The Charlotte News

Friday, September 30, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the steel walkout of a half million workers was set to begin at midnight this date unless a resolution to the dispute over pension and social insurance fund contributions by the companies was resolved, unlikely at this juncture. No changes had occurred in the opposing stances of the United Steelworkers, insistent on sole responsibility for payment by the companies, and the companies, which insisted on employee-shared contributions. Only one small firm, Portsmouth Steel in Ohio, 14th largest firm, had given in to the demand of the Steelworkers.

John L. Lewis ordered 80,000 anthracite coal miners and 22,000 miners west of the Mississippi, about one-fifth of the coal strikers, to resume work the following Monday. The remaining 400,000 soft coal miners would remain on strike regarding non-payment of welfare fund contributions by some Southern operators since the contract had expired on July 1.

North Carolina coal dealers warned Governor Kerr Scott that only a ten-day supply of coal was on hand and gave him a letter to President Truman, asking that he invoke Taft-Hartley and seek an injunction to end the strike. The Governor made no comment.

In Dayton, O., the United Rubber Workers announced that the Goodrich strike had been settled, with provision for a satisfactory welfare and pension program. There was no increase in pay.

HUAC named Joseph Weinberg, a University of Minnesota professor, as "Scientist X", accused of providing wartime atomic secrets in 1943 to a Communist spy, Steve Nelson, while Mr. Weinberg worked at Lawrence Laboratory at the University of California. It recommended that the Justice Department initiate prosecution of Mr. Weinberg for perjury before the Committee during late 1948 executive sessions. Mr. Weinberg denied that he was "Scientist X" and said that he had never provided information to any unauthorized person or ever had possession of any secret work on the atom bomb. The identity of "Scientist X" had been widely known around Washington for some time.

In Boston, a veteran photographer for the Boston Post was killed and four others injured in a mock Navy and Marine amphibious assault which took place before thousands of spectators. The photographer was struck by a fragment from an exploding mortar as he photographed the demonstration at Carson Beach.

In Kansas City, a house fire killed seven persons and injured four others. About twenty people, many elderly, lived in the house. The cause was not yet determined.

In Camden, N.C., four children, ages three years to six months, died in a farmhouse fire. The children had been left alone while their mother was picking cotton.

In Charlotte, a truck carrying aviation fuel caught fire at Douglas Municipal Airport, injuring the truck driver, who walked away from the scene. The fire had its origin in the truck's cab but there was no cause yet determined.

In North Wikesboro, N.C., a chronic sleepwalker had walked out of a second story window at his home and broken his back. He said that he had been dreaming that he was walking through the front door of the home and that someone was pushing him.

In Lumberton, N.C., Governor Kerr Scott, speaking at the opening of a new Carolina Power & Light generating plant, demanded expansion of electric power facilities in the state and elimination of discrimination in rates.

In Charlotte, the American Cotton Manufacturers Institute was formally organized this date to give cotton textile manufacturers a united front organization for the first time.

It was pretty exciting stuff.

In New York, actor Humphrey Bogart appeared in court in answer to a summons issued for assault by a fashion model who claimed that when she grabbed the actor's "girlfriend", a panda, at the Morocco Club two nights earlier, she had been shoved to the floor and bruised. Mr. Bogart was cleared of the charge for lack of evidence. He was represented by the uncle of his wife, Lauren Bacall. He said afterward that he had come to court to prove that he was a "lovable character, about as vicious as Margaret O'Brien." He said that there was a "mixup" at the club but that no one had been hurt and that he had not socked anyone. "Some Jane I never saw before tried to steal one of the pandas on a bet or something. So I wrestled the panda away. I guess she fell down." He thought the woman was much too pretty "to do a thing like this for publicity."

A crowd of 250 onlookers applauded the result. Many shouted, "Good luck, Bogey."

—That'll teach ye, Precious. Sure, there may be some bad nights when they send you up to Tehachapi. But one has to weigh that against taking away your partner.

