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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 19, 1949, Image 11

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Groups Seen Working
To Bury House Probe
Of Plane Contracts
Symington Not the Issue
But What Lobbying Was
Done to Gain Influence
By David Lawrence
President Truman is 100 per,
cent right in his request that
final judgment be withheld until]
all the facts are in with reference
to the inquiry in which Gen.
Vaughan has figured.
That ought to be the rule in
every congressional inquiry. But
just now there are apparently:
certain influences working day j
and night to smother an investi- j
gation begun by the House Armed
Services Committee, on the
ground that nothing has been ]
proved and that certain charges
concerning Secretary of Air Sym
ington have evaporated.
Nobody who has followed from
its beginnings the inquiry begun
by the House Armed Services
Committee ever thought that the
accusations concerning Mr. Sym
ington were the main reason for
the inquiry. As a matter of fact,
qyen if somebody had talked
about naming Mr. Symington as
head of a merger of aircraft com
panies—and possibly this was dis
cussed without the matter ever
having been broached to the Sec
retary of Air—there would not
have been the slightest impro
priety in such a plan.
Mr. Symington is an able offi
cial and excellent businessman.
If, unfortunately, he ever decided
to leave the public service, he
would be just the man to head
up any big merger of aircraft
companies. He is much too up
right an individual to allow such
a suggestion, if lqdeed he ever
heard of it, to influence anything
he did for the Government.
Real Issues Unrelated.
The real issues, however, are
wholly unrelated to the flimsy
references about a possible execu
tive position in a possible merger.
The real issues revolve *around
the influence that a desire for
Government contracts can have
on national defense policies—on
how much lobbying was done to
get the contracts and how much
mon«r was used in improper ways
in an attempt to win govern
mental influence.
This is a proper subject for in
quiry. It goes beyond any par
ticular armed service. The Nation
was astounded back in the 20s
when it was discovered that a lob
byist in Geneva attempted to
wreck the disarmament confer
ence there because it might injure
steel companies interested in
making armor plate for the Navy.
If there are today any armor
plate companies interested in
propaganda or political activity
in connection with contracts for
the building of ships for any of
the armed services—steel parts
are used in airplanes, too—this
is something to be investigated, j
Private companies have every I
right to present their claims for;
contracts and to speak out pub
licly, for example, in behalf of
air power on land or sea, if they
like. It is not what they do-pub
licly that offends. It is the money
they may have spent clandestinely
in a propaganda for a separate Air
i'orce and finally for the concen
tration of funds in strategic
bombing or for an enlarged Navy
which occasions concern.
There are two major bodies
which have been carrying on
campaigns to influence policy in
the field of national defense apart
from veterans organizations. One
of these is the Navy League and
the other is the Air Force As
sociation. To the extent that these
organizations are financed by
small contributions, they are
within their rights. But if either
of these two bodies accepts large
sums from shipbuilding or air
craft-building interests, then it is
a proper subject for inquiry.
Merger Often Urged.
It was a matter of general com
ment in defense circles in Wash
ington after the War that “there
are too many aircraft com
panies." It was often said that the
best interests of national defense
would be served by selecting a
few companies and causing them
to merge. It was even reported
that the Air Force was being im
portuned to get back of the
merger.
It is too much to expect that
officers of any armed service or
ahy officials of the aircraft com
panies will march into the House
Armed Services Committee and
testify that political Influence
was exerted or that they bowed
to it. An investigation has to go
deeper than that kind of naivete.
Furthermore, it is a fact of rec-;
ord in the House of Representa- j
tives that persons interested in
the aircraft industry contributed
heavily to the Truman campaign
fund last year and that large
sums were raised from among
their number. The interest of
the country is in learning whether,
with billions of dojlars worth of
contracts at stake, the B-36 was
given the right of way properly
and if it was a mere coincidence
that a company in financial dif
ficulties was saved with B-36 or
ders, and whether all this was
just an innocent set of circum
stances.
Such an investigation cannot
be a “whitewash” nor can it be
terminated Dy hearing only a part
of the testimony. As Mr. Truman
says, judgment as to whether any
individual inside or outside the
Government did anything im
proper has to be suspended till
all the evidence is in—but he
didn’t say that there was no need
to take any more testimony after
a few witnesses had given their
ex parte opinions.
(Reproduction Rlchta Reserved.)
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This Changing World
U. S. Takes Calculated Risk in Allowing
Tito to Buy American Steel Mill
By Constantine Brown
The American Government has
launched now the first big test of
its policy of attempting to win
Marshal Tito permanently away
from the Soviet
sphere.
