The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 1, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President said that he would retain Maj. General Harry Vaughan as his military aide notwithstanding the intense scrutiny of the General's activities in connection with influence peddling and his friends, "five percenters" John Maragon and James V. Hunt.

General Vaughan, meanwhile, had been dismissed for the nonce as a witness in the Senate Investigating subcommittee inquiry, but Senator Joseph McCarthy stated that the subcommittee had only begun to inquire into the General's dealings. The Senator told reporters that the decision of the President was "inexcusable" and effectively said that it was proper for the General to peddle influence, that it should create a "big market for deep freezes", referring to the gifts of freezers presented by the General to First Lady Bess Truman, Chief Justice Fred Vinson and others, acquired through the Verley Perfume Company, of which Mr. Maragon had been a representative, arranging in that capacity the gifts for the General. The Senator later said in open hearing that he believed that the President's decision to retain the General would lead to "unlimited graft and corruption in the Government."

Columnist Drew Pearson testified before the subcommittee this date that in 1946, General Vaughan had telephoned the Justice Department seeking intervention in the income tax case of a New Orleans oil man, W. T. Burton, a good friend of William Helis. Mr. Pearson said that Mr. Burton had been tried twice on income tax fraud and both times the jury had hung, but that he was subsequently convicted of jury tampering.

On the tenth anniversary of the formal surrender of Japan to end World War II, the President said that he hoped that the present "war of nerves" would end likewise in surrender and believed it was slackening.

Daniel DeLuce of the Associated Press reports from Berlin that on the tenth anniversary of the end of the war, the city had grass growing on some of its war ruins but was the "capital of world hatred." It was a land divided, with its residents trying to guess when the next war would start. The "People's Police" in the Eastern sector, with 100,000 troops, was the "ghost of the German army" under Soviet sponsorship.

Communist propaganda proclaimed Russia as the pillar of peace while approving the Communist conquest of China and predicting the imminent doom of Yugoslavia's Tito, who, a year earlier, had been hailed by the same propaganda as the most enlightened leader of Socialism in the Balkans. Now, there was concern that a shooting war could break out at any time between Russia and Yugoslavia.

The Soviet-licensed press in Berlin claimed that the American Army was preparing for a third world war on German soil. The Russians claimed to have alone defeated Hitler's Germany and that the Western Allies entered the conflict in Europe only when it was obvious that the Soviet Union, acting alone, could defeat Germany. The Budapest Communist organ echoed the sentiment and added that Russia alone had put an end to the fighting in Manchuria. In Prague, the Communist press blamed the U.S., France, and Britain for starting World War II by "nourishing" Hitler before he turned on them.

Yugoslavia's official newspaper claimed that Russia was getting 50 million dollars for selling out Yugoslavia's territorial claim in southern Austria during treaty negotiations the previous June. Britain, the U.S., and France had opposed Yugoslavia's claims in this regard.

The Belgian and French representatives of ERP reported that the five billion dollars thus far in American aid had failed to put the war-damaged nations of Western Europe on the road to self-support. They said that the rate of progress was not fast enough to achieve the goal set for 1952.

In Tokyo, a typhoon and flood had taken 68 lives and injured another 223 persons, with 50 more missing. Some 66,000 were left homeless as 100,000 men worked to sandbag levees to prevent the type of flooding which took 2,000 lives in 1947. The typhoon had caused 50-foot waves in Tokyo Bay.

The Senate voted the previous day for an increase in the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents after the House had approved the measure earlier, albeit with differences which would have to be reconciled in joint committee regarding the extent of coverage.

The American Legion convention in Philadelphia demanded that the U.S. curtail "as far as possible" further immigration. It specifically referred to limiting immigration of displaced persons and adhering to established quotas. Other resolutions included endorsement of the bill co-sponsored by Senator Allen Ellender and Representative Hale Boggs, both of Louisiana, making it a criminal offense to picket a Federal court.

