The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 14, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that rescue workers near Leesburg, Va., were making their way through rugged hill country in the rain to the wreckage of a Capital Airlines plane which crashed with 50 persons aboard and no sign of survivors. Apparently, the DC-4 had exploded on impact. As with the two other DC-4's which had crashed in the previous seventeen days, one on takeoff from La Guardia on May 29, killing 42 persons, and the other the following day, near Port Deposit, Md., killing 53, each setting successive records for deaths in commercial airliners, the plane was a former Army C-54 transport converted to civilian use.

It was being reported from Washington that the Civil Aeronautics Board intended some major action to try to stop further airline disasters. Senator Owen Brewster of Maine wanted a thorough investigation of the structural stability of the DC-4.

The White House announced that the President would act on the tax bill by the end of Monday, the deadline for action.

The Chief of Police in Atlanta reported the arrest of a French artist on a charge of sodomy, emerging from responses to lie detector tests administered to him and to a young woman and man regarding the death of the artist's wife. The Police Chief said that the lie detector test showed deception on every answer by the artist except his response that he did not love his wife.

Candidly, we cannot make heads or tails of that one. You're on your own. But don't go canoeing up river to cogitate on it too much.

One of the heaviest turnouts in the history of Mecklenburg County was recorded for the referendum on controlled sale of alcohol through ABC stores. Over 11,500 had cast ballots within the first six hours of voting, despite a slow rain falling. More than 35,000 had voted in each of the previous two Presidential elections, and it was thought that the total vote would exceed 30,000 on the liquor issue.

In 1937, a referendum had been held and of 16,435 votes, the measure for control was defeated by 800 votes, the difference coming from the rural areas, heavily voting dry.

Whether the rain was an omen favorable to the wets, you will have to wait until Monday to find out. We know you are anxious, as we are, to learn of the outcome of this crucial decision to the future of mankind.

Photographs regarding the election take up the bulk of the page this date.

In Cincinnati, James Marion Snodgrass, a 39-year old biophysicist, stated that he was one of a group of scientists who had developed a secret Anglo-American weapon which he described as being "as awesome in its effects as the atomic bomb." He said it was not connected with the atom bomb and was not a biological weapon. The development of the weapon had begun after the heavy loss of life on Tarawa in the Pacific, November 22, 1943.

In sports, the Clemson Tigers had not displaced Alabama as the favorites to take the Southern District collegiate baseball playoff at Griffith Park in Charlotte. Details are on the sports page.

Clemson would win the game but then lose in the Eastern playoff against Yale, eventual loser to the University of California in the College World Series finals.

On the editorial page, "The High Cost of Two Worlds" finds that, given the demarcation by the Truman Doctrine of an East-West line, it was not surprising that the Russians were responding by stimulating a coup in Hungary in favor of the Communists and engaging in a similar process in Austria. It did no good to cast blame. The fact was that the dream of peace was crumbling.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, had stated that the country was in critical contest with the Soviet Union. The piece recognizes such a reality, and also agrees with his assessment that the Truman Doctrine was the policy most likely to avert war and enable the U.N. to achieve world authority. But he also issued the caveat with that endorsement that unless the methodology was changed in implementing foreign policy, the delays and uncertainties caused by the American political system, the effort would not succeed.

Congress had generally approved the Doctrine but had shown reluctance in implementing it. The fiscally conservative Congress would be hard-pressed to convince that appropriation of billions of dollars annually for such aid was necessary to resist Soviet expansion.

It recommends better education of the public anent the need for such aid.

"Mr. Albright Figures the Odds" tells of R. Mayne Albright being a candidate for governor. An independent who had no support beyond GI Democrats, Mr. Albright was also a liberal and proud of the fact. He believed in something more than simply better schools and highways.

The average voter was placing their faith in the status quo, that the times would remain favorable economically. But there was also some hint of uneasiness just below the surface.

It concludes that though he could not win office, he ought nevertheless run, to put his views in the public marketplace of ideas and thereby might reverse the odds for future campaigns, and become "the youthful prophet who cried havoc way back in the era of the full belly."

