The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 14, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Arabs had attacked four Jewish settlements in the area between Jerusalem and Hebron. Reports came from Syria that Arabs had set February 15 as D-Day for a military offensive against Zionism. All-Arab Jaffa was said to be crowded with Syrians awaiting marching orders against all-Jewish Tel Aviv.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed to Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder that the recipient nations under the Marshall Plan be required to pledge their gold and dollars held abroad to secure the 6.8 billion dollar first year allocation for aid. Mr. Snyder estimated that the 16 nations held approximately 4.8 billion in assets within the U.S. Mr. Snyder testified to the Committee that it would be folly to try to obtain from the recipient nations such pledges. But he agreed with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge that wealthy persons in Europe should be required to reimburse the payment when the ordinary citizens of the country would be footing the bill for the aid. He did not favor, however, requiring liquidation of assets held in the U.S. as a condition for receiving the aid.

Apparently, the two men had been speaking in different languages, through an interpreter, as a part of the colloquy went as follows:

Senator Lodge: "Do you think that all foreign assets held by citizens of these sixteen nations should be pledged to the Marshall Plan?"

Secretary Snyder: "I see no objection."

Senator Lodge: "I'm a little disappointed. I'd hoped you would say they ought to be pledged, just as assets of the American people are pledged."

The President's Air Policy Commission issued a report advising of the necessity for increased spending on the Air Force by "A-Day", January 1, 1953, to prepare for a possible atomic attack. Present planning, it said, was inadequate even for the interim five-year period. It recommended increasing manpower from 55 Air Force groups to 70 groups, doubling first line combat aircraft by the end of 1949, increasing spending in 1948 by 1.3 billion dollars with more in 1949, with another 198 million to be appropriated for modernization in 1948 and more in 1949.

The report said that absolute security from war could only be achieved through outlawing war under law. It favored working within the U.N. to accomplish that goal while also preparing for the contingency of atomic war.

A new concept of strategic defense was necessary, achieved through air as well as naval power.

The target date for "A-Day" was chosen by compromise agreement among experts.

That there war is going to come on January 5, 1953, E-Day. Them Martians told us all about it last summer. D-Day had already been. F-Day would never do. But you will have your epiphany on E-Day plus One, for sure.

The President sent his annual economic message to the Congress, stressing the need to combat inflation through authorization of controls, the ten points he had sought in November at the start of the special session, including authorization to implement limited price and wage control and rationing on scarce goods. He also urged that the projected 7.5 billion dollar surplus be used to pay down the debt, not for tax reduction. He once again, as in the State of the Union message, urged a $40 individual tax credit, to be paid from increased corporate taxes. Further details of the requested program are provided.

Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug told the Senate Banking Committee that if the Congress would provide for provisional price control authority, he would forthwith order a 60-day freeze on the prices of coal, fuel oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products. He believed that allocation and rationing of fuel oil and gasoline would become necessary.

In Halifax, N.C., the Captain of the Joseph V. Connally, a military transport which had caught fire and sunk while returning to Antwerp with caskets to retrieve the remains of more American war dead to be re-interred within the United States, told of the heroism by the crew in trying to extinguish the flames which had erupted from oil in the engine room. All of the 46 aboard, including one passenger, were rescued, four of whom were injured.

In Chicago, American Federation of Musicians president, James Caesar Petrillo, was acquitted of violation of the Lea Act, which had been enacted by Congress specifically to prevent him from wielding power over radio stations refusing to hire more persons for a particular task than necessary, in the particular instance, record turners who actually performed no function. He was charged with seeking to coerce the particular station, WAAF, to hire the unnecessary personnel by threat of strike. The Federal Judge entered a verdict in favor of Mr. Petrillo after a three-day trial, finding that the Government had not proved a requisite element of the crime, knowledge that the personnel in question were unnecessary and that the radio station had turned down his demand for the personnel for that reason. It was not sufficient merely to show the lack of necessity of the personnel, as adequately proven, or that he threatened a strike or engaged in other forms of coercion in response to refusal to hire them.

