Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President's
State of the Union message to Congress sought an individual "cost of living" tax
credit of $40 for both the taxpayer and each dependent, and urged
raising taxes on corporations by 8.2 billion dollars to offset the
He also wanted his previously urged ten-point anti-inflation
program enacted, including price controls and rationing on certain
scarce commodities. He urged the passage of the Marshall Plan with
its initial outlay of 6.8 billion dollars in the first year. As had
been indicated by Administration officials, he made no further
mention of the originally urged 17 billion dollars over a four-year
period, seen by many Republicans as a stumbling block to approval of
The President again advocated universal military training, as
he had each of the previous two years, an increase in the minimum
wage from 40 to 75 cents, as he had previously, extension of rent
controls beyond the current expiration date of February 29,
broadening of Social Security benefits and increasing payments,
civil rights legislation, and a national health program.
The message was carried nationally and abroad by radio. (Later versions of Internet Explorer may not play the Truman Library audio files, presented in FlowPlayer. To remedy this problem, after hitting the link to the audio file, hit the F12 key on your keyboard, which will cause a pane to open at the bottom of the screen. Then, under the "Emulation" tab, go to the box marked "User agent string" (having nothing to do with the new CIA or the string in your leg), drop down to "Internet Explorer 6", and the file will begin to play.)
A report released by the Administration to Congress anent the
Marshall Plan cautioned that it could not be the basis for
rekindling the old pre-war steel cartel in Europe and that Eastern
European shipbuilding plans should be curtailed considerably so that
more steel could be utilized in reconstruction. Dismantled German
industrial plants would need supply some of the machinery to the 16
recipient nations under the Plan. It also recommended that the U.S.
should decline to ship the vast amounts of steel and scrap iron
requested. And even if the Plan were successful, it warned,
Europeans would still have less to eat than before the war.
In Jerusalem, Jews disguised as Palestine police rolled a
bomb into the Jaffa gate from a stolen police armored car, killing
eight to ten Arabs and injuring 42 others. Two Jews in the car were
killed after the car was wrecked by the explosion and two more were
apprehended. A gun battle between Arabs and Jews ensued the bombing.
The day marked the Christmas observance of 100,000 Christian
Arabs of the Eastern churches, utilizing the Julian calendar.
Governor Thomas Dewey blamed President Truman and President
Roosevelt for inflation and submitted his own program to the New
York Legislature to curb it, pledging no new taxes. He believed that
President Truman's executive order of October 30, 1945, relaxing
wage controls, had started the ball rolling on inflation, destroying
the effectiveness of price controls by the following summer.
Democrats reported $315,000 in their campaign war chest at
the end of 1947. Republicans reported that they took in a net of
$28,000 during the year, but did not report on cash on hand at the
start, as had the Democrats. The two parties had comparable
contributions during the year, in the range of $700,000.
The New York state executive committee of the American Labor
Party endorsed Henry Wallace's third-party candidacy, causing a rift
in the party, as representatives of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers
and the UAW stormed out of the meeting in protest of support of any
third party movement, thought inimical to labor interests. ACW
provided most of the financial support for the ALP, which functioned
only in New York.
In Washington, Maj. General Bennett Meyers pleaded not guilty
to three charges of perjury and three charges of suborning perjury,
allegedly having occurred during the Senate War Investigating
Committee hearings on the Howard Hughes war contracts. General
Meyers had allegedly sought to induce the president of the aviation
company he set up to profit from war contracts to testify falsely
regarding the nature of the business, his own role, and the role of
General Meyers in it. General Meyers had been the deputy purchasing
officer for the Air Force during the war, when he set up the
company. The business associate was also charged with perjury, but
pleaded guilty to all three counts.
In Savannah, Ga., 15 persons were killed and nine injured in
a Coastal Airlines crash of a DC-3 on the Savannah River, while
flying from Philadelphia to Miami. All of the passengers were Puerto
Ricans, heading home. The plane sought to effect an emergency
landing for unknown reasons in marshland and then broke apart.
