The Charlotte News

Friday, September 23, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President disclosed in a statement this date that the Russians had successfully tested within recent weeks an atom bomb—which had been detonated August 29, though the date was not disclosed. He said that the development, which was anticipated, emphasized the necessity for "effective, enforceable" international control of atomic energy. Following the statement, the British Government announced that it also had evidence of Russia carrying out an atomic explosion. Neither statement disclosed how the knowledge had been obtained, whether by seismographic data or fallout detection in the atmosphere. The Atomic Energy Commission refused comment.

Frank Carey, Associated Press science reporter, ventures that the evidence probably came from the sensitive instruments which scientists had to detect radiation or by seismographic data. It was not known publicly how far away radiation could be detected. Seismographs, he infers, had to be close to the area of detonation to be able to detect the disturbance as an earthquake would register significantly greater force.

A piece by John Hightower reminds that the U.S. still had a four-year lead over the Soviets in atomic technological development. The State Department took the view that the probability of war was not affected by the advent of the Russian bomb. Some even ventured that, with the disparity between the two powers resolved, it might lead the Russians to be more willing to negotiate regarding nuclear control. American defense policy would not change, as it had taken into account the development of the bomb by the Soviets at some point prior to January 1, 1953.

Senator Frank Graham of North Carolina blamed the use of the Russian veto at the U.N. on the lack of agreement on control of atomic energy. He said that the nation was "stunned" by the news, though it had been anticipated for some time.

Representative Carl Durham of Chapel Hill, vice-chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, appeared to have had knowledge of the explosion in advance of this date as he was prepared for questions shortly after the President's announcement and expressed no surprise. He remarked that statements from some quarters were regrettable that the announcement was merely propaganda by the President to assure passage of the military aid program for NATO.

At the U.N., the news was greeted with surprise by Secretary-General Trygve Lie and newly elected Assembly president Carlos Romulo. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky was absent when the announcement was made but was planning to speak to the Assembly later in the day. The highest Soviet delegate present said that he had no comment but laughed and added that there were no surprises under the sun.

In London, the Labor Government had decided to call for a vote of confidence from Commons the following week regarding its decision to devalue the pound. A failure of the vote would force the Government to resign and a general election to be called forthwith.

In Hamburg, Germany, the denazification chief in Bad Seegeberg since 1948 had been arrested as a Nazi, alleged to have been a party member since 1930 and a member of the SS.

Newscaster and traveler Lowell Thomas was hurt when thrown from a horse on a steep mountain pass in the Himalayas while returning from a visit in Tibet with the Dalai Lama, from whom he had received a message to deliver to the President.

The President was going to fly to Fort Bragg, N.C., on October 4 to review the troops and observe parachute maneuvers of the 82nd Airborne Division.

In Sioux City, Iowa, Republican leaders told farmers at a two-day conference that the Brannan agriculture plan was "concocted by labor politicians" to keep food cheap. Under the plan of the Secretary of Agriculture, perishable produce would be subsidized at a rate determined by formula to keep the price paid to farmers high while maintaining the market price low for the consumer.

In New York, both the Government and defense had rested in the months-long trial of the top eleven American Communists accused of conspiracy under the Smith Act. Final arguments and jury instructions would take place the following week.

Prospects of settling the nationwide coal strike anytime soon appeared dim.

Negotiations continued to try to resolve the steel dispute during the extended six-day period through October 1 before a strike would be called.

In Rutherfordton, N.C., Bobo Tanner, 54, president and general manager of Dorcaster Collar & Shirt Co., was found dead in his bed from a heart attack. He had previously been a cotton merchant in Charlotte and had graduated in 1917 from UNC in Chapel Hill.

In Winston-Salem, Senator Clyde Hoey spoke unexpectedly to the Western North Carolina Methodists meeting at Centenary Church, saying that he believed that the world was further away from war than ever before. He called on the church to aid in helping the process of peace continue at "the approach of the crossroads of destiny."

On the editorial page, "Useless Public Hearing" tells of no one liking public business being transacted in executive session but that it was necessary to settle certain sensitive matters out of the public eye.

