The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 11, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. was winding up its twelve-week Paris session this night, calling upon the world to live in peace, but offering little to enforce it. The General Assembly the previous night passed, 48-0, a world declaration of human rights, proclaiming freedom and equality for all. Russia and its satellites opposed the declaration, abstaining from the vote.

To give the declaration teeth, it was proposed that a human rights covenant be implemented which would require signatory nations to respect individual rights, with sanctions to be imposed for failing to do so. That covenant would be written prior to the September, 1949 Assembly meeting.

During the debate on the declaration, Soviet delegate Andrei Vishinsky accused the Big Three powers of paving the way for World War II at Munich in 1938.

The U.S. and Britain agreed to drop any mention of the November, 1947 partition plan or the proposal of assassinated Palestine mediator Folke Bernadotte in the U.N. plan for a Palestine peace, which was to be discussed this date before the General Assembly. The two nations supported the proposal for a conciliation commission on Palestine, without specific instructions.

At the Hague, the Netherlands announced that it was breaking off U.N.-sponsored negotiations with the Indonesian Republic and would proceed with formation of an interim government in other areas of Indonesia. The Indonesian Republic had stated that such formation without inclusion of the Republic would lead to disaster.

The U.S. had demanded that Rumania recall two of its top diplomats, following a demand by Rumania that two American and two British diplomats be recalled for alleged links to espionage and sabotage against the Communist regime. The State Department said that the two Americans would be withdrawn but rejected the "ridiculous" assertions of Rumania regarding espionage and sabotage.

In New York, the Federal grand jury would examine the "pumpkin papers" on microfilm from Whittaker Chambers the following Monday.

This date, the grand jury heard testimony from William Ward Pigman, formerly of the Bureau of Standards, one of four men, along with Alger Hiss and Henry J. Wadleigh formerly of the State Department, and deceased Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department, whom Mr. Chambers had accused of providing him "secret documents" for transmittal to Soviet agents. The only documents he claimed to have preserved, however, were the documents received allegedly from Mr. Hiss—unless there were some more hidden in the dumbwaiter, on top of the linen closet, at his nephew's home in Brooklyn. Investigators, such as Robert Stripling or even Richard Nixon of HUAC, will need to enter through the bathroom window.

In Lyons, Georgia, the widow of Robert Mallard testified before a grand jury that her husband had been shot and killed on November 20 by two robed white men, who had, along with fifteen or more robed and hooded white men, ambushed the couple on the way to their home, blocking the road. The grand jury then indicted William Howell and Roderick Clifton, both Lyons farmers, for the murder. She recognized Mr. Howell, who was not wearing a mask, and had recognized the automobile of Mr. Clifton. But she did not allege that Mr. Howell actually did the shooting and said that she did not actually see Mr. Clifton at the scene. Both men denied connection with the killing.

Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, also testified to the grand jury, regarding a Federal law prohibiting anyone from wearing a disguise on the highway or the premises of another for the purpose of depriving any citizen of rights under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

The Sheriff of Toombs County, where the murder took place, said that county officers had resented Mr. McGill having written editorials the previous week regarding the case, critical of the Sheriff and other county officials for their handling of the matter, stating that it was doubtful whether legal action would have been instituted had not the newspapers investigated the story. The Sheriff had conducted an initial investigation and concluded that the Klan had nothing to do with Mr. Mallard's death, told the Klan of his findings before reporting them officially, prompting Governor Herman Talmadge to have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation enter the case. The Sheriff had even arrested Mr. Mallard's widow on a charge of murder of her husband, holding her until Governor Talmadge ordered him to release her, assuring that the real culprits would be caught and prosecuted and also assuring Mrs. Mallard full protection for her return to testify in the matter, of which she had stated mortal fear.

As we have indicated before, Mr. McGill was a trusted confidante and friend of President Kennedy, periodically advising him on civil rights during the President's three years in office.

In Palm Springs, California, an earthquake occurred, but residents shook it off, saying that they were accustomed to it. A large quake had rocked Southern California a week earlier and this temblor was an aftershock, lasting about 20 seconds, causing no reported damage.

