The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 15, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in China, top advisers to Chiang Kai-Shek were urging him to release control of China's Government to others and let them try to save the pieces through peace negotiations with the Communists. The new Premier, Sun Ho, had arrived from Shanghai, but was resting after surgery before his trip, was not ready to form a new Cabinet.

Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett stated that Madame Chiang's visit to Washington to obtain aid for China had failed. Reports had indicated that she had sought as much as a billion dollars per year for three or four years. The present aid program allocated 125 million dollars for military aid and 275 million for economic aid.

Congressman John Rankin, member of HUAC, confirmed a claim by another unnamed Committee member that the Committee had a report which detailed information on the Norden bomb sight, necessary for relatively accurate high altitude bombing during the war, having been leaked by a civilian employee of the War Department to the Russians as early as 1938. The Committee had stated the previous day that detailed information on military secrets had leaked from the Army's Aberdeen proving grounds in Maryland in the late 1930's.

It should be noted that, while not necessarily disputing the information regarding Soviet pilfering of the bomb sight in 1938, it had been reported on June 30, 1941, at the FBI arrest of the 31 Nazi spies in New York and New Jersey during the previous weekend, that two of their number had been active as employees of Norden and Sperry in stealing bomb sight secrets from both companies, a fact later confirmed. Although Stalin had formed the neutrality pact with Hitler in August, 1939, in advance of the German invasion of Poland September 1, the two nations were never allies in the war, were traditionally antagonistic and suspicious of one another, thus would not have shared acquired secrets.

The New York grand jury investigating for the previous eighteen months alleged spying for the Communists was holding its last meeting this date, taking testimony from George Silverman, accused of being a member of the prewar Communist underground in Washington. Mr. Silverman, a former employee of the Air Force, had testified before HUAC on August 12 and had been implicated as a member of the Communist underground by confessed former Communist Elizabeth Bentley. Mr. Silverman had denied before HUAC Ms. Bentley's accusations.

The grand jury was also scheduled to hear again from Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss, both of whom had appeared previously. It was not yet known what, if any, indictments might be returned by the grand jury before it adjourned at midnight.

In Madison, Wisc., the State Bar Commission was considering disciplinary action against Senator Joseph McCarthy for failing to resign as a circuit judge until after his 1946 election to the Senate.

In Washington, the brother of Harding-Coolidge Administration Attorney General Harry Daugherty, Mal, died the previous day. The brother had been a banker and was involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. Harry Daugherty was forced to resign for his part in the scandal, and was subsequently indicted, though not convicted after two hung juries.

In Paris, Russia cast its 29th veto on the Security Council to prevent Ceylon from being admitted to the U.N. Thirteen of the vetoes had been used to bar membership for seven countries, including two against Ceylon. No other country of the Big Five, other than France, had utilized the veto on any issue. A vote on Israel's membership application was delayed, on a motion by France, until Friday.

Secretary of Defense James Forrestal told a press conference that the military command was setting up a "weapons system evaluation group" to operate under the Joint Chiefs and the research and development board to effect a marriage between military and scientific minds for the purpose of assessment of the payoff to the military of weapons systems and whether development could properly be afforded by the country. All types of weapons, including atomic weapons, would be assayed.

General Eisenhower continued to advise top defense officials, despite becoming president of Columbia University earlier in the year.

The Air Force prepared to attempt a daring rescue of nine trapped Air Force fliers stranded on a 7,500-foot ice cap in Greenland, following a crash landing of their B-17 the previous Friday. Gliders and helicopters would be used to try to effect the rescue.

There was no confirmation of a report published by the New York Herald Tribune that the President's standby Lockheed Constellation was being specially outfitted prior to the election for Governor Dewey. The plane was provided to replace the President's DC-6 while it was undergoing checks and upgrades following the crashes of two DC-6's a year earlier because of fires aboard caused by leakage of gasoline from tanks into the heating ducts.

It does not bother to impart, however, just what those preparations for Governor Dewey were. Perhaps, they had installed faux wedding cakes at every seat.

In Marburg, Germany, a German maid testified before a U.S. military tribunal that she had witnessed a woman shoot to death her American husband, a soldier, after bloodying his nose in a bedroom quarrel. At the couple's home, three American soldiers had been drinking cognac and wine with two German girls, including the maid, possessed of "shapely legs clad in nylon stockings" during her testimony. She claimed that the other woman, a former maid of the couple, was only doing some knitting for the wife at the time of the shooting.

She may have arrived Friday night, however, without her suitcase.

