The Charlotte News

Monday, October 18, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President spoke in Miami to the American Legion convention, defending his initial decision, withdrawn, to send Chief Justice Fred Vinson to Moscow to negotiate on control of nuclear energy with Premier Stalin. He said that he had wanted to dispel the "present poisonous atmosphere of distrust" surrounding negotiations between the Western powers and Russia. The meeting's main purpose would have been to improve the atmosphere of negotiations rather than undercutting any present negotiations ongoing in Paris. He called talk that the U.S. was following a course to war a "wicked falsehood." He said that the U.S. policy was not presently and never had been directed against the Soviet Union.

U.S. chief delegate to the U.N. Warren Austin told the U.N. political committee meeting in Paris that the matter of atomic control should be turned over to the Big Five plus Canada for direct negotiation, that the Russian failure to cooperate made useless a collective effort by the organization to formulate a plan for control.

The Russians responded that they had proposed to ban the bomb and that the rejection of the proposal by the West showed that they did not want to reach agreement on atomic control.

In Berlin, a U.S. C-54 transport plane was shaken by an explosive blast of mysterious origin while flying in the airlift corridor, just after takeoff from Berlin's Gatow Airport. The pilot said that the shaking could have been caused by a dynamite blast. He had heard an explosion shortly after takeoff and seen smoke. The Russians had provided no warning of any gun practice during the day. The Russians imposed tighter security measures on inspection of vehicular traffic entering the Western sectors of the city.

The French joined the British and Americans in economic cooperation in Germany, to form a tri-zonal foreign trade agreement. The British and American zones had already been united economically.

In Tel Aviv, Israel accepted a U.N. offer to arrange negotiations between Israel and Egypt regarding the fighting in the Negev Desert, but rejected a four-day ceasefire without U.N. assurances that the Egyptians would not try to use it to improve their positions. Israelis the previous night had blasted open their supply route to the southern desert and unconfirmed reports said that the Arab forces were evacuating Gaza, Egyptian headquarters and the target of Israeli air raids. It appeared that unless the Egyptians were able to strike back in force, the current phase of the fighting for the Negev had nearly concluded.

In Salonika, Greece, it was announced by the Greek Government that CBS reporter George Polk, killed the previous May in Salonika while planning to meet with the guerrilla leader, was murdered by a top Communist, Adam Mouzenides, and three others, two of whom were under arrest. One of those arrested was reported to have said that the plot was hatched by the Cominform. The announcement followed a five-month investigation.

Speculation had been that the murder was carried out by the Government and blamed on the Communists, because of Mr. Polk's relentless reporting on Government graft and incompetence.

Tom Schlesinger of The News reports on the annual meeting, taking place at the Hotel Charlotte, of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, concerning the ability to raise revenue.

Dick Young of The News reports of the improved intrastate highways while local roads continued to suffer from disrepair, with "corduroy ridges", "shell holes" and "crevices", going begging for revenue. The State Highway Commission had plenty of money, three million dollars monthly coming from gas taxes, but Charlotte did not, in the same soup as other cities and towns across the state. The municipalities received only a million dollars per year from the State for the maintenance of State highways within their incorporated limits.

About 6,000 miles of roads, ten percent of the total, were within municipal limits. The Highway Commission only maintained a third of those streets with the one million dollars, a fortieth of its total revenue from gas taxes. Charlotte only received $50,000 per year from the State. Of the 250 miles of Charlotte streets, the State took responsibility for only 36 miles. And when the city limits would be extended on January 1, the streets would extend to 340 miles, with the state tending only 45 miles. The system was unfair as automobile registration was concentrated in cities and towns, with more than half of the miles traveled being on city streets.

The result was that the urban dweller paid several times over to the highway fund, including a special assessment for paving adjacent to his property, an ad valorem tax to the City for upkeep, and a six cents State tax on gasoline, while receiving little or nothing in return. By contrast, the rural dweller paid only once and got excellent roads.