In York, S.C., the defense rested in the murder trial of the defendant alleged to have killed his employer in early June and then buried his body in a wooden crate in a tributary of the Catawba River. The previous night and this date, the defendant testified for over six hours, having testified until 11:00 p.m. the previous night and three hours during the morning. He adamantly denied having anything to do with the killing.

What happened to Boots? She may have taken a walk.

In celebration of the newspaper's 60th birthday, The News reprints a piece from 1938 by Tim Pridgen, prefatory to this date's 60th Anniversary Special Edition, in combination with a reprinting of the 1938 50th Anniversary Edition. He tells of the first date of publication, Saturday, December 8, 1888, and the events on the national and local scene then occupying the news. The following Wednesday, the masthead displayed "The Daily News", which was retained for many years, with "The Charlotte News" only appearing as a small masthead inside the newspaper, a discrepancy which was never explained. The newspaper had been received well initially by its competitors across the state. Subscriber interest was active, with over a thousand readers, a tenth of the Charlotte population.

Incidentally, for clarification, our hurried summation of this date's front page in 1999, which at the time was quite collateral to the project, as we never intended to present the material continuously in time after the 1941 editions, contains an error: the U.N. General Assembly meeting had undertaken to resolve the conflict between Greece and Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria in the Balkans. There was nothing "between Albania and Bulgaria", the result of a misreading of the print at the time. We would not wish to imply a conflict which was not there.

And we are quite aware that "annecdotal" is the subject of an apparent misprint, nevertheless correct in the archaic sense intended, a backformation from the Shakespearean early folios. That happens to everyone on occasion when the print is being sent over the wires, subject thereby to corruption. Witness Ernest Cuneo's referenced column below and its "agent-provateur", perhaps a prosateur's stinging portmanteau, intended to convey, ironically, "an agent of probity", or simply resultant of a couple of omitted keys on the teletype. In any event, it is evocative of thought. ("Fort Brag" was from the original print.)

Another piece points out some prominent names of Charlotte residents appearing in early editions of The News in 1888 and 1889, residents whose descendants had prominent roles in Charlotte in 1948.

An 80-year old man from Matthews, N.C., was paid 58 dollars for winning the contest for longest subscription to The News, continuously held for 58 years. He had begun his subscription on his wedding day, September 15, 1890. His claim had been verified.

Some entrants to the contest claimed to have subscribed to the Evening Chronicle since 1888, but the Chronicle, staff had ascertained, had become the Charlotte Observer.

At Chapel Hill, the annual playwriting contest of the Statewide Carolina Dramatic Association was set to open the following Monday. If you wish to be a playwright, you had better attend.

On the editorial page, "Of Men, and the Institution" tells of 60 years in the span of a single lifetime or, as in the case in point, of a newspaper, not being that long. Grover Cleveland had been President in 1888, just defeated in the November election by Benjamin Harrison, who carried the electoral vote but not the popular vote. A. M. Scales was Governor of the state. Charlotte had a population of 11,000, about 100,000 less than its 1948 population. Wade Hampton Harris, who founded the newspaper, bore a name considered symbolic of the Civil War and the harsh terms of Reconstruction, which Wade Hampton of South Carolina had fought to eliminate.

Mr. Harris eventually went to the Evening Chronicle and Charlotte Observer, as Editor. W. C. Dowd, Sr., became publisher in 1894, remaining in that position until he died in 1927, at which time W.C. Dowd, Jr., became publisher. In early 1947, Thomas L. Robinson, formerly of The New York Times, took over as publisher when the Dowd family sold the newspaper to a group of investors, which included the Dowd brothers, W. C. and editor J. E., Gordon Gray of Winston-Salem, Mr. Robinson and several others.

"Man-built and man-sustained the institution is, but demonstrably transcendent to man and the natural laws which delimit his existence. Yet it is man who enjoys, in a sense, the immortality of the thing he has created."

So, it says that not only the birthday of the newspaper was being celebrated but the efforts of those who had, through the years, contributed to it to make it better.

It concludes: "Long live The Charlotte News, and with it live honor for those who have made it."

