The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 8, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in New York, the Russians were defeated in the Security Council on their effort to link general arms regulation with the proposed prohibition of atomic weapons in discussions to be held on the subject. The U.S. plan instead was adopted to consider atomic control separate from general arms control. Russia did not, however, invoke its veto power to block the matter as had been thought might occur.

Ten nations, including Communist-dominated Czechoslovakia, had thus far accepted the British-French invitation to meet in Paris on July 12 to discuss the Marshall Plan and set up an agenda for aid to be submitted to the State Department. Twelve other nations had been invited. None so far had refused to attend. It was reported that Russia might send a representative to the conference.

Greece agreed to terms for distribution of emergency food and other relief. The conditions provided for direct American supervision of the distribution and of prices. The American press would be allowed to observe and report freely on the distribution of the aid. The aid in question was part of European relief generally, not the 300 million dollar package which was part of the Truman Doctrine to ward off Communist aggression.

Order had been restored in Calcutta after rioting between Hindus and Moslems. At least twenty-five persons were officially reported to have been killed and 141 injured. The reason for the rioting was not stated, following on the immediate heels of the introduction in Commons of a resolution to establish independence for India on the basis of two independent states, Hindustan and Pakistan, the latter for the Moslem population.

In Dresden, in Russian-occupied Germany, a German court had sentenced to death two German doctors and two male nurses for directing the extermination of thousands of mental patients at the Sonnstein and Gros-Scheidentz asylums.

The House voted to bar amendments to the renewed tax bill, identical to that already vetoed and sustained, but for the effective date being advanced six months to the beginning of 1948.

Cotton acreage under cultivation on July 1, 1947 was 17.6 percent greater than a year earlier.

In New York, former Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle, head of the Liberal Party, charged before White House reporters, after consulting with President Truman, that support for the Henry Wallace third party candidacy had its birth at Communist headquarters in New York. He said that a third party movement would split the liberal vote and result in election of an isolationist Republican to the presidency.

John L. Lewis signed a contract with a majority of the bituminous coal operators, averting a strike. The contract provided for $1.20 increase in pay per day and doubling of the five-cent royalty paid under the Government contract per ton of coal mined, ten cents to be paid by the operators to the health and welfare fund of the union. The Southern operators had not yet approved the agreement.

In San Pedro, Calif., a Russian tanker set sail without oil for Vladivostok, one of five tankers held in port following export restrictions on oil having been imposed the previous week.

The Charlotte police had recovered $25,000 worth of stolen silverware and jewelry, believed stolen in San Francisco by a man who was presently being sought in Seattle. The San Luis Obispo, Calif., police department had asked the Charlotte police to check on a local businessman who had sold in San Luis Obispo a silver pistol which turned out to have been stolen from the San Francisco residence where the jewelry and silverware had also been taken. The Charlotte man ran an auto painting business. A man, he said, had given him the pistol for painting his Lincoln Zephyr—a spray job.

In Yermo, Calif., Bonnie, a 55-year old circus elephant, died. She had been in many movies, including Tarzan films. She died of burns from a fire in a truck in which she was being transported to Salt Lake City.

In Bloomfield, N.J., sparrows tried to use a lighted cigarette to build a nest in an attic and wound up setting the attic on fire. Only minor damage resulted. The sparrows were taken into custody for questioning on possible arson charges and drinking while building nests.

Put screens on your gable vents.

In Hackensack, N.J., the wife of bandleader Charlie Spivak sought and was granted divorce because her husband's love had "cooled as his music grew hotter." She said that Mr. Spivak had left her three years earlier.

Flying saucers were reported over Asheville, Greensboro, and Raleigh in North Carolina. Reports had now emerged from 44 of the 48 states of the nation, as well as in the District of Columbia and in Canada. Only Nevada, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island failed to report any sightings.

The Army Air Force stated that no attempt had been made thus far to spot the objects on radar for lack of equipment.

The World Inventors Congress offered $1,000 for delivery of a flying disc to their exposition in Los Angeles on July 11.

For that kind of money, we shall hang on to the fourteen which we have found lying around in the backyard.

Hal Boyle, while not appearing on the front page, probably appeared somewhere else in the newspaper, as he had in the past. In any event, since his journey saved the planet for the nonce from certain destruction by his being a goodwill ambassador to the alien beings who otherwise surely would have incinerated Earth, we present the first installment from his journal of the two-day sojourn.

