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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 05, 1948, Image 57

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C_4 __JUNPAV;JMt*mb*rJ;J»4»
\r Free GSt Bargaining
it does not take much Inquiring to dis
cover the reason for the extraordinary
contrast between this year’s and last year’s
contract settlements between Government
^Service, Incorporated, and its employes.
Something was added this year that was
Noticeably absent a year ago. The some
thing was an atmosphere free of dissension
and ill will, free of extraneous issues and
tree of agitation by outsiders.
The result was free bargaining that led
to signing of an agreement for a 7y2-cent
■hourly wage increase and other benefits
after only four days of negotiation. Last
year, it wil^ be recalled, agreement was
reached only after eighty-eight days of
frustration, marked by bad feeling on both
sides and climaxed by a strike that was
jjostly to strikers. GSI and patrons alike.
Finally, the impasse ended when the
cafeteria union’s president resigned and
the other officers signed anti-Communist
affidavits—a requirement properly insisted
t>n by GSI. A back-to-work agreement
was reached, in lieu of a contract—but
the union remained under domination of
the left-wing United Public Workers of
, The difference this year can be attrib
uted chiefly to the Withdrawal of the
United Cafeteria Workers, Local 471, from
UPWA. That sensible action enabled offi
cers of the cafeteria union to conduct
negotiations with GSI independent of
UPWA advice and influence. That the
change was salutary is obvious. The results
Suggest that GSI was justified in insisting
on anti-communism pledges and the suc
cess of the contract discussions belies past
charges that GSI was out to break up the
cafeteria workers’ union.
Air Brakes for Planes
If the initial demonstration of the
Curtisa-Wrlght Corporation’s “air-brake”
jsystem for planes is indicative of its possi
bilities in commercial aviaton, a new mile
stone in safety and efficiency for airliners
is in sight. The demonstration proved the
effectiveness of reversible propellers as
'“brakes” for four-engine planes of the
type used by the airlines.
Reversible propellers have been used to
slow up planes after landing, but a Curtiss
Wright test pilot was the first flyer to
reverse four propellers in flight. The effect
of this sudden reversal of horsepower from
a pull forward to a shove backward was
similar to the deceleration caused by brakes
on an automobile. The ability of a pilot
to “brake” his plane is important in an
emergency requiring a quick landing, as
when fire breaks out. In addition, the
speeding up of landing operations would
relieve “stacking up” of planes over con
gested airports. And the ability to come
in at slower landing speeds would permit
the use of shorter landing strips and
■would contribute both to economy and
' Because of the tremendous strain in
volved, specially designed propellers are
necessary. The new propellers were tried
put on a C-34 transport plane, with
marked succest. The big ship descended
from 15.000 to 1.000 feet in one minute
and twenty-two seconds: It dropped to a
safe landing from a point only four miles
from the airport—an achievement im
possible without “brakes.” The interest
shown in the demonstration by military
authorities may portend application of
the principle to war planes. Certainly the
preliminary tests justify predictions of
widespread use of the “air brakes” by the
airlines. It is unfortunate that the system
will not be generally available for com
mercial use for another year or so.
' To Strengthen the Hatch Act
The amendment of the Hatch Act urged
by Civil Service Commissioner James M.
Mitchell before the District Federation of
Federal Employes’ Unions is one that has
been recommended to Congress repeatedly
by the commission, without success. It is
gratifying to know that the commission
has not given up the effort to win con
gressional approval of the reform.
The modification, advocated by Mr.
Mitchell and his commission colleagues is
designed to strengthen the law restricting
political activity by Government employes,
not^ to weaken it. Experience has con
vinced the commission that the law as
now phrased is not so effective as it might
be, because it provides for only one pen
alty—dismissal from the service. The pen
alty is inflexible, even though the viola
tion be of the most trivial nature. The
result has been that departmental officials
have been reluctant to report minor vio
lations to the commission. Once such a
case is called to its attention, the com
mission has no alternative but to order
the discharge of the employe, even though
a reprimand or a suspension would better
serve the ends of justice.
