discusses the problem arising at the State Board of Conservation & Development re the issue of the Governor's powers to cancel an advertising contract and hire a new firm, and to appoint a new head of the State News Bureau, traditionally actions left to the Board.

The piece finds Governor Kerr Scott's actions "impulsive and dictatorial" but also asserts that the resignations in protest by members of the State advertising committee had not served the people well either.

Truth is that they don't cotton to him much because he had made it evident that he was no racist or even a white moderate mollycoddler, was trying to rid the State Government of such.

"A Public Nuisance" tells of the residents living near polluted Sugaw Creek having, after years of putting up with noxious odors, come finally to protest the continued pollution of the stream by industrial wastes in violation of two City ordinances.

The piece sides with the residents and believes that the industrial polluters ought be cited and forced to clean up the problem.

"The Bridges Honorarium" tells of New Hampshire Senator Styles Bridges, a member of the UMW welfare fund board of trustees, saying that he would not be forced out of the $35,000 per year position by "scurrilous criticism" for taking the money. He had taken the position in 1948 to help John L. Lewis out of a jam after the latter had been cited for contempt and, after accepting the position on the board, agreeing to implement the welfare plan, thus obviating the dispute causing Mr. Lewis to defy a court order against a strike.

But the salary had remained secret until recently and appeared to have been the lure to the position. The Washington Post had questioned what Senator Bridges did to earn the salary and whether it was not a waste of the welfare fund's assets, intended for the miners.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Prepositions Where They Belong", bends over backwards to end sentences in prepositions while saying that Robert C. Ruark, in his recent column, had no cause for complaint over the prohibition of the sentence-ending preposition—lest, as Winston Churchill once commented, you start the whole damned thing all over again. For, it contends, there was no reason why a writer could not easily rearrange the sentence to avoid the miscue.

It suggests that it was sad, in the "age of skepticism when there's little left to cling to", that the "rules of grammar are laughed at."

"Yes, Ruark, end your sentences with prepositions if you want to. But don't try to influence other writers, who to such a flagrant violation of rules of grammar will never give into!"

To test your reading quotient, we shall present you with one which, were you thorough yesterday, you would have readily spotted and marked it down as that with which you could not abide in a piece anent the subject matter of which it was:

So long as man trusts his ability to solve his own problems by taking thought, and also believes that truth needs only to be known in order to prevail in the world, then his fate as an intellectual being seems somehow likely to win through.

It leaves one in the query: through what?

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of President Elpido Quirino of the Philippines having received a ceremonial welcome in Washington, but that, privately, officials had been glad to see him leave, as three of his party had been prominent collaborators with the Japanese during the war. President Quirino, himself, had a good record, as his wife and other members of his family had been killed by the Japanese for refusing to collaborate. The three collaborators were present as a political necessity, said his friends, to assure re-election in 1949.

Washington Senators Harry Cain and Warren Magnuson, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, were opposing one another regarding the person to be appointed to the Tacoma postmastership.

The Public Affairs Institute was taking issue with the Census Bureau's published unemployment figure of 4.1 million for the previous month, claiming it was low by 600,000. PAI also challenged the claim of Commerce Secretary Charles Sawyer that the reason for the dip was the influx of young people to the summer job market.

Secretaries Acheson and Louis Johnson assured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there was no ill feeling between the State and Defense Departments regarding military meddling in foreign policy.

Stewart Alsop, in London, finds that the economic crisis in the free world would result, if not remedied, in an economic split between the sterling bloc and the gold bloc, in which case there would eventually be a split politically, enabling the Soviets to take advantage of the schism.

Yet, being but figures on paper, with no evidence on the surface of a crisis, it was that much more of a problem. The sterling bloc was down to about 1.5 billion dollars worth of reserve in gold and dollars. With about a billion dollars expected from ERP, it had appeared that the dollar deficit would be covered. But in the second quarter of 1949, the yearly amount by which the British were spending more in dollars than selling in dollars suddenly doubled to 2.5 billion dollars. Thus, the net after ERP aid would still leave only the perilous 1.5 billion dollar reserve, meaning exhaustion of that reserve by the end of the 1949-50 fiscal year. The sterling bloc then would be close to total ruin.

That was the impending crisis which had driven Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps to a sanitarium, but still meant little to the average person in Britain.

A remedy might yet come from provision of more money from ERP than the British had sought, and they hoped to get additional gold from South Africa. Plus, dollar imports to the sterling area were being trimmed by the Exchequer by hundreds of millions. Devaluation of the pound sterling could slow the flight from the pound. The U.S. economic dip might also subside.

Those processes could slow the drain on the dollar reserve but would not stanch the bleeding. To do that, an artificial separate economy might be set up, insulated against the American dollar draw, the direction taken by the Exchequer in cutting U.S. imports, constructing bilateral deals, as with Argentina, stiffening controls, and the like.

But such economic separation would ultimately lead to political separation. And such a split between the U.S. and Britain would delight the Soviet Union.

Marquis Childs wishes happy birthday to former President Hoover, turning 75. But the best birthday present which could be offered, he suggests, acceptance by Congress of the recommendations of the President made pursuant to the Hoover Commission report, was in danger of being denied by recalcitrance.

The first plan, to create a Department of Welfare, appeared to have little chance of passage. Plan number two, to revitalize the powers of the Labor Department, stripped during the war, had better chance of passage, despite a heavy lobby against it. Its primary change would be to transfer the bureau administering the U.S. Employment Service and the Unemployment Insurance Service from the Federal Security Agency to the Department of Labor. The large corporations, however, were concerned that it would alter the system under which they received large tax incentives for stabilizing employment and so were lobbying against it.

But the Department of Labor argued that the "experience rating" on which the incentives were based, could not be altered by executive order as they were set by the state legislatures.

The Senate Expenditures Committee, nevertheless, had disapproved the measure.

The seven reorganization plans currently before Congress represented only 15 of the 87 recommendations by the Commission report. Some would fare better than others but, in the end, it was likely that Congress, at its current rate of progress, would be slow to act.

Robert C. Ruark defends American men as lovers against an assault by an unknown French woman named Lili, a French fashion hawker. She said that American men spent all of their time in nightclubs, against which charge he protests and says that Frenchmen spent their time in sidewalk cafes "oggling the passing fluff." He wonders which American men Lili had in mind when she complained that they were lazy, lousy lovers and inept husbands, who did all of their pinching in the clubs, whether Joe DiMaggio or Clark Gable.

Latins, he continues, were the greatest conversational lovers, but nine parts conversation. The British were largely moral, but went to the pub, the cricket field, or the club for companionship. London was strictly a man's town, insofar as shops and amusements. Italians were essentially singers when it came to love, also liked to hang around wine shops, convincing themselves that they were Don Juans but for the fact that it was better to sit and sip than to act.

He allows that some of the exceptions to the rule in these places were full of "zing and zipperoo". But he was inclined to pick the American over the field.

A letter writer from Asheville believes that public schools were the best answer for education of children as they were regulated, while private schools were not, thus believes that "the State should not be influenced in any way by the Church."

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