The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 30, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Communists in Berlin set up a hand-picked puppet government of the city this date, completing the East-West political division of Berlin. The act made it virtually impossible to reach a resolution on the currency issue, the sine qua non for resolution of the blockade crisis. The regularly elected anti-Communist city government had been sitting in the Western sector since having been driven from City Hall by Communist demonstrators during the summer.

General Lucius Clay, American occupation commander, said that the selection formed only a "rump government", not legitimized by popular election.

Elections were scheduled in Berlin for December 5.

Notwithstanding, the plan of the six "neutral nations" of the U.N. Security Council for ending the blockade appeared to be receiving Big Four approval for a trial. The plan entailed appointment of an expert commission to make recommendations on the currency issue and then, as the currency plan would be put into effect, the blockade would be lifted.

In China, evacuation of Suchow had begun, to enable the 250,000 troops guarding the city to withdraw to Nanking to supplement its 140,000 defenders, pursuant to Government orders. Suchow had stood firm against Communist assaults for the previous month but had been outflanked by the Communist forces cutting across the city's lines of communication.

Two ominous signs appeared in Nanking, the absence of war news in the afternoon newspapers, and the absence of the Government's military spokesman from his office. Previously, both events had occurred at times of significant reverses for the Nationalist armies.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek was now on her way to the U.S. to ask for aid.

Britain withdrew its proposal before the U.N. that the Negev Desert region be taken from Israel in exchange for a part of western Galilee occupied by Israeli forces, a plan proposed by the late Count Folke Bernadotte, just before his assassination in mid-September. The new position moved closer to that of the U.S., to allow Israel its territory under the 1947 partition plan, plus other territory provided Israel would give a quid pro quo.

The most persistent fog in a decade, cutting visibility to a few yards, overtook England and Western Europe this date, slowing trains and vehicular traffic, as well as preventing sailing of the Queen Elizabeth, for the fourth successive day.

President Truman recommended a thorough investigation of lobbying activities.

Secretary of State Marshall joined chief U.N. delegate Warren Austin as a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. No one was saying whether the Secretary was ill with a serious ailment.

The Army cut in half its proposed January draft call for 20,000 men and announced that the February call would be for only 5,000 men, necessitated by the 15 billion dollar military budget limitation for fiscal year 1949-50. Originally in June, the draft call had been for 30,000 men per month.

At Fort Bragg, N.C., an attempted robbery by four soldiers of an Army payroll vehicle with $51,000 aboard was interdicted through a tip, enabling a trap to be set.

The Washington Chevrolet dealer continued his testimony before the special Congressional subcommittee investigating dealer practices, defending his firm's favoritism to buyers with vehicles to trade for new cars by giving them priority in delivery of new cars, 50 days versus 14 months for the person lacking a trade-in vehicle. A committee investigator found that 70 percent of the new car sales through July of the current year had involved trade-ins.

Flooding in Georgia had caused a power shortage in Atlanta and Macon, as well as statewide.

Rumors appeared accurate that North Carolina Governor-elect Kerr Scott had asked for the resignations of the chief State highway engineer and the chief clerk of the State Utilities Commission.

In Gastonia, N.C., the 21-year old who had engaged in a shootout with 50 police officers, killing one and seriously wounding another as well as two bystanders, pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge recommended, per the recommendation of the prosecutor, that the defendant never be considered for parole. He had been in the Navy and received three citations for being AWOL, was said to have an I.Q. of 70. The defendant claimed to have taken barbiturates with alcohol on the day of the shooting, in reaction to his father not allowing him to borrow the family car.

Paralyzed veterans of Richmond's McGuire Hospital would play basketball against Duke from wheelchairs on Friday night, would then meet Wake Forest in Raleigh on Saturday night. The veterans were favored for the fact that the college players would also be wheelchair bound.

The News begins its look back to 1888, the year the newspaper was founded, in celebration of its 60th birthday. It reports that in that first year of publication, the average daily wage of a blacksmith in Charlotte was $1.38, for brick masons, $1.95, and so on down the line. Nevertheless, 59 percent of laborers owned their own homes. Farmers were the major force in politics.

The report asks for more old pictures of the city from that era. If you have any, be sure and send them in so that they can make the special edition next week.

On the editorial page, "The People Decided, Senator" tells of Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana urging electors of that state to abandon the Dixiecrat ticket, for which the state had voted, and cast their ballots for the President when the electoral college met. The piece thinks it misguided "bootlicking" and an attempt to "bamboozle" the people.

It opines that the Louisiana situation gave cause for reform of the outmoded electoral college. It believes that the Thurmond-Wright ticket was entitled to the 38 electoral votes it received—notwithstanding the fact that the President was not on the ballot in Louisiana as a Democrat and that the Thurmond-Wright ticket was listed as the regular Democratic entry. Some o' the ol' boys down 'ere may have thought that the gators got him and dragged him on down 'ere in de swamp, eat him up.

It also suggests that the recalcitrant elector in Tennessee who had indicated he would cast his vote for the Dixiecrat ticket ought also instead listen to the voice of the people of that state which had cast its votes for the President.

