The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 6, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Congressional reaction to the State Department's thousand-page white paper on China, released the previous day, was mixed, with some believing that the U.S. aid policy toward China had been at fault in its fall to the Communists while others believed the policy to be sound, that it would do no good to send more aid to China given the current status of the Nationalist Government and armies. But all members of Congress who ventured opinions appeared in agreement that something ought be done to prevent the remainder of China from being overrun by the Communists. Even New York Senator John Foster Dulles, who agreed with the Administration generally on foreign policy, said that the report sought "to explain and excuse past failures" of the U.S. Government with regard to China, that the American people wanted instead future success in stopping Communism in Asia. He wished success for the new policy of the State Department, promoting among the Chinese people the deception of the Communist regime in promising independence while taking orders from Moscow.

Senators Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, William Knowland of California, and Pat McCarran of Nevada, the latter a Democrat, also criticized the report and past policy, some of the comments having been reported the previous day.

In Paris, Admiral Louis Denfeld, chief of staff of the Navy, said that there was "great unanimity of opinion" regarding the way NATO defenses should be organized, resulting from the talks thus far in London and Paris with the other signatory nations of the pact. The Joint Chiefs were attending talks in Paris with the military commanders of France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Portugal, having already met in London with the military commanders of Britain, Norway, and Denmark earlier in the week.

In the Ambato region of Ecuador, an earthquake killed at least five hundred people, with many more believed dead amid the wreckage of several Andes mountain cities and villages, south of Quito. At least five hundred were killed and a thousand injured in Ambato, the provincial capital. About 300,000 people lived in the region. The epicenter of the quake was 60 miles south of Quito, high in the Andes Mountains. It was the largest disaster in Ecuador since 1797 when Ambato and other towns had been destroyed by an earthquake, killing 5,908 people. Plans were nevertheless going ahead to hold a fair in Ambato in celebration of the national independence day the following Wednesday.

A special Senate subcommittee headed by Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, looking into influence peddling in procurement of Army contracts, had heard from a Detroit auto parts firm this date, saying, according to subcommittee member Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, that it received quick clearance on a large Army contract after John Maragon obtained for them a White House appointment. Mr. Maragon allegedly had been charging high fees to obtain White House grease for Army contracts approved through Maj. General Harry Vaughan, though Mr. Maragon had denied the contentions. Senator Hoey said that there was no evidence that Mr. Maragon received any fee in the Detroit transaction.

Despite the President having urged Senate and House leaders the previous day to take immediate action on the Federal aid to education bill, House Labor & Education Committee chairman John Lesinski of Michigan and House Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts stated that no action would be taken on the bill during the remainder of the 1949 session. The Senate had approved a 300 million dollar package three months earlier, but the measure had stalled in a House Labor & Education subcommittee.

In New York, Francis Cardinal Spellman had issued a new statement on Federal aid to education, saying that the Church sought public funds solely for auxiliary services of the parochial schools, transportation, health services, and the like, not general support. Eleanor Roosevelt, whom the Cardinal had disparaged for her support of public funding only for public schools, said that the Cardinal had telephoned her in advance of release of the statement to ask her opinion and that she had told him it appeared to be "clarifying and fair".

It should be noted that the Barden substitute bill, which had started the controversy in the House, denied public funding to public schools and private and parochial schools for general welfare services, to avoid conflict with the 1947 Everson decision of the Supreme Court, holding that if a school district provided funds for public schools for such services as bus transportation, then, to accord Equal Protection, it had to provide them for private and parochial schools as well, that such did not transgress the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment requiring separation of church and state for the fact that it only regarded services for the general welfare of the students and did not support the religious functions of parochial schools.

In Honolulu, the Territorial Legislature passed a bill empowering the Government to seize strikebound docks. CIO stevedores, after hearing from ILWU president Harry Bridges of San Francisco, voted unanimously, however, not to cooperate and to refuse to work for the Government. The ILWU had been on strike since May 1, seeking a wage boost of 32 cents per hour. A non-union firm, meanwhile, was loading pineapple onto a freighter, the first loading since the strike had begun.