* The commission has commented on this
fleflciency of the law in a number of its
Innual reports. On its recommendation,
bills have been introduced to give the com
mission some discretion in fixing punish
ment, but Invariably they have failed to
pass. The commission’s proposal is a
sound one. It should be included in any
program of civil service improvement
which may be adopted by the next Con
Italian Colonies Issue
A proposal by the American delegation
for a special session of the U. N. General
Assembly to consider the final disposition
of former Italian colonies focuses atten
tion on one of the most contentious issues
in the postwar settlement.
When Mussolini made his wanton plunge
into World War II, Italy possessed a con
siderable colonial empire. That empire
was lost, chiefly to British arms, and at
first it seemed likely that it would be
treated much like the forfeited German
colonies after World War I. However, an
tagonisms among the victors hindered an
agreed disposition of the colonies through
U. N. “trusteeships” similar to the “man
dates” of the League of Nations.. Soviet
Russia, especially, threw calculated apples
of discord into the proceedings by demand
ing, first a sole trusteeship over Libya and
then a Joint trusteeship of the four Great
Powers. Both proposals were unalterably
opposed by the Western nations, since ei
ther would have given Moscow a fodthold
in the Mediterranean and on the African
continent. In addition, Britain had given
assurances to the native populations of
Libya that they would on no account be
returned to Italian rule, even under a
U.N. trusteeship. And those assurances
were reinforced by vital strategic consid
erations, since Libya under British occu
pation furnished air bases wmcn couia
compensate for bases lost in Egypt and
Palestine. It should be remembered that
Libya is now wholly under British control
by right of conquest. And a perpetuation
of that control is favored by the United
States for both strategic and political con
siderations. Libya is, indeed, the crux of
the Italian colonies issue. The distant and
less valuable East African colonies, Eritrea
and Somaliland, are relatively unimpor
tant in the international picture.
There is, however, another factor in this
complex equation. This is Italy itself. De
feated and humbled though she is, Italy
has become an important political and
Ideological battleground between the West
ern democracies and the Soviet-Commu
nist forces. 'Under the first numbing shock
of defeat, Italian public opinion appeared
relatively indifferent to the fate of the
colonies, or at least resigned to the inevi
tability of their loss. But since then, the
colonies have become an increasingly live
issue with Italians, under the combined
spur of Communist propaganda and re
viving national feeling. THe present mod
erate government headed by Premier de
Gasperi might be imperilled if Italian sen
sibilities are disregarded in the disposition
of the colonies.
To avert a political crisis in Italy with
dangerous possibilities to the democratic
cause, the Western Powers are considering
the granting of a U. N. trusteeship over at
least Italian Somaliland to Italy, with the
possibility of another trusteeship over Tri
politania, the western portion of Libya, as
well. The calculation is that this would
be an adequate sop to Italian national feel
ing. But it can be anticipated that Mos
cow will oppose this compromise and that
Communist propaganda will make the
most of other losses, especially if Britain
should get Its desired trusteeship over Cy
renaica, the eastern part of Libya, which is
most desirable for Britain’s scheme of im
perial defense.
The terms of the Italian peace treaty
provide that if the Great. Powers are un
able to agree on the Italian colonial issue,
it shall be considered by the United Na
tions. The General Assembly has been un
able to consider the matter at its present
session, owing to the pressure of other
important items on its agenda. Hence, the
American proposal that the matter be
taken up at a special session early next
year, so as to dispose of a matter which
will continue to cause grave friction so
long as it remains unsettled.
Medical science seems to 'know little
about selective amnesia, as suffered by
Glen Taylor who now suddenly remembers
being a Democrat.
Da Vinci Vindicated
It has taken a long time to prove the
soundness of the flight theories of such
aviation pioneers as Daedalus, Icarus,
Leonardo da Vinci and others who have
sought to soar the skies on flapping wings.
The surprising thing about the proof is
that there was any one in this era of jet
and rocket flying interested in testing
ancient and discarded techniques.