Mr. Boyle had a Pulitzer for his wartime writing concerning the G.I.'s. Just why he did not also receive a Nobel Peace Prize for this dangerous venture in journalism, we cannot fathom.

Friend, doff your hat, bow your head, and thank our lucky stars of the empyrean that we had someone around in those times who possessed enough equanimity and perspicacity to know precisely what to do to cajole these restive beings from elsewhere, and undertook his selfless altruism for all humanity.

And if one day, you meet Balmy, just tell him that you are a close personal friend of Hal, and all will be well.

In the All-Star baseball game, the score was knotted at zero in the middle of the fourth inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

On the editorial page, "How Practical Is Consolidation?" discusses the plan to consolidate the respective City and County Governments of Charlotte and Mecklenburg into one entity, under study by the North Carolina Institute of Government in Chapel Hill. The advantage was saving of costs and increased efficiency. The piece takes no position, pending the survey from the Institute, but believes that the present level of efficiency of the governments was subject to substantial improvement.

"Is It To Be Tobacco Vs. Cotton?" tells of the tobacco farmers of the two Carolinas getting ready to participate in a private referendum on whether they wished to assess themselves ten cents per acre for the average 4.5-acre farm for the purpose of protecting and developing an export market for American tobacco. The referendum would likely pass overwhelmingly.

The cotton farmers were demanding tariff protection of their market. Senator Clyde Hoey was urging a 70-30 plan whereby American cotton would make up 70 percent of the cotton in the restored textile mills of American-occupied Germany and Japan, though the Army had stated it could purchase cotton more cheaply outside the country.

So, the tobacco interests wanted free trade, while the cotton interests wanted restricted trade and subsidy. Both could not occur simultaneously as the economy was of a piece.

"'Fantastic Tricks Before High Heaven...'" tells of the woman in Greenville, S.C., who saw the large ball of fire on July 3, traveling at 740 feet on the altimeter and at an approximate speed of 840 miles per hour.

"...[A]nd this brings us full circle on the flying saucers. Before they are tucked away in the cupboard along with the other cracked pots, however, we feel duty-bound to take note of the phenomenon which, whatever else it may have been, was a great and timely boon to the press."

The news of flying discs provided a break from the routine of the nations committing mass suicide. The readers demanded as much, along with the gangster slayings, and flagpole sitters. Such items were the fodder for endless bar-room debates.

The saucers had come along as all the comedians had left the radio waves for the summer and turned their spots over to mystery dramas. It speculates that a scriptwriter might be able to work in the flying saucers before the week was out. But, since Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, and Fred Allen were away from the air, they could not do what they normally would with this story.

"We have escaped this fate, and we also seem to have escaped the dire predictions that usually follow in the wake of such signs and portents. Our blessings, indeed, are many."

At the time, Harry Ashmore, who presumably drafted the piece, could not have known that even at his death in 1998, there would be many people in the country still fascinated by the story of the flying saucers of 1947 and beyond.

We are not among them but feel a societal responsibility to provide thorough coverage and analysis of the phenomenon, if for no other reason than to explain something about our culture and our tendency toward lunacy at times.

Aliens, if they exist, could do no more damage than man has done to himself through the ages, except in the movies. And, if, as more probable than not, they do not exist, so what? The what is telling of our preoccupation with Afghanistanistic nonsense more often than not.

We note that not a single story, presently appearing or subsequently appearing in the 1950's, has thus far made reference to the Roswell incident, which was first reported this date, at least in Roswell, one of hundreds of sightings during the time period, by no means alone as it is always represented in the time since it first began receiving principal focus, during the 1960's. As indicated on the front page, persons in 44 states had reported disc sightings since June 23.

Indeed, when asked in 1999 about Roswell, Albert Chop, the public relations officer for the Pentagon, who handled inquiries about UFO's from the summer of 1952 and later served with N.A.S.A. in a similar capacity, stated, as we referenced on Saturday, that he had never heard anything about Roswell during his tenure, that no one who worked with him at the Pentagon was concerned about it, and that he of it only knew what he read in the newspapers. He appeared in 1999 to discount its importance, though stating in 1957 that he believed the flying saucers generally were piloted by extraterrestrial beings conducting surveillance of Earth.

