The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 18, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, in a press conference, asked the country to suspend judgment on his military aide, Maj. General Harry Vaughan, until after he testified fully in the probe of his conduct in the influence-peddling scheme being examined by the Senate Investigating subcommittee. The President said that most of the favorable testimony regarding the General had been held behind closed doors while the negative information had been provided at open hearings or leaked by committee staff.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had called on the President to fire General Vaughan as coordinator of veterans' affairs, though he said he lacked authority to ask the President to fire him as his military aide.

The House voted to cut 580 million dollars of the 1.17 billion dollar foreign military aid package for Western European members of NATO and to cut off the program at the end of fiscal year 1949-50, contingent on a determination whether the recipient nations would use money to cooperate for mutual defense. An amendment to that effect was adopted by a vote of 172 to 137 and represented a major setback to the aid proposal. The initial reduction in aid had been firmly opposed by Secretary of State Acheson in his statements to Congress, indicating that it would send the wrong signal to NATO members and to Russia.

In debate on confirmation by the Senate of Attorney General Tom Clark to the Supreme Court, Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan criticized Mr. Clark for allowing one of the top U.S. Communists, Gerhard Eisler, to exit the U.S. as a stowaway aboard a foreign ship bound for East Germany—aided in his escape by the British courts which had refused extradition after Mr. Eisler was found aboard the ship in England. Senator Ferguson said that, among other things, he also wanted to question the nominee about his justification of wiretapping, which the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had termed "a dirty business". It was anticipated that the nomination would win confirmation during the afternoon.

The President had six of his first seven reorganization proposals approved by Congress and set to go into effect at midnight, the Senate having approved the previous day the Labor Department reorganization. The only one nixed was the creation of a Welfare Department. The other five approved plans were reorganization of the Post Office Department, transference of the National Security Council and the National Security Resources Board to the executive office of the President, giving administrative authority to both the chairman of the Civil Service Commission and the chairman of the Maritime Commission, and transference of the Public Roads Administration from GSA to the Commerce Department.

The President refused to disagree with a decision by the DNC to bar Dixiecrats who had not supported the President in 1948 from a national committee meeting the following Wednesday, saying that the decision was up to the DNC.

The Chinese Nationalist Government protested that British ships had shown a bellicose attitude toward Nationalist naval units and had violated Chinese territorial waters. Meanwhile, Foochow, the large port opposite Formosa, fell to the Communists, the Nationalists admitted withdrawal from the Miao Islands, used to blockade northern Communist-held ports, Communist armies mounted a large offensive in Hunan Province, and Americans and other foreigners had fled Canton.

In Kemi, Finland, Communist lumberjack strikers clashed with police after an attempt by the strikers to attack others reporting for work at a timber sorting dam. The Government had ordered the lumberjacks and other striking workers to return to work, an order disobeyed by 90 percent of the workers. The Government, dominated by the Social Democrats, said that it was an attempt by Communists to create chaos and take over the country. The strike was over wages. Virtually all unions, a majority of whose members were non-Communists, had vowed to strike in coming days. Such a general strike would cripple the nation's economy.

Sir Stafford Cripps, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain, was leaving Zurich, where he had been under medical care for four weeks, and returning to Britain.

Business loans in the U.S. were on the rise, indicative of business stocking up on inventory for fall and Christmas sales, rejuvenating the economy. The decline in the economy in recent months had been blamed on accumulation of excess inventory, thus diminishing wholesale purchases. Real estate loans, steadily rising during the year, were continuing along that course.

In New York, a man and woman were convicted of first degree murder in the so-called lonely hearts murder case, the killing of a widow in furtherance of a scheme to fleece lonely women out of their savings. Conviction carried a mandatory death sentence. After being in session all night, the jury had sought permission near dawn to go to bed, but the court refused, ordering them back into session. The verdict came at 7:30 a.m. after twelve and a half hours of deliberation. The vote reportedly on the first ballot had been eleven to one in favor of guilt of first degree murder. The prosecution had claimed that the woman had beaten the widow with a hammer and that the man had then strangled her with a scarf, after the widow had demanded return of $6,000 taken from her by the couple. The remaining holdout on the jury had been stuck on whether there was premeditation by the male of the couple. The defense had not sought to contest guilt of the killing but sought to avoid the death penalty for both defendants.