It seems that a young Air Force engi
neer, Adam J. Stolzenberger, has always
believed that Daedalus and his son, Icarus,
of Greek mythology, and Da Vinci, the
great Italian artist and inventor, were on
the right track in seeking to imitate the
flight of birds. Daedalus, the story goes,
invented birdlike wings with which he and
has son escaped from their Cretan prison,
Icarus’ wings fell off and dumped him to
his death in the sea, but Daedalus made
a good landing in Sicily. Da Vinci man
aged to find time while painting the
Mona Lisa and other famous works to
design a batlike flying machine, with man
powered flapping wings. Fortunately for
art. Da Vinci did not try the contraption
But a comparison of Da Vinci’s orni
thopter, as aeronautical engineers refer
to flapping-wing craft, with flying models
constructed at Wright Feld by Mr. Stolzen
berger shows a striking similarity. In
fact, it is plausible to assume that the
Da Vinci omithopter might have flown
successfully if its inventor had been blessed
with today’s advantages of mechaniyl
power. The Stolzenberger “birds” are
powered by rubber bands or by tiny electric
or gasoline motors. They are reported to
have made numerous flights. So impressed
has Mr. Stolzenberger been with the possi
bilities in this, field that he has patented
a man-carrying model. He hopes to be ,
the first person to build an omithopter
capable of carrying a passenger aloft.
While Mr. Stolzenberger has pursued
his experiments largely as a hobby, it would
be wrong to assume that his studies are
valueless in this age of fixed-wing flight.
Not only has he added to Air Force
knowledge of wing “flutter” and other
phenomena affecting conventional planes,
but he has given force to predictions by
* » •
some aeronautical engineers that man
eventually will fall back on the time
tested bird techniques of flying. They feel
that if the birds can fly in their “un
orthodox” way, and do it so efficiently and
well, so can man. But birds weft born
to fly and man to walk. The chances are
that if Mr. Stolzenberger does succeed in
flying like a bird, it will be a crude imita
tion at best. It is hard for man to improve
on nature, especially In such a, mysterious
field as the flight of the hummingbird
and the hawk.
France Must Be Convinced
In voting overwhelmingly against the
recent Anglo-American decision to name
German trustees to administer the indus
tries of the Ruhr, the French National
Assembly has made clear that Britain and
the United' States have fallen far short
of persuading France that their approach
to this delicate and complex problem is
either sound or necessary.
The issue involved is charged with deep
emotion in France. The people there,
acutely conscious of the fact that the
Ruhr has been the powerhouse behind
three German invasions within the past
seventy-five years, are united against any
step that seems to them to revive the threat
of a militaristic Germany. On the whole,
though they have not yet restored him to
national leadership, they are not inclined
to scoff at General de' Gaulle’s warning
that the Anglo-American decision paves
the way for the rebirth of another aggres
sive Reich capable of attacking them again
in some new double-crossing deal with
Though recklessly exaggerated, General
de Gaulle’s fear—in varying degrees—
dominates France’s thinking and is sub
stantially shared by all political parties,
with one exception. The exception is the
French Communists. Ironically enough,
in the National Assembly vote condemning
Anglo-American Ruhr policy, they have
been the sole dissenters, being faithful to
the Soviet line, which favors returning the
region to Germany for reasons quite dif
ferent from the ones animating Britain
and the United States. What the Kremlin
would like to see, of course, would be a
puppet Red Reich with all the Ruhr’s pro
ductive power behind it.
Thus, considering their bitter historical
experience with Germany, and considering
also that powerful politicians like General
de Gaulle can argue plausibly about the
dangers of some new Ribbentrop-Molotov
deal in the future, it is not surprising that
the French people—as they have just ex
pressed themselves through the National
Assembly—have serious misgivings about
Britain’s and our own attitude toward the
Ruhr. They need assurances, they must be
convinced, that that attitude is not working
at cross-purposes with their own vital
security interests by unwittingly encourag
ing the revival of German militarism.
