The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 4, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President rejected suggestions that he compromise his request for 1.45 billion dollars in military aid for friendly nations, including the Western European members of NATO. Both Democrats and Republicans had agreed that the President might not get the bill he sought. The President said that he did not care about blank-check authority contained in the proposed bill, whereby the President could provide money to any country in the world as he determined. He was content to let Congress work out the details, said that the important thing was to provide the money and to do so quickly.

After a week of consideration, sentiment in Congress was running against the proposed carte blanche authority and in favor of cutting substantially the amount sought, as well as trimming the duration of the first allocation of aid to the end of the following March rather than for the full fiscal year.

Expert witnesses testifying about the military aid program the previous day and recalled this date before the House Foreign Affairs Committee included future chairman of the Joint Chiefs, then Maj. General Lyman L. Lemnitzer.

Vice-President Alben Barkley nixed inclusion of 50 million dollars in loans to Franco's Spain as part of the ERP appropriations package, holding that an amendment proposed by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada to that effect was against the Senate rules as placing new legislation in an appropriations bill. Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas had challenged the amendment and then Senator McCarran appealed the ruling of the presiding officer. Vice-President Barkley said that Spain was not qualified to receive aid under ERP.

Senator Lucas said that he hoped the aid bill would be approved by the end of the day. But Senator John McClellan of Arkansas said he might force the bill back into committee for a second time. His amendment, which would have forced expenditure of 1.35 billion dollars of the aid for the year on American surplus farm products, was struck from the bill the previous day.

In Paris, the Joint Chiefs arrived from London to continue their discussions with European counterparts from France, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal regarding implementation of NATO. They said that complete agreement had been reached with Britain, Norway, and Denmark on NATO plans while in London.

The President said that the U.S. would publish a white paper on relations with China to clear up "misrepresentation, distortion, and misunderstanding." He said that friendship between the U.S. and China was as strong as it ever had been but the problem was to find ways to give practical expression to that friendship.

Shortly after the statement, a group of Senators moved to earmark for non-Communist China 175 million dollars of the proposed 1.45 billion military aid package.

President Truman rejected an offer by Eleanor Roosevelt to resign as a member of the American delegation to the U.N. He said that it was a routine annual letter and had nothing to do with the recent criticism of her by Francis Cardinal Spellman. Cardinal Spellman had objected to her position that Federal aid to education ought be limited to public schools to preserve separation of church and state.

Comptroller General Lindsay Warren told Congress that he had found over 6.2 million dollars worth of fraud and 2.3 million in waste in the 1.1 billion dollars worth of Government contracts examined by the General Accounting Office. Some of it had been recovered, but most of the agencies involved refused to seek recovery and instead justified their actions.

According to economic experts, the business downturn of 1949 appeared to show signs of a breathing spell.

The AFL was planning to try to defeat four Senators and re-elect eight others based on their votes regarding Taft-Hartley. Senators Taft, Homer Capehart, Forrest Donnell, and Eugene Millikin were on the hit list. The AFL planned to spend a million dollars or more in the 1950 campaign by assessing members $2 each.

"Five percenter" James V. Hunt was quoted in the Washington Evening Star as saying that he once saved a client $400,000 by getting the Army to purchase a supply of DDT bombs, for which Mr. Hunt received a fee of $5,000. He said that before transacting the deal, he had conferred with Maj. General Herman Feldman, one of the two generals suspended by the Army pending the outcome of the investigation by the Senate Investigating Committee into influence peddling in Army contracts. Mr. Hunt stated that he did not ever remember seeking any important favor from Presidential military aide Maj. General Harry Vaughan. He also claimed not to have sold his services to clients based on inside information or inside contracts.

In Georgia, former Governor M. E. Thompson, who had succeeded to the Governor's office as Lieutenant Governor-elect after the controversy on succession with present Governor Herman Talmadge in the wake of the death of Governor-elect Eugene Talmadge in late 1946, was accused along with other Georgia political leaders of protecting bootleggers who had brought illegal whiskey into the state's dry counties. The controversy was brought to light by State Revenue Commissioner Charles Redwine, basing the charges on testimony of a former revenue official, a special state investigator and other state agents. Mr. Redwine had imparted the information to the Fulton County grand jury in Atlanta. Former Governor E. D. Rivers was also mentioned as being involved in the matter.