In Atlanta, a man admitted being with two men at the time they murdered a woman in Pontiac, Mich., in 1945 but denied taking part in the murder. Her beaten and hacked body had been discovered in a wooded area on October 13, 1945. Police said that the man's description of the woman was perfect and that the details he described fit the results of the investigation. The victim's husband had been indicted for the murder along with his second wife who had been his secretary and married him shortly after the murder. The indictments were later dismissed.

In Raleigh, the State Highway Commission said that it had no intention of spending on road-building equipment ten percent of each of four 50 million dollar allocations, one per year, from the 200 million dollar bond issue for rural road improvement. The Commission had declared its intention to spend five million of the first 50 million for the purpose, approved by Governor Kerr Scott. The State Attorney General had issued an opinion saying that up to 20 million could be so spent, but private contractors were contesting the expenditure, claimed that private companies could do the job more cheaply than the State, and threatened court action.

In Strathaven, Scotland, comedian Sir Harry Lauder, 79, spent a restless night and was thought near death. He would live until February.

Miss America of 1948, Bebe Shopp, returned from her month-long European tour saying that she had not gone to Europe to crusade for anything, was only on vacation. It had been reported that she was conducting a crusade against falsies and the French bikini. She said that some of her comments had been misunderstood. She indicated that the French bathing suit was "scanty" and not for her, that falsies were also not for her but up to the individual. The happiest country she encountered was Italy. Her most thrilling moment came when bullfighters in Grenada, Spain, dedicated two bulls to her. The thing she missed most was milk.

On the sports page, sports editor Furman Bisher and staff writer Bob Quincy discuss the opening of the school year at Davidson College from the perspective of the football team.

On the editorial page, "The Horne Resignation" says that it was not surprising that Josh Horne, Rocky Mount publisher, had resigned his position on the State Board of Conservation & Development, held since 1933, because of his objections to Governor Scott having made his personal secretary the State news director and having given the State advertising contract to a new firm, actions traditionally undertaken by the Board. Mr. Horne, it says, was a man of too much integrity to have remained despite these differences.

It finds that his replacement, Dr. C. Sylvester Green, editor of the Durham Morning Herald, did not have the experience which Mr. Horne possessed in news and advertising. The resignation of Mr. Horne was inevitable but was regretful to "Tar Heels who place good government above tin-horn politics."

"Delaying Tactics" finds that the proposal by the Red Top Cab Co. in Charlotte, to lower "pick-up" taxi fares by 25 cents provided the City Council allowed a trial period for certain portions of the ordinances pertaining to cab companies, was a tactic to delay resolution of the whole matter. It advocates resolving the matter promptly rather than continuing to treat the cab companies with kid gloves, and stresses that the only question should be the best service for the people.

"Double Dry Victory" tells of well organized and intelligent opposition to ABC-controlled sale of liquor having been waged and won by the Dry forces in both Forsyth and Stokes Counties. It commends the editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, Santford Martin, for being the able and vocal leader of the Dry forces. He was allowed by his publisher to differ from the opinion expressed by the co-owned Twin City Sentinel, favoring the ABC system.

It finds that the best arguments in each county had won the day by decisive majorities and thus local option vindicated as the better method of determining the issue, superior to a statewide referendum.

"Attempt to Pass the Buck" finds that the Senate acted appropriately in rejecting an amendment which would have required the President to cut appropriations by 5 to 10 percent across the board. It would have been an evasion of legislative responsibility and the House would never have approved the measure anyway. The Senate wanted economy but hypocritically was passing the buck to the President to achieve it.