The News continued in existence, albeit becoming more conservative with age, until 1985 when it succumbed, as did most afternoon newspapers in that time, to the advent of such organs as USA Today and 24-hour cable television news channels, supplanting the need for a local afternoon daily.

"End Postal Subsidies" finds the principle of Federal subsidies for ailing enterprises, agricultural or industrial, to be, at best, a temporary expedient which should not become a permanent burden for the taxpayers. An example was the Post Office, charging less for postage than the actual cost of the Department in delivering the mail, causing an annual shortfall, to reach 504 million dollars in the 1948-49 fiscal year. The largest single factor, 207 million dollars, was from second class mail, consisting of mainly newspapers and magazines.

After insuring that the Post Office was operating as efficiently as it could, the Congress, it advises, ought raise postage rates, as sought by the President since January, 1947, to balance the budget of the Department. The newspapers of the nation, it says, were not seeking any subsidy.

"Mr. Binford Sings the Blues" tells of having always doubted the Memphis Board of Censors for its censorship of any footage in movies depicting a black man or an Oriental rising above a menial position. But a new low had been reached when the head of that Board, Lloyd Binford, condemned the film "A Song Is Born" as being "inimical to the public welfare" for a gambling scene and its depiction of a "rough and rowdy bunch of musicians" with no segregation in place. Mr. Binson had also objected to the depiction of jazz being born in New Orleans, claiming that it had been born on Beale Street in Memphis.

Movie reviewer Emery Wister of The News had found Mr. Binson's remarks "ridiculous", despite the fact that the picture, itself, was none too good.

The editors say that while they had not seen the film, they had to respond that jazz was born in neither New Orleans nor Memphis, but rather in Africa, moved to the Caribbean, picking up Indian flavor, and then entered the U.S. through New Orleans at the most convenient port of entry. When Navy authorities closed down New Orleans night life in World War I, the musicians moved up the Mississippi to Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago, plus stops in between.

It concludes: "As for Memphis' Beale Street, few of us would know; they don't practice segregation down there."

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Fifteen Years After", tells of the fifteenth anniversary of the end of Prohibition bringing easier breathing to the nation, which had subsisted on speakeasies and the concomitant gangsterism which the era had brought to the country in the Twenties.

The evidence showed that more Americans were now drinking than before Prohibition in 1919 but with little increase in consumption per drinker, measured in terms of absolute alcohol. A 1947 study published by Dr. E. M. Jellinek of Yale told of the number of drinkers being estimated at 58.25 million in 1945, compared to 42.9 million in 1940. About six million drank too much and an estimated 750,000 were alcoholics.

It posits, however, that prohibition would not lessen these figures, would only promote a return to the same untoward conduct which accompanied the "Great Experiment".

Doctors, psychiatrists and lay groups were now trying to remove the causes of alcoholism rather than punishing the alcoholic.

Drew Pearson tells of the President greeting dentist Dr. Clyde Minges of Rocky Mount, N.C., president of the ADA, by telling him he was glad to see that sodium fluorine was now in use throughout the country to prevent dental decay. The President said that it would be wonderful if adults could shed their teeth and grow new ones when they started to decay.

He notes that his column had on March 8, 1948 given credit to Congressman Frank Keefe for promoting sodium fluoride as a paint for children's teeth. The ADA was then critical of the column and the Public Health Service for promoting the practice, but had since come around to endorse sodium fluoride, saying that it would preserve teeth in about 60 percent of the cases.

General Lucius Clay, American military occupation commander in Germany, believed that the Russians would continue the cold war but would stop short of a shooting war. But, he warned, a misfire in the war of nerves could cause a shooting war. He believed that American air power was deterring Soviet aggression, as evidenced by the effect of the Berlin airlift. He said that Communists were selling Communism door to door in Berlin and kidnaping and committing acts of other terror at night, with hundreds of individuals disappearing forever behind the Iron Curtain.

For years, there had been resentment of career diplomats for ambassadors appointed for having given to the presidential campaign. The ambassadors, on the other hand, resented the lack of imagination shown by career diplomats.