"Just a Friendly Little Chat" comments on Smoky Schroeder, the railroad fireman from Oelwein, Iowa, who had the temerity to phone Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov in Moscow, just to chat sociably, and was able to do so after a four hour wait and an expenditure of $22.50. He talked for seven minutes, largely about the weather in Iowa and railroading, and then was turned over to Mr. Molotov's secretaries, who quickly became disengaged when they discovered that Mr. Schroeder had never been to Hollywood.

It suggests that the telephone service was likely better between Oelwein and Moscow than between Washington and Moscow and wonders whether Government officials ever shared Mr. Schroeder's impulse to pick up the phone and simply chat with Moscow counterparts. Mr. Schroeder had demonstrated that the iron curtain was no barrier for such discourse.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "They Ain't Being Ruint", recalls that a couple of years earlier a professor had sought to end the legend of Santa Claus as being harmful to youth. He was generally renounced in the press, including in the Times-Dispatch.

Now, Punch and Judy were under similar attack, as the Middlesex County Council in England had taken away the $800 appropriation for Punch and Judy shows in public parks. They did so in response to a woman who proclaimed that the shows were akin to bear-baiting and cock fighting, that Punch's treatment of Judy was bad for children's morale, that the shows encouraged violence.

It was true that the two puppets regularly engaged in a knock-down, drag-out slug-fest, in the tradition of slapstick. But, it concludes, the other possibility was that children were being schooled thusly to take hard knocks and get back up anyway. So, they were not being ruint after all.

It might have added that British children being sent to the country in 1940 to avoid being killed by Nazi bombs, during the period of "peace for our time", surely was not in the least emboldening of violence toward anyone. Everyone, including Tiny Tim, was happy-happy, but for the presence of Punch and Judy.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon the previous week having made one of the more statesmanlike addresses to the Senate heard in that chamber for many months. Even his conservative foes admitted as much. He had stressed "voting by conviction" in the context of his nay vote on Taft-Hartley. He stated that a Gallup poll should not be the arbiter of an elected representative's vote. Each such representative had a solemn obligation to vote as he or she saw fit in the public interest, even if contrary to the majority will of the constituents. If the judgment proved faulty, then the electorate could vote the representative out of office at the next election. He said that if it were otherwise, he did not wish to serve in the Senate, finding the type of pressure brought to bear by labor and management lobbying efforts to be counter to these principles.

Mr. Pearson notes that Senator Morse had been dean and professor of the University of Oregon Law School for thirteen years prior to coming to the Senate and had the keenest legal mind in the body. He had served as chairman of the War Labor Board prior to being elected Senator in 1944.

He next tells of the Army seeking to cover up the story that they had loaned to the Russians U.S. currency plates to print occupation marks and, in consequence, had come up 950 million dollars in the hole on their books. The War Department was paying off in occupation marks German prisoners who had worked in private organizations, giving some benefit to the Army in the exchange rate. But the difference could not be made up regarding the loss on the Russian occupation marks. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had called it the chief financial scandal of the war.

He notes that it was reported that the decision to turn over the plates was made at the highest levels of the Government, probably in agreement with the Russians at Yalta in February, 1945. American soldiers had sold wrist watches to Russian soldiers for $1,000 each in Russian paper and then converted it to $1,000 in U.S. currency, making a profit of about $950 per transaction.

He next informs that it had come forth in the trial of former Kentucky Congressman Andrew May, charged in Federal court with receiving bribes for war contracts with the Garsson brothers combine, also on trial with him, that a relative of one of the brothers, a corporal in the Army, had suddenly been transferred in November, 1941, three weeks before being scheduled for shipment overseas, to the Chemical Warfare School, after which he was able to remain stateside through the war.

Finally, he reports that Col. William L. Lee, who had been involved a year earlier in a sidewalk scuffle with John Maragon, pal of President Truman's military aide, Maj. General Harry Vaughan, and then summarily dispatched home from Rome and transferred to Salina, Kan., continued to have his troubles despite a good military performance record. He was recently nixed from leading a training flight of B-29's, in favor of a less experienced colonel. Mr. Pearson concludes that the moral was that it was bad procedure to offend General Vaughan and Mr. Maragon—the latter of whom had been said to be influential in convincing the President to seek the 250-million dollar aid package for Greece.