Thi8 test in
! volves not only
' the sincerity of
the Yugoslav
dictator, who
has been en
gaged for a
year now in
an increasingly
bitter fight
with the Rus
sian-led Com
inform, but
also the prac
tiealitv of eco- ConiUntlne Brown,
nomic and political inducements
not only to Tito but possilMy also
to other Scviet sphere leaders who
may become dissatisfied with Mos
! cow’s domination,
i The decision to approve the sale
of a steel mill to the Yugpslav dic
j tator was not taken in haste or
without consideration. Many fac
I tors were weighed in arriving at
the decision, which was taken with
recognition of the danger that if
Marshal Tito ever composes his
differences with Moscow the heavy
equipment—amounting to an in
crease in war potential—which we
sell him now may become available
| to Moscow in the accomplishment
of its warlike aims.
Betting on Tito’s Sincerity.
But while conceding this dan
ger, American policymakers have
: undertaken to let Tito have this
one bit of additional war potential
i [n an effort to show him that there
is more of the same for him on
| the side of the Western democra
cies if he sees fit to join the West.
In other words, this Govern
ment is betting on Tito’s sincerity
and honesty of purpose. The odds
i are problematical, "but are prob
! ably not far from even one way
ior another.
In a measure we also are show
ing our gratitude to the Yugoslav
marshal for favors already ren
dered. His withdrawal of assist
ance from the Greek Communist
guerrillas already has made it pos
sible for the Greek government to
carry forward a gigantic cleanup
of the rebels. They are denied,
with Yugoslav assistance, use of
the headquarters which they had
maintained at Skoplje and Monas
tic in Yugoslav Macedonia. They
have been foreed to operate chiefly
out of Albania, and it is on the
Albanian border that the present
great offensive has been launched
with the aim of winding up the
civil war completely.
More Assistance Likely.
There is more assistance under
consideration for Marshal Tito.
He has requested loanS both from
the United States and from the
World Bank. A commission from
the latter institution now is in
Yugoslavia conducting an on-the
spot investigation of the request.
On the Cominform side pressure
against Tito is increasing greatly.1
The Czech Communists have been
carrying the ball recently with
their attempts to stir up the Yugo
slavs to revolt against him. Sev
eral attempts already have been
made on his life. His own police
and military forces have proved
adequate up to this time to protect
him against these plots. He is in
constant danger, however, of assas
sination by some Yugoslav fanatic
or by sopie member of his own
entourage who might find per
sonal profit in killing Moscow's
worst enemy in the Balkans.
Tito's assassination, his return
to the Soviet fold or a successful
Russian military ac"on arT''"~t
Yugoslavia not onfr could nullify
our present efforts to v.^o i,.r
Yugoslav leader but could prove
dangerous for us by letting part of
our war potential fall into Soviet
hands.
Yet the risjc Is one which must
be taken, just as risks must be
taken in war. If they are recog-1
nized and calculated, however, the
peril in them is reduced to the
minimum.
I
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You can take advantage of your leisure
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I F STREET AT IO»h N.W. !
LOUIE
—By Harry Hanan
No Protests Heard
Divorce of the Dixiecrats Will Help
Democratic Party All Over Nation
By Thomas L. Stokes
The casual way in which the
retiring chairman of the Demo
cratic National Committee, Sen
ator McGrath, omitted invitations
to four Dixie
crat members
of the commit
tee to the meet
ing here next
week to elect a
new chairman
wasn’t in the
usual political
tradition.
But nothing
very unusual
has happened
as a result of
that black
balling of the
National Com- Thom*, u sto*..
mittee members from the four
States—Alabama, Louisiana. Mis
sissippi and South Carolina— i
whi*h bolted to the Dixiec-at
candidate for President last No
vember, except in the case of that
candidate himself. Gov. J. Strom
Thurmond of South Carolina.
His resignation as national
committeeman from his State
was accepted at a stormy meet
ing of the State Democratic Ex
ecutive Committee, which replaced
him with Senator Burnett May
bank, who remained regular last
year. Also in South Carolina and
the other three States the Dixie
crats were giving forth indig
nantly. and arranging meetings
among themselves, and two of
the uninvited members were even
threatening to come here.
Might Add Spice to Session.
If this happened it might add
spice to what appears now wil^
be a routine session to elevate
William B. Boyle, executive di
rector of the committee, to the
chairmanship.
But no responsible Southern
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Democratic leader has raised his
voice in protest. Nor is there any
violent revolution evident among
the plain people of the South.
