The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 27, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House Ways & Means Committee approved, by a vote of 15 to 9, the Knutson tax cut of 6.3 billion dollars, raising personal exemptions from $500 to $600, extending community property principles to all states, and giving graduated cuts from 10 to 30 percent from the higher to lower brackets. The vote in the House was expected the following Monday. The President's $40 individual and dependent credit plan, to be financed by a 3.2 billion dollar increase in corporate taxes, was defeated 19 to 5, including four Democrats in opposition.

Tension was alleviated in world markets after Britain pledged to defend the value of the pound, following the French franc devaluation the previous day which had sent ripples through the monetary markets, causing a run on gold.

The President demoted Federal Reserve chairman Marriner Eccles to vice-chairman and appointed a new member, Thomas McCabe, to the Board to fill a vacancy. Mr. McCabe, upon Senate confirmation, would be designated chairman. Mr. Eccles had occupied the position since latter 1934. Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana speculated that the move was the result of the failure of the Fed to initiate adequate policies to curb inflation. Mr. Eccles had disagreed with Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder on how to limit the expansion of bank credit. Mr. Eccles had suggested to Congress that a special reserve be created for the purpose. Secretary Snyder had never articulated his counter-proposal or reason for opposition.

The President, acting in accord with Taft-Hartley, also created an emergency board to investigate a wage dispute between the three railroad operators unions and the railroads. The unions had called for a strike to begin February 1. Taft-Hartley provided for a 30-day cooling off period, during which the board would hold hearings and make recommendations to the Government.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson released the names of additional commodities traders, including Ambassador to Argentina James Bruce, Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, and Frank Pace, Jr., who recently had been appointed assistant budget director. The Agriculture Department had suspended three of its employees for investigation of commodities trading to determine whether it had been accomplished via inside information. The activity was not illegal but had been criticized by the President for contributing to inflation and had become an object of Congressional investigation.

Harold Stassen toured New Hampshire seeking votes which had previously been committed to General Eisenhower. While there, he reported that Senator Taft of Ohio had suggested to him that it would not be to the Ohio Senator's interest or that of the former Minnesota Governor to enter the Ohio primary. He had no comment when asked whether his standing in the Party might be cut off at the knees were he to cast his lot in Ohio.

In Baltimore, retired Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, Jr., 75, died of a heart ailment following a three-month illness. He served in the Navy 48 years until 1936. He had advocated immediate American intervention in the war in Europe at its outbreak in September, 1939. In 1936, he had written in favor of forming a coalition against Russian Communism, presumably not including Germany, Japan, and Italy.

In Columbia, S.C., a thousand persons gathered to hear an inspirational address by the national president of the WCTU before a temperance organization, after which it adopted a manifesto which demanded county option across the state, establishment of a home for alcoholics, prohibition of sale of wine and liquor to minors, jury service for women, a secret ballot for general elections, a plea for participation of all Christian citizens in the state elections, and other matters.

A former Army Air Forces lieutenant was held without bail on a charge of treason for Nazi propaganda broadcasts from Berlin under the name Martin Wiethaupt while a prisoner of war. The Nazis, according to his father, had forced him at gunpoint to read 15 to 20 transcripts over the air. The father also related that his son had claimed to have written six of the scripts, with the intent of masking, within ostensible propaganda, reports on the extent of bomb damage inflicted on Germany by the Allies.

Edward Scheidt of the FBI, formerly the head of the Charlotte FBI office, told of the former soldier, while in India in October, 1944, having obtained a ride aboard an Army airplane to Italy, where he then stole an Army photo reconnaissance plane and flew into German occupied territory. Following the German surrender, he returned to Italy and joined the U.S. Fifth Army at Milan, where he was subjected to court martial and returned to the U.S., convicted and sentenced to 15 years in the stockade for being AWOL. But no charge of treason had previously been brought against him.

The former soldier claimed that he had led the Nazis to think that he had joined them because they had the guns.

HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas was in Margarita Hospital in Balboa Heights in the Panama Canal Zone, recovering from his stomach hemorrhage, incurred during a cruise to the Zone to investigate rumors of subversive activities in and around the Canal. As indicated, he would live until 1970, despite becoming a political prisoner of the American Government for his leadership in eradicating Commies from Hollywood and everywhere else of note, imprisoned then by a Government controlled by the Illuminettis and Shakespeareans. Viva JPT.

There is only one panacea for this pandemic: Quick Kick, with two out and the bags full of their stuffings, in the bottom quarter of the ninth, down a point, with ten seconds to the bell and the count reaching 9.6, after the goal-tender, behind the eight-ball, walked off the field to the bullpen in disgust.

In Raleigh, Agriculture Commissioner W. Kerr Scott stated to a press conference that he would be a candidate for Governor in the May 29 primary should enough of his friends approve such a move. He said also that while some friends had recommended that he wait and run for the Senate when Senator Clyde Hoey of Shelby would retire, he thought it unpropitious advice for he was a resident of Alamance County in the middle of the state, as would be one of the other candidates for the 1948 race for the Senate, incumbent Senator William B. Umstead or former Governor J. Melville Broughton, occupying the other seat. Because tradition then had it in the state that one Senator should hail from the Western section and the other from the Eastern section, it would be a bad strategic move.

Of course, as we have indicated, Mr. Scott would win the May race and become Governor in the one-party state. But he did not reckon with the fact that by mid-1954, then Governor Umstead and Senator Hoey would die in office, the former succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Luther Hodges, the latter by Sam J. Ervin of the North Carolina Supreme Court, appointed by Governor Umstead. Governor Broughton would win the November, 1948 race over Senator Umstead, who had acceded to the office, by virtue of appointment by Governor Gregg Cherry, on the death of Senator Josiah W. Bailey in December, 1946. Senator Broughton would die after two months into his Senate term in early 1949, with his successor, Frank Porter Graham, president of UNC, appointed by Governor Scott, who would die in 1958 following his election to the Senate in 1954, defeating Alton Lennon, appointed in 1953 by Governor Umstead to fulfill the term of deceased Senator Willis Smith, a Raleigh attorney who would defeat, in a race-baiting campaign managed by Jesse Helms, Senator Graham in the 1950 special election. Senator Scott's successor would be B. Everett Jordan.

No further deaths in office have since plagued the state, save in the lone instance of Senator John East, who committed suicide in 1986.

Whether Tecumseh was also responsible for this curse, in some indirect manner, possibly through the Lumbee or Cherokee, has yet to be revealed.

In any event, to keep that lineage firmly in mind keeps one young and on one's toes.

In the Philippines, Iloilo on Panay was again rocked by three aftershocks, bringing the total to 53 such tremors since Sunday's major quake which had killed 27 persons on Panay and nearby islands.

Settle down there, Sweetie. You don't want to rock too much and blow the whole thing in one fell swoop. There will be no more left in the reservoir for the next time we dance.

Frank Morgan says: "Odd how a girl who looks like a dream can give a man insomnia. Which brings me to the observation that many a man who marries a dream wakes up in the middle of a nightmare."

On the editorial page, "A Park Program for Charlotte" tells of an expert proposing a short-range as well as a long-range plan for the development of much needed recreational facilities in Charlotte. It was estimated that an increase of .2 to .9 of a mill in the current mill tax—meaning the thickness of the polythene tarp used to wrap the proposed park when complete to keep its groundlings from getting a tan on rainy days, dark, in the dumb-show seats, with bo-pea pits drowning in the brown-betty can—would be necessary over a three-year period to initiate the program.

The piece advocates the plan outlined by the expert, Mr. Jones, regional director of the National Recreation Association.

"Vandenberg Steps to the Fore" comments on Senator Arthur Vandenberg having become the primary dark horse, according to many Republican observers, for the 1948 nomination since General Eisenhower had, without equivocation, finally removed his name from consideration because he found it not conducive to proper ordination of the executive authority over the military for a career military officer, absent extraordinary circumstances, to run for the presidency, as it might lead to choosing such officers for political potential.