Marquis Childs tells of two reasons having been offered for the crowds attendant appearances of Henry Wallace in his cross-country speech-making tour. One was curiosity and the other, the zeal of the left and fellow travelers. But, he quickly adds, a third reason might have been that Mr. Wallace had identified himself with the genuine desire of the people for peace in the world. A farmer in Minnesota had commented that Mr. Wallace appeared to want peace while Mr. Truman appeared to want war.

He cautions, however, that the idealistic hope was being confused with the reality that peace was not so easily acquired as Mr. Wallace made it sound. But the appeal was strong among the church-going, progressives and farmer-laborites.

In Britain, in the 1930's, George Lansbury had played a similar role within the Labor Party, preaching peace consistently, saying he believed that he could talk Hitler out of aggression. He did go to see Hitler in April, 1937, and came away saying that Hitler had promised a peace conference in which Germany would enter in good faith. Such flew in the face of Mein Kampf, as it flew in the face of German records found after the war, showing the plan to seize world power being set forth long before Munich and Neville Chamberlain's statement in result, "Peace for our time."

Winston Churchill was a lone voice in Parliament at the time, suggesting Mr. Lansbury as "bombinating in a vacuum"—which comes very close, if edging a little toward the prurient, to Clare Boothe Luce's neologism, "globaloney", coined, probably off of Mr. Churchill's coinage, in 1943, in reference to the "one world" post-war concept advocated then by Vice-President Wallace, Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, and 1940 Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie, who had written a book of that title.

"The lesson of the 30's," says Mr. Childs, "is that peace at any price means finally war at any cost. It is not a choice between Wallace's brand of idealism and war. The alternative is a positive, far-seeing policy that will make use of America's great economic and technological strength to build a stable world.

"The tragedy of the moment is the negative presentation of our aid program. It has made it too easy for Wallace to pose as the only champion of peace."

As Samuel Grafton had suggested the previous day, the new Marshall Plan appeared to be designed, with its emphasis on European self-reliance in administering the plan for aid, to meet these concerns somewhere in between the Wallace idealism and the Truman Doctrine—as coldly defined by the President on March 12 within the emergent context formed from the vacuum, bombinating or not, to be left behind by the sudden evacuation of British troops and aid from Greece and Turkey, leaving the Dardanelles exposed potentially to Soviet aggression, and Greece to the guerrilla fighters in the north, said to be armed and aided by Soviet-backed Tito in Yugoslavia, as well as by Communist interests in Albania and Bulgaria, potentially to supplant King George II, considered by the State Department, despite his support during the war of the Nazis and his Fascist tendencies generally, to be the lesser of two evils.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop state that the betting line was that President Truman would on Monday veto the tax bill, but they refrain from making that a prediction. The political pundits were so saying, correctly, as it would turn out, because he had nearly committed himself to such a veto in the Jackson Day dinner speech in April, in the State of the Union in January, and on other occasions.

But as to the labor bill—which he would also shortly veto—there was no prior commitment and thus the betting was less clear-cut. President Truman gave more weight to the opinions of his Cabinet than any of his predecessors in modern memory. And Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach was not alone in his decrying of the Taft-Hartley bill. DNC chairman and Postmaster General Robert Hannegan favored a veto to avoid providing ammunition for Henry Wallace to form a third party movement for 1948, splitting the Democratic vote and handing the election in consequence to the Republicans.

More importantly, Secretary of Interior Julius Krug was said to favor veto. The President had developed profound respect for Mr. Krug's judgment in his role as administrator of the coal mines for the previous 13 months and his deft dealings with John L. Lewis and UMW in that time. Mr. Krug was of the opinion that the bill was bogged down in intricacy and would not help prevent a coal strike when, at the end of the month, the mines were turned back over to the operators. The thinking was that the escape clause regarding allowance of a strike when safety was a legitimate concern would give the ground, since the recent Centralia, Illinois, disaster, for a strike, irrespective of wage, hours, and most recently, the dispute over a larger contribution to the health and welfare fund by the mine operators than the nickel per ton of coal mined, as arranged in May, 1946 with the Government, the non-Southern operators thus far offering but half that, causing negotiations for the nonce to cease, threatening strike.

