The Charlotte News

Friday, December 17, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in China, Nationalist troops began withdrawing from threatened Pengpu to Chuhsien, 30 miles north of Nanking and seventy-five miles south of Pengpu, the Government's anchor for its Hwai River defense line and Nationalist headquarters after the abandonment of Suchow. Reliable reports were received that the Government's previously trapped 12th Army Group northwest of Pengpu had been wiped out.

In Peiping, more intense artillery fire was heard in the western and southern outskirts of the surrounded city, with Nationalist counterattacks being launched to the southeast. A new Communist menace was reported to be rising along the Grand Canal 90 miles northeast of Nanking.

In Paris, the U.N. Security Council rejected Israel's petition for membership to the U.N. Five voted in favor of the petition, five abstained and Syria voted against it. The U.S., Russia, the Ukraine, Argentina, and Colombia voted for admission. Britain, China, France, Canada and Belgium abstained.

The Council sidetracked consideration of a protest by Egypt that Israel had attacked Egyptian troops in Faluja in the Negev Desert in Southern Palestine the previous day, allegedly in violation of the ongoing truce.

In Berlin, a British Army spokesman said that the Russians had seriously wounded a British soldier and captured him and eight others after they had wandered into the Soviet sector of the city Wednesday night while hunting rabbits in a wooded area near the zonal border. They had wandered into the Soviet sector by mistake. Negotiations for return of the nine men were ongoing.

In recent months, the Soviets had sought to undertake more stringent security measures in this "green frontier", through which many thousands of German refugees had fled Eastern Germany, including several hundred deserters from the Soviet Army. Russian Army patrols had standing orders to shoot trespassers on sight.

In Washington, the armed forces invited regular and reserve medical officers to attend a course on the type of treatment to be administered in the event of a nuclear attack.

Attorney General Tom Clark said that stricter espionage laws would be sought from the Congress by the Administration the following month, based on urging by the President.

HUAC said that it was seeking to question Francis Sayre the following Monday or Tuesday regarding his time in the latter thirties as the boss of Alger Hiss in the State Department.

Ain't we gon' have no Christmas surprise, such as maybe some more of them pilfered secret documents found in a bright red box underneath the national Christmas tree on the White House lawn, possibly stolen by the President, hisself? That Nixon feller, he's the one.

The Democratic Party was preparing to issue invitations to the wayward Dixiecrats for its traditional February Jackson-Jefferson Day dinners.

In Marburg, Germany, a U.S. Army investigator testified for the prosecution at the military trial of the German wife who killed her American war-hero husband that she had voluntarily stated to him that she was not sorry for having shot her husband. The defense was preparing to present a case of self-defense. The investigator said that a second pistol had turned up "mysteriously" the day after the killing in the bedroom where the shooting took place, after the wife had returned to the scene to obtain some of her clothes. The implication was that she planted the pistol to lay grounds for self-defense.

That might not work.

Retired Air Force Maj. General Bennett E. Meyers petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse his conviction for suborning perjury, based on an unfair trial not in accord with Due Process. Since the previous March, he had been serving his 18-months to five-year sentence on the conviction.

In Washington, a Presidential fact-finding board recommended that the railroad non-operating employees receive a wage increase of seven cents per hour and be placed on a 40-hour week without loss of take-home pay, starting the following September 1. George Harrison, head of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, said that the proposal provided a good basis for settling the dispute. The Brotherhood had asked for a 25-cent wage increase.

In Pulaski, Va., a 76-year old defendant accused of murder killed himself with a rifle during the night at his home.

On the occasion of the 45th birthday of man powered flight, the Wright flier was welcomed home to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington from its prior location for twenty years in the British Museum in London. The plane was hung next to the Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flier, the "Spirit of St. Louis", which had made the first crossing in 1927.