In Somerset, Mass., the mother of a young woman who was preparing to attempt to swim the English Channel said that she did not care that her daughter swam in the nude if it helped her to swim better. The sixteen-year old had stirred controversy when she announced recently that she planned to make the crossing coated only in grease.

A picture of Miss America for 1948, Bebe Shopp, 18, shows her wearing what appears to be a two-piece bathing suit, described as nylon, not the "bra and panties" French model comprised of four "dabs", against which she was inveighing as decadent during her European tour. She was in London, on her mission for "clean thinking and against false bosoms".

On the editorial page, "Sweeping Arms Authority" tells of the military aid proposal of the President unlikely to pass Congress in its original form as it gave broad powers to the President to provide aid to any nation in the world upon terms he deemed appropriate. The bill only required the President to report to Congress once every six months on expenditures under the act and he could withhold information which he deemed necessary for security.

It finds it absurd to think that the Congress would grant such broad powers to the President, thereby surrendering its foreign policy check on the chief executive via control of the purse strings. It suggests that if the Administration insisted on this measure, it could jeopardize the entire military aid program.

The front page of this date reports that the President stated that he was not interested in preserving this aspect of the bill but was insistent about the amount of the aid and that it be provided quickly.

"Minority Candidate" tells of the gubernatorial primary victory of John Battle in Virginia, supported by the political machine of Senator Harry F. Byrd, but winning only by a plurality over close second-place finisher, Francis Pickens Miller, an anti-machine candidate. Virginia had no run-off law as did North Carolina.

In the North Carolina primary the previous year, Charles M. Johnson had won over Kerr Scott, but only had polled a plurality, triggering the run-off, won by Mr. Scott. The piece thinks that system much fairer than Virginia's which effectively permitted nomination in the one-party state of a Democrat who was only a minority choice among primary voters.

Republicans in 2016, perhaps, ought consider that concept in reassessing party rules for the primaries in 2020 regarding the winner-take-all and winner-take-most rules with a threshold requirement for any delegates, extant in 32 of its primary races this year, and adopt the Democratic rule of proportional allotment of delegates in every primary based on percentage of the vote actually won by the candidate, eliminating the possibility of a plurality candidate winning sufficient delegates to capture the majority of delegates on the first ballot. In the end, the Republicans, with this rigged nominating system they have, have no one to blame but themselves for the party nominee whose predominant views represent obviously only a minority of Republicans and an even smaller minority of the general electorate.

"Bridges' $35,000 Salary" tells of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire receiving that salary as one of three trustees for the UMW welfare fund, apparently legal, but of questionable ethics. Most Senators had outside income. But in this case, the payment weakened the Senator's ability to be an impartial advocate of economy and determine objectively future legislation on the mining industry and the union. The amount also was enough to anger the rank and file of the union. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding the welfare fund had aroused suspicion. Only during the current week had the salary been made public by the director of the fund, testifying before the Senate Banking & Finance Committee. The information had been denied to coal companies.

Senator Bridges replied that a large amount of the salary went to pay for legal fees regarding the fund and for his own expenses as a trustee. He also had said that it was a temporary position.

The piece urges that he resign as trustee.

Drew Pearson tells the back story of how Tanforan horse track in San Bruno, California, had been able to acquire building materials right after the war when they had been so scarce, and use them to build a new grandstand and stables at a cost of two million dollars. It turned out that the owners had friends in high places, as they had bragged at the time, including military aide to the President General Harry Vaughan, John Maragon, and the "five percenter" James V. Hunt, in the news of late in connection with the influence-peddling scandal in procurement of Army contracts which had led to the suspension of two major generals. General Vaughan had helped the race track obtain the building materials which were supposed to be reserved for veterans.

The race track was owned by Joseph H. Reinfeld, one of the biggest bootleggers ever to operate rum boats off the New Jersey coast during the prohibition era, and once indicted for murder of a prohibition agent who had seized one of his rum boats with a $75,000 haul of whiskey aboard.

After Mr. Pearson in June, 1946 had revealed the scheme to obtain the building materials, a Federal judge intervened in early 1947 and issued an injunction against the race track getting the materials. But the order was ignored and the track built the facilities anyway, with the help of General Vaughan and Messrs. Maragon and Hunt as go-betweens.

He promises more on the story the next day.