In Raleigh, News & Observer editor and publisher
Josephus Daniels, former Ambassador to Mexico under FDR and former
Secretary of the Navy under President Wilson, was critically ill. He
would pass away the following week.
In New York, a 14-year old Italian girl was permitted by the
Children's Court to wed a 24-year old Army lieutenant. They were
married in "The Little Church Around the Corner". They had
met at an officers' dance in Italy in 1946.
In Newark, an Alcoholic Beverage Control commissioner vetoed
plans of tavern owners to resurrect the nickel beer. The
commissioner objected to the proposed weekly fee of $1.50 to be
required to purchase the beer for a nickel, saying that patrons
would have to buy 30 glasses to break even.
So, what was the regular price of 99 bottles of beer?
On the editorial page, "Wallace Calls 'Lunatic Fringe'"
tells of a letter writer to The News who had welcomed the
Wallace third-party challenge for it bringing together the "lunatic
fringe" of the country, that it could be ascertained how large
The piece thinks the lunatic part of society was spread
across its social fabric and not really a fringe at all, would turn
out to be uncomfortably large. The most significant characteristic
of this group was its belief in miracles. And that number included
many conservatives. Mr. Wallace, promising "peace and
prosperity", was appealing to those who believed in miracles.
The correspondent thought that Mr. Wallace was "an
idealist gone haywire". In a great period of transition in the
world, the right course could be determined only by choosing the
"lesser evils", as condemned by Mr. Wallace, through trial
The Communists in the Wallace camp were not properly labeled
the "lunatic fringe" but were rather realists who were
manipulating the dreams of people for their own political purposes,
to bring more power to the Soviet Union.
"General Electric's Statesmanship" tells of the
voluntary price reduction by GE on its appliances, predicted to
result in a 50 million dollar savings to consumers in 1948. Ford had
also taken a voluntary price cut several months earlier. It was
hoped that others would follow their lead. It praises GE and its
chairman, Charles E. Wilson, for the move.
"Frank Graham Goes Right Along" comments on a story
from "reliable sources", found by the Washington
correspondent of the Durham Morning Herald, that UNC president
Frank Porter Graham might be on the way out for his having endorsed
the majority report of the Truman Civil Rights Committee, of which
he had been a member, recommending immediate desegregation of
The Herald had on Sunday printed an editorial,
however, finding the report unreliable, that Dr. Graham would
continue as president of the Greater University as long as he
The piece agrees, finds the Herald correspondent to
have taken the sucker bait from the usual enemies of Dr. Graham who
had for some time sought to grasp at any straw to promote his
As indicated, Dr. Graham would be appointed by Governor Kerr
Scott the following year to the Senate seat of newly elected former
Governor Melville Broughton, who would die two months into his term
in 1949. Dr. Graham would be defeated in the 1950 special election
by Raleigh attorney Willis Smith in a race-baiting campaign managed
by Jesse Helms.
You could no more change the latter's political coloration, even through time, than you could the Leopard's Spots.
A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "A
Thinker Who Could Write", comments on the death on December 30
of Alfred North Whitehead, Harvard professor emeritus in philosophy,
praising him for his clarity, beauty and wit in writing philosophy,
a rare gift. Bertrand Russell, pupil of Professor Whitehead, and
George Santayana, his colleague at Harvard, shared that gift.
As example, it quotes from Adventures of Ideas, commenting
on the absence of a coordinating philosophy being signal of a
decline of a culture into decadence and ennui, with satire heaving
the last gasp of originality in such a passing epoch.
It finds the writer in philosophy usually to be a "boor
speaking an uncouth jargon." But Professor Whitehead had taught
the philosopher, for a time, how to communicate.
Je pense, donc que je suis.
Drew Pearson, in Bologna, Italy, continues to tell of the
Friendship Train food being distributed across France and now Italy.
Getting the French to recognize that the source of the food was
average Americans had gone well. But in Italy, the head of the YWCA
in Paris wanted to drop the various celebrations in each city and
just get the food to the people on time. With one exception, the
various relief organizations agreed. But then the American Embassy
intervened and the ceremonies were restored to the schedule.
