The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 21, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the Big Five, including Russia, declared that they favored settling their differences peacefully. Russia and France conditioned their approval of the proposal made by Mexico on its rewording and amendment.

The six "neutral" members of the Security Council, including China, were preparing a resolution to end the Berlin blockade by implementing the Moscow agreement of the previous August 25 between the four Western ambassadors and Premier Stalin.

In Palestine, Israeli forces occupied Beersheba, the mother city of the Arabs, as fighting continued for the Negev desert area in southern Palestine. The seizure opened the way for the Israelis to supply two Jewish settlements which had been isolated since early in the year when the Eyptians had taken Beersheba as the first city captured after the invasion of Palestine. Also taken by the Israelis was Beit Nattif, ten miles west of Bethlehem.

Arab planes bombed the Tel Aviv area. Israeli planes bombed Gaza and Beersheba.

Meanwhile, Israel announced that it would accept the four-day ceasefire ordered by the U.N. Security Council, provided that the U.N. would guarantee that the Arabs would stop fighting.

General Lucius Clay, U.S. military occupation governor in Germany, discussed the German situation with the President at the White House, in advance of a National Security Council meeting. No further details were provided. Prior to the meeting, General Clay had told the press that Russia had an indoctrinated Communist police force operating in Eastern Germany, comprised of 200,000 to 300,000 men and being enlarged every day. By comparison, the Western zones had very small police forces.

The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in MacDougall v. Green, 335 U.S. 281, a per curiam decision, that the party qualifying statute in the State of Illinois was not unconstitutional as claimed by the Progressive Party, denied qualification under its provisions. Justice William O. Douglas dissented, joined by Justices Hugo Black and Frank Murphy. They would have held the statute unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment for its provision requiring that the party seeking qualification obtain at least 200 signatures of registered voters from each of 50 different counties, when the Progressive Party showed that 87 percent of the voters were concentrated in the 49 most populous counties out of 102 total, with 52 percent in Cook County alone. Justice Wiley Rutledge separately concurred with the majority opinion, refusing, however, to reach the issue of the constitutionality of the statute, resting his affirmance of the lower court ruling on lack of jurisdiction of the Federal courts to intervene effectively to amend the ballot so close to the election, with the result possibly disfranchising absentee voters and otherwise disrupting the electoral process in Illinois.

In Miami, the American Legion convention, in its last day, urged strong military preparedness. It also advocated continued loyalty checks and expulsion of Communists and sympathizers from Government employment.

RCA unveiled its new Ultrafax machine by telecopying all of Gone With the Wind in two minutes to the Library of Congress from a point three miles away. David Sarnoff, CEO of RCA, foresaw the day when letters would be Ultrafaxed across the country in an instant, and military intelligence transmitting as many words in a minute as had been sent during the late war in a day. He said that Ultrafax was a breakthrough in communications as significant as the atom bomb had been to energy development. Ultrafax combined television, radio-relays, and high speed photography to accomplish the feat. A television camera scanned the material and transmitted it at the rate of 30 pictures per second. The receiving device captured it on movie film or photographic paper.

That's a good idea. Wonder when that will come. It's going to be sort of expensive, maybe.

Near Prestwick, Scotland, 39 persons, nine of whom were Americans, perished in the crash of a KLM Constellation in the fog while trying to land. One man from New York survived but was gravely injured. The plane hit a high tension wire and burst into flames over a pasture. The plane was en route from Amsterdam to New York.

Near Garden City, Kansas, at Mansfield Junction, at least 65 passengers were injured, at least 15 seriously, in the derailment of ten cars of a twelve-car Santa Fe eastbound California limited train from Los Angeles to Chicago. A brakeman on the train said that he believed a broken rail had caused the accident.

In Charlotte, the Fire Department was called in to extinguish a fire at Myers Park School, smoldering in the basement coal bin for a week. Janitors had kept water on the coals by means of a garden hose but it had begun to spew smoke more thickly.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that Central High School students voluntarily provided $55 to repaint Harding High, their crosstown rival, to repair damage done by vandals who painted signs saying "Beat Harding", "Harding Is No Good", "C", and other things too gruesome to print.

On the editorial page, "For President, 1949-1953" assesses the coming presidential election, just 12 days away, says that it would be better to vote for Truman or Dewey than to vote for the Dixiecrat ticket which had no chance of winning.

The newspaper could not be enthusiastic about the Republicans, as much of the party remained isolationist, had side-stepped in the House the Selective Service issue, attempted to weaken or eliminate ERP by emasculating its appropriations, and sought to cripple the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act.

Yet, the GOP was so well entrenched in the House, they would likely remain in the majority and would probably retain a slight edge in the Senate, where bipartisan foreign policy was led by such stalwarts as Senator Arthur Vandenburg, a policy which would continue in a Dewey Administration.

