The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 24, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the six "neutral" nations of the U.N. Security Council were still analyzing the replies of the Big Four powers to a questionnaire submitted by the six nations regarding the currency issue in Berlin, believed to be the major issue in resolving the Berlin blockade crisis. The answers were to have been published this date, but were withheld without explanation, probably to be released Thursday morning.

In Vienna, the U.S. Army denied Russian claims through the Russian news agency Tass that it was hiring Austrian officials as spies. The Russians had arrested an Austrian official on a charge of spying for the U.S. The Americans described the charge as "trumped up".

In China, as fighting continued on the plains approaching Nanking, it remained unclear what was taking place in the battle of Suchow, which the Government had claimed the previous week to have won. Even pro-Government newspapers disagreed on what was taking place. Neutral observers doubted the Government's claims of successes on the eastern flank, where the main fighting appeared to be taking place.

Chinese Ambassador to Washington Wellington Koo appealed to the President for moral support and material aid.

In Tokyo, General MacArthur denied clemency to Japan's top 25 convicted war criminals and ordered the execution of former wartime Premier Hideki Tojo and six others found responsible for waging aggressive war and commission of atrocities. General MacArthur said that he deemed it not to be his place to overturn the judgment of the war crimes tribunal as it had conducted a fair trial. The date of execution had not yet been set. No pictures would be allowed.

U.S. delegate to the U.N. John Foster Dulles stated in Paris that the U.S. and British were still working out the details for agreement on the disposition of Italian colonies in Africa, with no full agreement yet reached on Eritrea. The disposition of Libya and Somaliland still had to be worked out, the British favoring Ethiopian trusteeship and the U.S. favoring Italian trusteeship.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the cost of living index dipped by one half of one percent in October, prompting speculation that the President might tone down his request to the new Congress for standby emergency price control authority.

In New York, the strike of 2,000 Teamsters spread to 8,000 Railway Express employees, causing air and rail shipments into the city to be stopped. The two disputes were unrelated.

In Portland, Ore., Justice William O. Douglas told the CIO convention that organized labor leaders could do a better job of defeating the influence of Communist propaganda worldwide than could conventional diplomats, that diplomats needed to understand better the rise of labor governments of the world, that labor could help Americans understand that Europe turning to Socialism did not imply Communism, and could attenuate the belief in the inevitability of class warfare, as taught by the Communists.

In New York, a judge ordered former Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones to testify in a civil case, despite his lawyers' claims that he was too ill to appear. The judge was presented with an affidavit asserting that Mr. Jones had participated in a high-stakes poker game in Texas until 2 a.m., while drinking whiskey, and found that if he was well enough to participate in that activity, he was well enough to testify. The suit involved a claim of six million dollars in payment from Aramco to the plaintiff for services to the company in Saudi Arabia in 1941, the plaintiff claiming that Mr. Jones was a witness to his negotiations.

In Bellaire, Mich., a man accused of raping a 14-year old girl was murdered by gunfire during a 10-mile high-speed chase by an unknown assailant. The man's female companion was not injured.

In Raleigh, the State Supreme Court ruled that James Creech, wealthy farmer and tobacco warehouseman convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his wife, had not received a fair trial and overturned his conviction. Senator-elect J. Melville Broughton acted as appellate counsel for Mr. Creech, argued successfully that inadequate time was provided the defense for preparation of their case, with only 18 days allowed between the murder and the start of trial following denial of a defense motion for continuance. Former Governor Broughton also argued that errors had occurred in the admission of certain testimony and in the judge's instructions to the jury, as well as having the trial take place in an hostile atmosphere so soon after the murder.

In Philadelphia, Anna Jarvis, whose reverence for her dead mother led to the founding of Mother's Day, died at age 84 after a long illness.

On the editorial page, "Another Nuisance Tax" tells of the last vestiges of the poll tax in North Carolina, though eliminated for the most part in 1924. There was still a poll tax on the books but there was no requirement of showing payment of it before voting. It was taxable only to males between 20 and 50. It was not enforced and only small numbers of persons paid it, some 20,000 in Mecklenburg County.

It recommends therefore that it be removed from the statutes.

"A Public Health Problem" comments on articles by News reporter Tom Fesperman appearing the previous day and this date in the newspaper regarding alcoholism and the necessity to perceive it and treat it as a disease, as surely as tuberculosis or cancer.

Simple strategy therefore: This year at Christmas, when you send your booze to loved ones through the mail, send it with Alcohol Seals.

"America's Silent Guests" tells of a campaign by former movie starlet, twice bedridden with tuberculosis, Iris Gabriel, to set aside an empty place at the Thanksgiving table in remembrance of the 230 million starving and undernourished children across the world. Having raised $100,000 for her Silent Guest Committee the previous Thanksgiving, she hoped to raise a million dollars on this Thanksgiving.