Roswell was little more than part of the general climate of the summer of 1947 and did not stand out among the other sightings. But unlike some of the other locales where sightings were made, places in the middle of the New Mexico desert country need tourists to survive. Sorry, Roswell. We once visited your nondescript town just a few years ago and found it singularly uninteresting, not particularly scenic, full of gaudy souvenir shops with Roswellian-looking figures advertising them, a kind of South of the Border, S.C., in N.M., very disappointing after all of the undue build-up. We spent the night and moved on the next morning without even going to the Roswell museum.

We also remember a particularly bad breakfast. Before making claims to hosting the first interplanetary visitors, perhaps you could learn first to make a decent egg and brew an inviting cup of coffee.

Ditto, incidentally, for Pahrump, Nevada, during an unplanned visit on another occasion some thirteen years before we visited Roswell, before Pahrump made its debut in the movie.

Perhaps, the aliens are here and the sure sign of their existence is the inability to make a simple breakfast. We won't apologize to Pahrump because, on top of the bad food, the waitress was surly. Moreover, we had been informed that the eatery at Pahrump was the best the place had to offer; not so, to be fair, in Roswell.

Drew Pearson tells of the Government probe into slain gangster Bugsy Siegel having revealed some amazing contacts. He had raised money through his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, and, in 1938, through Charles Ward, a leading business man of the Northwest, who had supplied Mr. Siegel with $100,000 in two checks. Mr. Ward claimed recently to Mr. Pearson that the money was simply repayment of a debt.

Government investigators were focusing on the departure for Paris of Virginia Hill, with a Chinese woman, Dr. Chung, and a French wine merchant, a few weeks before the killing of Mr. Siegel at the home of Ms. Hill in Los Angeles. Ms. Hill had a penchant for champagne, as proved by her one-night bill of $7,000 at Ciro's, and was planning to open a champagne agency in France, the reason for the trip. At the same time, Billy Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, left for France. He had been the nominal owner and builder of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, though Mr. Siegel was the actual owner.

Mr. Siegel had been attempting to borrow 1.5 million dollars for the hotel and casino just prior to his death. The Flamingo had cost three million dollars to build.

He next relates of Secretary of State Marshall going before the Senate to urge passage of the bill to restore funding stripped by the House from the budget of the Voice of America. Presently, Russian propaganda was able to flood Europe with little or no response from the United States because of the cut in appropriations. Russia had contended that the Paris conference with Britain and France had broken up because the Marshall Plan was an attempt by the U.S. to control the nations of Europe. The people heard no counter.

The previous year, a shipload of Russian wheat was sent to Marseilles and the people celebrated its arrival, without being aware that they had to pay for the wheat in dollars and that a U.S. shipload of wheat was shortly due to arrive in Havre as a gift. The U.S. had an inadequate apparatus in place to get the word out to the French.

Marquis Childs tells of Attorney General Tom Clark having been grilled by the President's Civil Rights Commission, chaired by Charles E. Wilson, chairman of General Electric, regarding the executive order to investigate the loyalty of Federal employees of the Executive Branch. Members of the Commission believed it to have the earmarks of a witch-hunt and would set a dangerous precedent even if reasonable safeguards were followed in this instance. Mr. Clark assured that there was no witch-hunt and that every precaution was being taken to protect civil liberties.

The number of Communists and fellow travelers in the Government was small, but there was little doubt that some were present. But to harm civil liberties to root them out was to give in to the same kind of totalitarian tactics followed by Russia, resulting potentially in a police state. The State Department had recently dismissed ten persons for disloyalty, and under the appropriations bill passed by Congress, with a rider by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, they were denied the right of appeal from the dismissal. There was a move afoot in Congress to turn over to the FBI the duties of administering loyalty tests, smacking of a police state.

While the Civil Rights Commission had made an effort to curtail abuses, its members only served part-time, relegating the job of policing civil liberties to those who could only devote part of their time to the job.

While a new bill to make the Fair Employment Practices Commission permanent had been introduced on a bi-partisan basis, the Congress was in a rush to break for the summer on July 26, and the result might be that civil liberties would wind up in the hamper.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of intelligence reports stating that an international brigade was being organized under the auspices of the Comintern to fight Greece. Greece was the hot point at present internationally. The Soviets had the choice of either pulling out, as they had the previous year in Azerbaijan in northern Iran, or they could use the brigade to their own ends. Making the latter choice could have disastrous consequences to peace.

