The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 27, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that fighting continued between the Greek Army and the Communist guerrillas in the Konitsa-Ioannina region of Northern Greece. Konitsa, attacked three times by the guerrillas, was reportedly under a state of siege. Guerrilla units from Albania had captured the Bourazani Bridge, scene of the fiercest fighting. An Army communique stated that 96 guerrillas had been killed and 63 taken prisoner during the previous 24 hours. The Government, in response to the attacks, was reportedly planning to outlaw the Communist Party.

Several members of Congress predicted that the Soviet Union would increase its pressure on the Athens Government to recognize the "free state" with undefined borders, declared by guerrilla leader Markos Vifiades the previous Wednesday. Representative Richard Nixon of California predicted that the Administration would thus be prompted to ask for as much as 400 million dollars in additional aid for Greece, supplementing the 300 million already appropriated the previous spring. Other GOP Congressmen also voiced opinions on the matter.

In Palestine, four Jews and six Arabs were killed in fighting this date, some of the deaths occurring in a reprisal attack conducted by Haganah on the Arab village of Silwan. The deaths brought the total killed in Palestine since partition had been approved by the U.N. on November 29, to 379 dead, with 500 killed throughout the Middle East.

The President appointed Secretary of State Marshall to administer the 522 million dollar winter emergency aid program to France, Italy, and Austria.

In Warsaw, two underground leaders, convicted of supplying state and military secrets to American and British diplomats, were sentenced to death as traitors. Five other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment as spies. Two others received 15 and 12-year sentences.

The Department of Agriculture stated that at least 71 Federal, state, and local jobholders would be included in the next release of names of speculators in wheat futures, said to be partially responsible for inflated prices. A new list of 1,240 names had been released the previous night, involving speculation on the Chicago market in wheat futures, but no recognizable government jobholder was included.

In the Philippines, following the worst December typhoon to hit the country in 30 years, 49 had been killed or were missing, 32 of whom were aboard a sunken vessel. Twenty-nine passengers and crew had been rescued.

In New England, at least fourteen people had died from the winter snow storm which hit the area the previous day, dumping over twenty inches of snow on Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Three of the dead were in Massachusetts, all from heart attacks from over-exertion.

The total number of deaths from the storm had reached 41 in the Mid-Atlantic states, extending from New York to Washington. New Jersey suffered 13 deaths and New York, 11.

New York City had been hit with its worst snowfall in city history, 25.8 inches, and an emergency plan was put into effect to protect the citizens by clearing streets to enable vital deliveries of fuel and food. Only eight ambulances were reported available for use for the 2.7 million population of Brooklyn, and conditions in Queens were reported to be "bad". The previous record snowfall was 20.9 inches, occurring in 1888. The storm dropped an average of 1.8 inches per hour for nearly 16 hours.

Times Square was filled with persons stranded in the city with little money and time to kill. Workers who normally went home after work were patronizing the dime beer bars. Some of the larger nightclubs, however, had more entertainers than patrons, as the persons able to afford them were also able to pay their way home. A pair of skiers were seen on Madison Avenue and others were observed skiing in Central Park. A sleigh brought two passengers to the Savoy Plaza Hotel. Two detectives used their powers of deduction to dig out their buried car, before discovering that they had detected the wrong vehicle, presumably unmarked. Bus companies reported 2,000 vehicles lost, their whereabouts unknown.

We've been telling you about them Martians who landed last July. Now, maybe you will understand.

At Bear Mountain, officials of the Palisades Interstate Park were joyful at the snowfall, predicting record crowds for winter sports—as long as you did not die getting there.

In Brindletown, N.C., near Morganton in Burke County, a 78-year old man burned to death in his home as his daughter and son-in-law looked on, unable to rescue him. The man's son later arrived on the scene and also was unable to battle the intense heat of the blaze to get to his father.

In Charlotte, a delivery boy was arrested for hit-and-run on a motorcycle after he was spotted carrying a replacement windshield for the bike. The motorcyclist had hit a man from Detroit on Christmas morning.

That's no way to treat an out-of-towner in the "Friendly City", especially on Christmas morning.

In London, pursuant to a report from a man who had purchased four pairs of suspenders made under Government decree limiting the elastic to three inches at the back, finding then that the suspenders had broken within three months, the Times editorialized: "The four freedoms are a hollow mockery if our braces are going to be bursting all the time. No nation can be expected to hold up its head if it is also required to hold up its trousers."

On the editorial page, "Fuel Oil Crisis a Scandal" discusses the local fuel oil shortage. According to industry representatives, it stemmed from distribution problems. But Mayor Herbert Baxter had been able to find precious little available anywhere in the country.

The Administration had taken no action to dip into Government reserves or speed transportation. The only action to alleviate the crisis had been an agreement between the local distributors and the City Council and that had proved far from adequate. Drastic conservation measures appeared the only hope to ameliorate the crisis, which the piece finds scandalous.

"'Colossus of the North'" suggests that Panama, for the sake of its wounded pride, was holding the U.S. over a barrel in not approving the leases of 14 wartime bases desired by the U.S. to protect the country and the Canal Zone. It called attention to the fact that the U.S. was not universally adored or trusted in the Western Hemisphere. Panama reflected a growing sentiment in Latin America against the notion of Yankee imperialism and dollar diplomacy of the turn of the century, revived during and since the war.

Without the bases, the U.S. could not properly protect the Canal, jeopardizing the defense system of the entire Western Hemisphere. While building a new canal in Nicaragua, Colombia, or in Mexico had been discussed, it was not clear how feasible such a project would be. The Panamanian situation thus needed to be rectified through diplomacy.