The idea had come to her after the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb, causing her to realize that Americans were responsible for the victims, that America's greatness depended on concern for the welfare of other peoples.

The piece encourages giving to the campaign.

A summary of a piece from the Congressional Quarterly, titled "The Basing Point Question", looks at the 81st Congress set to examine the issue of whether prices on food would rise or fall if the neighborhood market were forced to pay full freight costs, rather than sharing these costs across geographical markets, the basing point system which the Supreme Court had held to be violative of the Sherman anti-trust laws.

Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana believed that the Congress had to act to allow the system to work through voluntary sharing of freight costs, not involving collusion or conspiracy, thus not weakening anti-trust laws.

Drew Pearson describes a meeting held by the head of the German police in East Germany, Kurt Fischer, at which he described what Moscow expected of the force, that the Communist Party be kept in power in East Germany and democratic uprisings or riots put down, and that preparations be made for a time when the Western powers would depart Germany, permitting Communist-controlled police to seize all of the country. He said that the Russians had instructed him to build the force to 400,000 men.

The column next tells of a series of puns on names of members of Congress. There was no longer a Foot but there was now a Hand. There were a Rains, a Brooks, and a Rivers. A Lea retired; a Hill remained. A Bishop, a Church, and a Priest were re-elected. The House had lost a Harness, retained a Stockman, and gained a Steed. There would be two Browns, two Whites, one Green, and a Golden. As well, there would be four Smiths.

He exercises the better part of valor in not stating whether there would be present any Pinks.

The next Congress would take to task Secretary of Defense Forrestal, should he remain in the post, for not adequately quelling argument between the Air Force and Navy regarding control of strategic bombing in the event of a war. The Congress had passed the bill to unify the services to prevent such querulous activity.

The feud had been reopened recently at a secret meeting before Ferdinand Eberstadt's committee, appointed by former President Hoover to study military reorganization, under the aegis of the Hoover Commission. Mr. Pearson recounts some of the debate between Air Force and Navy representatives at the meeting regarding which branch was best suited for strategic bombing.

Marquis Childs asserts that the dock strikes on the East and West Coasts were portents of things to come which did not bode well for the second Truman Administration. The strikes had held up 200,000 tons of Marshall Plan aid.

At the same time, AFL and CIO were calling for complete repeal of Taft-Hartley. William Green, president of AFL, wanted to go even further and repeal the Hobbs Anti-Racketeering Act and the Lea Act, the latter aimed at elimination of featherbedding in the radio industry.

Communists in the labor movement would like nothing better than to embarrass the President and so would try to stimulate crippling nationwide strikes.

Walter Reuther of UAW had said that a fourth postwar demand for wage increases was imminent but would not cause a rise in automobile prices. Henry Ford II had just said that the wage demands would inevitably cause a concomitant rise in prices.

It was unlikely that price controls would be enacted which would extend to the automobile industry, and more wage demands would inevitably lead to more inflation.

Responsible officials in the Government wanted to retain about a fourth of Taft-Hartley, provisions banning secondary and jurisdictional strikes, as well as the power to end strikes which threatened national security.

Labor feared the aftermath of repeal of Taft-Hartley, during which they would have no protection without substitute legislation, as the Wagner Act was made part of Taft-Hartley.

The Republicans predicted an inevitable depression for which President Truman would receive blame, discrediting his second New Deal and keeping the Democrats out of power for the ensuing 20 years.

James Marlow discusses the consistent pattern in the U.S. of lack of voter participation in elections, leading to inevitable questions of whether fines for not voting ought be imposed, as in Australia and New Zealand, or whether tax benefits ought be conveyed to those who did vote. If democracy were to collapse because of lack of participation, it would be deemed a failure.

Only about 48 million of 94 million eligible voters in the country had gone to the polls in 1948.

Arguments against penalties or inducements ran that everyone in a democracy ought be free to exercise his or her franchise or not and that forcing people to vote would mean pushing many persons ignorant of the issues into the voting booth. But the latter point appeared based on the notion that all who voted knew and understood the issues.

Well, of course they do.

A letter writer starts by praising the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County police departments for indicating their intent to enforce the fireworks ban during the holidays, and then proceeds into a lengthy advocacy of prohibition of alcohol and enforcement thereof in a similar manner. The State Legislature, she concludes, wanted alcohol to flow, despite all of its untoward attendant problems.

It's just this way: Once you start with those sparklers, you have to have the firecrackers, then the cherry bombs, and ultimately, you can't stop until you wind up exploding an atomic bomb.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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