The leader of the brigade, Nicholas Zachariades, had received his schooling in Communism in Moscow in the mid-thirties and had formed friendships with other Comintern students, including Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia. The goal of the brigade appeared to be to establish a new Greek government to replace the monarchy. The result could be civil war, and the State Department was thus taking the matter very seriously.

The brigade was formed, it was thought, to infuse discipline to the ranks of the increasingly disorganized guerrillas. Should the Politburo decide to use the brigade, then the United States would be faced with the decision whether to use military force, including American troops, to supplement the weak Greek Army.

If, when the vote on the report by the Balkans Subcommittee, to establish a border commission to guarantee the sanctity of the Greek borders, came before the U.N. Security Council and Russia abstained rather than vetoing the report's recommendation, then it would signal their decision to follow, at least temporarily, the same course as in Iran.

The British delegate to the U.N., Sir Alexander Cadogan, had stated that if the Security Council vetoed the report, then the U.N. might as well close its doors. Thus, a Russian veto of the recommendation augured a dim future for world peace.

A letter writer finds there to be a Southern drawl, but questions whether there was really a Southern accent. He offers that, regardless, it was a Southern accent which first enunciated the words of the Declaration of Independence and appeared during the Revolution.

He wants it to live long.

Then he goes a little off the deep end with his ardor for the Southern accent.

And, despite his claim, we do not think that it is anywhere documented that Abraham Lincoln spoke with a Southern accent. It was tinged perhaps with a bit of Kentucky country twang, but we were not there to hear it and neither, presumably, was this writer. We simply do not know. Trying to hear an accent via someone's description of a voice, even from a time when journalists and other contemporaneous recorders of events were accustomed to the attempt to impart in print the timbre, rhythm, and dynamic of a speaker's voice, often, no doubt, alternately hyperbolized to equate with the succinct articulation of welkin-ringing chimes or diminished to mere abated nuisance, caucophonous, tinny screech-owl howlings aside and assaying the babbling brook, depending on the ardency or lack thereof with which the writer beheld the speaker in respect, is nigh on impossible. Trying to discern the sound by analogy to regional influences, vestiges of which remain in the present day in the locale in which the personage under study came of age, also is a bit useless for those who traveled widely, as some people lose accents as they leave home and venture away, some with advanced education. Despite those intervening circumstances, some do not. We can only make guesses on the sound of voices of the past.

A letter writer tells of President Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon providing speeches at the Lincoln Memorial on June 29 regarding civil rights and the need to eliminate lynching and racial prejudice generally. The writer, however, wonders therefore why the Justice Department was not prosecuting those who practiced discrimination in violation of the Constitution.

Actually, there was an effort being made, as in the Federal prosecution of Police Chief Lynwood Shull the previous November for his having blinded Sgt. Isaac Woodard in February, 1946 during a scuffle on an interstate bus in Batesburg, S.C., in which the Police Chief struck the unarmed Sgt. Woodard with his billyclub several times. The jury acquitted Chief Shull. The Federal prosecution in that case was premised on the fact that the beating occurred in a vehicle traveling in interstate commerce.

Otherwise, Federal prosecutions had to be based on the civil rights acts passed after the Civil War, the so-called anti-Klan statutes, which make it unlawful to deprive a person of civil rights accorded by the Constitution. The problems with such prosecutions were that the penalties were limited at the time, even when the underlying crime was murder, and juries had to be drawn from basically the same pool of citizens as local juries, even if drawing from a larger part of the population, based on a Federal judicial district. And, as in the case of the acquittal of the 28 defendants in May, 1947 in Greenville, S.C., for the lynching of Willie Earle, despite the admissions of 26 of them to participation in the lynching, the trial itself, by all accounts, had been conducted by the state court fairly and impartially and prosecuted zealously. The jury simply nullified the crime of murder and acquitted. It was questionable whether a Federal prosecution, given the outcome in the same geographic area in the Shull case, would have rendered a different result. The Justice Department, nevertheless, considered a Federal prosecution of the defendants in the Earle lynching.

A letter writer finds it a sell-out of the soldiers who had fought in the war to allow Germany back into the company of nations by way of treaty. He disfavors a central government for Germany, wants it divided into small provinces so that it could not again wage war.

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