The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that suspended Maj. General Herman Feldman, Army Quartermaster, testifying before the Senate Investigating subcommittee looking into influence peddling on Government contracts, said that he gave "five percenter" James V. Hunt information on Army buying plans in 1947 but said that it was not confidential information and that he was unaware of Mr. Hunt receiving a fee from a company for his efforts. The General denied any wrongdoing or misuse of his influence. The Committee had developed information that General Feldman had told an Army purchasing officer to contact Mr. Hunt, that Mr. Hunt had ready entree to the White House. The assistant counsel for the subcommittee said that the information provided Mr. Hunt included details not previously made public and so could be considered classified. General Feldman countered that the information had been made public in a House Appropriations subcommittee report two months before he provided the information to Mr. Hunt and that it had been published in at least one newspaper.

Telephone conversations and letters of Mr. Hunt read into Committee evidence showed that he had told a prospective client that he was close to the White House and told another client the previous October that he would be even better off in terms of influence if Mr. Dewey were elected. He also claimed close connections to powerful GOP members of Congress.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of the "five percenter" investigation adding great prestige to Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, who had been home for the weekend in Shelby. But he was nevertheless displeased with Senators Joe McCarthy and Karl Mundt who were willing to ask questions designed to bring out sensational stories and spill them to the press nearly every day. He did not like the idea of turning the hearings into a political circus. Thus far, despite the theatrics, Senator Hoey had, according to Washington correspondents, managed to run the hearing more like a court of law than any hearing in recent memory in Washington.

The combined Senate committees on foreign relations approved 239 million dollars in military aid for Greece, Turkey, Iran, the Philippines, and Korea, the bulk of which, 211 million, was for Turkey and Greece. Action on the military aid to Western European NATO nations was delayed until later in the week.

Yugoslavia sent an official diplomatic note to Russia expressing willingness to reach agreements with Russia on all disputed questions, but also warned Russia to keep out of Yugoslavia's internal affairs. The note was in response to a Russian note urging Yugoslavia to release 31 detained Soviet citizens whom the Yugoslavs claimed were spies. The Russians had warned that they were prepared to take "effective measures" to protect its citizens. The Yugoslav Government offered to extradite the prisoners to Russia as soon as possible, and to allow other Russian nationals to leave the country at will.

In Takao on Formosa, about 500 persons were killed or injured in the explosion of an ammunition ship during loading of ammunition.

In Manitoba, Canada, 250 miles northeast of Winnipeg, a plane missing since Sunday was located, crashed, with no signs of survivors among the 21 persons aboard.

Panamanian President Domingo Diaz Arosemena, 74, died after being ill for several months.

Several firefighters sought to halt the spread of forest fires in the U.S. and Canada. Officials in San Diego County, California, declared an emergency over a spreading fire extending to 1,000 acres of mountainous terrain. In Shasta, California, 7,000 acres were ablaze, as firefighters deliberately torched 3,000 acres to try to develop a firebreak. In Maine, more than a dozen fires burned, and New Hampshire also had its worst forest fire of the year. Quebec and Northern Ontario also had fires.

Storm warnings were hoisted at Cape Hatteras for the season's first Atlantic hurricane, presently 340 miles off St. Augustine, Fla., and headed northward, to pass Cape Hatteras probably early the next morning. "Harry's Hurricane", as it was dubbed for the President's Miami visit, was packing winds of 100 to 115 mph.

William Talbot of Louisiana, a Dixiecrat member of the DNC, said that he would take his fight back home if the DNC ousted him as a national committeeman for not supporting the President in 1948. He was being represented by Judge Leander Perez before the Committee. Mr. Perez said that the States' Righters might establish a Washington office to work against the President's civil rights program.

Leander gonna gander on the Klander. Ain't that right, Leander?

On the editorial page, "Perennial Problem" discusses various problems with the taxi cabs operating in the city and the need for enforcement by the City Council of existing ordinances to deal with them. Yet, there was reluctance to enforce the ordinances. The Council had extended the deadline for cabs installing meters by another six months, to March 1, 1950.

The Council had authorized the City Manager to issues summonses to the cab companies to show cause why their licenses should not be revoked if they failed to observe the other ordinances, but one Councilman had sought to amend the ordinances to eliminate provisions to favor the companies. The piece opposes the move.

"New Life in the West" finds Western North Carolina to be bidding for new tourist trade since the war, with great improvements along the roads, new taverns and motels, seeking to draw vacationers from the seashore. It finds the competition healthy for the state and one of the best things ever to happen in North Carolina, providing new wealth and balance to the state's regions.

"Military Assistance" finds the President often speaking on foreign policy with a simplicity and clarity lacking in his domestic policy speeches. Such was the case in his speech before the VFW in Miami, in which he summarized the major steps in foreign policy toward effecting world cooperation since the war, membership in the U.N., the Truman Doctrine, the Rio Pact, ERP, and NATO. The provision of military aid to the NATO nations of Western Europe, Iran, Korea, and the Philippines, so-called "MAP", the Military Aid Program, was the next step.

