The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 24, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Maj. General Herman Feldman, suspended Army Quartermaster, testified to the Senate Investigating subcommittee, examining influence peddling in procurement of Government contracts, that he had talked to "five percenter" James V. Hunt in 1948 but denied that he had, as Mr. Hunt claimed in his diary, asked Mr. Hunt to contact anyone on Capitol Hill regarding retirement legislation for Army officers. A law prohibited lobbying by Army officers.

General Feldman admitted that a list of Government contracts which he furnished to Mr. Hunt was a revision never made public and never furnished to anyone except Mr. Hunt. But he said that he believed it incidental as the list was of items generally wanted by the Quartermaster Corps and was not classified information, that anyone who wanted it would have been entitled to receive it. He also said that he did not know that Mr. Hunt, who was a friend, was receiving a fee for his efforts.

The twelve nation NATO pact went into effect this date after the President signed a proclamation in the wake of the original seven nations forming the pact having ratified it. Essentially, the treaty declared that an attack on any member nation would be regarded as an attack on all and that each member nation then would determine its course of action in response.

Cedric Worth, special assistant to the Undersecretary of the Navy, admitted to the House Armed Services Committee that he had written the document which precipitated the investigation into the B-36 long-range strategic bomber. He did so out of concern, he said, that the country's defenses were being weakened and going in the wrong direction. The fact that he was from the Navy Department aroused suspicion that the document was cooked up out of the ongoing feud between the Navy and the Air Force regarding which branch would control long-range bombing capability, whether via aircraft carriers or large, long-range bombers as the B-36.

The DNC ousted Dixiecrats from Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Mississippi for not supporting the President in 1948, instead voting for the Dixiecrat ticket of Governors Strom Thurmond and Fielding Wright. Wright Morrow was retained as Texas national committeeman. Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina replaced Governor Thurmond on the Committee. William Boyle was elected DNC chairman, succeeding Senator J. Howard McGrath, sworn in this date as Attorney General.

Senator William Knowland of California, along with eleven other Senators, introduced an amendment to the military aid bill to provide arms to Nationalist China.

General Mark Clark, commander of the Sixth Army in San Francisco, was named the new chief of Army field forces. Lt. General Albert Wedemeyer would take over the Sixth Army.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson said that the armed services would end 135,000 civilian jobs, of which 76,000 would be in the Navy, to slash military spending. Several lawmakers objected that the cutbacks would hurt the economy by cutting off wage earners.

An effort to break a deadlock on the aid to education bill in the House Labor & Education Committee and send it to the floor failed for lack of support.

In Bordeaux, France, the city was in mourning for the loss of 82 men in fighting forest fires which had struck the region. Flags flew at half-staff throughout the nation.

More new forest fires erupted in at least three states, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in Maine, and in the Stanislaus National Forest near Yosemite in California, adding to the 40,000 acres already destroyed in Idaho, California, and Montana.

It was anticipated that "Harry's Hurricane" would pass Cape Hatteras between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. this date. Virginia Beach and Cape Henry would likely experience 50 to 60 mph winds.

You better get out there and get in the yard furniture before it blows every which way.

A second hurricane was forming off Puerto Rico, becoming larger by the hour.

In Dover, England, Philip Mickman, 18, of Yorkshire, successfully swam across the English Channel on his third attempt. It took him 23 hours and 48 minutes. He swam the last few miles in drizzling rain and darkness. He had been advised to give up at midnight because of a strong tide, but he refused and continued to the finish at 5:33 a.m.

Shirley May France of Somerset, Mass., congratulated him. She had delayed her attempt until September.

A Cuban swimmer, Jose Cortinas, had begun his attempt right after the conclusion of the Mickman crossing.

If it's going to become a regular thing, what's the big deal?

On the editorial page, "Far Eastern Dilemma" comments on Stewart Alsop's gloomy prediction this date for Southeast Asia's potential fall to the Communists and resultant war unless quick action were taken by the U.S. to prevent it.

But it was difficult to know what should be done in that region of the world without, unlike Europe, a tradition of democracy. Whatever would be done would be at great cost.

It urges against providing further aid to China, based on the negative report of the State Department on the Chiang regime in its recently released white paper. U.S. News & World Report had, in its current issue, traced further how Chiang insiders had taken U.S. aid for their own personal enrichment and transferred the sums to foreign accounts. The amounts ran into hundreds of millions of dollars. The Chinese were said to hold three billion dollars of private capital in foreign accounts and investments.

The efforts of some in Congress to get more aid for China would not be successful, but, it suggests, could dangerously prolong the delay in formulating a new Far East policy.

"Road Fund Contributors" tells of the Better Schools & Roads campaign fund having received over $66,000, of which $49,000 had come from road contractors and equipment dealers who stood to gain from passage of the 200 million dollar rural road improvement bond issue. Another $5,000 had come from the Carolina Motor Carriers of Raleigh, who also stood to benefit from the roads program.

But the contractors felt double-crossed by the Highway Commission which was spending five million dollars for equipment to do much of the work with its own crews. Some had even asked for a refund of their contributions.

Governor Kerr Scott had complained during the campaign about non-resident oil companies contributing heavily to defeat his proposed one-cent gasoline tax to help pay for the program.

The piece concludes that it was typical of the game of politics, dependent on which side of the fence were one's interests.