To be sure, it may be clear enough
to Britons and Americans that the Ruhr
decision represents a wise and needed
move to accomplish two things: (1) To
ease the' financial burden the United
States must carry as long as the region
operates on a deficit basis, and (2) to in
crease its productivity and efficiency in
order to speed up the recovery not merely
of Germany but of all the Western Euro
pean countries—including France—par
ticipating in the Marshall Plan. Moreover,
as Secretary of State Marshall has de
clared, there are two additional points
of prime significance: (1) The Ruhr’s
final disposition, despite the current Ger
man trusteeship plan, will not be deter
mined until a definitive peace treaty i^
written, and (2> special guarantees in that
treaty, together with such separate un
dertakings as the projected Atlantic
alliance, are likely to provide the French
with ample security against the danger
of a resurgent Reich in cahoots with
Russia. In this, connection, in line with
France’s latest note on the subject, it is
not inconceivable that an agreement can
be worked out to set up long-term Allied
control of the Ruhr after the occupation
Nevertheless, though considerations of
this sort make criticism of the De Gaullist
type seem grossly distorted, the fact re
mains—as demonstrated by the National
Assembly—that the French have yet to
be sold on Anglo-American policy toward
Germany. Since their full support is
essential to an effective security system in
the free Western world, it need hardly be
added that no effort should be spared to
remove their fears and suspicions—a task
which now ought to be vigorously pursued
by the British government and our own.
A Good Time Nod by All
A special medal should be struck for
whoever thought up the idea of staging
Friday night’s father-and-daughter dinner
at the National Press Club. Anybody who
had the good fortune to be present—and
woe to the absent daddy whose little girl
hears"about it!—will be only too glad to
testify that the event was one of the most
refreshing and most heart-warming put
on in these parts in a long, long time.
Certainly, the daughters—ranging In
age from four to the forties—have some
thing very nice to remember and place
among their souvenirs, including not
merely the orchids flown to them all the
way from Hawaii, or the favors handed to
them at the door, Or the menu card and
other mementoes, but also a finely etched
mental picture of the wonderfully human
and good-humored qualities of democracy
sitting down with itself for an unpreten
tious meal and an evening of simple fun.
The professional entertainers were excel
lent, but they were up against some mighty
stiff and distinguished amateur competi
tion, including no less a person than Sec
retary of the Treasury Snyder who with
Drucie, his talented daughter, carried on
with fine aplomb in a skit making the public
debt seem a pleasure. Above all, right
up there on the stage before everybody’s
eyes, the President of the United States
sat down with his Margaret to play a
pleasant piano duet, followed by an equally
pleasant little talk.
Only the - people who were there, of
course, can remember the spirit and flavor
of the evening. But the simple statement
should be recorded somewhere that there
were no stuffed shirts in evidence, that
it was all warm-hearted and very Amer
ican in the best sense, that it made one
reflect on the peculiar blessings inherent
in our way of life, and that most certainly
the Press Club should try to stage the
same sort of program every year from
here on out.
Spires of the Spirit
The .Guilt of the Good
Negative Virtues Found Insufficient Where
Positive Values Are Needed
By the Rev. Frederick Brown Harris, D. D., Lift. D.
The scarlet letter of crime with the stigma
of the guilt of the bad is upon the huge popu
lation of■ our penal institutions. But those
who are thus caught in the law's meshes and
incarcerated are but
a small proportion of
thp moral derelicts
who, keeping out of
jail by their wits,
prey upon their fel
low men.
The world is being
made vividly con
scious of the heinous
Individual and social
crimes of the morally
depraved by the re
volting testimony at
the trials of war
criminals and by the
swift carrying out of tne stem sentences
dooming leaders of outlaw systems to meet
death at the end of the ignominious rope. The
guilt of the bad is paraded before a global
audience. But a less spectacular, yet far more
influential, factor of the present sad and sorry
state in which the tangled affairs of our
common humanity are found in this desperate
day is the guilt of the good. The chief
hindrance to progress of the race is not the
violent bad, but the passive good. Against
these no Just charges of venal culpability can.
be made. They are not viciously bad, but
neither are they aggressively good. They are
silent when silence is not golden, but craven.
They belong to the vast army of nonresisters
at whom Maltbie Babcock aimed his dart:
“Say not the days are evil—who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce—O shame I
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s
That floodlights the guilt of the good.
