The Charlotte News

Monday, August 15, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, as part of a hearing before the Senate Investigating subcommittee examining influence peddling in procurement of Army contracts, said that an employee of the perfume company which had provided in 1945 Maj. General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, with seven freezers, in turn given by General Vaughan to First Lady Bess Truman, Chief Justice Fred Vinson, Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, and others, had been engaged in attempted smuggling. But he said that there was nothing "even remotely improper" about Mrs. Truman's conduct, that she was "the type of lady" who was "incapable of doing anything improper." The perfume company in question had dealings with John Maragon, part of the focus of the investigation, who, according to a New York Herald Tribune story, had tried to smuggle a large quantity of French perfume into the United States without paying the $1,600 customs duties.

We still wish to know whether there was red meat, perhaps ketchup, in those freezers.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the full 1.45 billion dollar foreign military aid appropriation sought by the President, but would split the amount between cash and contract authorization. The cash component of 650 million dollars was to be split also, between 500 million dollars, to be used until the end of March, 1950, and the remainder to be used to the end of the fiscal year. It refused to approve an amendment offered by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., to provide military aid to Nationalist China. It did approve an amendment favoring the establishment of a Pacific pact similar to NATO.

The Senate Armed Services Committee quickly approved confirmation of the appointments of General Omar Bradley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs and General Lawton Collins as his successor as chief of staff of the Army.

Twenty-four million West German voters held on Sunday the first free election in Germany since 1933, defeating the Communist Party, the Socialists, and the extreme rightist Nazi groups, giving control of the 402-member parliament to the free enterprise parties, supported by American occupation officials. The Christian Democrats received the most votes, followed closely by the Social Democrats who wanted to nationalize large industries, similar to the Labor Party in Britain. The Free Democrats, who favored completely unfettered free enterprise and would form a coalition majority with the Christian Democrats, were third. The Communists received about six percent of the vote.

In Canton, China, a Nationalist Army spokesman reported that Chinese Communist leader Mao Tze-Tung had died in Peiping on July 17. He said the information was "very reliable".

Looks like we won't have to deal with him anymore.

In Baltimore, a judge ruled that Maryland's new law against subversive activities was unconstitutional, as infringing the First Amendment by punishing thought rather than acts of subversion. The law provided for a prison sentence up to five years and a fine up to $5,000 for mere membership in an organization deemed "subversive". It provided for punishment of twenty years imprisonment for engaging in subversive activities.

Off western Ireland, at Shannon, a four-engine American Transocean Airlines Skymaster, en route from Rome to New York, crash-landed, killing nine of the 58 persons aboard. The occupants included 47 Italian immigrants and eleven Americans, including nine of the crew. One of the crew was among the dead, killed while trying to escape the plane when a piece of the tail broke off and knocked him from the life raft. The airplane, amid overcast skies, overshot the airport at Shannon and then ran out of fuel, the pilot, led by flares dropped from a guide plane, conducting a soft belly-landing in the sea fifteen miles from the coast as he sought to return. The survivors, who said the landing was so gentle that they had not been thrown from their seats, were rescued at sea, after four hours aboard life rafts, by a British trawler, aided by a British steamer.

In Los Angeles, two couples who met at a party decided to change spouses and so got mutual divorces and then remarried the opposite spouse.

In Raleigh, a member of the State Board of Conservation & Development resigned as a result of the conflict with Governor Kerr Scott assuming duties traditionally held by the Board, naming a new director of the State Advertising Division and canceling the State's advertising contract with one firm and giving it to another. A motion by the Board to disapprove the Governor's action on the contract had been passed by a vote of 3 to 2.

In Charlotte, a woman, 22, went on trial for the first degree murder of her third husband, a truck driver, by allegedly shooting him on July 11 with a .22 caliber rifle. She faced the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. A plea of not guilty by reason of insanity had been withdrawn by the defense after the results of psychiatric evaluations.

In Dover, England, Shirley May France, 16, was expecting still to try her swim across the English Channel this night or the next morning, from Cap Gris Nez, France, to Dover, probably at the first good tide after midnight. Conditions appeared ideal for the 21-mile crossing.

Good luck and may the Lord watch over ye unto Dover. But wear something, child, more appropriate to the eyes of God and man than mere grease. Ye would not wish to tempt the sharks.