"Three Forecasts for the New Year" tells of Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon predicting that his fellow Republicans would reverse themselves on the voluntary control measure passed in the special session and authorize limited controls on wages and prices while also allowing the President to impose rationing. He believed it would come after the GOP members returned from their homes and heard public sentiment from their constituents.

The piece says that it reluctantly was prepared to venture that Senator Morse's prediction was unlikely to come true. His constituents in Oregon were not representative of most GOP constituencies and the Republicans had determined to run in 1948 as the party of non-regimentation. Furthermore, the report from the President's Council of Economic Advisers had indicated that 1948 would see a relaxation in inflation, provided it would be a good crop year.

So, it concludes, it fit the GOP faith in Providence that the goddess of harvests favored Senator Taft.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "What Would Panchito Say?" wonders what the Tepexpan Man—as distinguished from Teflon Man—, estimated to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old, the remains of whom had been recently discovered in the Valley of Mexico, would state about modern man running the world. He was the only known exemplar of man in the Americas in ancient times, sharing his world with now extinct bison, mammoths, and other mammals.

The piece wonders whether he would not find the modern instruments of war barbaric and the methods of diplomacy worthy of the Stone Age. As "wars begin in the minds of men", as the preamble to UNESCO had stated it, "it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

Gustav Svensson, substituting for Drew Pearson, whose column was not received in time for press, tells of the 40-year reign of King Gustaf V of Sweden.

You can read all about it. We're on holiday, too.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly examines the record of the 80th Congress in its first session and special session in 1947, the first Republican-majority House and Senate in 16 years.

It had authorized the Truman Doctrine aid to Greece and Turkey, ratified the peace treaties with Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania, ratified the Inter-American Treaty negotiated at Rio in August, proposed the Amendment to the Constitution, which would later be ratified, limiting the President to two terms in office, outlawed suits for portal-to-portal pay, passed the Taft-Hartley Act, removed controls on construction which had allocated resources, removed controls on rents, allowing 15 percent increases in rents based on written leases through 1948, unified the armed forces under a Defense Department, authorized 350 million dollars for foreign relief in occupation zones, appropriated 540 million dollars in emergency aid for Austria, Italy, and France, and passed the voluntary inflation control measure, still not yet signed by the President.

Throughout most of the regular and special sessions, the Congress behaved under the shadow of the impending 1948 elections.

The Republicans had come to power as the party of fiscal responsibility, to reel in unnecessary spending under the New Deal, but had fallen far short of the goals it had set for savings. The final reductions thus far amounted to 2.9 billion dollars against an amount set at six billion in the House bill and 4.5 billion in the Senate version, the two figures never having been reconciled in joint committee.

Twice during the session, the Republicans had sought to reduce taxes and twice the President had vetoed the bills, both times sustained. The two bills were essentially identical, save for the effective dates. Democrats criticized the tax cut for favoring only the higher brackets.

The Congress adjourned without acting on long-term housing and the anti-inflation measure was severely criticize by Democrats as inadequate.

Barnet Nover predicts that ERP might undergo heavy sledding in the regular session of Congress, judging from the problems encountered in getting only the emergency aid passed in the special session. But it was unlikely that no recovery program would be passed. Even those members as Senator Taft, who feared that it would wreck the American economy, likely would vote for some measure in the end. For rejecting it would lend tacit affirmation to the Soviets and their plans to expand Communism into Western Europe. But there was no assurance that the ERP to be passed would be that proposed by the President and Secretary of State Marshall.

During the emergency aid debate, there were consistent refrains that there was no need to have a long-range commitment, but rather only an annual appropriation to be reassessed each year. The naysayers would continue to argue that the aid would be wasted, as prior aid had been, and that the gravity of the situation in Western Europe had been over-dramatized.

Still other opponents contended that there was no way to save Western Europe from Communism and that it was of no moment, in any event, vis-à-vis the U.S.

But such new isolationism had few followers. Most disfavored ERP, if at all, for its presumed adverse economic consequences.

The program would involve a sacrifice even if it only amounted to three percent of national income, as calculated by the Administration. The plan might cost more than estimated, as the estimates were the result of progressive watering down of the program to accommodate political opposition and make it more palatable to the public pocketbook.

Mr. Nover concludes that if the job was worth doing, then the country could not object to the cost.

Samuel Grafton tells of a book which he endorses, What Is Life? by Erwin Schrodinger, published in 1946, regarding chromosome behavior, where the normal laws of physics appeared not to apply. The professor combined atomic physics with biology to look at the chromosome, which he regarded as determining individual qualities through molecular interaction. At body temperature, chromosomes could remain stable through centuries, thus passing behavioral characteristics generationally. But under heat or the effect of X-rays, they could suddenly change to produce a mutation.

Professor Schrodinger had performed experiments on the fruit fly with X-rays precisely targeting certain chromosomes to produce such changes. "Precision" meant hitting the chromosomal structure within a billionth of a meter.

Mr. Grafton compares the thus explained precision of science with the imprecision of public discourse, that some believed in shooting everyone who disagreed with them, that others believed that the Marshall Plan would bankrupt the country. An editor had opined that there ought be Federal censorship of movies.

He finds a possible explanation for the disparity between exactitude in science and that in public debate, that offered solutions to problems were no more than reflections of fears in a modern age, in which disorganization superseded any form.

He recommends Professor Schrodinger's book as a contrast with such ephemera as characterized the typical public discussion of political and economic issues.

Happy third day of Christmas: Nearly three feet of snow in the North, and three nations grateful for winter aid, and, somewhere swirling through the otherwise unknown and untrammeled stretches of the Universe, three Martians, tickled greener by their causation of chaos on Earth.

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