* ft ft ft
What, then, is the temptation even of the
prodigiously pious? It is to be good—for
nothing. In the classic depiction by the
Master Teacher of the final Judgment of the
good and bad, the sheep and the goats, the
amazing conception is that against those who
are pilloried as guilty there is no bill of
indictment as to any crimes committed. Sins
of commission do not figure in the condemna
tion. But sins of omission do. The unrecog
nized sins of the good are the decisive factor:
“I was in prison. Ye visited me not. I was
hungry. Ye fed me not. I was naked. Ye
clothed me not.” It is the guilt of the good.
One of the greatest stories ever told is known
as the story of the Good Samaritan. But did
you ever notice that in it the matchless
Teacher-Narrator uttered no tirade against the
lack of police protection along the robber
infested Jericho road? He has no arraignment
of the criminal who waylaid and wounded the
traveler. Rather, He points to two good men
on their way to church who, seeing dire need,
callously pass by on the other side. The parable
might well be called the Quilt of the Good.
George Eliot is thinking about the guilt of
the good in an unforgettable verbal portrait
In Adam Bede. The novelist is talking about
Hetty. She says, "Hetty is one of those nu
merous people who have had godfathers and
godmothers, learned their catechism, been con
firmed, and gone to church every Sunday, and
yet for any practical result of strength in life
or trust in death have never appropriated a
single idea of Christian feeling.”
That etching suggests church members con
tent with being just respectable. They are
good. They have enough religion to be decent,
but not enough to be dynamic. They have
some faith—enough to make them discon
tented with the grosser forms of sin, but not
enough to make them spiritual crusaders.
* * * *
The classic list of the seven deadly sins al
ways suggests the guilt of the bad. A keen
writer has made up a list of seven deadly
virtues which suggest the guilt of the good.
Plato named four virtues as primary—courage,
wisdom, temperance and justice. To make the
seven, three so-called virtues are added—faith,
hope and love. This is the realm in which
virtues may go wrong. Even the patience of
faith and hope, which is always supposed to
be a characteristic of the good, can degenerate
into a limp and inert acquiescence in things
as they happen to be. Sometimes what is
called patience is in reality cowardice or lazi
ness, smiling at wrong from the complacency
of an armchair.
The subtle temptation is that the vigorous
ardor of youth will give way to a temperate
prudence, which is, alas, so often a part of
-the guilt of the good.
Of course, in this evil world each day some
altar should be set up where the prayer may
be lifted, "God make me good.” But added
to that must always be, “God make me good
for something. Deliver me from the guilt of
the good, from cowardly, complacent silence
and inaction.” So at the last, when our day
is over and all the'days are done, we will be
saved from having to make Margiret Wilkin
son's lines, entitled "Guilty,” the tragic verdict
on our own souls:
"I never cut my neighbor’s throat,
My neighbor’s gold L never stole;
I never spoiled his house and land;
But God have mercy on my soul!
“FOr I am haunted night and day
By all the deeds I have not done.
O unattempted loveliness,
- O costly valor never won!”
T 1 ' ALnn \ Some Shadows of Coming Events
LOOKing i\nCaQ Are Noted Here and Abroad
(By the World Staff of the Associated Press.)
Plans are not complete, but the tendency
is away from any big show of modern military
might in the Truman inaugural parade Jan
uary 20. There will be crack units of air
borne artillery and mechanized cavalry and
the like, plus a spectacular aircover, but em
phasis will be on civilian groups and displays.
It is feared a huge military exhibition might
be miscontruued abroad. Modern" weapons may
be pirt on display for visitors in the Mall,
the wide parkway between the Capitol and
the Washington Monument. A design for a
simple white stand with the presidential seal
just below the center roof has been accepted
for the Truman reviewing stand in front of
the White House. (One suggestion passed over
was for a replica of the south side of the
White House with a balcony on which the
President would stand to watch the parade.)
Dr. Charles G. Abbot, famed Smithsonian In
stitution scientist, says there’s a “pretty good
chance” of fair weather on inauguration day.
