The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 8, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that that the financial conference between the U.S., Canada, and Britain appointed a committee to examine Britain's request for more freedom to spend ERP aid dollars outside the U.S. to avoid its having to spend several hundred million dollars of its dwindling dollar reserves. Other groups were also assigned the examination of commodities and stockpiling, customs procedure, and overseas investments. The U.S. broadened the inquiry to include dollar earnings of all ERP aid recipient nations. Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder refused to comment on whether devaluation of the British pound had been discussed.

In a Naval court of inquiry in Washington, a Navy captain testified that he and Cedric Worth, the special assistant to the Undersecretary of the Navy who had admitted starting the controversy over the B-36 with a memo he authored, had always agreed that no airplane could be as good as the B-36 was claimed to be by the Air Force. The captain said that he arranged a meeting between Mr. Worth and Representative C. B. Deane of North Carolina, quoting the latter as saying that he wanted information on the Navy-Air Force situation to help Jonathan Daniels make up his mind on whether to accept a contemplated appointment as Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Daniels had denied any knowledge or connection to the Worth memo.

In Atlanta, Eleanor Roosevelt, in reference to the disturbances at Peekskill, N.Y., surrounding the September 4 concert of Paul Robeson and the planned concert a week earlier, said that the North was as bad as the South in racial discrimination, calling the Peekskill violence "perfectly outrageous". She said that she could not understand why the police could not control the violence and suggested that they might have been "apathetic". She also said that the President's civil rights program did not afford a logical excuse for racial violence. She said that as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Committee, she often heard criticism from Russian bloc delegates regarding racial violence and discrimination in the American South but always answered that at least the U.S. was trying to do something about it, while in Russia, discrimination had come to be an accepted way of life, that apathy killed democracy.

The former First Lady was in Atlanta to attend a conference on "the spiritual approach to social problems" with 150 Southern church women.

The President, speaking informally to a committee he had appointed to plan the mid-century White House conference on children and youth for 1950, said that it was untrue that the nation's youth were headed to the "lower regions". He had read in Plutarch's Lives that the same thing was supposed to have been the case in the time of Pericles in 450 B.C. He said that instead the rising generation was "really unequalled in the history of the world."

Diplomatic officials in Washington said that the Export-Import Bank reportedly had approved a twenty million dollar loan to Yugoslavia, mainly for equipment to mine its copper, lead and zinc deposits.

Three of the nation's railroads were threatened with strikes, which would idle more than 130,000 rail and steel workers.

In Norwalk, Conn., Local 283 of the United Rubber Workers of America voted to accept a decrease in pay, averaging eleven cents per hour on a trial basis. The firm involved, forced to lay off 350 employees the previous June, promised that if business improved, wages would rise again.

Governor Thomas Dewey was asked to send State militia to the Bell Aircraft plant in Buffalo, N.Y., as violence flared for the second successive day in the thirteen-week old strike. At least 14 were reported injured in the violence this date.

In Suffern, N.Y., a New York advertising executive, medically discharged from the Marines in which he had served in 1942 and 1943, went berserk in a restaurant, causing injuries to three persons, including a police lieutenant, and was then shot and killed by the lieutenant. He had first demanded a bottle of beer and when the counterman refused to serve him, he threw a sugar bowl at him and then tossed the cash register through a glass door. The policeman was summoned and after seeking to reason with the man, he fired a shot over his head, at which point the man hit him over the head with a metal chair, cracking his skull, whereupon the officer shot him first in the leg, and when that did not stop the man, fired into his stomach, killing him.

In Point Comfort, Quebec, a man armed with a shotgun terrorized the village for 24 hours, firing at neighbors and passing motorists, was finally captured by police. No one was injured. The shooting spree started over an argument with the man's neighbors.

The Census Bureau reported that the number of persons employed hit a 1949 peak of nearly 60 million in August, while unemployment dropped by more than 400,000. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer said that it was evidence of leveling off of the recent downward adjustment of the economy.

In Eastbourne, England, the Navy provided the town fathers with an updated American flag with 48 stars, replacing the old one with 45, produced before 1907.

In New Albany, Ind., Gunnison Homes, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, had developed plans for a pre-fabricated four-room plywood home intended to cost $6,300, including land, thus able to take advantage of 95 percent FHA mortgage insurance on homes costing no more than that price.

You can probably pick up one of those gems now for about $600,000, in some places.

In Berkeley, a University of California entomologist said that bugs could be nourishing, that man had been eating insects as food for thousands of years.

