The Charlotte News

Monday, January 12, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President sent to Congress a budget of 39.6 billion dollars, a record for peacetime. He predicted a budget surplus of 7.4 billion dollars in 1947-48 and 4.8 billion for the following fiscal year, provided Congress refrained from cutting taxes. He said that 79 percent of the projected budget reflected costs of war, the effects of war, and the effort to prevent future war.

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill labeled the budget "extravagant" and "political". Republicans, however, supported the requested eleven billion dollars for the defense budget. Democrats defended it as "reasonable", given the problems at home and abroad.

In Berlin, Dr. Herman Wells, president of Indiana University, and four other Americans accompanying him were arrested the previous day and held for three hours by the Soviet occupation authorities. Dr. Wells was serving as an adviser to General Lucius Clay, U.S. Military Governor of the American occupation zone. The party of five had stopped at an art gallery on Potsdamer Platz to seek directions, when they were taken into custody by Russian soldiers. The action violated a four-power agreement that all Allied personnel be allowed free movement within the city.

American authorities disclosed that 17 Americans, including 12 soldiers, had been detained by the Soviets in recent weeks, some as long as three days. The arrests began after the failure of the London foreign ministers conference.

The Russian-sponsored press in Berlin stated that the action taken at Frankfurt the previous week to establish a German economic administration for the British-American sector of Berlin would never be approved by the Soviets. It then favored a change in the four-power agreement which placed Berlin under four-power control.

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Harold Knutson stated that two fellow Republicans, Representatives Jacob Javits of New York and James Fulton of Pennsylvania, were "free traders" willing to remove all protection from the American people, for their advocating that high tariffs be junked. Mr. Knutson had criticized the 18-nation trade pact entered at Geneva during the fall. The two younger Congressmen stated that Mr. Knutson did not speak for the Republican Party.

Ed Pauley sent a telegram to GOP presidential candidate Harold Stassen, critical of Mr. Pauley's commodities trading, informing him that he had made nearly a million dollars in profits from commodities speculation since the war, before becoming the assistant to Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall in September. In a letter to the President, Mr. Stassen questioned Mr. Pauley's fitness to serve in the capacity.

The Supreme Court, in Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, 332 US 631, unanimously ordered, in a per curiam decision, the State of Oklahoma to provide immediately for the legal education of a black woman who sought entry to the all-white law school of the University of Oklahoma and was denied solely based on race. The Court did not specify how the education was to be provided but ordered that it had to be equal to that provided white students and also enabled within a time frame equal to that of other similarly situated applicants. The Court did not reach the issue of the constitutionality of racial segregation, but held that an equal education had to be provided under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment per the 1938 case, Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 US 337.

A transport ship which had brought the first returned war dead from Europe to the United States caught fire at sea while returning to Antwerp with 6,500 empty caskets. Rescue planes circling the area saw no sign of the 46 persons aboard who had entered lifeboats, and also saw no sign of the ship itself.

At Pidcock, Ga., on Saturday, a passenger train bound from Miami to Chicago derailed injuring 14 persons slightly, tearing up 800 yards of track. The track was being repaired.

President Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt telephoned the home of Josephus Daniels in Raleigh to receive an update on his condition, which remained grave and comatose. The former Secretary of the Navy and Ambassador to Mexico, 85, would pass away the following Thursday.

The man from Belmont, N.C., who admittedly had embezzled about $6,200 from the Christmas Fund with which he was entrusted by the employees of the Sterling Mill, entered a plea of nolo contendere in Gastonia and was sentenced by the court to four to seven years imprisonment. The judge indicated that had the missing funds been restored, he would have considered a suspended sentence. The defendant, considered a pillar of his community, had disappeared suddenly on December 7, leaving a note implying that he was going to drown himself in the Catawba River. The river was dragged for three days before he turned up in Concord. He had claimed that he spent the money to support a local semi-professional baseball team of which he was business manager, and intended to pay it back through his share of proceeds from the team. But there were no profits. The treasurer for the team stated that no such expenditure was authorized and the man had no right to share in any profits from the team.

In Charlotte, Herman A. Moore, financier and former car salesman, died at 46 of a heart attack.

The assistant traffic engineer at Fort Wayne, Ind., was selected to become Charlotte's first traffic engineer.

The City Manager was scheduled to begin talks on January 20 with the chief engineer for the Seaboard Railway regarding the planned extension of Hawthorne Lane and construction of an underpass to accomplish it, to eliminate twelve dead-end streets at the railroad right-of-way, surely to be a relief to congestion in the city.