Dr. Abbot has a pretty good batting average on
Washington weather. He predicted the likeli
hood of fair weather for one Roosevelt inaugu
ration—and hit it right on the nose. “Jan
uary 20,” Dr. Abbot says, “is not on my list
for probable precipitation.” One of the world’s
outstanding authorities mi the sun. Dr. Abbot
believes there are “cycles” of rainfall in Wash
ington linked with the 27-day rotation of
the sun.
AMVET-A VC Merger7
A strong organization of exclusively World
War II veterans may be in the not-too
distant offing through merger of AMVETS
(American Veterans of World War II) and
AVC (American Veterans’ Committee). Both
outfits are hard-pressed for finances and
members. Combined membership would not
exceed 200,000 as compared to 3,300,000 claimed
by the American Legion, but the merger would
present a "solid front of 1941-1945 veterans.
AVC’s recent strong anti-Communist stand,
insiders believe, has paved the way for closer
co-operation. AMVETS’ policy has been mid
dle-of-the-road. AMVETS, larger and more
robust, probably would dominate any merger.
BELFAST.—It’s a good bet that Northern
Ireland's official name will be changed soon
to "Ulster.” Lots of people call it Ulster,
anyway. Orangemen figure the change would
be another way to show opposition to Eire’s
persistent demands for a united Ireland.
Defense chiefs are preparing recommenda
tions to Congress for tightening unification
of the armed forces. One plan getting strong
attention would set up two new posts; (1) An
undersecretary to report directly to the Secre
tai y and outrank the present three Secretaries,
one for each branch, and (2) a single chief
of staff for national defense to whom the
Army, Air Force and Navy chiefs of staff
would report. Strong pressure against this
plan may be expected from the Navy.
Look Out!
Watch where you walk these early winter
evenings. Heavy Christmas shopping traffic
in the cities, combined wtyh early darkness,
makes December the peak month for pedestrian
deaths. The National Safety Council says the
death rate last December was 58 per cent
above the 1947 monthly average.
LONDON.—A Government commission to in
vestigate gambling may be set up next year.
Tighter controls may result. Some government
ministers are known to be concerned over the
amount of money spent gambling. One argu
ment is that if. this money were saved it would
ease inflationary pressure. Last year $1,800,
.000,000 was reported o^t on horse races alone.
ERP Tangles
PARIS.—Unless the 19 European countries re
ceiving Marshall Plan aid can agree on. an
integrated economic program for the next four
years the United States may have to take the
a v I
unpopular umpire’s role. Differences between
the British and French are one of the main
stumbling blocks.
Economy-minded legislators are concerned
about the 4 per cent annual interest being
paid by the Treasury on a $5,000,000 Judgment
the Supreme Court awarded California Indians
four years ago. They hope to get the Indian
Bureau and Congress to agree on disposition
of the fund in the next session.
Fifty Years Ago
Accidents at grade crossings were numerous
fifty years ago, and The Star conducted an
aggressive campaign for the elim
Crossing ination of such junctions of rail
Trogedy roads and ordinary wagon roads.
The issue of the paper for Decem
ber 1, 1898, contained a long and pitiful story
about how Fannie Bell Harris, 9, and George
Herbert Gray, 6, were killed in Ivy City while
on their way to school. They were riding in
a two-seated buckboard with Harry McDon
ough, 17, when they were struck by a Baltimore
& Ohio express. 'A passenger on the train told
a reporter: “The safety gates were up and I
did not see the gatekeeper. These unprotected
grade crossings—when will the Congress of the
United States stamp them out?”
• * * *
“The fiftieth anniversary of the accession of
the Emperor Francis Joseph to the throne of
Austria," announced The
Francis Joseph's Star on December 2, 1898,
Jubilee “was celebrated this morn
ing at 10 o’clock by solemn
high mass at St. Matthew’s Church. The Rev.
Father Samuel F. Bart was the celebrant, with
the Rev. Father Lee as deacon and the Rev.
