The Charlotte News

Friday, December 24, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the U.N. Security Council ordered by a vote of 7 to 0, with four abstentions, an immediate end to the fighting in Indonesia and release of Indonesian leaders captured by the Dutch after their "police action" begun the previous weekend. The Council turned down, however, the U.S.-Colombian-Syrian proposal for immediate withdrawal of all Dutch troops back to their lines before the police action. The vote was 5 to 0, but not accumulating the necessary seven votes. France, Russia, Argentina, Canada, Belgium and the Ukraine abstained. Russia, abstaining in all of the votes, wanted The Netherlands condemned as an aggressor nation.

In China, the Communists had conquered all of the country north of the Yangtze. The battlefronts were calm, anticipating a negotiated peace. The Nationalists' will to fight appeared to have completely evaporated. Units were withdrawing into the cities without contact with Communist troops. The Communists also were reluctant to force the fight. Chinese and foreigners were resigned to the Communists taking over Peiping and Tientsin, both isolated.

In Palestine, the Egyptians said that they had repulsed an air, sea and land attack by Israelis against Egyptian positions in the Negev region. Egypt complained to the Security Council about the Israeli aggression in violation of the truce.

Because of the war and inclement weather, the smallest Christmas pilgrimage since the crusades was promised for Bethlehem. The main road into the city was closed and under gunsight. Pilgrims would pass through a no-man's land into the Arab-held city. James Long of the A.P. was planning to meet John Roderick of the A.P. this night at the Needle's Eye, a low, narrow doorway to the grotto of the nativity, an area closed to access normally by the war but opened by cables transmitted from New York. Israel's Army gave a party for hundreds of Christian children, Arab, British, Greek, Armenian, and Hungarian.

In Tokyo, an order of amnesty by General MacArthur was granted to fifteen Japanese war crimes suspects. Only two war crimes defendants remained on trial.

Over most of Western Europe and Britain, Christmas was brighter than it had been in years, since before the war. Shoppers crowded stores in West Germany. The French enjoyed their most expensive Christmas since the war, with prices up 60 percent from 1947, not deterring, however, crowds of shoppers. Food was more plentiful than in recent years in Britain, but prices were also high. Britons were permitted to use all the electricity they desired for three days, normally forbidden during daylight hours. Italy, thanks in part to ERP, had enough to eat, with traditional panettone cakes distributed to 1.65 million school children.

Near Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, the wreckage of a B-50 plane was found, missing since Wednesday. All ten aboard were dead. It was the first crash of the new plane, an improved version of the B-29.

The President would address a Christmas greeting to the nation via radio, as he had in person, dressed in Army combat boots to wade through the snow, to surprised town officials of Independence, Missouri.

Sleet and snow fell in Kansas and Missouri, the Rockies, Utah, and five inches was predicted for Pennsylvania.

A piece tells of varying celebrations of Christmas across the country, a sheep-herders' ball, for instance, in Boise, Idaho, requiring everyone to wear overalls and gingham. In New York City, a female social worker dressed as Santa Claus to provide Christmas to 80 preschoolers and 40 mothers at a municipal shelter. In Rodanthe, N.C., on the Outer Banks, Twelfth Night and the Epiphany were celebrated, respectively, as Christmas Eve, on January 5, and Christmas, on January 6.

The Air Force reported that an unidentified sleigh with eight reindeer was spotted at 14,000 feet at 180 degrees, heading southerly. Interceptors were alerted and the UFO was shot down. General Curtis Lemay, sporting his cigar and a satisfied look, told the press: "Another attempted enemy attack over the Pole has been thwarted tonight. No Commie dressed in a red suit with black boots will ever penetrate our radar systems."

Merry Christmas.

As The News would not publish on Christmas Day, the Saturday comic section was included in this date's edition, on page 9-B.

This date's comics appeared on page 8-B.

On the editorial page, "On Earth, Good Will Toward Men" quotes from the Book of Luke, 2:1-14, in wishing peace to the world.

"Merry Christmas, Happy New Year" expresses from News Publisher Thomas L. Robinson appreciation to the staff of the newspaper, its advertisers and its readers, and wishes happiness for the holidays.