The Charlotte City Council method generally was as unobjectionable, it finds, as could be designed, as it met in executive session each week prior to the public session, usually with press representatives present who swore not to report the matter. But during this week, the practice had been misused regarding the approval of the request for Federal public housing for 400 black units instead of 1,500 units for blacks and 300 for whites, as requested by the Housing Authority. The Authority had submitted its data only during the executive session. Then during the public session, both the Authority and the real estate interests, the latter opposing any public housing, presented their arguments. The Council then adopted the decision which it had determined earlier behind closed doors.

It finds that such a decision having been reached in executive session undermined confidence in the spirit of democracy and hopes that the procedure would not recur in the future.

"State Patrol Inspections" finds that the new roadblocks set to stop and inspect vehicles for safety violations would do as much harm as good. The motorists would complain about the inconvenience, as surely as they had when the mandatory inspection law was in place, further discouraging renewal of that law in 1951. Only certain service stations near the roadblocks would benefit. And the prior announcement of the plan for Wednesday and Thursday would prompt motorists who knew their cars were deficient to keep them off the roads on those days.

"Atlantic Police Force" tells of an amendment to the military aid program to establish a police force for NATO being defeated in the Senate the previous day by voice vote. The proposal would have earmarked between 10 and 25 percent of the foreign military aid for the purpose. Senator Clyde Hoey and ten other Senators had introduced the amendment, knowing that it would garner no more than 20 or 25 votes.

It regards it as a good idea but one which only would have delayed passage of MAP and so not properly timed. It proposes that it be debated on its own merits after MAP was passed and implemented.

"Autumnal Equinox, Indeed" finds the plaintive summoning of autumn by a neighboring journal to be overly poetic in its use of metaphor: "This is the season of our autumnal equinox and even the words are rich in sound as if accompanied by an invisible cello."

It finds the blowing not at all musical "but busybody wind chilling the chambers that only weeks ago were warm and comfortable."

The piece decides that if poetic muse was to be drawn from such change in the weather, then it would prefer the poetry of Thomas Hood to be the messenger.

But just a couple of days ago, you were longing for the comforts of the open fire hearth. Make up your mind.

In any event, Mr. Hood, elsewhere, appears to be prescient, Destiny to have understood in 2016, the American election, and what might befall the Man in Green, ill-prepared as he is to glean the Ellipse, its sustained reflection, and understand that unraveled ambition unchained, when played to the hilt, would a Dead Man's Hand be, in ill-gotten gilt.

Drew Pearson tells of Benjamin Fairless, head of U.S. Steel, and Philip Murray, head of the United Steelworkers, being old friends and sparring partners. From the start of current negotiations, they were at loggerheads to one another. The vice-president of U.S. Steel contended that Mr. Murray had agreed the previous year not to make demands for increased wages in 1949 and said at the start of the new negotiations that the ten-cent pension and social insurance increase recommended by the President's fact-finding board was out of the question, that the company would offer four cents, provided the steelworkers contributed half, that an increase borne solely by the company was too much of a tax on the companies and the consumers. He said that if the ten-cents were granted, then more would be demanded later by the workers, as with the coal miners under John L. Lewis.

Government mediator Cyrus Ching prevailed upon U.S. Steel to realize that the issue was far-reaching, influencing foreign markets and the consequent ability of Europe to withstand Communist encroachment. Mr. Murray reminded that the company had spent huge amounts of money on advertising which would have been better spent on pensions.

Mr. Murray was also critical of Admiral Ben Morell, head of Jones & Laughlin Steel, because he had initially accepted the fact-finding board recommendations, and then, on orders from the Mellon interests who controlled the company, backtracked. Mr. Morell countered that he had not been quoted correctly by Mr. Murray regarding his initial position.

The steel industry had made it clear that any settlement of the matter would take place under Taft-Hartley, even at the risk of a strike.