In Russellville, Ala., a twelve-year old fan of hillbilly maestro William I. Davis, 22, had married him August 27 while still 11, after she had joined his Franklin County Play Boys band and they had fallen in love. The mother of the young bride initially had refused permission but after the girl misstated her age, a minister in Mississippi performed the ceremony and the parents then wished both happiness.

In Charlotte, Tom Fesperman of The News tells of Elmer the swan falling in love in a cemetery lake at Sharon Memorial Park. Elmer's first mate had died when she walked away from the lake and met a dog which did not like her, killed her. Since swans only mated usually once in a lifetime, the owner of Elmer, a doctor, wanted to do something to end his loneliness and so ordered a pair of swans from New York to see if they could keep Elmer company. But Elmer swam around the couple in wide but decreasing circles for days on end, until eventually he formed a love triangle with them. The other male swan then began swimming in ever-widening circles around Elmer and the female, eventually giving up his mate as Elmer had appeared to win her affections. The forsaken male walked away from the lake and then completely out of the park, strolling aimlessly a half-mile down Monroe Road before park attendants caught him and brought him back. Elmer's owner then sent the forlorn, forsaken swan back to New York so that Elmer and his new wife could live in connubial bliss. Both were now swimming together in small circles.

When last reported, however, the forsaken husband had bought a revolver in a pawn shop, called the Blue Swan, and was heading up the elevator to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The doctor who owned Elmer might have to be summoned to New York to prevent the worst.

On the editorial page, "Basic School Problem" tells of the baby boom during the war years beginning to swell the ranks of first and second grades in elementary schools of the nation, requiring new school construction. U.S. News & World Report had warned that millions of children starting school would thus obtain substandard educations as a result of the cramped spaces and aged equipment and buildings.

There had been little or no construction during the war and teachers also were leaving the profession in droves because of low salaries. School enrollment meanwhile had increased by 417,000 in 1948 and by 893,000 in 1949. First grade enrollment was expected to increase by 15 percent in 1953-54.

Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, because of building programs and increased teacher salaries, would be better off than most districts in the South. But the problem was national in scope.

A billion dollars of construction per year for ten years was needed while only 700 million dollars worth was taking place nationally in 1949. And only 25,000 new teachers were graduated from colleges nationally as five times that many were needed. More than half the teachers in some states still earned less than $1,500 per year.

It suggests that the solution would be found when the people realized that more of the local and state tax dollars needed to be devoted to education.

"New Inspection Law Needed" favors Governor Kerr Scott's proposal for a new safety inspection law for motor vehicles to be passed by the 1951 General Assembly session, following the abrogation of the 1947 law by the 1949 Assembly. It provides the grim traffic death statistics for 1949 compared to 1948 when the previous law was in effect, 546 to 459, respectively. The Labor Day weekend traffic death toll in the state and nationwide had reinforced the need for such a law. Only three states, California, Michigan, and Virginia, had more deaths than the twelve deaths recorded in North Carolina—apparently referring to per capita numbers as the list on the front page Tuesday showed a different picture with North Carolina ranked ninth, tied with Tennessee, in terms of raw numbers of vehicle-related deaths.

"Taxi Ordinance Enforcement" discusses the previous day's agreement on enforcement of the cab ordinance in exchange for setting a minimum first-mile fare of 35 cents. It praises the decision by the City Council.

"What, No Redheads?" finds the absence of redheads, or even a strawberry blonde, from the Miss America pageant of 1949 to suggest perhaps that the redhead was passe, but stops short, saying that as long as she aroused "celtic madness in an old Hibernian's breast, the redhead will live."

Dick Young of The News, in the first of a series of four articles, discusses the reality of politicization of State jobs, requiring resignations to accommodate a new governor's political whimsies. The State had no law protecting State employees from being fired indiscriminately. Practically speaking, it was not reasonable to clean house completely, as continuity and job experience were necessary for smooth functioning of State Government.

But the firing of 50 or 60 employees played havoc with morale, causing fear of job loss.

The Governor controlled the purse strings and so wielded enormous power, as no one, even other elected officials, could obtain money for their departments and agencies without the Governor's approval, even despite the approval by the Legislature's appropriations, enabling the Governor to block legally the will of the people and their duly elected representatives in the Legislature.

A piece from the Detroit News, titled "'Gimme'—or Else", finds that UAW president Walter Reuther was using the ploy of a taxicab bandit, who said that when a fellow has the drop on you, you ought surrender your money, when saying that Ford would have to assume moral and economic responsibility for a strike if it failed to approve pension demands.