An assistant professor of romance languages at Duke University, Mary Lois Raymond, had been killed in Mexico City in a car accident the previous day. She had been a member of the faculty at Duke since 1931 and was visiting her sister in Mexico at the time.

Two photographs show a shootout in Chicago between police and a man with a gun, who had shot a traffic officer in the washroom of a railway express office. The gunman was killed. No details on the cause of the shooting were provided.

In Sparta, N.C., a former sheriff of Alleghany County was shot to death with a rifle, apparently by his own son, reportedly drinking at the time. The two got into an argument and the son got the rifle and shot his father four times.

Guns—keeping America and American families safe from crime and criminals.

In Charlotte, a baby had been given away by its mother to a complete stranger on W. Fourth Street during the morning hours this date. The man who received the baby got so excited that he got into a cab and took the baby home before asking the woman her name. She had told him that she had no place to sleep and no way to care for the infant. The matter was under investigation by the Welfare Department. Meanwhile, the man and his wife were being allowed to keep the baby through the weekend.

Just do not take that baby to a rally where the 2016 Republican nominee is speaking. You won't like the result, pardner. You'll never see that baby again. It'll wind up south of the border as a probable "anchor baby".

On the editorial page, "An Inevitable Decision" finds that the State Department's thousand-page white paper on China confirmed that which many observers had been saying for some time, that China was lost to the Communists because of the lack of will to resist on the part of the Chiang regime and its Nationalist armies, not the scarcity of American aid. Neither the Communists nor the Nationalists had the good of the people in mind and the people, as a result, had been caught in the middle.

The white paper shattered the myth of the Kuomintang and Chiang, revealing both to be wanting in the qualities necessary for leadership of the country, the Kuomintang being corrupt and Chiang being a stubborn, autocratic ruler.

The U.S. had attempted to strengthen the Chiang regime after the war to prevent it from being overrun by the Communists in the North. First, Maj. General Patrick Hurley and then, General Marshall, were each sent to China as emissaries after the war. Neither was able to get the Government to mend its ways and eliminate the graft and corruption. Chiang ignored General Marshall's military advice. Finally, in July, 1947, President Truman sent Lt. General Albert Wedemeyer to survey the situation and, after a month, he recommended continuing and expanding aid to China, contingent upon it utilizing its own resources, reforming its finances, government, and armies, and accepting American advisers in military and economic matters.

Secretary of State Acheson said that the American military observers reported that the Nationalist armies did not lose any battle on the field in 1948 because of lack of arms or ammunition. Rather, the troops had lost the will to fight after the leaders of the Kuomintang had lost their will to govern effectively. The people then deserted the cause. The Nationalist armies, Mr. Acheson stressed, were not defeated but rather had disintegrated.

The new State Department policy was to show the Chinese that they had been deceived by the Communists, who professed liberation and independence while being subservient to Moscow. Secretary Acheson believed that, eventually, the Chinese people would overthrow the Communist regime.

He also said that if the Communists moved southward, then the U.N. would be confronted with a violation of the Charter in the form of a threat to international peace and security. But he had not said what the result, in that event, would be.

The piece finds the Acheson policy regarding abandonment of aid to Nationalist China to be a sound one and the only one which could be realistically implemented, given the situation.

"Right of Appeal" finds that inclusion of the right of appeal to the City Council, as part of the ordinance creating a Solicitations Commission to regulate charitable campaigns, would likely satisfy some of the opponents of the regulation. The appellate right permitted any group wishing to challenge the Commission's ruling to obtain a rehearing before the Council in public session.

The newspaper favors the ordinance and the amendment.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Some Noises in the Public Interest", tells of a Charlotte woman complaining that railroad engineers were blowing their whistles needlessly when they neared her home in the wee hours and so she swore out a warrant of arrest against an engineer. The warrant had not yet been served, however, as resolution of the matter was being sought by City officials in meeting with Seaboard Air Line Railroad representatives, who had pointed out that the trains were blowing their whistles only for rail crossings. The railroad had agreed, nevertheless, to instruct engineers to blow only when necessary.

A Charlotte citizen had defended the railway by saying that heedless motorists approaching the crossings had caused the extra caution to be exerted by the railroad. He believed it would be better to ticket motorists than to cite the engineer.