Mr. Petrillo's view of the outcome was that he could get a station to hire as many musicians as he liked as long as they actually performed services.

So, look for page turners for the percussion section and rosin-bearers for the strings, needle sharpeners, drive-belt changers, speed adjusters, and feathery dusters for the phonograph players, not to mention ticklers for the grooves on the Maurice Chevalier records.

In New York, an obscure yarn winder, identified as an ex-convict and former associate of Louis Lepke Buchalter's "murder for hire" mob, died in a burst of gunfire as he sat in the bedroom of his apartment with his six-month old son. One of the bullets narrowly missed the child.

In Columbia, S.C., Governor Strom Thurmond urged the Legislature to pass the Government Reorganization bill, designed primarily to eliminate waste and duplication of agency services. Among his new proposals was the construction of a modern penitentiary. Whether it would be integrated was not told. Some of the other proposals are listed.

Tom Schlesinger of The News, son of renowned historian Arthur Schlesinger and brother to eventual historian and presidential adviser Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., tells of his visits with Charlotte's palmists, on the second front page.

On the editorial page, "GOP Congressmen Discover World" remarks on the statement issued by Representatives Jacob Javits of New York and James Fulton of Pennsylvania denouncing high tariffs and recommending ratification of the 18-nation Geneva trade agreement. The two Congressmen had made the statement in the wake of their return from Havana after attending the ITO conference of 58 nations.

The piece suggests that if the old line isolationists of the GOP, such as House Ways & Means Committee chairman Harold Knutson and Senator Taft, wanted to keep the young blood in the party adhering to the old ways, they should not send them off to be representatives of the Congress at such meets. A large number of members had gone to Europe the previous summer. The more they traveled, the more difficult it would be to convince them of the wisdom of the position that the world was not round.

It expresses hope that the sentiment of isolationism would not carry the day in November, lest the divided world blow up in their faces.

"Gandhi's Fast for Peace" suggests that the nations and the religious sects of India had witnessed the results of Gandhi's satyagraha, that is the force of the spirit or soul to achieve peace, or, as termed in the West, "passive resistance"—which Gandhi, himself, sometime earlier had stated that he had abandoned in favor of satyagraha, a distinct concept. But, the piece continues, the world had missed the primary affirmative point of Gandhi's efforts, the affirmation of love. His current fast, thought at the time to be probably his last, manifested fully that affirmative side of non-violence. The piece finds it especially timely, given the division in India, mirroring that across the world.

At the inception of the fast, Gandhi had read from the Quran, the Bible, and the Hindu Vedas, underscoring the universality of his goal. It believes that his statement that the fast would end when there was "a reunion of the hearts of all communities" was the best summation in a few words of the way to peace.

That peace could come merely by desire for it was a truth so "blinding" that mankind had been unable to accept it for the two thousand years since Christ. It predicts that peace and love could be had when a few more leaders expressed the sentiment articulated by Gandhi, that life had no value without it.

"It will come quickly when we are ready to offer our lives in faith."

And the time was now, not 15 days hence or 15 years hence.

"What effect Gandhi's fast will have on his own people and the rest of the world cannot be foretold but it is easy to believe that the world's realists and men of power are watching this saintly little man's experiment with considerable concern over its effect on the war business."

Why does the public quest for peace by such individuals so often, though not always, wind up in assassination?

Perhaps the answer lies in the notion that some believe that life is a fight to the finish for gain and recognition, and that peace and love implies a tie, a calling off of the contest before the most adamant and weakest of contestants can manifest their will on the rest of us. It is too bad that they do not appear to understand that life is not a contest and that to make it so is, inevitably, to lose, in the end, the game one is playing. For corporeal death, in one form or another, soon or late, comes to us all.

"Bigger Than Our Food Bill" tells of the 40 billion dollar budget proposal of the President breaking down to a cost of $270 per person, compared to $69.15 per capita in 1938-39, prior to the war in Europe.