In Monrovia, California, a 54-year old transient seaman confessed to starting three recent Southern California brush fires based on his thought that it made a "wonderful show". He was arrested in the act of setting fire to a large pile of salvage paper in a junkyard. The three fires had been set in Topanga Canyon west of Los Angeles, in the Santa Ana mountains southeast of Los Angeles, and on Mt. Baldy, 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

In Charlotte, a man, who claimed to be able to speak with his mind, appeared this date in City Police Court to face charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He said that he had cursed the officer in his mind, not verbally, but the officer had heard him. He said that he had spoken with his mind many times with people. He attempted to do so with the judge, but the judge merely became irritated and insisted that he speak aloud, lest he be treated as a mute. He said that he had bought a pint of whiskey as an appetizer because bus riders needed something. He had left Detroit to escape slavery. The judge continued his case until the next day and remanded him back to custody. He said on departing that he just wanted to serve his sentence, to which the judge responded that he had not been sentenced. He said that he wanted to serve it anyway.

Also in Charlotte, a man, about 60, who had for several years lived in a cave ten miles from Independence Square, was found dead by local residents who often carried food to him. He died suddenly on November 6 of a coronary thrombosis, was found prone in the primordial ooze.

Martha Azer London of The News tells of a visit by Dr. Bernardine Schmidt of the University of Mississippi, one of the nation's leaders in education of mentally retarded children. She said that there was no ineducable child. She was present to attend a two-day conference with the Jaycees and the Community Council regarding plans for a second special class for retarded students to supplement that established at Alexander Graham Junior High School.

It probably would have been deemed in poor taste for The News to have assigned Nancy Brame Dumbell to cover this story.

In London, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George of Edinburgh was so christened in a ceremony in the music room of Buckingham Palace. The royal chapel, which would normally have been utilized for the purpose, had been hit by a German bomb in 1940 and had not been repaired. The month-old Prince behaved "beautifully" during the ceremony. Two women officials of the Food Ministry presented his father, Prince Philip, with a child's ration book, entitling the new Prince to extra milk, concentrated orange juice and Government-packed cod liver oil, the same ration provided all babies in the Kingdom. Britons were referring to the infant as "Prince Charlie", after a short period during which he was known as "George".

Britons who had named their babies George in the interim would now probably have to make a change.

On the editorial page, "Midnight Magistrate" tells of the seizure recently by the Sheriff of the records of the Magistrate of Mecklenburg County, wanted by the grand jury to assess the "kangaroo court" which was said to be operated by the Magistrate, charging court costs for offenses over which he had no jurisdiction.

Four constables had been taking private citizens from their homes and putting them before the Magistrate to appear on these offenses in the late hours of the evening. The grand jury called the conduct "reprehensible" and suggested it to have the earmarks of "fee grabbing". The practice had started in late October.

The constables would wander around black areas of the city at night and peep in windows to spot illegal card games, at the discovery of which, would intrude, arrest the participants and take them before the Magistrate. The arrestees were then taxed for court costs. Without being advised of the right to have counsel, they paid the bill and went home.

During November, 70 black citizens had received this treatment, all without the Magistrate having jurisdiction. The costs charged were $12 per case in most instances, more than the usual $7, enough to pay for the magistrate, the arresting officer and a contribution of $2 to the police retirement fund.

The Magistrate also was trying speeding cases, over which he also had no jurisdiction, deliberately taken away from the magistrates by the Legislature in 1947 to end noisome speed traps set for the purpose of lining the pockets of the magistrates and constables. He had also been late in reporting the collected fees for the police retirement fund and the jail fees.

The system was a hold-over from the old days when the nearest judge was a day's wagon ride away. But in the modern era, there was no reason to have them. They were not properly trained for the work and were not adequately supervised. Nevertheless, the Legislature had been reluctant to put before the voters a State Constitutional amendment to abolish the system. It suggests that a few more cases like that in Mecklenburg would force the issue.

"Still a Pace Setter" tells of the IRB issuing its tax bills and those bills, especially in the South with higher than ever income, growing larger. Texas succeeded North Carolina as the top paying Southern state on income taxes in 1948 after North Carolina had enjoyed many years at the top. North Carolina was now second, distantly followed by Maryland. Last were South Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

It suggests that the figures did not show spiritual contentment from all of the income, but they did show that North Carolina remained a pacesetter in the South in industrial and agricultural development. It cautions that there was much development taking place across the South, however, and so there was no guarantee that North Carolina would remain at the forefront without great continuing effort.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Thanking Our Stars", tells of December being the most spectacular month for study of the stars and so the Greensboro Astronomy Club was regularly gathering at night at the Woman's College observatory for the purpose.

Orion, the hunter with his diamond sword, was preceded by Pleiades and followed by the big dog Sirius as the most prominent visible formations. Green-eyed Vega in Lyra and red-eyed Aldebaran in Taurus appeared in supporting roles. The Big Dipper swung around the Pole Star, Polaris, while the Milky Way lay a "bemedaled ribbon across the breast of night."

