The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 14, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, Britain and China, in the U.N. Security Council, demanded that Israel report quickly on its progress in the investigation of the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte four weeks earlier, on September 17. The U.S. consul and chair of the three-power consular truce commission in Jerusalem, John McDonald, stated that a Jewish campaign was afoot to discredit acting U.N. mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche, much as there had been such a campaign against Count Bernadotte in the weeks before his shooting.

The President, campaigning in Mankato, Minn., said that he had "smoked out" Governor Dewey on the issues and that it turned out that the latter was for a "me, too" administration. He warned of new converts to old Democratic policies. He told of the Republican Congress trying to end the Rural Electrification Administration efforts under the New Deal and turn electric power over to the private interests. The previous night in St. Paul, he had hammered Mr. Dewey for having in 1944 favored immediate demobilization of the military apparatus at the end of the war and now declaring "me, too" on remobilization.

The President would provide a major speech at Milwaukee at 9:40 p.m. this night on atomic energy, replying to a speech by Governor Dewey in Phoenix three weeks earlier in which he had said that the "dead hand of Government" could not alone develop atomic energy. The President would say that public control of atomic energy, through the civilian Atomic Energy Commission, had to be maintained as long as the security and welfare of the public were at stake, not turned over, as implied by Governor Dewey, to private interests for profit-making. The speech by Mr. Truman had originally been set for October 5 in Philadelphia, but the President decided to take more time to work on the address.

Governor Dewey, campaigning in Joplin, Mo., called for cooperation between the President and the Congress, requiring a new administration. He also toured Oklahoma. He would go to Minnesota the following day, after a major speech this night in Kansas City.

That doesn't make any sense when the new Congress would be Democratic in both houses. He must be a little crazy. Backing up trains, "lunatic" engineers to be shot at dawn. He must have put his thigh pads in backwards recently.

The dominant news of the front page this date pertains to the Kelly farm rejuvenation outside Charlotte, the "Miracle Day" during which over 300 volunteers and over a hundred pieces of donated farm machinery had been put to work on the 120-acre farm of the two brothers Kelly, war veterans who had purchased the rundown farm two years earlier. After a century of improper farming techniques, the land was exhausted and the soil conservation efforts to be undertaken this date would make it fertile again, bringing its $7,000 value up to $27,000. Various reports and photographs appear on the day's activities.

Tom Schlesinger of The News reports that some 60,000 spectators turned out for the event under clear blue skies. WBT's Grady Cole, who showed up at noon to broadcast the event live on radio, was more accurate than The News in his estimate of expected crowds. He had said 75,000 would show up, whereas The News had estimated 30,000 the day before.

A dam site was cleared as the first order of business at 7:30 a.m., with a big dynamite blast, leaving a hole big enough in which to hide a Duke Power bus.

The biggest attraction, relates Mr. Schlesinger, was the digging of a fish pond which was observed, he notes, as spectators view a tennis match, heads turning side to side.

Was there a cellist onboard the train?

On the editorial page, "Plight of the Municipalities" tells of cities in North Carolina having to get along on slender budgets after the State took most of the revenue. It was difficult to find the money for various public projects as streets, parks, schools, water and sewage improvements, fire departments, and police.

The Legislature was dominated by members favorable to rural areas, complicating the matter further.

"A Service to the Community" discusses the Charlotte Public Library and its commitment to public service. The piece provides some of the many services performed by the library beyond lending of books. It praises the institution and its director Hoyt Galvin for a job well done.

"We May Lose a Congressman" tells of North Carolina poised to lose one of its House seats because of gains in population in other states, notably California, when reapportionment would occur in 1951. Seven states were apt to gain and twelve to lose seats. California would gain seven and New York would lose two, though the latter would continue to have the largest delegation, 43, to California's prospective 30 and Pennsylvania's 32.

Seven of the twelve states to lose seats were in the South, dominated by the Democrats.

Congress could elect to increase the size of the House from its 435 members and thereby not reduce the delegations in all of the states otherwise set to lose members. North Carolina had gained a twelfth Congressman after the 1940 census in the previous reapportionment of 1941.

Drew Pearson finds that the American public always scrutinized the President and, in consequence, knew everything there was to know about him and his stands on the issues. In contrast, his election year opponent, Mr. Dewey, was receiving kid glove treatment in the press. Such was not surprising as about 75 percent of the newspapers were for Mr. Dewey. And, according to the polls, he was certain to win.

Mr. Pearson had predicted in October, 1946 that Mr. Dewey could become the Republican nominee again, the first repeat GOP nominee defeated the first time around. He had also predicted in May, 1948 that the President would not carry a single Northern state and would lose two states in the South. He notes that he had since revised that latter prediction to four.

He says that he liked Mr. Dewey personally, whereas most journalists did not. Mr. Pearson's wife posited that the affinity derived from the fact that Mr. Dewey liked cows, as did Mr. Pearson.

President Truman did not like Mr. Pearson, as he had had expressed both privately and publicly.

He says that he did admire, nevertheless, as did the public, President Truman's spunky uphill fight.

He believes that the public had a right to know what the GOP stood for in the event of election.

