March 23, 1947. The Big Four Conference was underway in Moscow, the question of Loyalty was the topic of conversation in Washington and floods were inundating Britain.
Germany and the issue was reunification and reparations were hot topic issues in Moscow as the Big Four Conference got underway. The Big Four Foreign Ministers were getting down to hard discussion over exactly how they want Germany organized. The Four countries submitted thier overall plans, which didn’t seem so much difference between them as might have been expected. They had submitted their plans after general discussion was going on for the previous two weeks. Under the Secretary of State Marshall proposal and adopted the previous day, the Ministers would study the various plans between today and tomorrow. After that, experts would draw up a report on points of agreement and disagreement, and the council would meet again in a few days to decide what to do next. One of those reports introduced was a previously secret plan the U.S. drew up for political organization of Germany. It spelled out Secretary Marshall’s previous declaration that a provisional German government be established, followed by preparation of a constitution and creation of a permanent democratic regime. The other big question was when Secretary of State Marshall going to the Kremlin. So far, French Foreign Minister Bidault was invited and it was suspected that possibly Marshall was getting a Soviet brush-off. More would be revealed.
Meanwhile in Washington – Congressmen who were complaining that Communists were still holding Government jobs would soon learn whether their charges were true. But Congress would have to appropriate an estimated $25 million to obtain that knowledge. President Truman ordered a thorough investigation over allegations of disloyalty among the more than 2 million people who have government posts. The FBI would run checks and on future applicants as well. Mr. Truman’s statement announcing the unprecedented survey, stated that the presence in the government of any disloyal or subversive person constituted a threat to our democratic process. A government employee under the new order would be discharged if he were a member or even in sympathetic association with Communists, Fascists, Totalitarian or subversive group. Washington reported indicated that Communists and Communist sympathizers would be the first objective of the order. The president’s move was made only a few days after SCOTUS refused to interfere in the discharge of a Federal employee on the grounds that he was a member of what the Attorney General called “a Communist Front organization“. In issuing the order, President Truman countered the accusations that the White House was lax in preventing Communists from holding government posts.
And flood waters were still rising in Britain. The previous night, more than 3,000 families, trapped by floods in their homes in North Lincolnshire were rescued. Estimates ranged upwards of $1 billion in damages from flood waters would be inflicted before the danger was over.
And that’s a small slice of what went on this March 23, 1947 – 70 years ago today – as presented by NBC Radio’s World News Roundup.