Broken down further, contributions for international expense in the prewar fiscal year were 15 cents per person while under the proposed budget, they were $48. Defense was $8 in the earlier year, $75 under the new budget. The expenditure for veterans was $4 in 1938-39, $42 in the proposed 1948-49 budget. Interest had been $8, compared to the prospective amount of $49. All other expenses had risen only from $49 to $56 during the decade.

There were also increasing expenses of state and local governments to be added to the bill. Estimated total spending was 54 billion, 7 billion more than current expenditures. That equated to $371 per person, with food costing $330 per annum.

It again suggests that the expenditure which could be pared down most readily was the cost of government itself, including social services for non-veterans.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "High-Handed Stuff in Arkansas", tells of the Arkansas Secretary of State seeking to bar Henry Wallace from the ballot as a third-party candidate, based on a state statute which allowed the Secretary to determine whether a political party was advocating the overthrow of the Government by force. He based the move on the idea that Mr. Wallace and his party were said to advocate Communism.

The piece thinks that if every such candidate or party were barred from the ballot, there would be little left of government by the people. It posits that the statute was illegal and that the U.S. Supreme Court ought, at the earliest opportunity, so rule.

Even if the statute itself were to pass muster, not possible to consider without its exact text, the particular application of it also had to be constitutional. Obviously, without reliance on any particular statements of the former Vice-President, such a notion was preposterous. Nowhere had Mr. Wallace advocated any form of overthrow of the Government and had specifically criticized Communism in the process of stating his disapproval of totalitarianism in any form.

Drew Pearson again addresses the topic of the threat of war between Russia and the United States, based on his observations gleaned from his trip to France and Italy during the previous month to accompany the Friendship Train gift of food. He does not agree with those who returned from Europe saying that the Cold War, (now being capitalized for the first time), had been won.

The recent defeat of the Communists in the general strikes which they had stimulated in Italy and France had only caused worry in the State Department that the Soviets would intensify their effort elsewhere. Air Force chief of staff Carl Spaatz had recently told a group of Senators that the Red Army had taken over German jet plane plants and had developed a jet faster than anything developed by the United States, that the Russians had improved on the V-2 such that they now had a controlled missile which had a range of 1,700 to 1,800 miles, and that they also had complete information regarding disposition of U.S. air plants and aviation facilities.

German, Italian, and French prisoners of war released by Russia told of major war production ongoing behind the Urals and demobilized Russian troops instructed to remain under military supervision. Most German prisoners were being held in Russia to work in these factories.

There were 51 air bases being constructed in Eastern Siberia, with six on the Bering Sea. The Russians had taken all of the advanced secrets of the German U-boats. Some of the Russian subs had been spotted around Kiska in Alaska, Greenland, and within 300 miles of Pearl Harbor.

Certain military preparations in the U.S., however, were likely also to be alarming Russia. The previous summer, Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall had recommended use of subterranean caverns for aircraft factories, a fact that Russia was using to maintain a sense of alarm among its people. The Russians were also aware of a body of thought in the country, led by Admiral William Leahy, advocating a preventative offensive war. The Admiral considered both Secretary of State Byrnes and Secretary of State Marshall too lenient with the Russians. He had inserted the military aid to the Truman Doctrine as part of the package for Turkey and Greece.

The Admiral had originally convinced President Roosevelt in 1937 to erect a blockade around Japan at the outset of the war with China and developed the plan for FDR's Chicago speech that October, in which the President set forth the plan for a "quarantine" of the bellicose nations. He had been right at the time, given perfect hindsight, but Secretary of State Hull had torpedoed the plan.

Now, to correct that mistake of World War II, Admiral Leahy wanted to pick the right battlefield and time for war with Russia if it was going to occur. That was the heart of the dilemma in terms of preparation for war with the Soviets.

Mr. Pearson promises a subsequent column on the issue.

Marquis Childs tells of the new villain, Edwin Pauley, before the Senate committee led by "super-sleuth" Homer Ferguson, seeking to recoup face from the debacle in the hearings of August and November on the war contracts of Howard Hughes. Mr. Pauley had speculated on commodities, specifically grain, not a crime but running afoul of the President's dictum condemning it as fueling inflation. Mr. Childs finds the actual motive for the hearings to be politics.