In Waukegan, Ill., a truck driver who was apparently intoxicated tried to fly a small rented plane and crashed it into a summer cottage. He and his passenger were unhurt, but he was arrested for drunk and reckless flying and carrying a passenger without a pilot's license. He picked up the passenger just prior to the crash, during a stop on some lake ice, offering him a sightseeing tour.

On the editorial page, "Russia Follows American Campaign" tells of Russia timing its moves toward Greece and Turkey to coincide with the American election year. Were the efforts successful, Russia would markedly increase its influence in the Mediterranean and Middle East. If Greece were to fall, then Turkey would be vulnerable. The establishment of the Communist government of General Markos Vafiades in Northern Greece presented a genuine threat to the Athens Government. If Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria were to recognize the government and provide it aid, then the U.S. would be faced with the question of how far it was prepared to go to back up the Truman Doctrine.

The transfer recently of vessels to Turkey and Greece was designed to deter the Communist effort. For the same reason, a thousand Marines had been deployed from North Carolina to the American fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. and Britain had warned both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria against the "grave" consequences of recognizing the Communist state in Northern Greece.

But partisan blasts by Republicans at the Truman Doctrine for its expenditures and the opposition to the Doctrine voiced by Henry Wallace weakened the Administration in trying to deal with the showdown. While the 1948 campaign would inevitably go forward, it had to be remembered, opines the piece, that the Soviets were watching and making moves accordingly.

"Ike Eisenhower and Bob Taft" suggests that General Eisenhower had re-entered the 1948 campaign picture with the endorsement by Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire and his stated intent to line up the state's convention delegates for the General. The movement was designed to head off the Taft candidacy as being too conservative to win in November. General Eisenhower could appeal to independent voters, as he appeared to many to be a liberal.

The supporters of Senator Taft were irritated by the prospect of an Eisenhower candidacy and those feelings surfaced at a recent dinner for Mr. Taft at which General Eisenhower was present. Rumor came from the dinner that the General had indiscreetly stated that he favored corporations giving up profits for two years. Though the conversation could not be verified and the consensus was that he actually made statements on the economy which were merely at odds with the views of Senator Taft, the damage had been done. The incident might have caused the General to develop an early aversion to presidential politics.

"The Senator Wasn't Amusing" finds a film starring William Powell as Senator Melvin Gassaway Ashton, titled "The Senator Was Indiscreet", lampooning presidential candidates and politicians who create them, to have struck out with Charlotte movie-goers. The film, brought to the screen by Charlie MacArthur, George S. Kaufman, and Nunnally Johnson, left town after only four days. According to a critic, Charlotte residents who saw it were left wondering as to its meaning.

As the movie was satire, the piece finds that the baffled rejection suggested lack of sophistication of movie audiences in the area. The lead character had presented a disturbingly realistic portrayal of presidential candidates, as he spoke from all sides of his mouth at once.

His "indiscretion" was that he had maintained a diary of personal and party activities over the course of 35 years, the eventual publication of which would cost him the party-bossed nomination and chicken-hatched foregone conclusion of the election. After the Senator reluctantly announces his non-candidacy following a long, rambling speech, the diary, his implied "bribe" to receive party support, becomes lost or stolen and the problem begins.

The piece hopes that voters would be more understanding and discriminating than the moviegoers who went to see the film.

It expresses continued faith in the public, however, as it finds that the title had suggested a saucy bedroom comedy rather than political satire. And the former was so much more appealing to audiences.

For full appreciation, the film requires the understanding that every candidate in the 1948 race, save Harold Stassen, as well as those who had been mentioned as potential candidates, had initially behaved as Senator Ashton in first refusing to acknowledge that they were candidates while taking tours of the country to test the political waters. Governor Dewey had done so and remained a non-candidate candidate. The President had not acknowledged his presumed candidacy until recently. Henry Wallace had done so, traveling also abroad, receiving almost universally poor reviews in the press before announcing his third-party candidacy. Senator Taft had toured the country in the early fall with the expressed intent that he would determine from the reception of his ideas whether to run. His tour was considered by all accounts a failure, and so he chose to announce his candidacy—at which point, fellow Ohioan and non-candidate Senator John W. Bricker announced his non-candidacy, deferring to the non-candidacy of Mr. Taft. General MacArthur was a non-candidate candidate. And General Eisenhower's position, still questionable at the time, is explained by the previous piece.

Perhaps none of them aspired to succeed Happy Chandler.

Nevertheless, we cannot blame the audiences of Charlotte too much for rejecting the film. It is not the best exemplar of the period for high political satire, paling beside the political aspects of 1941's "Citizen Kane", for instance, or the following year's political entry, with satiric asides, "All the King's Men", based on the rise and fall of Governor and Senator Huey Long. The movie appears to have been a bit of a spray job, borrowing some of its elements from the better executed routines of the late Robert Benchley, made too hurriedly and in need of considerable revision and a better script.