In one small Italian town, as reported by William Attwood of
the New York Herald Tribune, the Communist Mayor told the
residents that the food came from Stalin. The people thought that it
came from church groups.
Since the previous July, Italy had received 200 shiploads of
American food. And despite the efforts of Ambassador James Dunn to
assure American credit, the Italian people were largely still in the
dark on the source. Part of the problem was that the wheat was
turned over to the Government for distribution.
To thwart such misimpressions, the trucks delivering the
Friendship Train food bore posters explaining in pictures the origin
of the aid. When the food reached the town of Campidoglio, the Mayor
of Rome, accompanied by Premier Alcide de Gaperi and the the Foreign
Minister, praised the American contribution. Premier de Gasperi
later entertained those connected with the train at his official
home and thanked everyone for the effort.
Samuel Grafton finds the financial reviews in the New York
press to be paying little attention to the new Republican voluntary
anti-inflation measure passed into law during the special session of
Congress the previous month. The talk instead was of continued
rising prices in 1948, a slap in the face to the inflation measure.
The retailers and wholesalers also could not agree on the
future, the retailers expecting more sales revenue but on fewer
sales during the coming year, meaning somewhere down the line
unemployment. Many store owners regarded the increased revenue as
useless if ultimately it meant reduced production and recession.
But the industrial representatives were predicting increased
output in 1948. They hedged, however, on the notion of having to
raise prices, cautioning that they might have to do so.
There were thus clear warnings of trouble ahead, but no one
wanted to face the music and seek to prevent it. He suggests that
the voluntary price reduction program ought be initiated with a five
percent across-the-board reduction demanded by consumers. Such a
comparatively small reduction would be ameliorative with so much
pent-up demand waiting to be released into the marketplace.
Marquis Childs, returning from a month-long vacation, tells of the prophets predicting that 1948
would be the year of decision, with potential doom around the corner
should the wrong choices be made. It was clear that the longer the
decision was delayed, the sharper the choice would become in Western
Europe between extremes of left and right, Communism or Fascism.
Greece supplied the example of too little American aid coming
too late, making it difficult to restore moderation when political
and economic breakdown had progressed so far.
Clinton Golden, the labor adviser to the American aid mission
in Greece, had made progress in pulling unions, management, and the
Government together, obtaining an agreement in mid-November that
Government would consult with union leaders on labor legislation.
But then reactionaries passed the punitive anti-strike measure which
subjected strikers to long prison terms and leaders of the strike to
the death penalty. Mr. Golden thought the measure to be overly
punitive and would wreck his efforts to effect coalition. He wanted
to come home, causing the State Department to suggest to the Greek
Government that the measure be given public interpretation
suggesting its application only in extreme cases of sabotage.
State Department officials believed that martial law and
suspension of civil liberties might have to take place in Greece to
And the same situation might ensue in France.
The average American would recoil at a contest between
Fascists and Communists. Delay made that possibility greater by the
day. If too much delay occurred, the choice would prove an empty
A letter writer thinks that Abraham Lincoln's greatness
stemmed from his lack of a college education, as such an education
was usually devoted to fixed doctrines. All of it was propaganda for
the oligarchy, to promote the idea that it was right. And the
education given North Carolina students, he thinks, bred the notion
of the Solid South, with the result that no Southerner had been in
the White House since Andrew Johnson—not exactly true as Woodrow
Wilson was a Southerner by birth and through his early years, partly
educated in the South, including a year at Davidson College near
Anyway, he goes on a bit about very little of nothing of
consequence. Abraham Lincoln, born in 1809, was of college age in
1827, when few on the prairie in Kentucky or Illinois knew how to
read or write. The correspondent's silly notions comparing 19th and
20th century social reality are in sore need of more thoughtful
placement in respective temporal context. He apparently does not realize how presumptuously arrogant he is in seeking to promote a form of populist ignorance as a means to understanding and "democracy"—the same line of nonsense preached by Hitler.