It believes that Harold Stassen, former Minnesota Governor, might still emerge in the liberal category as a potential candidate, but Senator Vandenberg, with his unqualified support for the Marshall Plan, had the best chance of occupying that role.

It neglects the small factor that Senator Vandenberg had been reported recently to have said, without equivocation, that he was not a candidate and would not become so. He would remain true to his word.

It fills some editorial space, we suppose, as an interesting hypothetical which never came to be. Would Senator Vandenberg have been able to win the 1948 election by being more appealing to independents than was Governor Dewey?

"Working in 1890 or 1948?" remarks on the President's dismissal of GM president Charles E. Wilson as living in 1890 for having advocated a 45-hour work week, without time-and-a-half for overtime. The piece remarks that William Green, president of AFL, had advocated the 45-hour week with retention of overtime, placing him in 1880. It wants to see more evidence that any such extension of the work week was for the purpose of increasing production and not merely undermining the 1938 Wage and Hours Act, major provisions of which were overtime pay and a limit of hours to 40 per week, to assure that workers were not used up before their time.

The steel industry was already producing at maximum capacity and the auto industry was only being limited by lack of steel. Thus, increasing the length of the work week in each of those industries would not increase production. While there was more argument for the increased hours during a period of high employment than prior to the war, it was yet not clear how the plan would increase production, the stated goal.

A short piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Through the Iron Curtain", to which might cleverly be added "Darkly", remarks on the critics of ERP who had argued that revived trade between Western and Eastern Europe was a sine qua non for the success of the Plan. Former Undersecretary of State Will Clayton had argued that ERP would stimulate the necessary trade revival, regardless of the political contention between the regions.

The piece notes that the prophecy was coming true, as trade across the iron curtain amounted to 1.4 billion dollars per year, a third of the prewar volume. The Marshall Plan would rebuild industrial production to the point where trade could advance to full prewar volume. The Plan was thus a salutary risk.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, discusses the violence taking place in Palestine since the decision on November 29 by the U.N. to approve partition to establish a Jewish state and an Arab state. He suggests that the situation posed an overlooked danger to American security, that Russia might intervene to protect its frontier. There was also a threat to the moral authority of the U.N., as the Arab Higher Committee had informed the U.N. that it would defy the partition plan with every means within its power.

Newspapers in Syria and Lebanon openly boasted of the recent invasion of Palestine by the troops trained in the countries. Egypt had given two million dollars to arm Arab forces for the purpose. Friendly governments of the Arab League were likewise participating in the effort.

The Palestine Commission of the U.N., until presently, had done nothing more effective than to discuss how local militias, formed pursuant to the partition plan by both Jews and Arabs, could be utilized. The Security Council, notwithstanding the aggression committed in Palestine and its responsibilities to act under Article 39 of the Charter, had done nothing. That was so, despite there being no issue of veto, as Russia had supported partition.

He places blame on the U.N. for its procrastination and on the U.S. for failing, prior to adjournment of the General Assembly, to assert leadership to press the need for an enforcement mechanism to preserve the peace.

He recommends, as he had previously, formation of a police force by the U.N., pursuant to Article 43, comprised of small contingents from the regular military of five or more of the smaller nations. A token force, he offers, should be sent to Jerusalem forthwith, with more added commensurate with the British withdrawal. Otherwise, the whole of the Near East might soon become "aflame in a devastating conflagration."

Drew Pearson comments on former President Hoover having testified to Congress the previous week, favoring a restrained version of the Marshall Plan, limited to four billion dollars in appropriations and lasting only one year, with no future commitment. The testimony had highlighted an internal struggle within the Administration palace guard regarding the wisdom of having brought Mr. Hoover into the fold by sending him to Europe the previous year to render a report to the President on the crisis, a report which found the crisis somewhat magnified in other reports of the situation. But moreover, the testimony had also brought into high relief the dissension within the Republican Party between the isolationist wing of Senator Taft and the interventionist wing of Senator Vandenberg.