The defense indicated its intention to appeal. And if this one was not reversed for the impropriety of the trial judge sending the jury back for deliberations at dawn after an all-night session, in effect directing the verdict through enforced sleep deprivation, then New York's Statue of Justice can hang its head in shame. Nevertheless, the two would be executed in March, 1951. In a democracy, it is not the end result that counts as much in perfecting justice as the due process and fairness accorded the accused in reaching the end result. If a judge can substitute his or her own conclusions for that of the twelve good and true of the jury, then why not simply abandon the jury system completely and have judge trials?

Between Hopkinsville, Ky., and Camp Campbell, a car carrying six women occupants crashed into a car with soldier occupants, resulting in a fire which killed all six women. Two of the three soldiers in the other car had minor injuries. The car with soldiers had sought to pass an automobile transport convoy when it rammed into the other car, causing it to hit the convoy, bursting into flames. The fire burned for over an hour before being finally extinguished.

In Deauville, France, Prince Aly Khan confirmed that his wife, actress Rita Hayworth, was pregnant. The couple had been married May 27.

In Charlotte, the 22-year old woman who had shot and killed her third husband with a .22 caliber rifle on July 12 after an argument regarding his seeing another woman, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to ten to fifteen years in prison. The jury deliberated only 50 minutes, rejecting a defense of legal insanity at the time of the shooting. The prosecution had sought a conviction of first degree murder. The prosecutor complimented the two appointed defense counsel for zealous representation of the defendant. Effectively, the jury found that the woman acted out of "heat of passion" with insufficient cooling time before acting.

On the editorial page, "Note on Words and Deeds" tells of the Senate refusing to confirm the President's executive order establishing a Department of Welfare as part of the initial steps of reorganization, defeating the proposal 60 to 32. It had thereby also blocked a recommendation of the Hoover Commission.

There was an economy bloc in Congress which was doing such things while not making any serious inroads to Government spending.

The piece finds intuitive sympathy with the opponents to the concept of a Department of Welfare, but it also favors the Congress grouping the present welfare agencies under one umbrella, eliminating those deemed undesirable or duplicative of services provided by another agency. It suggests as a good start the paring down of socialized medicine provided by more than half of the departments and agencies of the Government, giving medical care for more than a sixth of the population.

"Death of a Friend" tells of several newspapers, including the Birmingham Age-Herald, the Jacksonville Journal, the Florida Times-Union, and the New York Herald Tribune, praising Margaret Mitchell in the wake of her death two days earlier after being hit by a car on August 11. The New York Times, it finds, had touched the essence of the South's regard for her when it described her as " of [the South's] most beloved and admired personages."

It tells of Gone With the Wind and the movie made from it having enchanted millions, such that, to its readers and patrons, the characters had become realities.

Ms. Mitchell, it finds, had become something more than her novel, retaining modesty in the face of so much sudden success. A fellow Atlantan described her as "rounded normality … a warm, friendly woman normal enough to be astonished and delighted at the recognition the world accorded her, and physically and mentally normal enough to wear those worldly laurels with a gracious and lovable manner that endured her to all who knew her."

"Positive Program for Charlotte" tells of City Manager Yancey recommending to the City Council eleven municipal projects, including street repairs and paving of new streets as the most important recommendation, as well as taking steps to rid Sugaw Creek of its pollution, troubling to nearby residents for years. It hopes that the recommendations would be followed by the Council.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Save Driving and Mental Slow Pokes", tells of one out of every three drivers involved in a fatal accident, according to a study by a life insurance company, being slow-witted or stupid. One out of every eight deaths of pedestrians resulted from slow response times in the automotive age of speed.

Man had about the same mental capacity as his ancestors of hundreds of thousands of years earlier. But an alert mind could be trained to react quickly to emergencies. The problem was that the slow-witted often drove most recklessly.

It urges psychological tests to determine the fitness of motorists to have licenses.

While not mentioning the death of Margaret Mitchell, the fact obviously had been the impetus behind the piece.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, discusses the scramble for the California Democratic gubernatorial nomination, though more than a year away. James Roosevelt, eldest son of FDR, was the leading contender, contested by George Luckey, millionaire cattleman, supporter of President Truman in 1948 but bitter foe of James Roosevelt.

The President was staying out of the race, along with all other state contests. Both leading candidates, in the field of at least six, were making regular trips to Washington, which Mr. Allen proceeds to describe in detail.

