The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 18, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Chinese Nationalists were abandoning their Hwai River defense line a hundred miles north of Nanking as the Communists surged over it toward the Yangtze, the last line of defense for Nanking. The Communists bypassed Pengpu in moving to the west over the line. Pengpu, according to AP correspondent Seymour Topping on the scene, might remain nominally and uselessly therefore in Government hands. Government defense headquarters was moved to Chuhsien, 30 miles northwest of the Yangtze.

Fighting continued on the outskirts of Peiping. The Governor of Hopei Province said that the city's defenders outnumbered the Communists two to one and had plenty of food and supplies for a siege. General Fu Tso-Yi, commander of the Nationalist troops in the city, promised a defense to the last man, worrying local residents. But in Hong Kong, an opponent of Chiang Kai-Shek, his former chief of staff, Marshal Li Chi-Shen, exiled by the Government, said the call by General Fu was a bluff to gain better conditions of surrender from the Communists, knowing that they did not wish to destroy the ancient walled city. Li told a Government spokesman that if Chiang were to leave the presidency of China, then the Nationalists could hold the territory they presently occupied. Otherwise, he believed, the Government administration should be maintained to preserve order.

At The Hague, the Dutch Government issued a royal decree providing for establishment of a new interim Indonesian Government without participation by the Indonesian Republic. It called for a central government for all of Indonesia. The Republic claimed jurisdiction over a third of the territory.

The incident involving the Soviet capture of eight British soldiers who had been rabbit hunting near the zonal border and inadvertently wandered into the Soviet zone, resulting in the shooting of one of them, had been resolved with the return of the men to the British the previous night. The wounded man was said to be improving in a British hospital.

General Lucius Clay, U.S. military occupation commander for Germany, commended the French for blowing up the towers of the Soviet-controlled radio station near the new Tegel Airfield in the French sector of Berlin for their interference with airlift landings at the new airfield.

The death toll from a flood in the Rio De Janeiro and Minas Geras states in Brazil had taken an estimated 600 lives, with another 1,000 persons injured.

An unidentified member of HUAC said that an important new witness had been located in the Hiss-Chambers spy case and would appear before the Committee the following Monday. Apparently, the man was one of two witnesses whom Representative John McDowell of Pennsylvania had said were new leads with information which required immediate attention.

Acting chairman of HUAC Karl Mundt said that the Committee intended to interrogate Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley on how to plug loopholes through which Government secrets had leaked.

Senator Robert Taft said that he would fight against repeal by the Democrats of Taft-Hartley in the new Congress.

In Chicago, retailers and suppliers of food, along with other food industry authorities, predicted that food prices would be slightly lower in 1949 than in the current year.

Let's hope so.

In Trenton, N.J., an 84-year old recluse was discovered near death in a tin shack located near a cemetery wall, filled with rubbish and $3,568.63 in pennies and silver. He had eleven children, most of them prominent in local social circles. He had moved from his wife's brick home seven years earlier after she complained of his collecting rubbish. He had apparently collected the money by placing a sign on the shack, saying "15 cents", causing users of the nearby parking lot to believe they had to pay to park there and deposited the money in the shack.

In Evarts, Ky., in Harlan County, the chief of police and his only subordinate, a patrolman, had been arrested without formal charges in the slaying of the former chief, who, himself, had been indicted for murder in connection with the September 14 slaying of yet another police chief. The new police chief and his patrolman claimed self-defense in the shooting, that he opened fire as they approached him to serve a search warrant for his home to search for illegal liquor. The warrant was being served, however, at the former chief's restaurant. The new chief was the fifth to serve in the notorious moonshining county in recent months. Another had resigned recently, saying that he did not want to be shot in the back.

In Chicago, an unidentified teenage girl was found near a cemetery dead after being raped and strangled. An unidentified male had called police to report that they would find her body at the location, after the body had been discovered by a man on his way to work.

In Raleigh, Charlotte Rickman, as an impromptu speaker for the North Carolina Good Health program the previous day, told her audience of Alexander County having set a goal of $40,000 to build a 20-bed hospital, and, through cooperative effort, having managed to raise $3,000 more than the goal. They then discovered that they needed another $17,000 for equipment, which they then set about doing. A movie house manager offered them a free showing of a movie, with the ticket revenue being contributed to the fund. An auction of items contributed by the people and a scrap metal drive added to it.

In Hillsborough, N.C., a UNC student, 21, was found dead in his locked car, the victim of suicide, after being missing since the previous Tuesday. He had asphyxiated himself with a hose running from the exhaust into the passenger compartment.

Tom Schlesinger of The News tells of having posed as Santa Claus for an afternoon the previous day at Ivey's Department Store while the real Santa stepped out to feed his reindeer. He details of how he accomplished surreptitiously the switch with the real Santa. "[H]a, ha, ha, HO!"

The children, he relates, had trouble understanding how Santa had suddenly grown taller and wider. And his "ha, ha, ha, HOs!" he says, seemed to frighten them, even amid his chuckles. One child said that he was "too tall" to be Santa. And his mother told him to hush.