Ora Jones, formerly a reporter for the Asheville Citizen, had nearly witnessed the original flight in 1903, but had missed it because neither he nor anyone he knew believed that the thing would fly. His assignment had been to poke fun at the craft, receiving from his editor $50 to fly to Kitty Hawk by train, or sled part of the way, as the case may have been, to report on the matter. He stood around on the dunes for five days watching the Wright brothers roll their contraption back and forth from the workshop until he became tired of it and decided to return home by jet on the steam engine. While waiting for his train, three miles from the flight scene, he picked up a Goldsboro newspaper to read that the first flight had just occurred.

His last story on the matter had concluded: "If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings in the first place. And if the Wright brothers want to do something for humanity they should get back to their bicycle shop."

The News-sponsored Empty Stocking Fund to provide toys for indigent Mecklenburg County children at Christmas still needed more funding from the community. The Fund had responded to 656 requests and hoped to answer 200 more before Christmas. More people than usual were seeking the help because of inflated prices on essential items, food and clothing, taking all of their disposable income. The Fund now had $5,258.53.

Get 'em up, Scout.

On the editorial page, "ABC Plan for the United Nations" tells of a plan being promoted by Ely Culbertson for revision of the U.N. Charter to eliminate the Big Five Security Council veto, exercised on numerous occasions only by Russia, a small number of times by France. Mr. Culbertson's plan would make it more attractive for Russia to remain in the U.N. without the veto than to withdraw. The plan therefore deserved consideration.

The plan is explained in the piece below.

"An Explanation of the Culbertson Plan" remarks that while the U.N. session in Paris had accomplished many worthy goals, it still left unresolved the Berlin blockade, the most crucial question threatening world peace, because of the ability of the Soviets to exercise the veto.

Mr. Culbertson's plan would eliminate the veto in matters concerning aggression and preparation for aggression, as well as concerning other matters involving national security. The eleven-member Security Council would be reorganized to include two members from each of the Big Five and two to be selected by the smaller nations. The smaller nations could not not therefore outvote the Big Five and so the need for the veto would be eliminated.

The plan called for an impartial world court to interpret the U.N. Charter and by it judge nations and individuals.

The plan also proposed that the Council set up an Atomic Development Authority along the lines of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. For heavy armament, a worldwide Quota Force would be established, determining the amount of armament produced in any one year. Twenty percent of that armament would be given to the smaller nations and eighty percent produced by the Big Five for their own benefit, each of the Big Three producing twenty percent and France and China ten percent each. If one member refused participation, then the Quota Force would increase the allotment to the others, thus tending to preserve U.N. membership and adherence to the plan.

It would also establish a world police force, comprised from the established armed forces of member nations as well as an International Contingent, overseen and maintained by the Security Council, comprised of volunteers from the smaller nations.

The piece thinks the plan would bring a showdown quickly with Russia and might avoid a third world war. The plan had been endorsed by many Senators and Congressmen, as well by prominent private citizens. Resolutions asking for its approval had been submitted to Congress.

Mr. Culbertson had concluded: "We Americans have no choice: we must either conquer the world or conquer war. We prefer to conquer war."

"Rough Handling of Drunks" remarks of News reporter Ralph Gibson's report on how drunks and drunk drivers were handled by the police in the City and County. There had been complaints about rough handling of the defendants between arrest and release. A reliable citizen, who had a charge of drunk driving lodged against him, had recently provided to the newspaper an account of such improper treatment of both himself and his wife.

It recognizes that many drunks became violent and so rough treatment was sometimes necessary to subdue them. After sobering up, the arrestees were likely to remember only the rough treatment and not their own behavior which had precipitated it. Many times, the arrested drunk believed he was not drunk and so became angry at the arresting officer, sometimes provoking the rough treatment.

But at the same time, it says, the officers were responsible for much of the trouble. They had a hard job with long hours. Some liked to demonstrate their authority, but no one wanted to play nursemaid to a drunk.

It counsels that any arrested citizen save his or her arguments for the judge and thereby likely remain out of trouble with the police. But the responsible authorities, it also urges, had to maintain a close watch on police personnel, their attitudes and activities, to reduce the likelihood of such confrontational episodes with arrestees.

You are, of course, counseling sober arrestees, not drunk ones, when you say that.