"Senator Hoey's Proposal" praises the plan of Senator Clyde Hoey to require registration of influence peddlers and have companies seeking Government contracts disclose the persons working for them. Such requirements should act to stem the use of influence peddling in accomplishing dubious objectives.

It suggests establishing a central clearing house in Washington where all information about Government contracts would be maintained and made available to companies so that they would not need to hire "five percenters" to attract contracts through friends in high places.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Tennessee's Medical Care Plan", tells of a plan devised by the Tennessee State Medical Association whereby 70 percent of the state's population would have their surgical bills paid in full through insurance policies. Those single persons with incomes less than $2,400 per year and married persons with less then $3,600 income per year would qualify for full payment. For those with greater income, a graduated schedule of payment would apply. Tennessee was the ninth state in the nation to adopt such a plan.

The piece praises the effort and suggests that if more doctors undertook such planning to provide services cheaply to the public and spent less time worrying about socialized medicine, then a solution to the health care problem could probably take place more quickly.

A piece from the Progressive Farmer discusses long-term planning for the farmer regarding the farm's produce of the future, ten years out, enabling diversification to ward off the effects of over-production of one commodity. Nine-tenths of wisdom, it concludes, was being wise in time.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of the President planning to send a revised proposal on creation of a Department of Welfare, recently vetoed by the Senate. He indicated to two Congressmen that whenever a reorganization plan would be vetoed by one of the houses, he would revise it and resubmit it.

Representative Ray Madden of Indiana criticized former President Hoover for his criticism of the Administration spending policies, saying that the country was spending its way into a collectivist state. Mr. Madden complained that Mr. Hoover had recommended a 30 billion dollar foreign aid and defense budget. He thus talked of economy but would not cut a cent from military and foreign aid expenditures. Congressman Adolph Sabath of Illinois said that he had heard after World War I the same argument as that propounded by Mr. Hoover, and had that position not then been heeded, World War II might have been avoided. Congressman John Davis Lodge pointed to the grandson of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and said that his grandfather had led the fight against the League of Nations. To that, Senator Lodge said that the record would prove who was right. Congressman Sabath retorted that he had just given the record.

The investigation into Maj. General Harry Vaughan had not interrupted his regular teaching of a Sunday school class in Alexandria, Va., which he had taught for three years.

Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming, chairman of the Interior Affairs Committee, refused to have anything to do with two proposed bills on tidelands oil, one giving it outright to the states and the other sharing it 50-50 with the Federal Government. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that the oil belonged to the Federal Government. Senator O'Mahoney remained steadfast in protecting Federal rights in the tidelands oil.

Former and future Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, one of the few Republicans who had opposed Taft-Hartley but who was nevertheless defeated for re-election in 1948, would address on Labor Day a UMW meeting from three states.

Stewart Alsop, as indicated in the above editorial, discusses the need for urgency with respect to action in Southeast Asia to prevent Communist takeover of the region. He posits that the Communist drive south in China could easily take over both Indo-China and Burma, with weak non-Communist regimes, by promising material support. Siam would then follow, permitting infiltration and supply for the Communist guerrillas in Malaya. The new nationalist Government in Indonesia would then have too much pressure on it to withstand. Such was the opinion of all informed observers.

In such a state of affairs, the U.S. would be forced to turn Japan into a military fortress to prevent it from falling under the Communist yoke, as Japan's export market to the fallen Southeast Asian countries would then be gone. To do so would require brutally repressive measures.

Aside from its strategic significance, the loss of Southeast Asia would also mean the loss of large reservoirs of untapped resources to the Soviet sphere, resulting in a tip in the balance of power which could result in a war.

It would be necessary to add the assets which the West still commanded in Asia: the non-Communist governments of Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Siam, Burma, Indonesia, and, above all, India; the economic weakness of Communist China; the great potentialities for an improved standard of living in Southeast Asia; the weakness of most of the Communist movements in the region; the unpopularity of the Chinese minorities in Southeast Asia; and Asiatic nationalism, turning it against Soviet imperialism.

He promises that the column would provide an outline of the views of the best-informed observers and officials as to what could be done to exploit these assets and to prevent the potential disaster—the later-dubbed "domino theory"—which he sets forth. But the primary need was for a sense of urgency in the U.S. that Asia had to be saved. For if Southeast Asia were to fall, then a major war was inevitable.

Marquis Childs tells of Latin America being in trouble for its short supply of dollars with which to import from the U.S. needed equipment. That shortage had arisen because of discrimination against Latin American produce by the ERP administration, even though the Latin American commodities were cheaper than that of the U.S. ERP had a priority set for buying the cheapest produce except when the same American commodities were in short supply. But ERP administrator Paul Hoffman and his assistant could not supervise all of their subordinates, who seemed invariably to favor commodity suppliers in the U.S. There was a great lobbying effort to keep U.S. dollars sent overseas purchasing U.S. goods.

For the consequent lack of dollars in Latin America, there was pressure politically and economically on the region from both the Soviets and Fascist Spain. The U.S. appeared to be bent on bungling the situation. Many believed that Latin American countries thus would go the way of China.

A letter writer finds that British adverse press reaction to American criticism of late amounted to shrewd propaganda to influence the U.S. to make Britain another large loan. Britons, he concludes, were tired of Yankee insults, but not Yankee dollars.

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