Lt. General Lawton Collins, elevated to become chief of staff of the Army, cleared his desk before receiving photographers, explaining that after the German surrender in 1945, he was photographed in his office with two captured German generals, and one of the photographs showed clearly a letter he had been writing to his wife at the time and what it said.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada vowed to keep Senators in session until Christmas if there were any move by Republicans to join Democrats in an effort to discharge from the Immigration subcommittee, which he chaired, the liberalized displaced persons bill to eliminate the provisions discriminatory to Jews and Catholics, passed in the 80th Congress. Senator Matt Neely of West Virginia, who had defeated the discriminatory bill's author, Senator Chapman Revercomb, said that he would nevertheless do everything he could to get the bill out of committee.

Marquis Childs discusses the West German election in terms of potentially rekindling the past of the Weimar Republic, which, for its weak ability to govern, had led to the splinter minority National Sozialist Party ultimately coming to power under Hitler.

The Free Democrats, to everyone's surprise, had made a strong showing in the election, to set it alongside the Christian Democrats as the basis for a governing coalition to form a majority in the parliament. The Free Democrats contained within it splinter groups which were nationalist in character and opposed to the occupation powers, particularly the U.S. That had been the real significance of the election.

New civilian American High Commissioner, John J. McCloy, thus would have his work cut out for him, a task far more difficult than that encountered by the predecessor military governor, General Lucius Clay. For Mr. McCloy would need to guide, under ill-defined standards, the new Bonn Government, whereas the task of General Clay had been to direct.

Mr. McCloy had been searching for a deputy high commissioner with some difficulty. He had sought one candidate who eventually declined. Col. Henry Byroade, an assistant to Robert Murphy, who had been the State Department's liaison to the American occupation zone of Germany under General Clay, was a good prospect for the position. Mr Murphy, himself, was now going to become Ambassador to Belgium, making Mr. McCloy's job that much more difficult.

It was to be hoped that Mr. McCloy, an able manager, could counteract some of the more dangerous trends inherent in the new coalition government, to prevent a recurrence of the same problems which had beset the Weimar Republic, thus preventing the rise of a new nationalist regime.

Stewart Alsop, in London, tells of thoughtful American officials looking at whether to form a kind of Anglo-American union, at least insofar as establishing a common currency based on the dollar and a free exchange of populations, all in the name of resolving the British economic crisis, threatening to undo the good of the Marshall Plan and cripple NATO out of the gate. Britain was the keystone of both. The idea was unpopular on both sides of the Atlantic, as the British feared becoming a 49th state, whose economy would be devoured by the larger U.S.

Yet, the offer might come.

Another, more practical plan was to devalue the pound from $4 to $3, the latter being its real buying power in terms of dollars, along with commensurate devaluation of all European currencies, and to have the U.S. raise the price of gold from $35 per ounce to $45 per ounce, thereby raising the value of the gold horde in the U.S. by eight billion dollars, allowing that sum then to be earmarked as backing to permit free exchange of currencies. That, in turn, would free trade and enable Britain to relieve its shortage of gold-dollar reserve, threatening collapse of its economy. The major objection in Britain was that devaluation would cause a drop in the standard of living, but a study had shown that it would be no more than by four percent.

A piece from the Associated Press examines the strange manner in which some Russian citizens viewed America. They had ascribed to it such traits as "refined pessimism", "war psychosis", "misanthropic racial theories", "subtle psycho-pornographic introspection", and "romanticizing of gangsterism", over which hovered "the gloomy shadow of bourgeois cosmopolitanism", as set forth in an article titled "Marshallized Austrian Culture" by Yuri Klemanov.

He found the importation to Europe from the U.S. of films, mind-poisoning best-sellers, "unrestricted jazz songs of the Boogie Woogie type", and false broadcasts by the Voice of America to be exponents of the "reactionary ideology of American imperialism".

Mark Twain was popular in the Soviet Union, especially his satires of small-town American capitalism, and the view abounded in Russia that since his death in 1910, American satire had died. A popular Russian play had been produced, titled "Bag of Temptations", based on one of Mark Twain's stories—perhaps "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg".

The Canadian Navy had become, according to Red Fleet, an appendage of the U.S. Navy.

The magazine Zvezda labeled the majority of plays on Broadway "frank pornography and unrestricted banality". It also said that American westerns propagated the idea of the superiority of the white race while crime movies lionized gangsters and other Hollywood fare presented only millionaires as noble heroes.

So there.

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