"The Witches and Sunday's Child" calls to mind the witches of Macbeth and their spell cast that no descendant of the old Scottish king would ever sit on the throne of Britain. Thus far in 900 years, it had held true.

But upon the death of King George VI, the curse would be put to the test, as Princess Elizabeth, through her maternal line, was a descendant of Macbeth.

She already had that curse hanging over her and now had christened her new son as Charles, another luckless name in the history of British royalty. In 1649, Charles I was beheaded at the insistence of Oliver Cromwell. The son of Charles I, also named Charles, then claimed the throne as Charles II, but was not welcome by the British who wanted the continued leadership of Cromwell. Only Scotland, parts of Ireland and the Channel Islands had accepted Charles II as their King.

And young Prince Charles was also a descendant, therefore, of Macbeth.

He had licked one curse, however, by not being born on Wednesday and thus "full of woe", according to the nursery rhyme, as Wednesday's child. He was Sunday's child. And, again, according to the nursery rhyme, "a child who's born on the Sabbath day will be fair and wise and good and gay."

That's good to bear in mind. Double, double...

A piece from the New York Times, titled "The Season of the Evergreen", tells of the tradition of the evergreen at Christmas stemming from the fact that they never showed barren branches in winter, lending to the ancients the confirmation that no winter lasted forever.

Some said that the evergreen had been around for as long as 50 or even 100 million years, meaning that the first humans saw them.

"So we go forth now to bring the boughs indoors and deck them with light and color, and feel an unspoken kinship with enduring things. They help us to remember, and to believe, and to catch, if only fleetingly, a sense of hope and understandable eternity."

James Marlow tells of a war ongoing between Congressman Nixon of HUAC and Harvard law professor Zechariah Chafee, Jr., the latter having written a long letter to the Washington Post critical of the way the Committee had handled the Hiss-Chambers spy case. Mr. Nixon had then responded with his own letter to the Post, not only critical of Mr. Chafee, but also of the Justice Department's handling of the spy case.

Neither the Justice Department nor the New York Federal grand jury had been able to pry from Whittaker Chambers the so-called "pumpkin papers", consisting of three rolls of microfilm of "secret documents" claimed by Mr. Chambers to have been given to him in 1937-38 by Mr. Hiss, then an attorney with the State Department. Each of the documents was marked at the top as being from the same office in which Mr. Hiss had been employed, that of Assistant Secretary of State Francis Sayre. Robert Stripling, chief investigator for HUAC, had obtained those microfilmed documents. The Hiss discovery request in his defamation suit against Mr. Chambers for calling him a Communist had obtained the first set of documents, which led to re-investigation of the matter by the grand jury.

Both the Committee the previous August and the Justice Department, in prior interviews, had asked Mr. Chambers whether he had any physical proof of his allegations, to which he had responded that he had only his observations.

Mr. Chafee had asked whether HUAC deserved much credit for producing the abstracted microfilm documents, for if Mr. Hiss's attorney had not made the discovery request, no documents at all would have been produced. Mr. Chafee labeled the Committee members either a "stupid bunch of investigators" for not finding out about the documents previously, or, if they did know of them, had been "delinquent" in not sharing them with Justice and letting Mr. Chambers maintain them for so long.

Mr. Nixon, always an impeccably reliable source for truthfulness, stated that the Committee was not aware of the existence of the documents prior to the recent revelation by Mr. Chambers, but added the proviso that the Committee was comprised of nine members and five investigators. He further stated that Justice, despite Mr. Chambers having told the FBI and Adolf Berle of the State Department as long as nine years earlier that Mr. Hiss was associated with a Communist underground group operating within the Government, had not elicited the documents either. Mr. Nixon wanted to know if Mr. Chafee would consider them as well to be "stupid". (It should be noted that Mr. Berle testified to HUAC the previous August that he recalled only that Mr. Chambers had claimed in 1939 that Mr. Hiss and others in the Department were members of a study group on Russia and Communism and that they were sought by the Communists as sympathizers, but were not engaged in spying.)

Mr. Marlow finds it still puzzling why Committee investigators did not dig harder to extract more than Mr. Chambers's own statements to support his story.