Thus, those willing to venture a bet were placing their money on a veto, but there was also considerable opinion within the Cabinet the other way, led by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, and including Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder, Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, and Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman. It was likely that Secretary of State Marshall would venture no opinion on the matter. (They omit, for some reason, Secretary of War Robert Patterson.)

So, they conclude that the wise money on the labor bill was probably correct, if far from being a sure bet.

A letter writer from Fort Mill, S.C., reprinted from the Fort Mill Times, thanks Mecklenburg County for putting $15,000 in tax revenue into its coffers annually from the two million dollars in liquor trade. The Fort Mill liquor store owners were from other places and he wonders, with so much profit involved, why no local operator had ever sought to run one.

A pair of letter writers object to the planned cross-town boulevard for presenting a safety hazard for school children, interfering with emergency vehicles needing to cross it, ruining 99 homes along its route, and bringing more traffic to already congested Charlotte.

One of Senator Soaper's usually nonsensical comments, among other things on the pages this date, caused us to revisit November 22, 1963 and this recent PBS documentary on the subject, suggesting, through ballistics testing of a 6.5-mm Mannlicher-Carcano of the same type allegedly used by Lee Oswald in the assassination, that it was "probable" that he shot the President by dint of the "possibility" established in their testing that one bullet struck both the President and Governor Connally, meaning that it did not require two shooters to wound both men, as is necessarily the case, at least based on standard assumptions about the order and nature of the major wounds in the two men, if the single-bullet theory is eliminated.

It took about ten minutes of research, however, to debunk this whole mess which they created to justify the single-bullet theory. Indeed, what the program actually establishes is the converse, by establishing that, repeatedly and invariably, the bullet tumbles after penetrating simulated tissue matter. The theory of the tumbling bullet has been around for many years and so this point was not new, but the tests confirmed the thesis. But the conclusion drawn from the tests is made faulty by the facts established in the Warren Commission Report, as nicely set forth in a compendium here. The surgeon, Dr. Shaw, who examined Governor Connally's wounds, observed an entry wound just below his right armpit which measured "roughly" 1.5 cm. The corresponding holes in the jacket and shirt worn by Governor Connally measured, according to another witness, about 5/8-inch horizontally and 1/2-inch vertically. As shown in Commission Exhibit 399, the Mannlicher-Carcano bullet, as found loose on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital, is about three centimeters, or 1.18 inches, in length. It plainly, therefore, could not have made a tumbling entry into Governor Connally without producing a larger entry wound than 1.5 cm., about .6 inches, equivalent to the size of the corresponding holes in the jacket and shirt. One would expect an entry wound from a tumbling bullet of approximately 3 cm. or 1.18 inches, certainly much larger than half an inch.

In point of fact, the diameter of the bullet, as shown in another view, "S02", of Commission Exhibit 399, is about 1/4-inch, or 1/3-inch on its deformed eccentric, that is 6.5-mm to 8.0-mm. Thus, the bullet fits the wound of Governor Connally only via direct entry, without tumbling, i.e., based on the replicated ballistics tests, from a direct trajectory without first passing through the President.

We conclude that PBS needs to do its homework better before broadcasting misleading documentaries on this subject, the woods already being full of them through the decades. Such misinformation so late in time only further beclouds a crime against the American people which has never been properly investigated or resolved in fifty years. We charge this documentary with irresponsibly promulgating a blatant lie to corroborate the single-bullet theory; for we cannot believe the producers and script writers would be so stupid as not to check the Warren Commission transcript of Dr. Shaw's testimony anent the actual size of Governor Connally's entry wound and compare it to the size of the Mannlicher-Carcano bullet before making their statement that the entry wound "fits" the size of the laterally tumbling bullet. It does not. Why this documentary was wedded to that theory, as it plainly was at every juncture of its supposedly objective methodology, we do not propose to know, except that the truth is often inconvenient.