A piece by Walter Bragg, Jr., of the Macon News objects to the Georgia Farmer's Market Bulletin, supposed to be a nonpolitical information guide distributed to farmers and paid for by them, containing an opinion piece critical of the State Department's recent white paper on China. He thinks the editor, Tom Linder, ought stick to the subject matter and keep his political opinions to himself in such a publication.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, John Clark, formerly of Standard Oil of Indiana, having sought to restore the basing-point price system outlawed by the Supreme Court, to the ire of Congressmen Wright Patman of Texas and John Carroll of Colorado, largely responsible for putting through the House a measure barring business mergers. They had complained to the President that they could get nowhere in limiting monopolies if Mr. Clark was going to undermine their efforts from the White House. His behavior was perplexing as he had initially backed the FTC in its effort to resist Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, who had sought to browbeat the agency into approving basing-point legislation. But after the Supreme Court ruled against Standard Oil of Indiana, his old company, Mr. Clark appeared to take a different approach, supporting the basing-point price scheme.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian tribe of Nevada claimed that Senator Pat McCarran of that state had introduced a bill which would turn over part of their reservation to white cattlemen. The Department of Interior had denounced the plan and the Supreme Court had upheld the claims of the tribe, but the McCarran bill attempted to circumvent the decision.

Senator McCarran had also resisted efforts, he notes, to liberalize the displaced persons bill passed by the previous GOP Congress, which discriminated against immigration by Catholics and Jews. Mr. McCarran had, however, sought special permission for several hundred Basque sheepherders to enter the country for the benefit of Nevadans.

Alfred McCormick, wartime Pentagon intelligence colonel, had the inside track to become the new CIA director. Present director Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was trying to remain in the post, but the President wanted to try a civilian director to try to correct the young Agency's errant course. The latest CIA failure was the Syrian Army coup which had deposed the late Marshal Zaim. Mr. McCormick had been brought into Army G-2 intelligence by former Secretary of War Henry Stimson without prior military service and had been practicing corporate law since 1946.

The Senate wanted to continue the watchdog committee on Marshall Plan spending while the House was opposed. Meanwhile, the watchdog committee, as it sought $350,000 to continue functioning, had withheld, without stating a reason, a report on the French attitude toward the aid program. The report said that the U.S. was not informing the French people what the program was doing for them, resulting in hostility toward it, viewing it as a means to control France. The report warned that the persistence of such an attitude could compromise the entire effort and cause failure of the Marshall Plan. It criticized the French Government and press for not explaining better to the people the purpose of ERP, leaving it instead to the Communist Party to explain it as an imperialistic scheme. The press would not carry the explanation because it would cost them circulation and the coalition parties in the Government would not do so unless convinced that the end outweighed the political differences, a conviction not apparently about to emerge.

Marquis Childs finds that compared to the investigative journalism which uncovered the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding Administration and the investigation of late Twenties high finance by Judge Ferdinand Pecora in New York, the current investigation into "five percenters" appeared as "a shabby roadshow".

Added to the show were radio transcripts, newsreels, and television, none of which had been available at the time of Teapot Dome. But rather than magnifying the investigation, the extensive coverage appeared to dwarf it, underscoring its squalid nature.

Some would say that the pettiness of the scandal was worse than Teapot Dome in that officials appeared to find nothing wrong in using their influence to perform private favors.

The President had displayed a sense of loyalty to General Vaughan which was nearly primitive in its depths. It was believed that when the headlines subsided, the President would give General Vaughan an obscure assignment as his usefulness to the President had been diminished. Edwin Pauley might find a spot for the General in the private sector.

But the "five percenters" were the small fries. The big operators were the lawyers who rarely entered the courtroom, whose job was to know the right people and exert influence, making millions from it. He suggests that an investigation which examined this part of the influence industry would hit pay dirt.

Robert C. Ruark finds it ironic that Paul Robeson, leaning toward Communism, would demand that the Justice Department investigate the riot of the previous weekend at his concert in Peekskill, N.Y., after protesting veterans broke it up. It was regrettable, he suggests, that hotheads were "provoked" into attacking the concert, at which Mr. Robeson had not actually appeared, as it gave him grounds for complaint.