But the House had already trimmed the program in half for its first year for the NATO nations, making cooperation among them the contingency on which would depend providing the rest of the proposed 1.17 billion dollars. Senators Arthur Vandenberg and John Foster Dulles wanted the amount reduced to a billion dollars while Senators Walter George, Harry F. Byrd, and Richard Russell wanted to retain the House version.

The battle over the expenditure was fateful, as the Joint Chiefs and the Secretaries of Defense and State had insisted that the full amount was mandatory to provide teeth to NATO's deterrent effect on the Soviets.

It suggests that haggling over the amount to be provided would result in savings which would be a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of another major war.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly summarizes the actions of Congress during the previous week, already adequately covered herein.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of runway lighting for the nation's major airports being stalled over an issue of cost, half of which was to be borne by the Government. The lighting would cost for each airport on average $26,000 plus an added $4,800 for royalties to the patent holder. The Civil Aeronautics Administration had balked at the price.

The Washington party for the Indian Embassy to celebrate the country's independence was without the usual alcohol complement, replaced by coffee, vanilla ice cream, and cakes. Everyone was sober and enjoyed the experience.

He notes that a Korean party held the same day was an "imbiber's delight".

The investigation into the Atomic Energy Commission instigated by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper was still ongoing and some salacious material had been introduced involving the sex lives of employees. Congressman Henry Jackson of Washington wanted to know what the records had to do with security at AEC, to which Senator Hickenlooper responded that secrets might be disclosed "under the influence of love or liquor." Democratic members of the committee hoped to issue a final report on the investigation by September 15, held up by Senator Hickenlooper's persistent absence from the committee.

Retired General John de Witt, who had issued the order in 1942 to remove all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, was settling in San Francisco, but first had checked with his attorney to make sure that he would not be the object of legal action by irate Japanese citizens.

"Maragon is no paragon" and "M-Day comes before V-Day" were comments heard during the Senate Investigating subcommittee probe of John Maragon and the "five percenters".

James Roosevelt denied making any deals in California with lobbyist Arthur Samish regarding candidacy for the gubernatorial nomination in 1950, and said that he would not make any such deals.

Robert C. Ruark tells of having known John Maragon for several years, since he had been a handyman on the B & O Railroad, and he finds it hard to perceive him as a sinister agent for million-dollar deals. He suggests that he might wind up the fall-guy while the "big sinners" went scot free.

Mr. Maragon had informed Mr. Ruark of the story of the freezers provided as gifts to Maj. General Harry Vaughan who, in turn, gave one each to Bess Truman, Chief Justice Fred Vinson while he was Secretary of the Treasury, John W. Snyder, and two others. Harry Hoffman had been the longtime friend of General Vaughan and had called on him in June, 1945 as General Vaughan was preparing to ask the Coca-Cola Company about getting a very scarce freezer for the White House commissary. Mr. Hoffman then said that he could get one more easily. He then called Dave Bennett of the Verley Perfume Co. and asked him to call Albert Gross of Milwaukee and tell him to send the General a freezer, which was then done. Three weeks later, the General wanted to know how he could get some more freezers for his friends. Mr. Bennett, who had not liked FDR, was such an admirer of President Truman that he complied. (There is a slight discrepancy between Mr. Ruark's account of Mr. Maragon's story and that related the previous week by Marquis Childs, by which the above summary is altered somewhat to include the White House commissary as the initial recipient of the freezer rather than Bess Truman in Independence, as indicated by Mr. Ruark. General Vaughan's version appears consistent with that of Mr. Childs.)

Mr. Maragon was upset, said that he no longer worked for Mr. Bennett and was being used as a scapegoat.

Mr. Ruark says that while the statements of Mr. Maragon were self-interested, he accepts that a lot bigger deals had been transacted in Washington than the gifts of freezers.

Marquis Childs tells of overseas flights to Europe now taking off hourly everyday, something only experimental ten years earlier. Juan Trippe, head of Pan American Airways, was primarily responsible for the blossoming business. In his current drive to buy American Overseas Airlines, he had been accused of trying to drive out the competition. His view was that only a single company, a "chosen instrument", could challenge the foreign-owned companies for overseas routes. Had the Republicans retained control of Congress, Senator Owen Brewster had been prepared to push through a bill under which Pan Am would have been that "chosen instrument".

But through the purchase of AOA, Mr. Trippe was accomplishing informally what he had not been able to do by legislation, as the purchase, if approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board, would leave only TWA in competition with Pan Am. And with Pan Am controlling AOA, it could drive out TWA through economic competition.

A brief filed by a member of CAB and the Board's public counsel said that a monopoly would result on overseas routes, producing greater power for Pan Am than held by the Government in both foreign policy and defense.

Mr. Trippe's attorneys argued that a merger would save nine million dollars per year and enable competition with foreign airlines. But the CAB counsel responded that a monopoly would not save money in the long run.

Mr Childs opines that the benefits of any monopoly were dubious, that competition had been a spur to development of airways which spanned the globe. The pattern abroad was to form cartels and without American competition, such a cartel would likely prevail over airlines. He concludes that the argument for competition remained powerful.

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