It suggests that one of the more worthy pursuits in life was to be able to pick out a few of the stars in the heavens, so as never to be lost on a starry night.

Meredith had called them "the army of unalterable law". Voltaire had said that they were what stumped atheists, trying to explain a clock without a clockmaker. Dante knew he was out of Hell when he saw them and proclaimed, "Thence issuing we beheld again the stars."

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly tells of the new Congress being set to review the whole program of foreign aid when it convened in January. Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg was working in a bipartisan effort with new Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Tom Connally to develop procedures with ERP personnel for placing ERP appropriations requests before the Congress.

Drew Pearson tells of the Defense Department's new Munitions Board chairman, Donald Carpenter, handpicked by Secretary Forrestal, having recently inquired of a civil service applicant for the position of press relations director what his politics were because they did not want New Dealers in the position. Civil Service rules prohibited such inquiry. He also asked him whether he supported big business, as only big business could turn out defense materials at the volume required by the Government.

Mr. Carpenter was a member of the du Pont family, who had sought to defeat FDR in 1940, formed the Liberty League in 1936, and had sought to defeat Harry Truman in 1948. Secretary Forrestal knew Mr. Carpenter by way of dealings they had on Wall Street in the 1920's to supply arms to Bolivia for war against Paraguay. Ernst Roehm, close to Hitler, was hired as a military adviser for the Bolivians. Mr. Forrestal had loaned the twenty million dollars for the arms and Remington Arms Co., of which Mr. Carpenter was then a new employee and was presently vice-president, supplied 7.65-mm and 9-mm ammunition.

Latin America was awaiting the State Department decision on whether to recognize Venezuela. The Department's previous recognition of dictators had inspired the recent Nicaraguan march on Costa Rica.

Secretary Forrestal still favored sending arms to Latin America under a lend-lease agreement, despite the fact that they were stimulating revolts in the hands of the military.

Both "strong man" General Anastasio Samoza in Nicaragua and President Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, worst dictator in Latin America, were trained by the U.S. Marines. Mr. Pearson laments that the strong men were trained to use the supplied weapons, but were not trained in ideals or ideas.

First Daughter Margaret Truman had received her new checkbook, which bore no address because it was ordered prior to the election.

The President was considering making his "employ-the-handicapped week" a yearlong drive.

Two days after the KKK had raided an American Veterans Committee meeting in Atlanta, the Klan offered to bring in 100 new members to the organization provided AVC would join the campaign against the President's civil rights program. The AVC responded that its by-laws prohibited membership for Communists and Fascists, including members of the Klan.

Marquis Childs finds the spy probe making the country look ridiculous abroad and creating a comedy at home worthy of Mack Sennett. He suggests that the next witness to be subpoenaed should be Charlie Chaplin. The circus atmosphere had begun with the overly eager efforts of HUAC to grab publicity, worthy of an old-time fair barker. "We have had everything but an exchange of custard pies, and that will probably come sooner or later ."

The Committee arranged to have a sleeping security guard photographed in front of a safe containing the "secret documents", conveying the need for utmost protection. He says that was "bunk", that the documents were about as vital to American security in 1948 as a 1938 calendar. They might have slightly interfered with 1948 foreign policy in two or three places, giving the Russians a minor propaganda wedge. But even that was debatable.

The Committee's leak that the documents contained embarrassing material on prominent Administration figures was also untrue. One minor official largely unknown to the public might have been slightly embarrassed, but he was no longer employed by the Government.

He advocates releasing all of the documents rather than only a few at a time as the Committee had done.

Despite the innocuous nature of the documents, it was a crime in 1937-38 to take them, as they were at the time secret documents. As the State Department had indicated, they could have helped break the diplomatic code.

The Committee appeared determined to prove correct the President's charge that the hearings were a "red herring" to distract from more important issues. Two of the Committee members involved in the publicity campaign had been defeated in the November election, one being John McDowell of Pennsylvania.

He finds it strange that the State Department had not responded as the documents in question came from that Department. Acting Secretary Robert Lovett, he posits, could put an end to the magic act regarding national security claims very quickly.

James Marlow tells of the inconsistencies through time in Whittaker Chambers's story. In 1939, a year after he claimed that he quit the Communist Party, he said that he had tried to warn President Roosevelt of the Communist underground. But he was told by the President's secretary to go to Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle. He claimed to have warned Mr. Berle and named Alger Hiss as part of the underground. But Mr. Berle said that he recalled that Mr. Chambers only told him that Mr. Hiss and others in the Government were part of a study group regarding Russia and that the Communists hoped to induce their sympathies. He had also told Mr. Berle that there was no spying.