President Truman could not work with the Republican Congress but had seen fit to castigate it bitterly from shore to shore. The newspaper opines that with the Democrats split between Dixiecrats and Progressives and with the division with the Congress, the President could do nothing about inflation and other important domestic problems.

House-cleaning after 16 years of Democratic rule was overdue. Mr. Dewey's record in New York for efficiency in administration commended him to the Federal Government as its executive. He had surrounded himself with persons of competence and regularly consulted with them before reaching important decisions, believed in teamwork and compromise.

The piece finds that Mr. Dewey could be a strong leader in resolving the problem with Russia and appeared to have more vision, leadership ability and conviction than the President.

The News therefore officially endorses Thomas Dewey, the next President of the United States of America.

Hope the wedding goes well.

"Fair Share for Cities & Towns" tells of the League of Municipalities working to achieve a one cent rebate of the six cents collected by the State in gasoline taxes to the municipalities for improvement and maintenance of roads. As revealed by Dick Young of The News in his front page series of articles during the week, more than half of the 40 million dollars in gasoline revenue came from travel on city streets, while ten percent of the 60,000 miles of roads in the state were in the cities and towns. Yet, the cities and towns only received a million dollars per year for upkeep of their roads. The bulk of the improvements went to rural and secondary roads, while the rural dweller contributed far less than the city dweller to the gasoline tax revenue.

The inequitable distribution of funds suggested two possible solutions: either have the State assume responsibility for all streets and roads or give the cities their proportionate share of the revenue.

The newspaper backs the League in its efforts.

A piece from the Spartanburg Herald, titled "Rebuilding a Farm in a Day", comments on the Charlotte "Miracle Day" of a week earlier, during which the 120-acre depleted Kelly farm was reinvigorated with soil conservation techniques undertaken by 300 volunteer workers and over a 100 pieces of donated farm machinery, to demonstrate the benefits of soil conservation to the 60,000 spectators who had shown up for the event.

The piece praises the effort, provides detail of the machines employed.

Drew Pearson, telling of the need for President Dewey to get along with a GOP Congress, as members of his own party had already served notice of their intent to give him a hard time, assays several of the GOP Senators up for re-election. The Congressional trend in recent years to vote across party lines on given issues would likely continue.

Joseph Ball of Minnesota, running against Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey, had taken so many different sides, between domestic and foreign policy, that he had lost his usefulness.

Styles Bridges of New Hampshire voted against isolationism and against excessive spending, also voting against his fellow Republican reactionaries on occasion, was an asset to the Senate.

Curley Brooks of Illinois had opposed almost all of Governor Dewey's program in New York, was the puppet of Col. Bertie McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. If he defeated Professor Paul Douglas, he would oppose President Dewey on many issues.

John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, facing Congressman Virgil Chapman, had an excellent record in the Senate, had supported the Democratic foreign policy, and would be an asset if re-elected.

Henry Dworshak of Idaho was an isolationist, had allowed his mailing list to be used by a Hitler propagandist, was proud of the support of reactionary Gerald L. K. Smith, and had not fought hard for reclamation, would be no asset to President Dewey.

Homer Ferguson of Michigan had once had a knack for keeping the Democrats on their toes when they were in the majority, but after the GOP grabbed control in 1947, had made a fool of himself in the various investigations he had led, that of Howard Hughes, an aborted look into the Tucker automobile company, and another aborted look into the alleged graft of Senator Elmer Thomas, affecting commodities prices with speeches from the floor while speculating on them through surrogates, ended because of threatened exposure by Senator Thomas of Senator Ferguson's own perquisites afforded by companies seeking Government contracts. Mr. Ferguson's chances of being Mr. Dewey's Attorney General had been lost.

Edward Robertson of Wyoming had voted against labor and the working man generally, had been an isolationist, had his wife and chauffeur on the Government payroll.

Chapman Revercomb was for big business, had tangled with Governor Dewey regarding the Revercomb amendments to the Displaced Persons bill, discriminating against Jewish and Catholic refugee immigrants.

George Wilson of Iowa was likable but intemperate, causing him to miss many important committee meetings.

Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts was a Boston blueblood by heritage, had voted correctly on the issues most of the time, but was also timid.

Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska had been wrong on a great many issues, but had led the Republicans untiringly, whipped them into a smooth-running machine.

He also looks at two Democrats: Ed Johnson of Colorado, competent, and James Murray of Montana, for the underdog and likely to support President Dewey more than many Republicans would.

Seven of the eleven Republicans he mentions would be defeated, only Senators Bridges, Ferguson, Saltonstall, and Wherry surviving the Democratic sweep.

Other Senatorial candidates would be covered, he promises, in a future column.