Ambassador Robert Butler of Cuba was doing an excellent job encouraging better relations with the Caribbean neighbor, neglected since 1943 when Sumner Welles left as Undersecretary of State.

He notes that career diplomats and ambassadors often complemented one another in their different qualities.

The President had told Representative Albert Thomas of Texas—the Congressman whose testimonial dinner in Houston on November 21, 1963 worked to provide the timing for President Kennedy's ill-fated trip to Texas—that he might be willing to let bygones be bygones with those Democrats who had bolted the party during the campaign. He did not specifically mention names or refer to the Dixiecrats. The President said that he did not intend to get even, as newspaper speculation had run, that he was not mad at anyone or the states which voted against him. He said that he only wanted to restore unity to the Democratic Party.

Mr. Pearson notes that Ernest Cuneo had said of the President's willingness to forgive the Dixiecrats: "He's like a man whom you tell, 'I've just shot your two brothers in the back,' and he says, 'That's fine, let's all be friends.'"

That, we posit, eventually, 20 years hence, better fit Mr. Nixon.

An Old Guard Republican-dominated watchdog committee, meeting with Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett, had recommended to the State Department that the Ruhr be rebuilt with Germany and that the concerns of the French, that it could lead to restoration of Germany's war-making capability, be ignored. The watchdogs even demanded that Secretary of State Marshall and ERP administrator Paul Hoffman tell the French that unless they would go along with the plan, ERP aid would be terminated.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find the Hoover Commission to be disappointing in its likely recommendations regarding improvement of the Executive Branch of the Government. The Alsops find that the basic faults were "bad management, resulting from bad staff, bad organizational set-up, and insane chains of command."

The President dealt directly with scores of high officials regarding hundreds of issues, a physically impossible job for one man. Because he had no coordinating mechanism, he was constantly losing control of large portions of the Government.

When George Marshall had been chief of staff of the Army in 1946, he proposed a Cabinet or Executive Secretariat to coordinate all Government policy for the White House. Secretary of Defense Forrestal had pushed for this plan since that time. But such a Secretariat would reduce the importance of present White House advisers and so had met resistance from within the President's inner circle. They had argued that the plan resembled the British system of government by Cabinet. President Truman thus had indicated his satisfaction with the status quo.

There was also the problem of staffing the Government through the present Civil Service system, which was set up to hire clerks and promote political patronage. The problems of modern government were too large for clerks and payrollers to perform. Thus, lawyers, bankers and generals were often in high posts.

The Commission had recommended raising top grade pay of civil service employees to $15,000 annually. But the real problem was the Civil Service system itself, not being able to supply the Government with anything but clerks and glorified clerks. It had no means to bring in highly qualified personnel.

The National Security Organization of the Commission, chaired by Ferdinand Eberstadt, who was to have been the Secretary of Defense in a Dewey administration, had resulted in compromise, with active dissents by John J. McCloy and Robert Patterson, both of whom favored giving the Secretary of Defense an Undersecretary and sufficient support staff plus naming a chairman of the Joint Chiefs to resolve disputes between the services, not adequately addressed in the mid-1947 unification bill which had combined the military services under the Department of Defense. The end result in that area, they posit, was likely to be good.

Marquis Childs tells of the job of Ambassador to Moscow which no one would likely want once current Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith returned in January after over two years in the post, unlikely to go back. General Smith had attractive offers from RCA and other private concerns. He also, Mr. Childs suggests, might be considered for chief of staff. Until becoming Ambassador, he had spent his entire life in the Army.

The close confinement of the American Embassy in Moscow, enduring constant surveillance, was nerve-wracking. Even limited fraternizing with the more tame Russians was now forbidden by the Kremlin. The Ambassador rarely saw Russians. When he greeted Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov on a rare occasion, the latter was cold and aloof.

Charles Bohlen was the most likely successor to the post, as the State Department's foremost authority on Russia. He had served as interpreter when Stalin met with FDR at both Tehran, in November, 1943, and Yalta, in February, 1945.

A letter from the president of the Yellow Cab Company in Charlotte thanks the newspaper for its December 7 editorial.