The President was set to visit Raleigh, scheduled to arrive this evening from Miami. The following day he would deliver an address regarding the farm policy, to be broadcast live by NBC radio from the State Fairgrounds. During the day, he would unveil a statue at the State Capitol honoring the three Presidents born in North Carolina, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and Andrew Johnson. Future Senator Willis Smith, chairman of the monument committee, would appear with the President on this occasion.

Mr. Smith, then a Raleigh attorney, would defeat interim Senator Frank Porter Graham in 1950 after the latter would be appointed in early 1949 to serve in the seat after the death of newly elected Senator and former Governor Melville Broughton. Jesse Helms would manage Mr. Smith's 1950 race-baiting campaign.

Since, according to some, Mr. Truman was now a Communist and since association was a hallmark of fellow travelers, we conclude, by logical inference, that Mr. Helms also was a Communist.

In Hollywood, actress Veronica Lake had her second daughter and third child.

On the editorial page, "The School Commission Report" comments on the 598-page report to Governor Gregg Cherry on the schools of the state, a report authorized by the Legislature. The Commission was divided over school financing and construction. It criticized the schools, recommended ending the division of authority in the state between the Controller of the Board of Education and the State Superintendent, proposed a 150-million dollar building program over the course of a decade, and that minimum teacher pay be raised to $2,400 per year.

The building program would benefit the poor rural and black schools. The other two recommendations were also wise.

The report had also called for equality of schools between rural and urban and black and white, and such things as instruction in democratic behavior.

The report would be presented to the 1949 Legislature for action. The piece urges the lawmakers to pass the recommended advances to put an end to the economic and cultural lag of the state brought on by deficiencies in the educational system.

"U.S. Migrations, 1948 Style" tells of a preview of the 1950 census, showing that the Westward trend of migration in the country had continued during the 1940's. California led the way with an increase of three million people since 1940, a nearly 50 percent increase in its total population, with Washington and Oregon not far behind in percentage of increase.

The aviation industry thrived in California and after a short postwar decline, had begun to thrive again. Henry Kaiser's steel mills would enable the West Coast to breed new industries competitive with the East.

The diffusion of industrial centers across the country was important strategically in the atomic age, to avoid vulnerability to enemy attack. The similar migration of the textile industry from its New England center into the South was another example.

California was catching up with New York and Pennsylvania in population. The South was either losing population or not gaining at the national average.

A New York newspaper had suggested that the California water supply ultimately could not hold out against such a burgeoning population. Limited coal and iron resources, it had opined, also might eventually become exhausted.

This future problem aside, the piece nevertheless thinks that the decentralization of the country was a positive phenomenon.

"A Thought for Monday" asks why every morning could not be as listless and uneventful as Sunday morning, when one could smell the bacon cooking, stretch, relax again, examine the overhead wallpaper, listen to a neighbor raking leaves, watch the sunlight dance on the wall and a dog lie on the sidewalk.

It wonders if Sunday morning was any different from other mornings to the dog.

Drew Pearson suggests that it was not hard to understand why Governor Dewey had steered clear of helping Senator Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia achieve re-election. The Senator had rammed through Congress an amendment to the Displaced Persons Act which discriminated against Jews and Catholics, and had also advocated that the Justice Department allow some of the worst Nazis in the country to stay. Mr. Pearson lists the Nazis in question, Max Blank, Andreas Jans and wife, Paul Knauer, Fritz Koehler, Hartwig Reese, and Kurt Ludecke, the latter, author of I Knew Hitler, dedicated to Ernst Roehm, Gregor Strasse, "and many other Nazis..."

Mr. Pearson notes that there were also other Nazis whom Mr. Revercomb wanted to stay in the country, to be named in a future column.

He says that President Truman, in criticizing Congress for gutting reclamation projects, did not reveal that he had rewarded one of the chief gutters, Congressman Robert Jones, with a prize appointment to the FCC.

Harold Stassen refused to accept an invitation to debate Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan on farm prices, having become skittish of debates since going up against Thomas Dewey in the spring in Oregon.