Sir, being the son of an eminent Harvard historian and the brother of another does not permit you to cause permanent damage to the psyche of the little children of Charlotte by first fooling them and then derisively "ha, ha, ha, HOing" about it right in their faces.

We, for instance, still recall that time in Ivey's, probably on the same mezzanine, just before Christmas, 1959, when, with our just acquired free red aluminum hula-hoop in our possession, which we still have, we were severely chastised with a most grim and fear-inducing glance in our direction by a sketch artist as we gently tapped, tapped, tapped our red aluminum hula-hoop on the floor, oblivious to the artist's increasing irritation at our unwitting interruption of his intense concentration as he performed his artistry by drawing children's portraits. Time, indeed, suddenly stopped with his ruthless stare. This bearded beatnik did not need to bare his ire and bore such a hole in the intervening space between us all to make his point. He could have noticed our rapt attention to his artistry and simply been creative, started quoting loudly from Edgar Allan Poe, and we, being literary prodigies, would have, instanter, recognized the reference and bowed courteously to the artist, ceased our tap, tap, tapping, tipped our cap on Ivey's mezzanine floor, before a rap, rap, rapping might come our way from the obviously psychotic artist, and all would have been copacetic. Instead, we bear deep, deep, deep emotional scars from this episode for having been singled out on Ivey's mezzanine, deeplessly, in 1959, and it should stand as an object lesson to all, and to all a good night.

On second thought, it was probably in Belk's. But we had been in Ivey's that day as well, to buy our brand new blue 1959 Chevrolet Impala made of real tin, had it in our bag at the time, and so...

"Christmas Events", on page 12-A, presents a log of Yule activities.

That could be a threat.

On the editorial page, "Tax Revaluation May Be Shelved" tells of the City and County having determined that revaluation of property values for tax purposes had to be delayed because they could not determine how the survey should be conducted. The cost, $400,000, was not an issue, but the sharing of it between the County and City was.

The piece thinks the revaluation ought move forward for its desirability in raising additional revenue for services.

"Positive Action at Savannah" tells of eleven Southern Governors at the Governors conference having met with 150 educators, white and black, and emerged with a plan for a regional graduate program for Southern colleges and universities, jointly financed, subject to approval by the individual state legislatures.

Black leaders in the South were in favor of the program, while the NAACP had lobbied against it as perpetuating segregation.

Marquis Childs further discusses the program in his piece summarized below.

The editorial commends the Governors for their efforts and believes that it was a step in the right direction, in furtherance of "gradualism" in the South and, more generally, affording medical, dental and veterinary education to far more Southern students, regardless of race.

"TV, We'll Love You" tells of the advent in the country of commercial television, or "video", as some articles referred to it. The big city residents who could receive stations were no doubt sneering at the backwoods remainder of the country as "peasants" and "provincials".

The video watcher had an advantage in understanding the more obscure radio jokes which elicited laughter from the studio audience but which went unexplained to listeners for the visual content of the punch line, as when the man stared at the Bendix washer for hours thinking it was a tv presentation of "Souls at Sea".

It says that Charlotte residents would be able, by the following summer, to see the hashed-over vaudeville acts and kitchen demonstrations, along with re-runs of second-rate movies, when a new tv station would start in the market.

But the FCC was having trouble determining whether television waves bounced when they hit the horizon, possibly causing a distortion and producing a double image.

It concludes: "Come on video, time's a-wastin'."

They knew before it even got there what it was and what it would, largely, with public-spirited exceptions to prove the rule, continue to be to this day.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly surveys twelve women's organizations regarding foreign and domestic issues, finds the organizations to favor economic aid to Western Europe, two organizations working for universal military training, for public housing and Federal aid to education, four organizations for national health insurance, five actively working for civil rights, and two for repeal of Taft-Hartley. The twelve groups were sharply divided on support for an equal rights amendment for women.

Drew Pearson tells of Dr. Sam Green, the dentist who was Grand Dragon of the Klan in Atlanta, having stated, as they met in Macon for their rally, that they were going to get Drew Pearson's spy in their Klavern the coming Monday night.

Mr. Pearson suggests that Grand Dragon Green would need perform more housecleaning, as he gives an account of the latest meeting of the Klavern, occurring after the spy had been supposedly eliminated.

Among the items on the agenda was the Grand Dragon's anger at the person who had hung a robed Klansman in effigy in Macon on December 4—the same date, incidentally, that Whittaker Chambers, late that night at the witching hour, led Robert Stripling to the Halloween pumpkin in Maryland. Dr. Green had said that they were examining the laundry marks on the robes for clues to the identity of the perpetrator. He said that if necessary, they would have each Exalted Cyclops provide a report on any missing robes in his Klavern.

He perhaps ought become an investigator for HUAC.

Mr. Pearson also imparts that there would be a Klan Christmas party on December 20.

Presumably, everyone in the nation was invited to attend. If you've no outfit, just show up, kryptonitically, as Kris Kringle.