In Charlotte, the former publisher of The News from 1927 until early 1947, W. Carey Dowd, Jr., 55, had died shortly before midnight on Saturday at a local hospital after suffering a heart attack the previous Monday at his summer home in Linville. He had suffered a heart attack ten years earlier but had been able to resume his normal duties within a few months. A native of Charlotte, he spent his entire life in the city except for two years of military service during World War I, including extensive time overseas. His father, W. C. Dowd, Sr., who had died in 1927, had been publisher of the newspaper from its founding in 1888. At his death, when the younger Mr. Dowd became Publisher and his brother, J.E., Editor and General Manager, the newspaper was largely unknown and of small circulation. It doubled its circulation within a few years, expanded its physical plant, installing a 40-page press and other modern equipment, and, in the words of W. J. Cash in The Mind of the South, was transformed from a "once stodgy journal" to "one of the most lively, intelligent, and enterprising in Dixie." The newspaper had enjoyed for many years the status of having the largest circulation of any afternoon newspaper in the Carolinas.

Mr. Dowd's efforts had been responsible for bringing to Charlotte during the war the Navy's shell-loading plant, as well as the National Carbon plant, providing employment to several thousand people. During the census of 1940, he had encouraged the community to cooperate fully so that the city would reach the proud mark of 100,000, at first falling shy but, after Mr. Dowd exhorted the census takers to make a more thorough count, making it to 100,899. He had also started the annual Empty Stocking Fund drive for the needy families and children of the community, that they might have Christmas. Mr. Dowd's funeral was held this date.

A tribute to Mr. Dowd is presented by News Publisher Thomas L. Robinson, who had taken over the duties from him in 1947. Mr. Dowd, he says, had backed him "to the hilt" when he began his duties, a younger man from New York City. He says that Mr. Dowd always stressed "service before self", and he pledges to continue in that courageous spirit which Mr. Dowd established at the newspaper.

On the editorial page, "W. Carey Dowd, Jr." laments the passing of the former publisher of The News—who, we note, had been responsible for the original hiring of W. J. Cash as Associate Editor in November, 1937. Mr. Dowd was, it says, to be remembered for many things, "his executive ability, his friendliness, his fidelity to the ethics of his profession, his courage, his fairness, his humanity." It would remember him most as the newspaperman "we would all like to be."

He had worked his way up at The News from the bottom, starting as a boy with odd jobs around the office, handling each job well as he went. He had read the newspaper each day with a critical eye, spotting the smallest typographical error. He impressed upon the staff more than anything else their responsibility to the public to justify the concept of freedom of press as a public trust.

Mr. Dowd's employees worked with him, not for him. And in that effort, with him remaining always in the background, the newspaper constantly sought to be better.

Though he had retired from the newspaper at the beginning of 1947 when the Dowd family sold the newspaper to a group of investors, of which Mr. Dowd and former Editor J. E. Dowd, his brother, were part, the philosophy he personified remained alive and the mark he left would always be a part of the newspaper.

"The Pan Is on the Fire" discusses the new military unification bill as providing greater efficiency within the defense establishment. Hanson Baldwin, military expert for the New York Times had written that to assure its intended purpose, the bill would need be augmented by several steps, including reduction of the excessive number of top officers, there being in 1949 one general for every 170 enlisted men, compared to one for every 1,681 prior to the war and a third that ratio during the war. Also, the number of civilian employees needed reduction, retained from the wartime complement. Obsolete Navy shore establishments also needed paring down.

Mr. Baldwin concluded that the savings afforded by the bill would be only in the millions, not the billions, unless individuals within the defense establishment were willing to break up their "little empires".

The Secretary of Defense had become a bigger position than ever contemplated under the 1947 law creating the post and so the public would have to wait and see whether the Secretary would be able to make the cuts necessary to provide economy in the military.

"The Bears of Bertie" tells of the Bertie Ledger-Advance relating of a farmer, M. E. Evans, who lived on the other side of the Cashie River, having problems with the bears eating his corn, as well his goobers when the season came for them. Farmer Evans had decided that his shotgun would do little to control the bears of Bertie. He called for an expedition to get to work on the problem, inviting hunters and sportsmen to go bear hunting, bringing their guns well loaded and plenty of hounds and bull dogs to chase down the quarry. Mr. Evans assured that he would cover them before the law, as it was illegal to shoot Brother Bruin out of season.

It suggests that the representative of Bertie in the Legislature seek a special dispensation for Mr. Evans.