Father Stiring as subdeacon. The edifice has
seldom held such a distinguished gathering as
that which assembled. • * • President McKinley
and Secretary of State Hay arrived together
from the White House and occupied a front
pew directly in front of the altar. In the ad
joining front pew across the main aisle were
Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British Ambassador,
and Count Cassini, the Russian Minister. They
were resplendent in full uniform.” Repre
sentatives of Germany, France, Argentina,
China, Japan, Korea, Portugal and Hawaii
likewise were present, all in festival attire. The
papal legate, Archbishop Martinelll, occupied a
place in the sanctuary.
* * * *
A local story in The Star for December 3,
1888, indicated the liquidation of an ancient
and famous trade—chimney sweep
CHimney tng. “It is more than probable
Sweeps that the* old municipal ordinance
providing superintendents of chim
ney sweeps and requiring the sweeping of a
chimney when, in the judgment of the super
intendent of sweeps, it is necessary, will be
abolished by the District Commissioners,” the
article explained. “Commissioner Wight has
been in communication with the authorities
of the principal cities of the country, with the
view of ascertaining whether such a require
ment is in force in those cities. He has found
that Washington is about* the only city where
a regulation of this character remains on the
statute books.”
* * * *
In The Star of December 5, 18S8, all of the
first and second pages and half of the third—
• 17 Vi columns of type—were used
Centennial to reproduce the complete text
Message of President McKinley's annual
message to Congress, outlining
the history of the war with Spain and furnish
ing a report on relations with Hawaii and
Russia. Of special importance to Washington
readers, however, was the closing portion of
the document in which the Chief Executive
Called for an appropriation for .the celebration
of the centenary of:the Federal seat of gov
ernment in the District of Columbia. This
event, Mr. McKinley declared, “assumes all the
more significance when we recall the circum
stances attending the choosing of the site, the
naming of the Capital in honor of the father
of his country and the Interest taken by him
Public Housing Program
To Affect Building Costs
TEW Bill Seen Aiding Some Worker*
* at Expense *ot Other*
By Gerard D. Reilly
In view of President Truman’s repeated Jibe*
at the Eightieth Congress for its failure to
authorize a public housing program, it has
been taken for granted that the new Congress
would speedily enact the Taft-Ellender-Wag
ner bill. This is the measure which passed the
Senate last year, but which the House leader
ship refused to bring to the floor for a ’ vote
until the public housing and slum clearance
features were eliminated.
The defeat of the title containing these pro
visions was largely due to some effective behind
the-scenes work by an alliance of interests
representing the residential construction indus
try, private home loan banks and real estate
brokers. Now that the proponents of the legis
lation have the .votes to put it across, however,
sober-minded administration advisers are won
dering whether this bill is a real solution to
the problem of the housing shortage.
The bill contemplates the construction with
Federal funds of 1,250,000 rental units for fam
ilies in the lowest income brackets. It is some
what of a misnomer to call these units low-cost
housing projects, however.
V « ; * * * *
What Is actualLy proposed is a scheme for
subsidized low rentals. The Intention is to
have these multiple dwelling units built by
contractors at prevailing union rates. The
cost of construction consequently would not be
appreciably lower than would be the case If
such construction were financed with private
capital. The draftsmen of the bill recognized
this by including a section authorizing sub
sidies to insurance companies and other corp
orations which are willing to build large-scale
housing projects which will then be rented at
rates far below a fair return on the investment.
Advocates of public housing have long
pointed out that the high cost of building ma
terials, urban land and labor makes It impas
sible for the lowest wage earners In factory or
clerical occupations to obtain decent housing
for their families without some form of public
subsidy. Last'year they were able to convince
Senator Taft and a majority of the Senate,
therefore, that intervention by the Federal
Government - was essential. So long u the
high cost of housing persists it is inevitable
that measures of this sort will command the
support of enlightened legislators. Unfortu
nately, however, such bills do hot go to the
real heart of the difficulty. It is not only the
poorest class but all the middle-income groups
which are suffering today from Inflated hous
ing prices. And there is a real danger that
with the continuing scarcity of labor and ma
terials, the huge Government appropriations
which the bill authorizes will tend to drive the
cost of private dwellings still higher. Some
members of the Federal Reserve Board are
gravely concerned by this prospect.