Veterans seeking to enter the air freight business were still facing Government red tape.

The Scotch whiskey trust, Distillers Corp. Ltd., was trying to stop U.S. distillers from using "Scotch" to describe its whiskey when true Scotch only came from Scotland. Big American distillers of bourbon who, except for Hiram Walker, distributed imported Scotch were on the side of the trust. The trust had hired 1924 Democratic presidential nominee John W. Davis as their lawyer. The American Scotch producers had hired a former IRB commissioner as their counsel.

Marquis Childs, aboard the Dewey campaign train, suggests that the long light of history might view the Dewey campaign differently from contemporaries, impatient with the GOP candidate's lack of specificity on issues and constant stress on unity. The Dewey staff were especially sensitive to the charge of lack of specificity, particularly with respect to foreign policy.

A radio commentator covering Mr. Dewey's Salt Lake City speech had quoted Oscar Levant that he had always wondered how a man saying nothing would sound. The commentator believed that not coming out for U.S. rearming of Western Europe was evasive and cowardly.

But Mr. Dewey's staff defended the stance by saying how close war was in the extant crisis and that Mr. Dewey did not wish to create a problem. Mr. Dewey, himself, had posited privately that only two Politburo votes stood between peace and war.

Mr. Childs views Mr. Dewey as practicing self-restraint, not appeasement, for which he deserved praise. History, he thinks, would praise him for it.

The Republicans of the Taft wing of the party were upset about the unity theme, wanted Mr. Dewey to pitch fire and brimstone at the Truman policy. But it was unlikely that any such fireworks would occur. Only Senator Taft as the nominee would have provided that kind of show, and possibly with disastrous effect on foreign relations.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again assert that Governor Dewey was assured of election, but that no one, including the Governor, knew what he would do when he became President.

He had taken general stands but nothing specific. He favored continuance of the Marshall Plan but also favored tax reduction and balanced budgets. He had advocated being firm on Berlin, but would find the going tough with the French, British, and the Benelux countries of the Western European Union. Particularly the French had wanted to settle the crisis through appeasement. They wanted military aid otherwise from the U.S. It is believed that both Secretary of State Marshall and John Foster Dulles, Mr. Dewey's prospective Secretary of State, had assured the French that if they agreed on the strategy on Berlin, then a form of lend-lease would be provided by the next Congress.

The low estimate of cost of such a lend-lease program was 1.3 billion dollars, up to three billion, necessitating partial economic controls. Chinese aid, as advocated by Mr. Dewey, would cost an additional one to 1.5 billion dollars per year. A breach of the American-French-British front would render nonsense of Mr. Dewey's insistence on being firm with Russia on Berlin.

A letter from the president of Queen's College in Charlotte thanks the newspaper for co-sponsoring and supporting the Charlotte "Miracle Day" the previous Thursday, during which the ailing Kelly farm was rejuvenated through use of soil conservation techniques and the volunteer services of 300 people and donations of over a hundred pieces of farm equipment.

A letter writer wonders whether the Congressmen of the state were worth their hire. He praises twice-failed GOP Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder for keeping before the people the important issues of the day—such as whether the New Deal was Communist and whether FDR and President Truman were in fact Communists.

This writer wants the GOP Congressional candidate from the district, Roy Harmon, to be supported by the state Republican Party that he might be elected.

A letter writer finds that the economic royalists were eager to gain ground lost during the New Deal to FDR's moderate liberalism. Now the effort was to try to label as "Red" anyone left of center, even slightly. A right wing society was incompatible with peace.

A letter writer comments on "Plight of the Municipalities" on October 14. He had been a subscriber since 1921. He opposes City Manager Henry Yancey's proposal to raise property and licensing taxes to pay for progress. He thinks such a move would ignore the inability of many businesses to pay, would ruin many. He praises the editorial for the way it was written, but thinks it also an enemy of democracy and "against the messianic dispensation".

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