James D. White discusses the escape from Chinese Communist internment of the British sloop Amethyst, as told through the lenses of the Chinese radio report on the matter as heard in San Francisco by the Associated Press, reported in two separate items, one from the Communist New China news agency out of Peiping, a propaganda piece, and the other by the news agency itself.

The report attributed all information regarding the matter to General Yuan Chung-Hsien. The Amethyst escaped from near Chinkiang. General Yuan claimed that a passing steamer served as a shield as the sloop made its escape. The Amethyst then sank the steamer and a number of junks trying to rescue survivors. Several hundred, according to the General, were drowned. General Yuan said the matter would not be forgotten by the Chinese who would wish to avenge the deaths, wanted punishment of those responsible and an apology from the British.

The news agency's version followed the same lines, accusing the British of "viciousness, hypocrisy, and shamelessness."

While threatening language appeared in both reports, they appeared to have been written by low-level propagandists and did not commit the Government to any action.

The British Admiralty in London had denied the report in its entirety.

Marquis Childs tells of the Republican Party returning to a state of normalcy, eliminating the experiments of the past, as with the nomination of converted Democrat Wendell Willkie in 1940 and the "me-tooism" of Thomas Dewey in 1944 and 1948.

Guy Gabrielson was headed to become the new party chairman to replace Congressman Hugh Scott who had just stepped down amid complaint. Mr. Gabrielson was a careful operator, a highly successful business lawyer, and one of the party hierarchy's own, a member of the RNC.

He had been an ardent supporter of Senator Taft in 1948 at the convention. If Senator Taft were to become the nominee in 1952, he would not follow the "me-too" campaign of Governor Dewey. His position on domestic issues was moderate, favoring public housing and slum clearance. But he was opposing the Vandenberg-Dulles-Dewey wing of the GOP in going along with the Truman foreign policy. He had stood opposed to ratification of NATO and was also opposing military aid to the Western European members.

He cautions that the normalcy of 1949, with the swift tide of events being dependent on occurrences in far away places, was much shorter lived than in 1929, and so it was subject to change before 1952.

The "Better English" answers, even if misheaded as "Read and Remember", ought to has be: "instructions" should be "remittance"; comp-la-eesance; campfir; errodynamic; import, as importing into the conversation the subject of imprecise definitions.

A letter writer having some unstated position in radio responds to the critics of morning radio who had written previous letters. He says that radio stations responded to the majority will of their listeners in producing and presenting music and programming. Hillbilly melodies outsold the classics. "Li'l Abner", even in the newspaper comics, attracted more readers than thought-provoking pieces on the editorial page.

Thus, he says, morning fare was populated by hillbilly music. Hollywood would be foolhardy to produce such movies as "Joan of Arc" in lieu of the "blood and thunder cowboy quickies". And he goes on ad nauseam with such examples from the sports page and other media.

"The public speaks and the servants of the public—be they radio, newspaper, movies, the theater, music—be they clothing, food merchants, auto manufacturers—be they candlestick maker, butcher or baker—the servants of the public will listen and be guided thereby for the will of the public determines the destiny of each of us and in this country, the will of the majority has always been law."

But the difference, Mack, is that the airwaves are limited and licensed by the Federal Government and you cannot present whatever the hell you want or whatever the hell the public demands, even if you have the perfect right to send in absurd letters to the editor with run-on sentences full of double-talk and silly analogies, effectively saying that because everybody else played money-see, money-do, then so would you. You need a course in philosophy and public responsibility, to counteract your tendency to kowtow to your audience's every capricious whim in perpetually wanting easily accessible entertainment, the easy way to become bored fast. But, with an attitude like yours in the earlier days of radio, is it any wonder what television and radio have eventually become 67 years on, despite many efforts along the way to improve the mindless fare.

It is especially disturbing in the "news" portion of the programming, which for the past 30 years or so has become little more than entertainment for the masses rather than serious reportage on meaningful issues.

A letter from a registered nurse says that sleepy drivers had been responsible for many deaths but were able to purchase at stores, without questions being asked, drugs, as headache remedies, to make them sleepy. The writer urges that the next time motorists have a headache, they stop and consider whether it was worse than the pain of an accident.

You should not drive with a splitting headache either. Moreover, most headache remedies no longer cause extreme drowsiness. In the old days, there was no telling what was in the "white powder" remedies. Which may have accounted for two world wars and a depression. Beware the white powder.

We stress the advice especially to those inclined to the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

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