That cannot occur until 1951. He cannot shoot any bears out of season until then. You just hold your hounds and horses, Mister. The bears of Bertie may shoot back. Meanwhile, they will eat all the corn and goobers they want. And the oysters, if they so desire.

The Congressional Quarterly reviews recent actions of Congress.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of Justice William O. Douglas, while mountain-climbing in Iran during the summer Court recess, having been the target of both a Soviet charge of being a spy and of the Shah of Iran, who imposed a ban against his intended visit to Azerbaijan where there were famine conditions resulting from a drought.

Mr. Allen notes that despite huge oil royalties for the Government, Iran tried to get 200,000 bushels of free grain for famine relief from the U.S.

John L. Lewis and Secretary of Interior Julius Krug agreed on the bill for more stringent mine safety regulations and enforcement.

Leftist Congressman Vito Marcantonio of New York made sure that he was heard by other Congressmen in the Democratic cloakroom telling an operator that he wanted to reach Moscow and speak to Josef Stalin, that no one else would do, making sure that the other Congressmen were listening. After hanging up, saying that he would try his call later, Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas suggested that he was not really calling Moscow, to which he forcefully protested, saying that he called Moscow three to four times weekly to take his orders directly from the Kremlin.

The President told freshman Congressman James Noland of Indiana that there were several Nolands in his family background and suggested that he write one of the President's Noland relatives to find out more.

Vice-President Barkley, a widower, was a guest at a farewell party for socialite Perle Mesta, appointed to be minister to Luxembourg, and was delighted that other guests had requested in his honor, "St. Louis Woman", "Meet Me in St. Louis", "The Merry Widow Waltz", and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", all in reference to his recent baseball outing with St. Louis widow Jane Hadley.

Indicted Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, former chairman of HUAC, had been seen visiting his office several times recently, though his trial had been postponed repeatedly for his supposed illness. The Congressman was indicted for fraud against the Government for receiving kickbacks of salaries from bogus staff members.

Joseph Alsop discusses the search for a new CIA director to replace Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, stepping down after a satisfactory performance in the first two years of the Agency's existence. He had been regarded as a temporary appointment from the outset. The new director was likely to be a civilian who would be able to stand toe to toe with the most important people in the Government. Admiral Hillenkoetter had problems in dealing with his military superiors without deferring to their higher rank.

Allen Dulles—who would be named by President Eisenhower to the position in 1953—had been the original favorite but had been struck from all lists of prospects because of the political fact that he was a Republican and a supporter of Thomas Dewey in the 1948 election, thus unlikely to gain the favor of President Truman. Mr. Dulles had written a report urging reorganization of the Agency to make it more effective.

The rivalry between the State Department and the Defense Department had caused State to be determined that the new director would not be from the Pentagon or someone named by Defense Secretary Louis Johnson.

Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray had been named as a possibility, touted as the deputy director of the CIA before being named Army Secretary. Former Ambassador to Russia General Walter Bedell Smith—to become the next director—or General Al Guenther had also been mentioned. Despite their military backgrounds, neither would likely subordinate the Agency to the Pentagon's directives.

Former Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett was thought to have the best chance for the job.

Much would depend, he suggests, on the President, as he took great interest in matters of intelligence gathering and liked to be briefed daily on important points, frequently arising at dawn to read the day's briefings. Mr. Lovett was the President's first choice.

Marquis Childs discusses the longshoreman's strike in Hawaii, crippling the Territory's economy, stopping, for the present, the move toward statehood, and pitting the people of the Territory against one another.

Many observers believed that Governor Ingram Stainback might have settled the strike but for his determination to wipe out what he believed was Communist influence in the ILWU. The Hawaii Legislature had take over the stevedore companies and were seeking to break the strike with non-union personnel, a move which proved initially successful.

But if the strike were to spread to the mainland, then President Truman would need to intervene under Taft-Hartley, a move he did not want to take.

The unions had a tremendous degree of power over the economy of Hawaii, as did the maritime unions over Alaska, where the Alaska Steamship Co. had a virtual monopoly on shipping. A monopoly in business invited a union monopoly and opened the door to Communism.

Were the strike to spread to the mainland, it could embarrass the CIO leadership, predominantly anti-Communist, but who had been slow to take action against ILWU president Harry Bridges and other CIO leaders who were sympathetic to Communism.

A letter writer from Lumberton, N.C., new to the South, having moved from the North, congratulates The News for its fair editorial policies, never engaging in class warfare and always seeking out truth.

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