He tells of the City Council having, the next day, made meters mandatory for the taxis, starting the following July 1. The Council also lowered the rate cabs were to charge in the Charlotte area until meters could be installed, causing a cut of 20 percent of their gross income, meaning drivers would earn $8 to $10 less. They would have to seek other employment to make ends meet in an inflationary economy.

A letter from a Mecklenburg County health officer, a doctor, advises getting an estimate before hiring a person to clean a septic tank. Some persons doing such work refused to provide such an estimate and then provided an unreasonable bill.

A letter advises Governor-elect Kerr Scott to bring dignity to the office, that the recent shenanigans, presumably in reference to his having disappeared for several days without notice to anyone, were intolerable.

A letter writer responds to the editorial on alcoholism appearing December 6. He says that Noah liked to take a nip now and again and that passing laws against liquor consumption did no good. Advocates of prohibition failed to take into account human nature. To have prohibition which worked would cause the country to resemble Russia under Stalin.

A piece from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot regards the house-cleaning promises of Governor-elect Scott, setting department heads in dread of the outcome. Mr. Scott had defeated the machine choice, Charles Johnson, in the spring primary. It hopes that he would not undertake indiscriminate house-cleaning just to replace qualified personnel with Scott supporters. It assumes that he would not.

Well, with this edition of The News, we have come full circle here, we suppose, and so we bid you a fond farewell—until Monday.

As we said in latter 1999, when the 60th Anniversary Edition was posted, ...

One thing we shall promise is that we shall not continue this project until 1985 and the last edition of The News. For then we would be reaching middle-age and might find that we had spent too much of our time on this project over the previous 54 years.

As to the game-ender which took place in Austin, Texas, this evening, we have only one thing to say, and nothing more.

In the long pasture, not far from the farm buildings, there was a small knoll which was the highest point on the farm. After surveying the ground, Snowball declared that this was just the place for a windmill, which could be made to operate a dynamo and supply the farm with electrical power. This would light the stalls and warm them in winter, and would also run a circular saw, a chaff-cutter, a mangel-slicer, and an electric milking machine. The animals had never heard of anything of this kind before (for the farm was an old-fashioned one and had only the most primitive machinery), and they listened in astonishment while Snowball conjured up pictures of fantastic machines which would do their work for them while they grazed at their ease in the fields or improved their minds with reading and conversation.

Within a few weeks Snowball's plans for the windmill were fully worked out. The mechanical details came mostly from three books which had belonged to Mr. Jones—'One Thousand Useful Things to Do About the House', 'Every Man His Own Bricklayer', and 'Electricity for Beginners'. Snowball used as his study a shed which had once been used for incubators and had a smooth wooden floor, suitable for drawing on. He was closeted there for hours at a time. With his books held open by a stone, and with a piece of chalk gripped between the knuckles of his trotter, he would move rapidly to and fro, drawing in line after line and uttering little whimpers of excitement. Gradually the plans grew into a complicated mass of cranks and cog-wheels, covering more than half the floor, which the other animals found completely unintelligible but very impressive. All of them came to look at Snowball's drawings at least once a day. Even the hens and ducks came, and were at pains not to tread on the chalk marks. Only Napoleon held aloof. He had declared himself against the windmill from the start. One day, however, he arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He walked heavily round the shed, looked closely at every detail of the plans and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word.

The whole farm was deeply divided on the subject of the windmill. Snowball did not deny that to build it would be a difficult business. Stone would have to be carried and built up into walls, then the sails would have to be made and after that there would be need for dynamos and cables. (How these were to be procured, Snowball did not say.) But he maintained that it could all be done in a year. And thereafter, he declared, so much labour would be saved that the animals would only need to work three days a week. Napoleon, on the other hand, argued that the great need of the moment was to increase food production, and that if they wasted time on the windmill they would all starve to death. The animals formed themselves into two factions under the slogan, "Vote for Snowball and the three-day week" and "Vote for Napoleon and the full manger." Benjamin was the only animal who did not side with either faction. He refused to believe either that food would become more plentiful or that the windmill would save work. Windmill or no windmill, he said, life would go on as it had always gone on—that is, badly.

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