On the editorial page, "Russia and Yugoslavia" finds that the Russian scrapping of its 1945 friendship treaty with Yugoslavia had brought to a head the strained relations between the two countries, at loggerheads since the Cominform had expelled Yugoslavia in June, 1948 for its perceived independence from the Politburo and Moscow.

Marshal Tito insisted that each Communist nation had a right to direct its own course without dictation from Moscow. With a potent army, Yugoslavia had been able to stand firm against Moscow's threats more effectively than could other satellites.

The latest action in the wake of the Soviet atomic bomb test was likely designed to see how Tito would react. It was likely that Tito would not back down. The West, however, needed to determine how far they would go in supporting Tito's brash independence as they could not expect him to stand alone forever.

"Novel Anti-Trust Suit" discusses the Federal antitrust suit against the Lorain Journal in Ohio for having refused advertising of businesses who also advertised on two radio stations and another competing newspaper within the same market. The publisher had complained that the suit was an attack on the rights of every newspaper and publication in the country, a claim the piece finds to be hyperbole.

The FCC had denied the publishers a license for a radio station because of its pattern of suppressive conduct.

It finds that the publishers may have a legal argument but would gain little support from other publishers if the charges of the Government were shown to be true. A newspaper had the right to refuse certain forms of advertising. The News, for example, did not accept liquor ads. The Lorain Journal, however, according to the allegations, had, effectively, used a secondary boycott against advertisers as a means to compete in news dissemination and advertising.

"Dry Victory in Oklahoma" tells of the Dry victory in Oklahoma having been expected but not by such a large margin. The Dry forces had pledged to help enforce the prohibition laws.

In North Carolina, the prohibitionists had made similar promises in the dry counties but had never kept them. Only the State ABC Board chairman, Robert Winston, had done so.

In Oklahoma, it concludes, the Dry proponents would be happy for their victory and so would the bootleggers, who would continue to thrive as before.

"New Political Structure" imparts of Atlanta Constitution Editor Ralph McGill telling the students of Raleigh's Meredith College that the old political structure in the South was beginning to fall apart, with many seeking to pick up the pieces. He had spoken the truth, not just opinion, as the South was no longer primarily agrarian economically and its political base, in consequence, had also changed. There were better wages and better educational opportunities available.

With those improvements had come a more knowledgeable electorate, "not so susceptible to the wiles of demagogues." A more prosperous electorate would not succumb so quickly to politicians seeking to buy their votes. "Now the farmer has the easier row to hoe, the politicians a soil too long abused."

There would be two million black voters in the South in 1952 and no one knew where those votes would go. But it was beyond peradventure that both the veterans and the more prosperous and intelligent Southerners had formed a backbone of a new Southern electorate.

Drew Pearson tells of the constraints on each side in the steel dispute, the Steelworkers being limited by the fact that UMW had a welfare fund, causing Philip Murray to be unable to let John L. Lewis out-pension him, while the companies had banks and boards of directors which limited their ability to agree to sole payment of a ten cents per hour contribution for pensions and social insurance. He lists the directors of U.S. Steel, the largest steel company in the nation: Walter Gifford, Sewell Avery, James Black, and George Sloan, each the head of a large company, who had objected to establishment of a steel pension fund, which would set an example for the rest of industry, unless the workers made contributions to it.

The Senate was set to pay the late Theodore Bilbo's lawyers $6,000 for their defense of Mr. Bilbo against the effort of the Senate not to seat him in the months preceding his death in 1947. It was customary for the Senate to pay the legal fees of a Senator under such circumstances when the effort to unseat or censure had failed. The money had been approved in committee and shortly would be brought up for a vote during routine business, to avoid publicity.

The President had assured Jim Patton, head of the National Farmers Union, that a rural telephone service bill would be enacted, notwithstanding the efforts of A.T. & T. to block it.