It suggests that drivers take heed in every city to the railroad crossing signs, to obviate the necessity of excessive whistle blowing.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, despite having been indicted for fraud against the Government in his staff salary kickback scheme, not having been tried yet because he had claimed illness. Recently, however, he had been spotted driving his Cadillac convertible up to the Statler Hotel, appearing in fine fettle. Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Congress had gone to Democratic leaders and asked that pressure be applied to get the indictment dropped. The Democrats were planning to pass the request on to the Justice Department. It would be one of the first problems to be faced by new Attorney General J. Howard McGrath.

Congressman Graham Barden of North Carolina, recently attacked by Francis Cardinal Spellman for sponsoring the substitute aid to education bill forbidding public funding to private and parochial schools, had been in Rome the previous year and was received by Pope Pius XII. The Pope presented medals to Mr. Barden, his wife, and his fifteen-year old daughter. She was so impressed that she told her schoolmates about it and, though a Presbyterian, sung the praises of the Pope. When she subsequently learned of the denunciation of her father by Cardinal Spellman, she exclaimed to him that she was certain the Pope had not directed the Cardinal to say such things.

The White House, he relates, was planning to kick General Vaughan "upstairs" as long as the "S.O.B." Drew Pearson did not make things too hot. Such a showing of loyalty by the President was not serving the interests of the country, even if it was a trait admired by some. He tells of a deal in March, 1947 in which General Vaughan had facilitated an attempt to buy all of the Army's remaining scrap-iron in Germany through the intervention of his friend James V. Hunt, involved in the influence peddling scandal in procurement of Army contracts, which had resulted in the suspensions of two major generals by the Army pending outcome of the investigation. Mr. Hunt was working for Benny Bender who had signed a contract on behalf of Carnegie-Illinois Steel to buy scrap-iron from the Army in Germany. But then Carnegie refused to honor the agreement as Mr. Bender had not received proper authority to enter the contract, leaving Mr. Bender with the responsibility of transferring the contract into his own name despite his having no substantial funds to cover the more than $200,000 sales price. For $12,500, Mr. Hunt agreed to represent Mr. Bender and eventually was able to get the transfer approved through General Vaughan in only a day and a half. The deal fell through eventually, however, as the scrap-iron dealers made it difficult for Mr. Bender to sell the scrap-iron and he defaulted on the payment of the fee to Mr. Hunt. But the strings, nevertheless, had been pulled by General Vaughan to grease the skids for the transaction.

Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas was proposing to reward the loyalty of Finland for continuing to pay its installments on its war debt from World War I, by using the balance of the debt to educate Finnish students in the U.S.

Congressman George Miller of California was trying to get the Maritime Commission to encourage more West Coast shipbuilding as the industry was idle. He pointed out that Henry Kaiser, despite paying higher wages, had demonstrated efficiency in shipbuilding during the war at lower costs through application of assembly-line methods.

Alfred Cheval, in Brussels, tells of Robert Hanes, president of the Wachovia Bank in Winston-Salem, being the ERP administration chief of the mission for Belgium and Luxembourg, "a banker in a banker's job". It had been three months since he began his year-long post and he was still becoming acquainted with the country and its economy.

His office window looked out onto a small square decorated by a statue of Victor Hugo. He and his wife rented a home on the Rue du Commerce but he had little time to do anything other than work.

He regularly met with the Belgian Minister of Foreign Trade, Georges Moens de Fernig, and Roger Ockrent, Belgian administrator of ERP, who had been the chief of the Cabinet when Paul Henri Spaak was Premier. He also regularly met with one of Belgium's top economists.

He shuttled regularly to Luxembourg to meet with authorities of the Grand Duchy, was impressed with Joseph Bech, the country's Foreign Minister.

The position was the first in government for Mr. Hanes. He said that he wanted to identify the problems in the countries before beginning to speak about them and so had not yet accepted any of the many invitations to speak.

Belgium, he said, had demonstrated that a free economy provided better dividends than heavy control and austerity.