Nevertheless, even in this lie, the documentary does prove one thing: the single-bullet theory appears improbable of occurrence without the tumbling bullet entering Governor Connally, and the Mannlicher-Carcano bullet, as the measurements indicate, could not tumble laterally into Governor Connally and produce the half-inch entry wound to which Dr. Shaw testified. It would necessarily be larger. Hence, the single-bullet theory could not be correct. Thus, again assuming the generally accepted nature of the wounds and order of their occurrence, there necessarily was more than one shooter operating in Dealey Plaza, to fire both shots separately in close, but not simultaneous, order. We note that Governor Connally, himself, when interviewed days after the shooting, asserted without doubt that the President was hit by a bullet, and he then turned, knowing the sound of gunfire, and saw that the President had been hit, and then, as he began turning forward again in his seat, was struck, wholly consistent with the visual imagery on the Zapruder film, wholly consistent with the above analysis, and completely at odds with the single-bullet theory and the ridiculous conclusion reached by the documentary presented by PBS.

Another flaw in the assumptions made by the documentary, cutting the other way, is that it assumes the minimum time for firing the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle with any accuracy to be 2.3 seconds between shots, based on tests conducted in 1964 by the FBI. But subsequent tests conducted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979 showed that the rifle could be fired with accuracy more quickly than that, in about 1.9 seconds, with three shots capable of being fired within five seconds.

Regardless, for the President and the Governor to have been hit by two separate bullets would require that two shots were fired accurately within the span of something less than 30 frames of the Zapruder film, i.e., in less than 1.6 seconds, with the film running at 18.3 frames per second. Such a limited time parameter is based on presumed visually discernible reaction of Governor Connally at frame 236. Before that point, the Governor is holding his Stetson hat in his right hand, the wrist of which would be wounded by the bullet which struck him. Starting at frame 236, the Governor begins to turn, and then turns all the way around and looks directly at the President, not being in any visible pain, consistent with his recollection, and then suddenly reacts at frame 289, and falls back against Mrs. Connally. Throughout the time after frame 237, the Governor is not in a position to be hit from behind from the right rear. Parenthetically, his reaction at 289 is actually consistent with being hit in his chest from the rear direction of the limousine, inconsistent, however, with Dr. Shaw's testimony as to the nature of his wounds.

The shot which struck the President's head occurs at frame 313, further compressing the time necessary for three different shots after frame 212, roughly the point at which the first shot hit the President, though possibly as late as frame 220, the intervening frames being hidden by the Stemmons Freeway sign. Mrs. Kennedy has turned quickly in an instant to look at the President by frame 220, as her image first appears from behind the sign.

The total time sequence therefore between the first shot to hit the President, the shot which hits Governor Connally, and the shot which hits the President in the head is no more than 101 frames of film, or 5.5 seconds. Even with the shorter allowed time frame of 1.9 seconds between two shots, given the constraints imposed by the visual evidence, there is no more than 24 frames available after frame 212 for Governor Connally to be in the right position to be hit from behind from the Depository. No one has ever claimed that the rifle could be fired in as little 1.3 seconds or 24 frames. Thus, to have a single shooter still would require the single-bullet theory regarding the first shot to hit the President. The only other possibility, allowing for a single shooter, would be that the Governor was actually wounded at frame 313 by one or more bullet fragments from the shot hitting the President's head, and not earlier. While feasible from the visual evidence and consistent with the Governor's own nearly contemporaneous recollection of events, that suggestion, to our knowledge, has never been made.

We note at least one other major flaw in the scripting of this documentary. The narrator suggests that if the shot to the President's head had originated in the vicinity of the grassy knoll, it would have exited from the left rear of his head. But, applying the very same logic, one expects an exit wound from the left front after an entry wound originating from a source on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, or any other location to the right and rear of the President's position at that time. The reconstruction of the head wound proves exactly nothing, as its feckless attempt to reconstruct the path of the bullet is entirely reliant on assumptions of data which led to the original conclusion as to the origin of the shot. If one takes the very same pieces of a puzzle and puts them logically together again, one necessarily expects the same conclusion. But, in this instance, the pieces do not fit well with the other evidence and the pieces, as nearly everyone agrees who has ever looked closely at the evidence of the head wound, suggest considerable photographic and other manipulation.

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