The Wilmington, N.C., Chamber of Commerce, which had sought to aid the Donora, Pa., smog victims by attempting to sponsor free airfare for them to fly to Wilmington to escape the bad air, were upset that Senator Owen Brewster of Maine had received free airplane travel to San Antonio when the Civil Aeronautics Board had declined the request of Wilmington. CAB had not come up with a good excuse for the free roundtrip, merely for the Senator to address the Automobile Dealers Association in San Antonio.

They could have tried for a Pregnant Guppy, but that would have been anachronistic.

Tennessee Senator Kenneth McKellar was privately campaigning for the job of president pro tem of the Senate, for which he was in line again for his seniority. But because of his age, Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland was planning to run against him. When a reporter recently had asked Senator McKellar his age, he flew into a rage and beat and kicked the reporter, remonstrating him in the process for trying to put him in his grave. He said that he had not been in the hospital for over four months.

Bob Hope was taking time off to fly to Germany to entertain American troops during Christmas. He had an excellent chance of being able to purchase the Louisville radio stations which the Courier-Journal wanted to sell.

Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi had said that before he was done with Drew Pearson, he would "tie him in knots and hang him in the same noose as Alger Hiss."

President Truman's friends were trying to find a suitable Christmas present for former Congressman Roger Slaughter, whose defeat in the 1946 Democratic primary the President had engineered through the Pendergast machine in Kansas City for having tabled in committee the President's program. Mr. Slaughter had been singularly responsible for the grain storage limits on Government, which proved effective in gathering votes in the farm states for the President's opposition to the limitation. The friends of the President believed that Mr. Slaughter, under indictment for not registering as a lobbyist, ought be rewarded for his efforts rather than penalized.

They could give him a peck of pickled grain at first base in Sportsman's Park.

Mr. Pearson recommends I. F. Stone's This Is Israel as the best account yet of Israel's fight for independence.

Marquis Childs discusses the Southern Governors conference at Savannah, Ga., and its agreement on recommending to the individual state legislatures passage of the regional graduate school program for the purpose of meeting requirements imposed by the Supreme Court that equal facilities for graduate study be provided to blacks, albeit the cases having held that the schools had to be in-state. Parenthetically, the governors contended that it was not about race but rather pooling of resources to provide graduate schools, especially medical, dental, and veterinary schools, for states which could not afford their own.

The largest appropriation approved, however, was for $600,000 to go to the Meharry Medical School for Negroes in Nashville. Another $355,000 was recommended for establishing three regional veterinary schools at Oklahoma A&M, Tuskegee Institute, and the University of Georgia.

Mr. Childs points out that the South had lost large blocs of population during and since the war, with its natives, especially blacks, seeking higher paying jobs in other regions. The West had benefited greatly by Southern migration, with gains of 40 percent in regional population. Generally, the population shift was working well. But the South was losing its primary resource in the process.

So, the regional graduate school concept had great appeal to hold Southerners in the South. He also recommends that a comprehensive civil rights program be effected through compromise to avoid Federal coercion, which the President was determined to push, especially after the election in which blacks in six or so states had been instrumental in his victory.

No traditional Southern filibuster could block this exodus of human resources and if the conflict between the South and the Federal Government became more intense, then that migration would likely be accelerated.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the President being determined to recommend to Congress higher taxes and economic controls, while also allowing the rearmament program to flounder somewhat by imposing a 15 billion dollar spending limit on it.

Having a higher defense budget would trigger economic controls and higher taxes, and so the Council of Economic Advisers had urged the ceiling on defense spending. But to have both the ceiling and the higher taxes and controls appeared to work at cross-purposes and at odds with the national interest. Air rearmament and the increase of the Air Force to 70 groups from 55 would have to be cut under the defense ceiling, despite having been authorized by Congress. As well, planned increases in the strength of the Army and Navy would have to be reduced significantly.

The effect abroad would be to terrify U.S. allies and encourage the Soviets. They view the policy as tantamount to that of the British in the mid-thirties under Stanley Baldwin.

The Congress also was unlikely to pass the President's recommended controls and higher taxes, even under Democratic control.

The liberals who favored the President's domestic program, costing not much more than a billion dollars, also favored strong defense. They, along with Secretary of Defense Forrestal, also were favoring economic controls and higher taxes.

The Alsops suggest that the situation would be comic if it were not so tragic.

A letter writer endorses Governor-elect Kerr Scott as a good alternative to the Raleigh-Shelby alternating clique which had dominated the Governor's mansion in recent years. He disagrees with a letter writer who had questioned the "recent shenanigans" of Mr. Scott in disappearing without notice to anyone, including his family, for several days, turning out to be on vacation.

A letter from the Charity League thanks the newspaper for its cooperation in making their bazaar a success.

A letter from the football coach of Central High School thanks the newspaper for its support during the year.

Another pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "in Which Is Contained a Timely Reminder of an Approaching Event:

"Finish shopping early, dear;
Christmas Day will soon be here."

Unless, beforehand, you should die,
In which case, please, do not pain to cry.

For it was just old Scrooge, in his wily ways,
Who caused the windshield's sudden haze,
And sent you flying North with Santa's sleigh.


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