The attitude here seems to be
that the Dixiecrats, since they
formed their own party, should
go ahead and operate in it ard,
if they desire, hold all the meet
ings they want among themselves
and with their corporate backers.
President Truman himself put
the situation succinctly when he
was asked if he approved with
holding invitations to the Dixie
crat committee members. He re
plied merely that the National
Committee is in control of its
own membership and is made up
of Democrats.
Of course, he did approve it.
i No such action is taken without
! the consent of the party leader,
in this case the President.
;It is part of his determined course
to disassociate himself completely
from the Dixiecrats. He em-|
barked, on it right after the elec-!
tion with his remark that he was
glad he got elected without the
votes of New York or the South.
He pursued it thereafter by a
policy of denying patronage to
bolters, the customary mode of
discipline in a political party.
Larger Scheme Manifest.
His bill of divorcement against
the Dixiecrats is related to a
larger scheme manifest in this
Congress. This is to give per
manence. if possible, to the vol
untary alliance in the last election
of labor and Midwest farmers, the
combination responsible for the
Truman victory, and thus to min
imize depb|?dence on the “solid
South."
That explains the Presidents
100 per cent backing of labor in
its demand for outright repeal of
the Taft-Hartley Act. It explains
also the Brannan farm plan and
the Des Moines Midwest Demo
cratic Conference in June to un
veil it, and the projected stump
ing tour of Secretary of Agricul
ture Charles F. Brannan in be
half of the plan which President
Truman revealed frankly was at
his instruction.
Divorce of the Dixiecrats and.
all they stand for in the way of'
racial policy and economic stand-^
pattism will help the Democratic
Party all over the country, in
cluding the South itself. For the
Dixiecrats do not represent the
real aspirations of the Southern j
people, and their narrow section-1
alism is anathema to people else
where.
McLemore—
Finds a City Gripped
By Gold Fever
By Henry McLemore
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa.
—I haven’t been here long enough
to catch the fever, but South
African friends tell me that It
is only a mat
ter of time un
til I wake some
morning with a
flush on my
cheeks, «a wild
glare in my eye,
and running a
temperature as
high as a model
T crossing a
desert.
It won’t be
malarial fever,
or dengue fever,
or any kind of
fever for which Henr* McLemore.
a doctor can prescribe, but the
gold fever.
We have nothing comparable to
; the gold fever in the United
States. Here in South Africa, and
Johannesburg in particular, you’d
be hard pressed to find any one
who doesn’t dabble in gold shares.
Here, where the gleaming metal
apparently is as abundant as coal
is in Pennsylvania or West Vir
ginia, every one dreams of becom
ing a millionaire overnight.
Like-a Madhouse.
Word of a new strike causes as
much action as a lighted cigarette
thrown in a gasoline tank. House
wives throw down their brooms,
stenographers abandon their type
writers in the middle of a sen
tence, telephone Tsirls flee their
switchboards, trolley conductors
leap off their vehicles, and all
head for the Unipn Stock Ex
change.
Messenger boys, elevator oper
ators, street sweepers and firemen
pool their resources to buy stock.
People sell their insurance policies,
their houses, their cars, and their
cattle, to buy gold shares.
Johannesburg. I am told, is like
a madhouse when a new strike is
announced. An excitement grips
the city that overpowers anything
else, and there is talk of nothing
ibut gold, gold, gold. People who
i don’t own even a jalopy begin
dreaming of Rolls-Royces, coun
try estates, and retirement.
Rip-roaring Place.
Not long ago a new, extremely
rich strike was made on a f#urm
near the little town of Winburg.
Overnight the owner of the farm
became an international figure as
his name and that of his farm
was flashed to all parts of the
world. And the town of Winburg
was launched on a boom of mag
nificent proportions. Business
men and option hunters descend
ed »by the thousands, seeking
options near the farm. Real
estate values took a tremendous
leap, and what was a quiet peace
ful little town became a rip-roar
ing place.
As the boom developed, I am
told, the conditions on the Union
Stock Exchange became frantic
as hysterical buyers pushed,
shoved and fought to purchase
stock. The brokers all but had
their clothes torn off by the wild
eyed dreamers of vast riches.
One can hardly blame the. peo
ple for dreaming, because .Johan
nesburg is a monument to what
gold can mean. It is said that
there are more millionaires and
trillionalres to the square mile in
this city that is scarcely CO years
of age than in any other city
in the world. Ana wnile much of
this wealth came from diamonds,
the greater portion came from the
precious metal.
(Distributed by McNauiht Syndicate, Ins.)
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Outfit consists of Horrock-lbbot
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Reg. $10.00 Herrock-lbbotson, 2-piece
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