Mr. Pearson points out that it was the provision of credits to Europe and Latin America during the Twenties by President Coolidge which had propped up those economies, and that it was the withdrawal of those credits which had caused the economies abroad to collapse, leading finally to the 1929 Crash and the Depression in America. President Hoover had admitted as much in a speech of June 20, 1931, when he declared a moratorium on European war and recovery debt payments.

The column then reviews some of the differences between the present period and the period of the Twenties after World War I, factors which could aid in avoidance of a repeat of that process. The Marshall Plan included provision for careful supervision by American experts of the spending. The money would not be authorized until an agreement had been signed with each of the 16 recipient nations to determine the peaceful use for which it would be spent, to avoid the prospect of funneling the money into armaments. Moreover, the Plan was designed to benefit Western Europe, not a former enemy state, as in the Twenties, Germany. Then, the money had been spent profligately on armaments and public recreational facilities, without disclosure of the fact to the American public, as revealed in subsequent Congressional investigations.

The major steel plants, which became the feeder for the Hitler war machine, were built largely by American dollars from private investment firms. The chief money-raiser had been James Forrestal, presently Secretary of Defense. Private loans were also made to Latin America and Europe, totaling 15 billion dollars, which in turn bolstered U.S. export traffic, causing an artificial economic bubble during the Twenties, the exports becoming for the most part gifts, as the "loans" were never fully repaid.

The Marshall Plan envisioned a remedy for these problems by the careful oversight of the spending. The return would not be in cash but in engendering stability which would prevent another far more costly war or build-up of a far more costly, unprecedented "peacetime" war machine to prevent it. Self-interested businessmen would not be the overseers as in the European relief program following World War I.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop examine the issue of whether the true facts of ERP would be placed before the country in Congress or the opponents allowed to have their way for lack of understanding of the import of the Plan.

Presently, it was expected that delay would be the rule of the day, with ERP being cut to the bone, down to about four billion dollars for the first 15 months, from the 6.8 billion recommended by the President. The only way to rescue it was for the country to become energized in favor of the Plan as originally proposed. To cause such an upsurge in public opinion, Secretary of State Marshall would need to inform the country of the actual motives of the program.

The Government policy-makers were saying behind the scenes that the ultimate reason for the Plan, as for all of the other foreign aid since the war, was primarily to halt Soviet expansion, with its secondary purpose being humanitarianism. Yet, the true motive had never been publicly disclosed and discussed by the Administration beyond mere hints. It would be necessary, Mr. Alsop opines, to move Congress.

Samuel Grafton comments on the Baruch proposal laid before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the previous week, attempting to formulate a plan for establishing complementary effort at home in support of full implementation of ERP abroad, necessitating, in his view, a plan of inflation-control which included a moratorium on tax cuts for two years and a four-year freeze of farm prices, insuring the farmers the while that the frozen price would be supported by the Government. Stabilization of currencies, he averred, would also be a necessary part of ERP.

But in the midst of it all, the State Department released new documents seized after the war from the German Foreign Office, which showed the effort by Stalin to effect a separate peace with Hitler in spring, 1940 on specified terms, control of the destiny of Finland, control of the Dardanelles and thus the Middle East. The calculated damage to Soviet-American relations by the revelation and its broadcast into Eastern Europe via Voice of America channels appeared to counter the policy to have Congress authorize a formulation of ERP based on establishing the peace.

While the effort by Stalin was repulsive, the timing of the revelation had opened up a can of worms, to which answer might be made in defense of the Russian actions and gestures during the period, prior to the mid-1941 Nazi invasion of Russia. But it was much easier to engender bitterness toward Russia by such simplistic formulations taken out of context than to place those actions in context to establish a peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding. And it was the latter which would lead to peace, the former, tending toward war.

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