Landslides were dangerous, making the winner too confident, as had occurred to FDR in 1936 and, to a lesser degree, in 1940. The public should be as the smart lawyer who collected his fee while the client's tears were hot.

He thus proceeds to tell of Mr. Dewey's unknown record. He was cool, calculating, had a temper, but kept it under control, was vain and, in consequence, would take great pride in making a good record as President.

Mr. Dewey was not in public office in December, 1941, but did not serve in the war. It was not necessary, he believed, that a candidate had to be a veteran. But the public had a right to know why Mr. Dewey did not choose to serve.

While Mr. Pearson thinks the New York Governor and former organized crime-busting District Attorney of Manhattan would make a first-rate President, he believes that the people had a right to know who his major contributors were and promises a subsequent column on the matter and his stands on the issues. He believes it would make Mr. Dewey a better President, even if both sides in the election would skewer the columnist for the attempt.

Marquis Childs tells of some of the Justices of the Supreme Court resenting the President's initial plan, quickly withdrawn the previous weekend, to send Chief Justice Fred Vinson to Moscow to negotiate with Premier Stalin on the question of control of nuclear energy. It would have placed the Court in a political light, a position which, historically, it was loath to occupy.

Mr. Childs tells of Justice Felix Frankfurter, addressing, prior to the political conventions, the American Law Institute, telling of a letter which Chief Justice Morrison Waite, who occupied the position from 1874 to 1888, had written to his own nephew decrying efforts to promote him as a presidential candidate, tending to cast doubt on his integrity and intellectual honesty as a jurist, making it appear that his decisions were based on political considerations rather than the law.

Then, Justice William O. Douglas was thrust into the limelight as a potential replacement on the Democratic ticket for President Truman, and then promoted as a possible vice-presidential candidate.

Many had believed a dangerous concept had developed, regarding the Court as a kind of House of Lords with its members available for special assignments, as Justice Robert Jackson taking a leave of absence for a year to be lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials in 1945-46, creating much publicized dissension on the Court at the time between Justice Hugo Black and Justice Jackson. The incident with Chief Justice Vinson, thinks Mr. Childs, had fit the same pattern.

It should be noted that columnist Thomas L. Stokes viewed the initial decision as following the pattern of FDR's sending of emissaries, such as Harry Hopkins, abroad to get facts and break from established dynamics of interaction between foreign and U.S. diplomats and other representatives of the State Department. He thinks that the decision was wise and should have been carried out, hopes that the President might reconsider it, even if viewed as a political move in an election year. World peace was more important than concern over perceptions.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, examines the discussion at high levels in the Government of easing diplomatic relations with Spain, possibly sending an ambassador to Madrid in the not-too-distant future. Indeed, President Truman had recently suggested that his personal chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, be named to such a post, until it was pointed out by the State Department that there was no ambassador as diplomatic relations with the Franco regime were cut.

Mr. Grafton finds something familiar in the picture, compromising principles to establish peace, deeming an enemy of the designated enemy, Russia, to be a friend.

He advocates waging peace aggressively, going to the U.N. with bold, detailed affirmative proposals for peace rather than reciting a litany of grievances against Russia. The country was wearing the military aspect which the Russian cartoons portrayed, playing into the hands of Russian propaganda, "giving them a point on that enormous level, out of our desire to avoid giving them any points at all."

Joseph Alsop, in Cincinnati, asks the relationship between President Dewey and the 81st Congress.

Well, with all due respect, Mr. Alsop, it will be as the relationship of President Charles Evans Hughes to the 65th Congress.

In any event, he asserts that Senator Taft would be the most likely member of the GOP to fight with President Dewey, taking a place on the Foreign Relations Committee and abandoning his position on the Labor Committee.

There is a good deal more to the piece, albeit all premised on an outcome which did not obtain, and so...

Pollster Elmo Roper tells of the election campaign being out of step with the concerns of the American people. Inflation and housing were primary concerns, according to Fortune's poll. Forty-two percent favored price control and 27.6 percent, supply and demand, while the remainder preferred Government intervention but not controls. Urban dwellers were much more in favor of controls than rural dwellers.

Most believed that the President wanted some form of price control. Republicans viewed Mr. Dewey as mirroring their own attitude on controls—just as with civil rights, as Mr. Roper had found a few days earlier.

On housing, 39.5 percent favored Government financing, while 22.5 percent wanted no Government aid and 27.9 percent favored actual Government construction. Neither the President nor Governor Dewey had favored the latter approach to the housing shortage.

The voters were more certain of where the President stood on housing also, with the President's supporters favoring Government aid as did the President. Supporters of Mr. Dewey were divided in their beliefs, with 30 percent saying that the Government should stay out of housing and 21 percent wanting Government construction. And they believed Governor Dewey's position to be simpatico with their own, regardless of their position.

Mr. Roper posits that perhaps the President's failure lay in not being able to convince the voters that he would do any better than in the previous four years in getting Congressional action on the measures he favored. And by not clarifying his stance, Mr. Dewey appeared not to be hurting his chances with the electorate.

"In fact, when Mr. Dewey is elected, if he wants to carry out the public mandate, he will have to follow the general lines of the Truman program on prices and housing, and what is more, he will be expected to get results from Congress."

It was nineteen days until election day.

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