As a result of the home mortgage guarantv
functions of the FHA and the loans made by
the Veterans’ Administration under the Serv
icemen's Readjustment Act, Government credit
in the private housing field is already being .
strained. Optimistic appraisals by the agencies
In charge have not only accelerated the Infla
tionary trend in the prices of new houses but
have Involved the Treasury in risks inconsistent
with prudent banking policy.
In a country with such an abundance of
engineering skill as ours it is a paradox that
the public has put up for so long with the
archaic handicraft methods characteristic of
the home building industry. If mass produc
tion methods were applied in this field, there
would be no reason for a modest duelling house
selling for 10 times as much as! ah automobile
or 100 times as much as a radio or washing
The reason why the professional champions
of public housing have failed to grapple with
the problem of modernizing the industry is
apparently- largely political. Any effective step
in this direction would involve tremendous use
of prefabricated materials and, more impor
tantly, the abolition of the old-fashioned craft
system among the workers on the site. The
closed shop practices which now exist among
the crafts have produced an obsolete apprentice
system and an artificial scarcity of workers.
But since any such reforms as these would
be bitterly resisted by the AFL building trades,
most public housers fearing to be smeared as
antilabor have shied away from any funda
mental program.
Look on This Picture
From tbs Frovidence Bulletin: >
Description of one of Marc Chagall’s paint
ings in Tate Gallery, London: “Among the
paintings on display is one of a bare-legged
woman standing with one foot on a house and
kicking a red horse with the other. On the
back of the horse is a woman in tights standing
on her head. The horse straddles a bride and
bridegroom in wedding clothes. The front legs
of the horse have hands instead of hoof* and
one hand clutches a lighted candle in a candle
This strikes us as a perfectly beautiful piece
of work. (Stand back a little, folks; you’re
too close to get the full effect.) Now then, you
can see from here that 'this painting must not
be looked at with the same eyes which would
look at a painting by Turner or even a big fat
horse by Rosa Bonheur. The mere fact that
Chagall’s horse has hands instead of hoof*
gives that away.
Besides, the composition is different. (Please,
gentlemen, turn around and bend over and look
at Mr. Chagall’s painting through your legs.)
Observe now how this changes everything—
how the value.of the lady In tights is brought
out and how everything, except her, seems to
be upside down, but really isn't.
You are now in an ideal position to under
stand what Mr. Chagall was getting at, which
is, of course, the only fair way to estimate an
artist’s work Did he accomplish what he set
out to? He did; for, as you can see, he. didn’t
set out to get anywhere and got there perfectly.
(Here the speaker tiptoes away leaving Mr.
Chagall’s admirers upside down staring at the
painting through their legs. IF* a crazy world,
folks.)_ •? ■■/•s
in the adoption of plans for its future develop*
ment on a magnificent scale.”
* * * *
A large advertisement of the Palais Royal,
published in The Star on December 6, W98,
listed 265 different books for
Christmas the Christmas trade—at 13 cents
Books each. The titles included many
popular classics, among the
number being George Eliot's “Adam Bede."
Kipling’s “Light That Failed,” Haggard’s "She.”
Bulwer’s “Last Days of Pompeii,” Scott’s
“Ivanhoe,” Blackmore’s "Lorna Doone,” Cooper’s
“Last of the Mohicans,” Ebers’ “Uarda,” .Por
ter’s “Scottish Chiefs,” Conan Doyle’s "White
Company” and G. A. Henty’s “With Lee in
Virginia." Perhaps people do not read such
literature nowadays, but if they neglect it
they really are missing something.
* * * *
The steamer Portland of the Boston and
Portland Steamship Co. was “totally wrecked”
, on Sunday morning, November
Steamship 27, 1898, and news of the catas
Disoster trophe was printed in 'The Star
for Tuesday. November 29, A
portion of the beach near Highland Light was
the scene of the crash “and the entire crew; and
passengers perished within a short distance of
land ” The number of persons on board the
ship was 99, and the bodies of 34 were recov
ered by the life-saving detail at High Head
Station, A gale which swept all New England
was the cause of the disaster.

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