The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 13, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians had replied to the proposal by the six "neutral" nations of the U.N. Security Council that the Berlin blockade be lifted temporarily while negotiations to end the crisis transpired directly between the Western powers and Russia. There was no indication of what the response said, but a reliable source indicated that the Russians had proposed that the Security Council drop the issue of the Berlin blockade and that the parties return to the agreement proposed on August 30 in Moscow and accepted by the U.S., that there would be reasonable negotiations in Berlin between the four military commanders to work out the issue of two currencies circulating in Berlin, at which point the blockade could be lifted.

The three Western powers had already indicated that they could not accept the six-nation proposal as it would lend tacit legitimacy to the blockade, allowing it to be reinstituted in the event negotiations failed.

A reliable British source said that the headquarters of the Western European Union would be located in France.

General De Gaulle had issued a statement on October 1 that the WEU was no solution to the defense problems of Western Europe because the combination would be centered in London. The choice of France for the headquarters, said the source, was made before this statement was issued.

In Paris, a 24-hour Communist-led dock strike had been called, as the coal strike entered its eleventh day.

In Rome, Italian Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti demanded before the Chamber of Deputies the previous day that a new minister of the interior be appointed and a new government formed based on the laboring masses. An assassination attempt had been made on him on July 14 and he said, vaguely, that another such date could come at any time. He accused the Government of Premier Alcide De Gasperi of catering to the privileged few.

In Tokyo, a Communist of the Diet had on a new suit and was asked by his shoddily-clad fellow members of the Diet to stand to show it off. One member asked whether the suit had come from his friends in Russia and he replied that it had come instead from his friends in the United States.

In Hartford, Conn., Erwin Canham, editor of the Christian Science Monitor, said that American ideas were penetrating the iron curtain on a large scale, with most of three to four million shortwave radio sets receiving the Voice of America broadcasts inside Russia. While it was difficult to know whether minds were being changed by the broadcasts, at least Russians were hearing the American side, such as in the case of Oksana Kosenkina, the Russian teacher who had jumped from the third floor of the Russian consulate in New York to escape her captivity and then sought asylum in the U.S.

President Truman toured Wisconsin and Minnesota this date, set to deliver a major address at 10:30 p.m. in St. Paul. Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey was in a tough race with incumbent Senator Joseph Ball for the Senate seat.

The President, after laying a wreath on the tomb of President Lincoln the previous day in Springfield, Ill., had told a gathering of 6,000 at the Armory that Governor Dewey was backed by Wall Street and aligned with "some queer characters". He said that the present GOP had departed from the fundamental principles of Mr. Lincoln, would have been his bitter enemies in his time.

Governor Dewey, while touring Southern Illinois on his campaign train, was met at Mt. Vernon by two tomatoes and rotten eggs hurled at him by some youngsters on a roof. In another embarrassing moment for the soon-to-be, but-for-which, President, his campaign train backed up into a crowd of 1,000 persons at Beaucoup, Ill., but no one was hurt or bruised black or blue. Mr. Dewey said that the engineer of the train was a "lunatic" and should be shot at sunrise for the miscue.

The engineer of the Louisville & Northern Railroad said that he was not embittered by the remark, saying he thought about as much of the candidate as he did before the incident, which was not much. He explained that he was backing so slowly that anyone who was in the way had plenty of time to move, and, furthermore, he had given the proper back-up signals—possibly intending a symbolic statement.

Former Vice-President Henry Wallace also campaigned in Illinois and was planning to go to Dalton, Georgia, to address a national meeting of the Church of God.

Governor Strom Thurmond campaigned in Kentucky, planning a major address this night in Louisville. He had said the previous night in Lexington that the Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives were perverting and destroying principles of American democracy.

One hundred candidates were running in 32 gubernatorial races across the nation, four of which, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, were attracting more than only statewide interest. Each of the four states had a Republican Governor, but the Democrats claimed that they could carry all four, with Michigan the only one not probable. Republicans and Democrats each had 24 Governors. Nineteen GOP-controlled Governor's offices were at stake, with five running as incumbents, the Maine race having already been decided for the Republican. Ten of the 14 Democratic Governors were running as incumbents.