Perhaps the dearth at the time of onscreen political satire, in the face of standard fare consisting primarily of post-war romantic fluff, escapist westerns, angels from heaven, and crime dramas caused the editorialist to be more impressed by the film than its actual attributes properly deserved. At least its duration was but 75 minutes. Of course, our tastes are unavoidably tainted by more adept subsequent representations of political satire.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Boss Hague Again", reminds that Boss Frank Hague had resigned as Mayor of Jersey City the previous June, announcing that his successor would be his nephew, Frank Hague Eggers. Although the decision on a successor was up to the City Council, it elected Mr. Eggers Mayor on January 8. Boss Hague remained, however, in his role as Democratic leader of the state and vice-chairman of the DNC, his political power thus continuing.

The third party candidacy of Henry Wallace had increased the importance of the Hague machine to the Administration in the campaign year.

Drew Pearson, acknowledging emulation of columnist Walter Lippmann, accedes to the wishes of his wife and determines to become a pundit for a bit regarding whether there would be war between the U.S and Russia, the chief worry of the heads of state of Europe. Such a war could break out in Northern Italy and Trieste, in Greece, or in Palestine, the Near East and Turkey.

When the U.S. and Russia agreed at the U.N. in November regarding the partition of Palestine, there was great relief at the ostensible easing of tensions. But then quickly thereafter, the Russians offered to provide four divisions for every one the U.S. might supply for the policing of Palestine and offered also to have the American commander serve under the Russian commander.

If the Russians were to obtain a base in Palestine, they would no longer need the long sought Dardanelles and would have access to the Mediterranean, Arabian oil, and be within two hours by air of the new British base in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Russia had recently sent 40 of its latest fighter planes to Albanian air bases near the border with Greece. It was also concentrating large numbers of its international brigade in the area, comprised chiefly of former German prisoners, induced by a shower of benefits to serve.

The question remained whether Russia or its satellites would recognize the "free state" in Northern Greece declared by guerrilla leader General Markos Vafiades and then proceed to give it arms. Such a situation would present a major challenge to both the U.N. and the U.S. Russia was in need of a victory to compensate for the recent losses in France and Italy after the failure of the national strikes, stimulated by the Communists.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the speculation regarding Josef Stalin's health, but concede that, while he had self-confessed lung and heart problems, he could last for quite some time. (In fact, he would live five more years, until 1953.) He was regarded as tough, and Averell Harriman had reported that when he had last seen the Russian Premier, he appeared in good health.

When Stalin would die, it was expected that a committee of the Politburo would take over rule of the Soviet Union, with V. M. Molotov, Foreign Commissar, becoming the titular head of Government. But the actual power would belong to Beria, head of the MVD, the secret police, Zdhanov, head of the Communist Party, and Bulganin, leader of the military forces. What would follow would likely be a contest among the four for leadership, with the strongest surviving. Such would inevitably lead to disputes over policy.

Thus, it was no wonder that Stalin's health was of considerable interest. No one was predicting whether his death would be for the good or ill of the West.

Marquis Childs discusses ERP and its path through Congress. The President had bowed to the wisdom of Senator Arthur Vandenberg in withdrawing, in his State of the Union message, the previous proposal, outlined to the special session, for a seventeen billion dollar commitment for four years, instead suggesting a four-year program with 6.8 billion to be appropriated for the first year. Recognizing the need for quick action on the program, Senator Vandenberg intended to hold hearings before his Foreign Relations Committee only for about three weeks.

But a major stumbling block could occur in the House where a controversy stirred as to how the program would be administered. Representative Christian Herter was in favor of formation of a Government corporation for the purpose. In this form, Mr. Childs suggests, the administrator might become a kind of second Secretary of State, competing with Secretary Marshall for leadership.

A letter from the executive secretary of the North Carolina Catholic Layman's Association states that he cannot understand the point of the editorial, "A League of Honest Men", appearing December 26 and partially reprinted in the Raleigh News & Observer, finds the editorial to be double-talk, thinks the techniques of Communist propaganda were being used by the editorialist. He concludes, "You did a bang-up job, comrade." He adds that he felt better having gotten the criticism off his chest.

The editors respond that the writer apparently thought it "undemocratic" and "un-Christian" to condemn undemocratic and un-Christian tendencies within the country and the West generally while also condemning such practices in Russia. The point had been that more energy should be spent crusading for true democratic and Christian practices at home rather than so much wind expended in crusading against Russia.

A letter writer from Lagos, Nigeria, as had others before him, seeks pen pals and exchange of photographs, postcards, stamps and other goods. As with the others, his street address is provided, should you wish to correspond.

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