Mr. Robeson was portraying the attack as being racially motivated. Says Mr. Ruark: "This is how the system works—a flock of hotspurs tangle with an evil symbol and it suddenly is transformed into a mass attack on a whole people, good and bad, poor and rich."

NAACP executive secretary Walter White, however, had denounced Mr. Robeson's comments the previous spring that black citizens would not fight Russia in a war, insisted that he only spoke for himself, not all black people.

The NAACP had deplored the rioting at Peekskill and sent telegrams to Governor Dewey asking for investigation, acting as any concerned organization, but had refrained from endorsing Mr. Robeson in the process.

Baseball player Jackie Robinson had likewise recently stated that Mr. Robeson did not represent black people generally.

Mr. Ruark agrees, finding Mr. Robeson to be a "sophisticated disciple of the Kremlin, treasonous in his talk of the land that bred him... a rabble rouser leaning on an old reputation and an old vogue among the too-too set of esoteric New York."

He suggests that whenever Mr. Robeson or Henry Wallace went among the people, they were ready to accept the hurling of tomatoes or tilting of cars as a method of garnering attention to their causes. Mr. Ruark had been with Mr. Wallace when he was pelted with eggs in the South the previous year during his third-party run for the presidency, found his every move "an insult to tradition" and geared "to inspire riot and violence." When shrewd authorities foiled such attempts, he had folded his tents and left.

He thus suggests that those who slugged it out with Mr. Robeson's fans should be informed that they were disserving the country and doing a favor for Mr. Robeson and his creed by giving him fuel for legitimate complaint. He had no importance unless people dignified his existence by demonstrating such mob resentment.

"Let the guy alone and he withers on the vine."

As indicated, Mr. Robeson would appear at Peekskill for a second concert on Labor Day, and another riot, this one much worse than the first, would take place.

Mr. Ruark, who was raised in Wilmington, N.C., one county over from Robeson, had not yet seen the violence and hatred displayed in resistance to something as simple as school desegregation in the South in the 1950's and 1960's. Such would appear subsequently to alter his tone, which to modern readers in this piece sounds paternalistically condescending if not racist. Or was it? Is the tone merely misunderstood through the collapsing years of time? Gauged by subsequent events, it remains hard to tell where his personal sentiments ended and his psychological tug of war with readers began, perhaps always the paradox of serious editorials indited over time in response to temporal issues of the day, issues, when reduced to cases, often turning on a detail as fine as a split hair in distinguishing them from a generalized statement on a given topic.

At some point, however, Mr. Ruark, as did, eventually, most of the rest of the country, but he earlier than most, awakened to a harsh reality that the official story does not always withstand scrutiny when poised against common experience and the laws of physics, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the times in which it arises.

A letter from Bernard Baruch thanks the newspaper for its July 5 editorial, "Baruch Scores Again", praising him for his urging of a mobilization plan for war and his decrying the fact that none existed, when that failure had cost the country enormously at the start of World War II. He stresses that his advocacy for such a plan did not mean that war was inevitable or imminent but that to make peace, the country had to be prepared for war and that therefore such a mobilization plan needed to be a permanent part of that preparation, as much so as the armed forces themselves.

A letter from a "junior student" objects to longer hours at school, making students remain until 3:30. By the time she got home at 4:30, did her homework, ate, and rolled her hair, it was time for bed. There was no time for play, fresh air, or relaxation. She feels that if the teachers, having been granted higher pay, could not make their points in 50 minutes, then they could not in 60.

"Unfairness to both is the way I see it."

Why not just go home at 1:30? Extra two hours don't do no good nohow. Go home and listen to records. In fact, make it 11:30. Three hours of schooling each day is enough. That's all they take down yonder in collitch.

A letter writer tells of a note supposedly written by a little girl complaining of being lost in sin and no one coming to help her out of it, as they would if she were down a well. The writer finds it poignant and recommends providing to boys and girls more instruction on religion.

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