Tom Schlesinger of The News reports of the upcoming Miracle Day the following day, during which a rundown farm of 120 acres outside Charlotte, owned by two veterans, would be turned in one day into a fertile enterprise. The farm was depleted by a century of careless tending. The two brothers Kelly had purchased the farm two years earlier for $7,000. It was anticipated that its value would rise to $27,000 after the day of work. An estimated 30,000 spectators were anticipated for the event. Over 350 men and 125 machines were set to participate in the restoration, co-sponsored by The News, the Lower Catawba Soil Conservation District, the N.C. Grange and the N.C. Extension Service.

Buses would leave the Union Oil Service Station at West Trade and Poplar Streets all morning and into the early afternoon to provide transportation to the Kelly farm, if you are interested in attending tomorrow. A map provides the location.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all—unless you are subversive and want to try to block the farm equipment.

At Niagara Falls, a fire chief from London, England, looked at the falls and said wistfully that they could have used that water during the war to put out fires.

In Birmingham, England, a board fell on a man in an exhibition hall and hit him on the head, knocking his cigarette from his mouth. The board bore the sign, "No smoking."

On the editorial page, "Wronghorse Harry Rides Again" finds the President making an "inexcusable blunder" in his initial decision that Chief Justice Fred Vinson would go to Moscow to meet with Premier Stalin to try to effect rapprochement on the atomic control issue, then withdrawing the decision after being advised by Secretary of State Marshall that it could be misinterpreted. The initial decision was never supposed to have become public, but had leaked when airtime was requested of CBS by the White House.

The piece compares it to the President's blunder of two years earlier when Secretary of State James Byrnes was in Paris trying to negotiate the terms of the Axis peace treaties with the Russians, and Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace had given a speech at Madison Square Garden saying that U.S. policy toward Russia was too tough. The President said the next day that he had approved Mr. Wallace's speech, at which point Secretary Byrnes threatened to come home and resign if the matter were not straightened out. At that juncture, the President asked for Mr. Wallace's resignation.

The editorial concludes that the President was sending confusing signals to the Russians and the world anent U.S. foreign policy.

"Miracle Conservation Field Day" tells of the losing battle in the country on conservation, with one-fifth of the original 500 million arable acres of land exhausted, another fifth in critical condition, and another fifth in serious condition. There were no more frontiers or large blocks of land to plow. The country faced feeding an ever-expanding population at home and undertaking to feed the war-recovering nations abroad.

It posits that it was why the Miracle Conservation Day in Charlotte was important. Work which would normally take years would be accomplished in a day.

The editorial thanks the many companies who had donated the equipment and the many volunteers who would participate in the project. It was hoped that it would signal new accomplishments in conservation in the future.

"France, the Barometer" finds accurate DeWitt MacKenzie's assessment that France was the barometer for the time being as to how the conflict between Russia and the West was proceeding. While Russia was proposing at the U.N. meeting in Paris reduction of Big Five armament by one-third and banning of the atomic bomb, Communist-led strikes in France were crippling the country, causing a coal shortage and cuts in electricity, threatening to wreck the French economy. It showed the two-faced nature of the Russian approach.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Northern Cold", tells of purple haze on the mountains and brown and sere coloring over the pasture hillsides, supplanting the summer's green as fall came into its full burnish of red, yellow, and brown. It suggests taking a leaf in hand and pondering its mystery in the never-failing cycles of the seasons, representing hundreds of millions of years of change since the primal ooze.

It was October again.

Drew Pearson tells of a Virginia traffic cop having stopped three Washington & Lee students for speeding, finding that their names were Robert E. Lee IV, Carter Glass III, and Fred Vinson, Jr., respectively, the great grandson of the Confederate General, the grandson of the late Virginia Senator, and the son of the Chief Justice. He let all three go, saying that his name was Napoleon.

Most readers of the column had reacted unfavorably to Congressman J. Parnell Thomas's system of kickbacks whereby he hired bogus staff and pocketed their salaries. But a couple had asked why Mr. Pearson had picked on HUAC chairman Thomas. First, he says, he had also exposed others in Congress indulging in similar conduct, as Congressman Richard Kleburg of Texas, a Democrat, and Representative Ed Rowe of Ohio, a Republican. Other Congressmen for the most part had clean records in terms of receipt of salaries. Mr. Thomas was hurting the cause of Americanism, which his committee was designed to protect.

The Air Force wasted thousands of dollars taking worthless movies of the Bikini atom bomb tests of July, 1946. The result had been a film, "Able Baker Day", which was so hostile to the Army and Navy that it could not be shown commercially. All prints were ordered destroyed. Taxpayer money totaling $86,000 was lost.