Marquis Childs tells of the tragicomic situation in Greece, to which Secretary of State Marshall had gone to observe at close range. Since the enunciation of the Truman Doctrine by the President in March, 1947, the abiding policy was to root out the Communists at all costs. But in the way he had proclaimed the alarm, he gave credence essentially to the reactionary Athens clique.

These reactionaries did not wish to end the guerrilla threat as it would mean an end to American aid. One month there was triumph over the Communist guerrillas in the Grammos Mountains and the next, a stalemate and the forecast of mutiny absent more aid.

The effort a year earlier by recently retired aid administrator in Greece Dwight Griswold was to drum up more confidence among the Greeks and thereby reduce the influence of the Communists. Over State Department objections, he was able to bring in aging liberal Themistokles Sophoulis as Prime Minister. But the latter had become largely the captive of the ruling clique.

The clique regarded criticism as treason and suggested that any journalist who did not agree with State Department policy was a Communist. The attitude ignored the deep-seated dissatisfaction among the Greek people, only a small minority of whom were Communists in fact.

The aid furnished by Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia to the guerrillas had to be small by comparison to the military aid furnished by the U.S. to the Government forces, including planes and fighting equipment. There was never any evidence that the guerrillas were being given modern equipment in any quantity. Instead they had successfully relied on guerrilla tactics and the ability to retreat into the mountains.

Stewart Alsop, in Atlanta, tells of former Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall having, sometime earlier, taken a group to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and after the game, went to check-out, leery of the bill. To his surprise, he was told that the bill had been covered by the Mississippi Power & Light Company. After his expressed astonishment, the clerk double-checked that he was in fact the Governor of Mississippi.

That Governor was Fielding Wright, vice-presidential candidate on the Dixiecrat ticket. The Dixiecrats were not only rebellious against the President's civil rights program, they were also being backed by large oil interests out of Texas and the Gulf states, in opposition to the Administration's successful efforts to have the tidal oil lands declared by the Supreme Court to be under Federal control rather than remaining with the states.

The oil barons, led by H. R. Cullen of Houston, had funneled untold amounts into the Dixiecrat coffers. Mr. Cullen had recently contributed 160 million dollars to charity and so was well-heeled. He had supplied a private plane for Governor Thurmond to fly to the Houston Dixiecrat convention and given a special train to Governor Wright for his means of transportation to the event.

Humble Oil Company reportedly had been especially interested in the Dixiecrat campaign.

While there was nothing illegal or necessarily bad about businesses contributing to politicians for their own self-interest, there was something odious about this form of expression of Southern conservatism.

Reactionary hatemongers Gerald L. K. Smith and "Alfalfa Bill" Murray were gleefully supporting the Dixiecrats, and the propaganda paper of the party utilized the same mailing list as the Southern Outlook, a particularly revolting racist publication which the Montgomery Advertiser had accurately compared to the worst publications from Nazi Germany.

This Southern conservative oligarchy, formed not only of the oil barons but the textile and utility magnates, Southern industrialists and bankers, would likely turn increasingly to this form of expression of its economic interests, by supporting reactionary politicians hitting the hustings with racial rhetoric—a phenomenon which was nothing new in the South, even if it had lain in abeyance largely during the New Deal and war years in which economic Depression, then war, had tended to submerge in common poverty and common struggle many of the worst aspects of racism, resurfacing, however, after the war, in the midst of relative plenty and prosperity, where blacks were eager to share in the fruits, chafing, sometimes bitterly, with the white working class, led now by the race-baiting Dixiecrats in the grand tradition of the stump Southern fire-breathers extant since the wake of the Civil War.

Albert Coates, director of the North Carolina Institute of Government, examines the arguments for and against the fourth of the four amendments to the State Constitution on the November 2 ballot, each of which he had analyzed, this one to amend the requirement of special elections, heretofore determined only by a majority of registered voters rather than a majority of those actually casting ballots on election day. Under the amendment, the simple-majority rule would apply to special elections on matters calling for the levy of taxes for any purpose other than those matters deemed "necessary expenses" of Government.

The old rule had been applied, for instance, in the special elections held in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to expand the public library and build a new auditorium.

The argument for the amendment is obvious. The argument against was that in such elections, only a small number of voters generally registered and thus if a measure was carried by the majority of those voting, it was possible to have a tax imposed by a small number of voters. Others argued that it would also encourage special interest groups to endeavor to get a pet project on the ballot and try to sneak it by the voters.

While the little attempt at poetastering by the Wichita Falls Times does not, in our estimate, merit the time necessary to set it down separately here, we shall add a couple or three lines to make it blossom:

Many a politician who serves can fi't,
But some utter not one word
Other than unadulterated blatherskite.

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