Robert C. Ruark decries the "Old School Tie" among the military as disserving the interests of the country in time of cold war. He says that it was responsible for hiding much incompetence within the military, such as the cruelty of General Courthouse Lee, advanced through his friend General Brehon Somervell, as well as keeping quiet for five years the fraud against the Government being committed by General Bennett Meyers before he was finally prosecuted and convicted for subornation of perjury during Congressional hearings on the matter. Such men were protected by their fellow officers for the sake of preserving the face of the military.

There was now talk of creating an Air Force academy to match West Point and Annapolis. But Mr. Ruark sees it as another means of furthering the system of "old school ties", favors instead turning over training of the military either to the public institutions or creating a Defense Academy run by the Government and overseen by one strong individual, such as the Secretary of Defense. That, he thinks, would eliminate the competitive playing-field mentality besetting the Army and Navy academies and the branches to which the officers entered after their academy training.

A letter writer finds Mayor Herbert Baxter to be a fine businessman and public servant but not possessing adequate legal understanding of the proposed ordinance on regulation of charitable campaigns, that it was unconstitutional as imposing an undue burden on free speech and exceeded proper police powers, as it set up a separate police authority apart from the existing agencies to regulate solicitations. He cites Real Silk Hosiery Co. v. City of Portland, 268 U.S. 325 (1925), Barrett v. New York, 232 U.S. 14 (1914), and Stoutenburgh v. Hennick, 129 U.S. 141 (1889), as well as quoting language from a state case, to back up his contentions.

As these cases involve ordinances limiting door-to-door sales solicitations for profit and whether the regulating laws constituted improper exercise of state police powers, unduly burdensome to interstate commerce, his position would have been better served by citing cases regarding the constitutionality of ordinances banning or unduly regulating non-commercial door-to-door solicitations, struck down as violations of free speech or freedom of religion, as Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S. 141 (1943), a Jehovah's Witnesses case in which the ordinance was deemed to violate the First Amendment, or, as a distinguishing case, Valentine v. Chrestensen, 316 U.S. 52 (1942), involving an ordinance which prevented the distribution of commercial advertisements on the streets of New York, upheld as proper exercise of police powers though the advertising circular in question had appended to it a protest ordinarily covered by free speech.

Breard v. City of Alexandria, 69 F.Supp. 722 (1947), subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court at 341 U.S. 622, and the cases cited therein, would have presented a formidable obstacle to an attempt to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional based on an impermissible exercise of police powers as being unduly burdensome to interstate commerce, as long as no licensing fee was being charged for the solicitations, apparently not the case. The Charlotte ordinance appears merely to have been intended to set up a commission to regulate the campaigns so that the populace would be informed of the nature of each charity and that the timing of the drives would not overlap, to avoid the prospect of unwittingly contributing two or more times to the same charity or charitable purpose, a problem in that regard having developed in the community. Being passive regulation of an informational and coordinating nature, not appearing to place any undue restrictions on the campaigns, it was likely not unconstitutional.

For subsequent cases addressing ordinances per se seeking to regulate charitable solicitations, see Secretary of State of Maryland v. J.H. Munson Co., 467 U.S. 947 (1984), and Schaumburg v. Citizens for Better Environment, 444 U.S. 620 (1980), both holding the ordinances in issue unconstitutionally overbroad, embracing prohibitions or undue limitations of constitutionally protected speech.

Anyway, it's neither here nor there. Just a brief mental exercise in the law for a few minutes.

A letter writer objects to the editorial, "Minority Candidate", regarding the victory in Virginia in the gubernatorial primary by John Battle, supported by the machine of Senator Harry F. Byrd, despite winning only a plurality of the vote, as there was no runoff primary as in North Carolina, when one candidate did not achieve a simple majority. He finds the editorial insulting to the people of Virginia.

He thinks that North Carolina might have been better off with Charles Johnson as Governor, winner of the original primary race but loser to Kerr Scott in the runoff. He also thinks that Mr. Battle would have won the runoff.

Then, what's your beef? Why oppose democracy?

He concludes that when North Carolina developed statesmen as Senator Byrd and Mr. Battle, then it could be proud of the state.

A letter writer says that the writer who had written a letter degrading the driving skills of truck drivers was a Southern Railway telegrapher and so had an opposing interest in the game.

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