Another film was called "Phantom Wings", costing $50,000, also never shown after the preview.

Both films were made by officers with no experience at filmmaking. Nevertheless, one was promoted from colonel to brigadier general and the other was assigned to make a film about the atomic test on Eniwetok earlier in the year. The Air Inspector General was investigating the matter.

Marquis Childs discusses the confusion besetting American foreign policy as exemplified by the initial decision of the President the previous weekend to have Chief Justice Vinson travel to Moscow to meet Premier Stalin and then, as quickly, withdrawing the decision as improvident. It would have sowed the seeds of confusion with respect to France and Britain as to who was conducting foreign policy and would have upset the balance of bipartisanship in formulating that policy.

Another example was the Air Force brass public statements that a massive air strike of atomic bombs on an enemy, i.e., the Soviets, would enable a quick, easy victory in thirty days. Some Air Force high officials had made the argument, though it had been made clear that it was not official policy.

General Omar Bradley, chief of staff of the Army, and General Hoyt Vandenberg, chief of staff of the Air Force, agreed that atomic warfare might paralyze the enemy but disagreed on such a war being over quickly, General Bradley believing it would last for thirty years if initiated. General Vandenberg believed that if the air attack failed, a resulting war could last ten years. Long-range contingency plans for a controlled economy were being formulated for such a prolonged war.

General Bradley faced the problem that the public and some in Congress preferred the idea of an easy, push-button war. But the prolonged aftermath would lead to economic regimentation for the long-term, transforming the society into essentially a totalitarian state.

While it was good in a democracy to hear competing theories and allow them to be debated openly, restraint was necessary at a time of great crisis to avoid confusing unofficial statements with official policy of the Government and military.

Sterling F. Green tells of some Government economists believing that no matter who would win the election, the outcome vis-à-vis the economy would be the same, with inflation continuing at least into early 1949.

A highly placed Democratic economist ventured that if Governor Dewey were to win, business would get a shot in the arm but that its effect would be minor and short-lived. It was so because, first, his election had been forecast for several months and thus investment decisions had not awaited the outcome. Second, the business community was aware that no matter which party had control of the Government, there would be no easy ride for the ensuing four years, with inflation and shortages plaguing the country, ending potentially in a recession or depression.

Complicating the matter, national defense demands on the economy were substantial, with supplies of gas and steel being depleted rapidly for the sake of foreign aid and military preparation. More defense spending in the event of a worsening situation with Russia could easily create budget deficits. If lend-lease for Western Europe were instituted, as being discussed, it would produce an even worse strain, in combination with ERP, already inflationary.

Soft spots were also developing in the economy, with grain prices having dropped toward Government support levels and some coal mines and textiles mills having shortened work weeks.

Whether Republican or Democrat, the next President would be hemmed in by both Congress and the need to counter Russian moves.

A letter writer takes issue with the editorial endorsement of the Dewey policy of expanding aid to Nationalist China. He had been a G.I. in China in December, 1945 when President Truman made a statement not since equalled on policy toward China, advocating a strong, united and democratic country. The writer says that there was no freedom of speech in Nationalist China, that Chiang's Government was Fascist and oppressive. The war was not with the Russian Communists but against the Communist Chinese, who were trying to bring about land reform and form a coalition government with liberal elements within the Kuomintang and eliminate the power of the Fascist wing. Chiang catered to the landlords, could not survive without being propped up by American aid.

The author had seen American machineguns sent to China and stored in warehouses during the war, reserved not to fight the Japanese, but rather to fight the Communists, as well as the democrats and other opposition to the Chiang Government.

A letter from twice-failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder again engages in his favorite pastime, kicking the President, the New Deal, and others he considered "communists". He thinks the President was cozy with Russia and that it demonstrated conclusively that he was, as had been his predecessor, a Communist.

A letter writer who had met General Lucius Clay while stationed in Munich right after the war remarks of the General's intelligence in dealing with the occupation of Germany and with the Russians, and compliments the Drew Pearson column of October 8 for its clear-headed presentation of the Berlin crisis and General Clay's expert handling of it. He agrees with General Clay that there would be no war provided the country stood firm in Berlin.

A Quote of the Day: "There is no legal ban to a woman's being President of the United States, and no earthly notion as to what her husband would call his column if one was in the White House." —Memphis Commercial-Appeal

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