Drew Pearson tells of the laconic General Omar Bradley stating at a Washington party that he would have given his left arm had the President not made his recent statement defending Maj. General Harry Vaughan, his military aide caught up in the "five percenter" investigation. Mr. Pearson notes that General Vaughan had violated an Army regulation forbidding officers from raising political funds, which he had admitted doing, but that the Army could not discipline him without running afoul of the President and risking being fired.

Pope Pius XII had reportedly made Joseph Cardinal Spellman of New York make amends with Eleanor Roosevelt regarding his dispute over her favoring, in her "My Day" column the previous June, public funding only for public schools. The Pope was also likely as a result of the public argument to pass over Cardinal Spellman as papal secretary.

Bronx boss Ed Flynn had also demanded that Cardinal Spellman make amends to avoid the prospect of not being able to elect a Catholic to office in New York State for "30 years".

Former Governor Herbert Lehman had been informed the previous year that he would have active opposition from the Catholic Church in his Senate run for having disfavored the attempt by the Church to ban The Nation from public schools for carrying a series of articles by Paul Blanchard critical of the Catholic Church.

When Cardinal Spellman had in August surprised Mrs. Roosevelt with a visit at Hyde Park, they discussed the Lehman candidacy with her telling the Cardinal that it would be best were Mr. Lehman elected, and he then said that he would make it clear that he was no longer opposed to him. The meeting had ended therefore cordially.

Two Navy officers had disobeyed direct orders and brazenly lobbied at the American Legion convention for support of the supercarrier United States, the construction of which had been ordered stopped by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson a week after its keel had been laid earlier in the year. The action by the two officers, he notes, would have gotten an enlisted man sent to the brig.

Marquis Childs discusses the effort of the Democratic Party to weld labor to the farmers politically. The AFL Labor's League for Political Education gave a dinner in Chicago at which its principal speaker was Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan, a departure from its usual labor speaker. The organization distributed 1,200 copies of the speech, broadcast via NBC, to Midwestern editors. Another speaker was Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, especially friendly to labor.

Both CIO and AFL were backing the mother of deceased Pennsylvania Congressman Lewis Coffey, Jr., a young veteran who had been recently killed in a jet plane crash while keeping up his Air Force reserve training. The special election would serve as a test of farmer-labor unity, as the district was about half industrial and half farm constituencies. Republicans were hopeful of winning back the seat with Navy veteran John Saylor, and were seeking to make it a test referendum on the Fair Deal.

The Labor's League's director, Joseph Keenan, was critical during the broadcast of the attacks on the Labor Government in Britain, saying that such attacks favored Communism by weakening Britain. Secretary Brannan sought to promote his plan to subsidize farmers on surplus perishable produce to keep their prices high while maintaining low consumer prices at the market. The Administration intended to make the plan a centerpiece for its political strategy in 1950 and perhaps in 1952.

James Marlow discusses the ongoing financial talks between the U.S., Canada, and Britain regarding the British gold-dollar reserve shortage and what to do about it before Britain went bankrupt. Britain did not want another loan but rather a way to slow its expenditure of dollars.

Some of the reasons Britain got into the crisis were that Britain bought more from the U.S. and Canada in dollars than it sold to both countries; Britain was short of dollars after the war for its buying so many supplies from the U.S.; Britain no longer, as before the war, had holdings in the dollar countries to provide it income in dollars, having sold off its holdings; it no longer had as much shipping as before the war, so much having been destroyed during the war; many of Britain's factories had been destroyed during the war, meaning less manufactured goods produced to sell overseas; and Britain was linked to the sterling bloc with a lot of other countries which had siphoned off dollars from Britain so that they could trade with the U.S. The reason for the latter condition was that during the war, Britain had given these countries credits to be drawn on later such that presently those countries were doing so.

The dollar reserve had dropped from 2.5 billion in 1946 to 1.6 billion, below the minimum of two billion dollars needed for Britain's security. Unless a solution were found in the talks in Washington, the reserve would dwindle even more.

A letter writer takes exception to what he perceives as the sentiment expressed by the newspaper in its September 2 editorial, "Vaughan Keeps His Job", appearing to the writer to praise the President for his loyalty to General Vaughan. He finds that loyalty was not an admirable trait in all situations, as between thieves, thinks that the President's chief loyalty was to the people and that he ought therefore fire General Vaughan and assist the Senate Investigating subcommittee in discovering any evidence proving General Vaughan's wrongdoing.

The editors note that they were in substantial agreement with the writer, had said originally that the trait of loyalty displayed by the President could at once be "most admirable, and at the same time most damaging".

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