It now appeared clear that Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas would run against Senator Sheridan Downey of California in 1950. James Roosevelt would likely be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

The President had assured confidantes that he would not back down on the re-appointment of Leland Olds to the Federal Power Commission. Mr. Olds was being bitterly opposed by the power interests for his consumer-oriented approach to rates.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the development of an effective policy to assure security of the country in light of the Soviet atomic bomb. The President had waited to announce the successful Soviet test until after the military aid program for Western Europe was safely passed by the Senate to avoid the claim of playing politics. In the same manner, to avoid claims of war-mongering, he was awaiting the Soviet reaction to international arms control in light of the successful test. The U.S. security program, itself, was still being developed, though defense planning had consistently been based on the Soviets obtaining the bomb, sooner or later by 1952. The fact that it had occurred sooner gave greater urgency, however, to the plan for security. Rather than having another three years for defense build-up, plus another two during which the Soviets would take to stockpile the weapon, the five-year timetable had to be compressed to two years.

The Marshall Plan was intended to be completed by the end of 1951 and European rearmament, at a total cost of 8 to 10 billion dollars, within five years, by 1955. With acceleration required, MAP would need cost five billion dollars in each of 1950 and 1951. Europe was within easy range of Soviet bombing. If the country failed its allies, then it could expect failure by the allies toward the U.S., that they would desert the united front against Soviet imperialism.

There could never be true peace without a fundamental change in the world balance of power and the best hope for such change was in promoting Tito's independence from the Soviet sphere in Yugoslavia, in the hope that such independence of spirit would spread to the other Soviet satellite nations.

"The sum of the essential program is seen to demand something very like American peace-time mobilization for the cold war."

Robert C. Ruark tells of a piece by James Thurber appearing in The New Yorker, titled "The Comparable Max: A Quandary". Its opening paragraph went: "We are a nation of critics, and when The New York Times Book Review asked me, early this month, to write about 'Chips Off the Old Benchley' (Harper, Sept. 21) I put aside my novel, my play and my sonnet sequence and set to work."

From that fact, an author writing for pay for a magazine about a piece he wrote for another magazine, about a man, Robert Benchley, who had been dead for years, but whose works were still being republished as fresh goods, Mr. Ruark had decided that the writing racket was a good one in which to be. Mr. Thurber could now write another piece about his New Yorker piece and sell it to the Saturday Evening Post and then another to Collier's, anent the piece he would do for the Post.

Everything in the writing business was utilized; nothing was thrown away, even the squeals of the pig. Mr. Thurber had developed a full piece about his development of a paragraph, explaining how it had been penned and edited.

"From now on I welcome trouble with my craft. One unkind word from my masters, one misstep by the printers, even one lousy little cleft infinitive, and I will put aside my novel, my play and my sonnet sequence and beget myself an article for The New Yorker."

A letter writer begs to differ with Governor Scott regarding the rundown appearance of many of the rural churches in North Carolina, lending to a lagging of moral and religious training in those areas. She finds the rural Presbyterian churches of which she was aware to be in good shape.

A letter from the minister of St. John's Baptist Church in Charlotte tells of his work with the Baptist World Alliance and the Baptist State Convention to help bring about the reality of displaced refugee Latvian families settling in Charlotte, as reported and editorialized in The News recently. He explains how one could become a sponsor of such a family.

A letter writer finds timely the editorial on the wait for admission to State mental hospitals, forcing jails to act as holding facilities while ill-equipped and not properly staffed for the purpose. He imparts of his own experience being detained, unable to get information on his status, finally escaping. He had obtained a job but soon lost it after it was discovered that he had been an "inmate". Life, he says, was better for an ex-convict than for a former mental patient. He urges the State to see that the former patients have an opportunity to make use of their abilities upon release.

A letter writer from Rockingham implores the newspaper to impart more news about how Russia got the atom bomb. The Republicans, he says, had been having catfish stews out at the creek, using sun fish when catfish were not available. Moreover, his typewriter was worn out, and the ribbon would not plunge the letters through the sheet to tell what he wanted to say. He had met "sleeping Van Winkle" the other day for the first time, and he had said that the fuss about Russia was only "thunder after some passing storm had vanished."

Is that some sort of code?

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