In 1942, Mr. Chambers claimed to have talked several times to the FBI about the underground and named Mr. Hiss as a member. The FBI checked on Mr. Hiss in 1942 and the results had not been revealed.

In 1946, Mr. Hiss heard rumors that he was supposedly a Communist and so he went to the FBI, who asked him about knowing several persons, but not Whittaker Chambers. In 1947, Mr. Hiss was contacted by two FBI agents and asked if he knew Mr. Chambers, to which he had responded that he did not.

During the HUAC hearings of the previous August, Mr. Chambers had accused Mr. Hiss and others in the Government of being in a Communist underground, but said that spying was not its purpose. He had no independent proof of Mr. Hiss's supposed party membership beyond his own observations.

Mr. Hiss initially testified that he did not know Mr. Chambers, until Mr. Chambers was brought before him, at which point, after looking closely at his teeth and asking him to speak, he determined that Mr. Chambers was a man he had known briefly, in 1935-36, as George Crosley, to whom he had cheaply sublet the family apartment after the family moved out and gave to him a 1929 Model A Ford because Mr. Crosley, a freelance writer, was broke.

The New York grand jury had called both Mr. Hiss and Mr. Chambers before it after the August testimony and nothing happened as a result. But then Mr. Hiss sued Mr. Chambers for $75,000 for defamatorily repeating on "Meet the Press" his charges that Mr. Hiss was a Communist. Mr. Hiss had dared Mr. Chambers to make such statements outside the Congressional immunity of the Committee, and so Mr. Chambers knew that he would be inviting the lawsuit if he called Mr. Hiss's bluff.

It was then, in response to a November request for discovery by Mr. Hiss's attorney, that Mr. Chambers produced the "secret documents". Both Mr. Chambers's attorney and Mr. Hiss's attorney then turned the documents over to the Justice Department. The latter gave them to the grand jury, who then summoned Mr. Chambers and Mr. Hiss to testify again the previous week.

On Friday, December 4, Mr. Chambers provided additional microfilm documents to HUAC investigator Robert Stripling out of a pumpkin on Mr. Chambers's Maryland farm—a farm which Mr. Hiss had originally sought to purchase before the deal fell through during the 1930's. The documents and microfilm had previously been stored for a decade at the Brooklyn home of Mr. Chambers's nephew, inside a dumbwaiter shaft, over a linen closet, (no doubt with marks pointing to it), accessible only via a bathroom window.

According to a column by Drew Pearson, Mr. Chambers had transferred the microfilm from a squash to the pumpkin the night before the revelation to Mr. Stripling because he believed the large squash patch drew too much attention. He then arranged the squash in the shape of an arrow pointing to the pumpkin. Mr. Chambers claimed that he hid the microfilm in the garden because he was afraid Communists visiting his farm might discover it.

Mr. Chambers claimed that he had not previously accused Mr. Hiss of spying because he was a Quaker and did not wish to hurt anybody.

But the defamation suit presented a pumpkin of a different color. For, if successful, at its conclusion, Mr. Chambers would be without jack enough to light his lantern.

Mr. Chambers also accused Henry J. Wadleigh of the State Department, William Ward Pigman of the Bureau of Standards, and the late Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department of providing stolen documents to him as well. But he had preserved only the Hiss documents.

A letter writer responds to a letter of December 9 which had advocated freedom to drink alcohol, without prohibition. This writer thinks it made as much sense to legalize brothels to eliminate venereal disease as well as gambling and narcotics.

A piece from the Charleston News & Courier says that the newspaper would be suspicious of efforts to reform the electoral college until the national disposition toward the states and states' rights improved. It regards the United States as rapidly becoming the "Jellified States".

Well, why don't you remove to another country where your form of Fascism may thrive.

There is a lot more to the Constitution than the Tenth Amendment, blockhead.

A piece from the Carlsbad (N.M.) Current Argus tells of the strange place names abounding in Eddy County. Deadman Draw, Dagger Draw, Owl Draw and Bear Grass Draw were among them. There was also High Lonesome.

A piece from the Bogalusa (La.) News complains of seeing more rabbits in the town than in the country. The writer posits as the reason that they were smart, that he personally liked the country better but he did not get shot at every time he stuck his head outdoors.

The myopic Shoemaker cartoon of the day would have been genuinely prophetic and infinitely more insightful, as well truer to the Bosch-inspired imagery, had he placed Mr. Nixon inside the whale holding the same sign. Of course, we could not have hoped also, in that event, for the completeness afforded by an included image of Congressman-elect Gerald Ford sitting on the bank fishing with a baited line, marked "Pardon the intrusion." Given the time of year, he also would have been quite suitably attired as Santa Claus.


—Forget it, he's talking about The Tempest.

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