Go to hell. We do what we want down heya.

"Mrs. McKee, State Leader" laments the passing of Gertrude Dills McKee of Sylva, a member of the State Education Commission from 1926 and a member of the State Board of Education since 1943, as well as having been a member of the boards of trustees of UNC, Brevard College, and Peace College.

She was on the board which was appointed in 1942 in the wake of the publication early that year by former News reporter Tom Jimison of his observations while a voluntary patient for a year at Morganton, and Ms. McKee had contributed to insistence that the report of the board be thorough and honest.

She was also a State Senator from Jackson County for three terms, working for education and improvement of the mental institutions.

"Music for Charlotte" tells of the city's residents failing to accept "serious music" as supplied by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Guy Hutchins the previous year, despite the members of the orchestra being busy putting their energies into semi-classical as well as classical music.

Prior to World War I, Charlotte had not the advantages of a city, though rapidly expanding as a town. There was little opportunity to hear good music. The generation which had grown up in that period still did not go out of their way to court such music.

Many of the musicians of the orchestra were music teachers and some were college students, while others were from business.

Lamar Stringfield was the new conductor for the current season. It urges the community to support the orchestra.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Possible or Best?" advocates the appointment of ambassadors who were both realistic about the limitations of world cooperation while not losing the necessary vision of the ideal of world government.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, tells of Italy's Minister of Industry, Ivan Lombardo, visiting the U.S. and convincing American officials of the great progress being made in Italy's reconstruction. The municipal elections of the previous April 18 had cast out the Communists, now with new leadership. Prime Minister De Gasperi had proved himself an able administrator.

The country's most serious problem was its surplus population, something which could be helped by allowing immigration to the U.S. based on unused quotas during the war and facilitating immigration to South America.

The Truman Administration, however, had risked the good will of Italy by backing the British plan for control of the former Italian colonies, restricting the ability of Italy to resettle some of its surplus population in Eritrea and Libya, and depriving it of financial advantages necessary to continued restoration of its economy.

He posits that American foreign policy in this regard, as well as America's record on Palestine and its stand on Germany, suffered from "Bevin-pox".

Drew Pearson tells of the Southern bloc of Democrats in Congress threatening to align with Republicans to provide control of legislation unless they received the committee assignments they desired and to which they were entitled by seniority. The result was that Northern Democrats were suggesting a purge of only a few of the Dixiecrats, Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and John McClellan of Arkansas, and Congressmen Mendel Rivers of South Carolina, John Rankin of Mississippi, and Gene Cox of Georgia.

A new generation of Democratic leaders had emerged from the election, including Senator-elect Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Governor-elect Chester Bowles of Connecticut, and Governor-elect Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

He also notes State Senator George Luckey of California, a successful cattleman from the Los Angeles area. He was the vice-chairman for the Southern California Democrats, succeeding James Roosevelt as a kingmaker. He had come to Washington dressed in cowboy boots and was wined and dined by Cabinet members for his loyal support of the President during the campaign. In 1932, he had been broke in New Mexico and the New Deal had given him the opportunity to borrow money to advance his cattle ranching business. He had developed a personal correspondence with the President in the previous year and met with the President while in Washington. Mr. Truman told him that his cowboy boots appeared suitable for giving certain people in the city a good, swift kick in the pants.

By the President's reactions to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in public settings since the election, it was evident that he had not changed his mind about firing him. He was not going out of his way to greet him at gatherings, as he did with those he appreciated.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop inform of the Soviets being hard at work on development of an atomic bomb, a program directed by Marshal Beria, the head of the Soviet secret police. The most conservative American experts had predicted that by 1952, the Russians would have the bomb. Since 1946, the Russians had been rounding up German physicists in the Eastern zone, at which point the bomb became first priority.

Uranium mines in Eastern Europe were being exploited through the use of Czech and Russian slave labor.

There were some signs of dissidents among the Russian physicists, but the priority placed on the program and aid obtained from the release of the American Smyth Report would likely enable development sooner than later.

The U.S. therefore needed to be ready in its foreign and defense policy by 1952.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of the perception of the U.S. by the average Briton, a lack of understanding of the vastness of the country, a belief by some that Indians still roamed the plains near Chicago, that the Wild West was still wild with two-gun shooters abounding, and that gangsters controlled the cities. Three percent of Britons were said to view America still as one of the British colonies.

Many wanted to know why Americans talked through their noses, oblivious to the British nasal twang. They also did not understand why Americans drank cold water at breakfast.

While Americans also had quaint notions about Britain, Lord Halifax had noted that Americans were as excited as Britons at the birth of Prince Charles—or George, as the case may be. He said that the new American feeling had developed out of the realization that George III was really dead.

Mr. MacKenzie observes that the hope for world understanding appeared to pale when two old allies as America and Britain still did not find common understanding. He proposes courses to educate the public of both nations.

A letter writer compliments "Preview of the 1949 General Assembly" of November 27 for its common sense presentation of the coming legislative agenda of the 1949 biennial session.

We can't wait much longer to deal with it. We can sense that you're excited, too.

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