Marquis Childs suggests that many Americans believed that the devaluation of the pound by the British Government was just punishment of the British for their sins. But it could actually become a sharp weapon in their hands if properly used, enabling them to compete in American markets from which they had previously been excluded because of high production costs. At that point, the American manufacturers now gloating would complain of foreign competition subsidized by American taxpayers through the Marshall Plan.

There were signs that the postwar altruistic spirit in America was being trumped by reversion to self-interested greed, the philosophy of putting America first.

In Illinois, former Representative Everett Dirksen was starting his campaign for the Senate in 1950 against Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas by asserting that no more European aid be provided, a program Mr. Dirksen had heartily supported while in Congress through 1948. He now believed that the U.S. had not gotten its money's worth from the program in its first year, that inter-European trade had not been established, that instead Britain had made a unilateral trade deal with Argentina. He believed it a "bottomless hole" as surely as had been China.

Alone, his criticism might not be so significant, but Senators had returned home during the vacation recess complaining of foreign aid appropriations. Isolationists were ready to capitalize on the problems with the program. Probable Communist strikes in France during the winter would foster further this disillusion.

Mr. Childs believes that something was needed to provide the average American a feeling of having a stake in the outcome in Europe. If not found, the result, he thinks, might be a fatal division of the West into savagely competing economic blocs. Among those most dubious of devaluation, the belief prevailed that it might drive out American exporters from foreign markets as British producers failed to make any progress in obtaining American dollars, making the British economic crisis only worse.

Robert C. Ruark tells of a woman who had been released from the Carville, La., leprosarium, still a leper, but free to live among the ordinary population in Long Island, N.Y. The woman had developed Hansen's disease while in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines, but it had stemmed from bacteria laying dormant since her childhood in the Marianas. Adults did not contract leprosy.

Her husband, an Army major, had refused to desert his wife but there was a house rule at the leprosarium against their living together. Lepers were treated more as criminals than patients. The major lived in a little house just outside the leprosarium fence and could visit all day until 11:00 p.m.

The disease had been falsely characterized as "unclean" since pre-Christian times. The "lepers" of those times suffered from skin ailments which, in many cases, were not in fact leprosy. The disease resembled tuberculosis in its impact on the patient.

The major and his wife were able to shine a new light on the disease. New drugs, promine, diasone, and prominzole, had made it possible to halt the disease and render it non-communicable even among children and adolescents. Now, the woman could return to society and was doing so proudly, unlike leprosy patients of the past.

She was a modern Joan of Arc and, he notes, would be a swell neighbor.

A letter writer finds the States' Rights Party to be not according any rights to anyone save a small minority of voters. In South Carolina, only 5.2 percent of the population had cast votes in 1948 for Strom Thurmond on the Dixiecrat ticket, but he had won the election in the state by carrying 70 percent of the electorate who cast ballots. In Mississippi, home of his running mate Governor Field Wright, the ticket polled 90 percent of the vote, only representing 7.7 percent of the population. Thus it should be called, he thinks, the "Paradox Party".

He finds that the Dixiecrats would have no success outside the Deep South states.

A letter from Rabbi Philip Frankel of Temple Beth El in Charlotte tells of this date marking Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year for 5710, beginning the Ten Days of Penitence, culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

New Year's Day was also called the Day of Blowing of the Trumpet, symbolized by the Sounding of the Shofar during the religious service, representing a bugle call to the conscience.

The Hebraic legend was that on this Day of Judgment, the Heavenly Tribunal sits in judgment, the Book of Life is opened, and the Heavenly Father causes all men to pass before the throne, each adjudged according to his merits. The decree is then written on New Year's Day and sealed on the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation.

He wishes everyone in Charlotte blessings, prayers, and hope that the community would prosper and that its inhabitants would know only good health and good fortune throughout the coming year and "forevermore".

A pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, this one "Dedicated to the Proposition That the Female of the Species Is More Susceptible to Romance in One Kind of Vehicle Than in Another:

"Girls are more flirtable
While in a convertible."

But if they not be convertible,
Then must ye be revertible,
Lest locked ye be,
To become thus incontrovertible.

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