Of course, one answer is that in the August hearings, there had been no allegation of spying and so the impetus for going further was not quite as pressing. At the same time, the Committee had stated at the conclusion of the August hearings that it believed that one of the two men, Mr. Chambers or Mr. Hiss, was lying and so referred the matter to the Justice Department for investigation of perjury, urging that one of them be so charged. Still, the alleged perjury at that time would not have involved whether Mr. Hiss took Government documents and provided them to Mr. Chambers for transmittal to Soviet agents, but only whether Mr. Hiss was in fact a Communist—that is, assuming that the Chambers November-December revelations were not a deliberate ploy orchestrated by the Committee in retaliation for Mr. Hiss's statements made publicly and before the Committee challenging Mr. Chambers to step out from the cloak of immunity afforded by Congressional testimony and make the assertions publicly, as Mr. Chambers then deliberately had on "Meet the Press", triggering the Hiss lawsuit. Another motivation for such a scheme would have been to revive the ailing reputation of the Committee and avoid the imminent demise of HUAC following the surprise election of a Democratically-controlled House.

Mr. Marlow allows for the fact that the documents would not have been produced had not the Committee begun the inquiry in August, touching off the Hiss defamation suit—which is a bit backwards in its reasoning. And he allows also for the fact that the Committee, through its subpoena, did precipitate the production of the "pumpkin papers".

Mr. Chafee, incidentally, was the uncle of the late Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island.

Drew Pearson, truncated and out of his usual place on the page, tells of turkey-raising becoming big business since the President had been a farm boy growing up in Missouri. One of the two gentlemen who had presented two turkeys to the President, one weighing 40 pounds and the other 14 pounds, said that he raised 50,000 to 100,000 turkeys every year on his Elkton, Virginia, farm. Mr. Truman responded that he believed that he had been doing pretty well as a boy if he raised five in a year. The turkey-raiser added that they received a lot of help from the Department of Agriculture in the process, aiding in raising more and larger turkeys.

He notes that the White House usually received a half dozen turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall—who was assigned as defense counsel by the Army for the eventually executed Nazi saboteurs who landed in New Jersey and Florida in 1943—was opposed to the war crimes prosecution of the Japanese war lords, in fact opposed all such prosecutions. He posited that if something touched off war in Berlin, the Russians might shoot General Lucius Clay as a war criminal. Responded Joseph Keenan, prosecutor at the Japanese war crimes trial, those responsible for a war which had caused millions of reluctant young American men to be shipped to foreign lands to fight, deserved prosecution, that such would reduce the chances of a future war.

A letter writer from Clover, S.C., comments on fashion in apparel and hair. He thinks men ought be able to wear knee-length suits in summer and avoid the "peeled onion look" in hair by permanently having it shoulder length or longer.

Women were cutting their locks short, which, he ventures, would soon fall out from the chemicals they were using to make them curl. They wore sensible, lightweight clothing in warm weather, whereas men had to wear heavy woolen garments.

American women did not wear wooden discs in their lips as in other cultures. But they were allowing their claws to grow long for unknown purposes, perhaps, he suggests, "to take to the tall timber".

A letter writer comments on the Biddleville bus route in Charlotte and the requirement that blacks sit at the back. The writer, apparently a male though named Ruth, while riding on the bus had proceeded accordingly only to find no vacant seats, whereas in the front there were four vacancies, each next to a white passenger. He then sat in one of those seats, with ample room allowed between him and the white passenger. The bus driver, shortly thereafter, stopped the bus, pointed to him and rudely ordered him to move to the back. Then realizing that there were no seats at the back, the driver instructed one of the white passengers adjacent to an empty seat to occupy one of the other empty seats so that the writer could have a seat to himself.

He says that this treatment was what he had spent three and a half years in the European and Pacific theaters of war fighting for. He and other veterans had fought to "preserve a democracy wherein discrimination in its most contemptible form still exists."

A letter writer from Chester, S.C., finds that to avoid the fate of the Roman Empire and to bring about brotherly love and cooperative spirit, the only hope of the world was to establish an international police force and world court.

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