He recounts testimony of Harold Stassen before the committee, in which he had recalled that the previous August Mr. Pauley had invited guests, then Postmaster General Robert Hannegan and Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, to his island, dubbed the Cocoanut Island International, an exclusive club for the influential and wealthy, but assured that no discussion of commodities trading had taken place.

Mr. Childs thinks the question more pertinent than whether he speculated based on inside information was to what degree the money expended on the island was being taken as a business deduction by Mr. Pauley. He thinks that legislation ought be passed to allow under such circumstances examination of income tax returns of public officials.

He concludes that the committee might be considering genuine reform to prevent speculation by Government employees to the extent that it would impact the market and prices, but resigns himself to the notion that likely they were only trying to find a convenient mark at whom to point the finger of shame in a campaign year.

Samuel Grafton relates of a story in the New York Times stating that the bedding industry, by March, would have to give up the mass market, as prices were going too high for the average consumer. (They could seek their feathers perhaps from Mr. Petrillo.) Carpets also were in the same fix. He finds it strange to hear of such manufacturers having to scale down production from the mass market. The perceived new way out of the jam was to look to the high-income consumer.

Inflation had gone so high that it threatened to change the very structure of the American consumer market. It did not equate with the prediction of many in Congress who wanted in 1946 to abandon price control on the notion that, eventually, higher volume of production would meet demand and cause prices to find their own level—akin to rain water.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, suggests that the ensuing year would likely determine whether there would be peace or war. Yet, such people as Henry Wallace were trying to confuse the people on the notion that American foreign policy was seeking to back up "'reactionary governments all over the world.'" That formulation implied that the governments of France and Italy were reactionary.

Of course, that is not what Mr. Wallace stated. He did not say that all American aid was being used in that manner.

Mr. Welles cites an editorial by Michael Straight from the December 29 issue of the Wallace-edited New Republic, setting forth the notion that the American policy of containment of the Soviet Union was designed to bring about internal collapse—which ultimately the policy became in fact. But Mr. Welles thinks it a "reactionary" point of view.

Query whether the viewpoint of Mr. Welles had been markedly changed by the war. Six years earlier, on Memorial Day, 1942, he had sounded very differently in coining the phrase "new frontier". But war and intervening events had obviously hardened and changed many in the land.

He frames the problem disjunctively: either to live under servitude imposed by the Soviets or have peace guaranteed by the U.N. pursuant to international law.

But was that the choice? That certainly was not the option set forth by Mr. Wallace, though it was that projected onto his words and candidacy by many in the press and in both political parties. He simply did not favor taking the hard line, the military approach, but rather advocated cooperation with Russia to try to effect mutual peace through such methods as sharing agricultural plans and equipment, in lieu of coming to loggerheads over sharing of nuclear technology, which everyone agreed the Russians would have within a couple of years anyway.

Mr. Welles finds Mr. Straight missing the issue of human liberty in his conceptualization of the choice for Europe being American aid or social reform, with the inevitability that Europeans would choose the latter, condemning the aid program to failure.

Mr. Welles states that the choice of forms of government would be left to the recipient nations.

But as of this point in time, the question could plausibly have been raised as to whether it would be so by the time a conservative Republican Congress got through with the Plan. The Plan had been conceptualized as being free from political coercion. But would it be in practice? That very question had been at the heart of the debate on its worth.

He says that the Socialists of Europe, especially Leon Blum in France and Prime Minister Clement Attlee in Britain, had rejected Soviet Communism, not because of enticement by the State Department but from the choice for liberty rather than the totalitarian yoke awaiting under Communism.

Mr. Welles states that Mr. Straight was correct in asserting the problem to be a human crisis and not a transitory political crisis. But he and Mr. Wallace had not yet begun to think in terms required for future peace and securing of democracy. He concludes that America would be blessed if it saved the free peoples of Europe from Soviet Communism as it had from Hitler and Nazism.

...And, 15 years from this date, George Wallace, in his inaugural address as Governor of Alabama, would state his infamous words, lending free rein to the fountain of hate and division.

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