"The Voice of a Peacemaker" draws the contrast between neon-light bedecked streets with decorations in America and the war-torn Palestine of 1948. It was a small war but the same one which had beset the region in the time of Jesus.

It posits that aggressive war, no matter the cause, was the product of selfish men. There was no peacemaker to lead men of good will in 1948, though those seeking peace in the world were numerous. Such a leader had to have a strong voice to make the people hear because selfish men had made the world "forget the message of the first great Peacemaker—'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Time for Concentration", tells of North Carolina's Ralph McDonald, as executive secretary of the National Education Association's department on higher education, having proposed a plan under which the nation's colleges and universities would receive a Federally-funded scholarship of one billion dollars annually for 200,000 to 250,000 scholarships based on ability.

The piece finds the plan "appalling", as lower education needed help more than higher education, and the nation was already straining under its budgetary load to provide for foreign aid and national defense. The proponents of Federal aid to education, it opines, ought concentrate on the primary and secondary grades, with emphasis on the primary, rather than diluting their efforts by attention to higher education.

Drew Pearson discusses the attempts in the world to establish peace, starting with the Marshall Plan, as the healthiest of all such attempts to establish peace and democracy.

He tells of various attempts by private organizations and companies to aid the process of building friendship in Western Europe and Latin America. Kellogg Cornflakes, for instance, was printing special postcards on its boxes, designed to be mailed by consumers to Europe and Latin America, and had set up a special office to handle the postcards and exchange of pen pal letters. He provides numerous other examples.

There were also efforts by private groups to improve democracy at home, examples of which he also provides.

He concludes by saying that millions of Americans were engaged in working to win the peace and make democracy live. He believed that there was a reciprocal attitude abroad, as exampled by the Merci Train from France to the U.S. in thanks for the Friendship Train of a year earlier, to provide food and clothing for France and Italy through the harsh winter until Marshall Plan aid could be passed and reach them in the spring.

"It is the most lustrous light on the horizon of our Christmas season."

Marquis Childs discusses the latest slap in the face to the U.N. in the form of the Dutch invasion of the Indonesian Republic in the East Indies. The march from colonialism to independence was important to Asia's millions, and the Indonesian Republic was an example of that march, now interrupted by the Dutch. And the U.N. was only able to shake its finger at the wayward Netherlands.

The new permanent site for the U.N. in New York was in a depressed area of tenements. A plan was being developed, however, to clear them and provide for urban improvement to replace the blight. Robert Moses, planner and park designer and City Construction Coordinator, however, opposed this plan, wanted only widening of streets approaching the site. Mayor William O'Dwyer accused the construction firm planning for the renewal of having self-interest by owning the land adjoining the Rockefeller-donated site for the U.N. But the firm had then sold the properties, yet still not breaking the City Hall deadlock.

The controversy suggested that the U.N. was not so welcome in New York, similar to the reception it had received in Westchester County and the suburbs of Boston, which had completely rejected the idea of locating the headquarters in those areas. There were other communities in the country genuinely desirous of hosting the organization. New York City had gotten the nod and it needed to adhere to its responsibilities.

James Marlow tells of much unfinished business in 1948, Berlin, the U.N., and the Marshall Plan, holding over into 1949.

The U.N. was still extant but looking pale.

The Marshall Plan was bringing stability to Western Europe, but it would still take three or more years to achieve its end.

At home, the "do-nothing" 80th Congress battled with the President and the President then shocked the pundits and pollsters by winning a seemingly hopelessly lost election. The Democrats, back in control of Congress, promised to revive the New Deal, more unfinished business.

The revival of the draft, the first in peacetime in the nation's history, was also unfinished business.

The Hiss-Chambers spy case, yet more, with a pending charge of perjury now lodged against Alger Hiss for denying that he gave Whittaker Chambers secret documents from the State Department in 1937-38 and claiming that he had no contact with Mr. Chambers during that period. No one else had been indicted. The New York Federal grand jury then ended its eighteen-month term. The new grand jury, as HUAC under Democratic leadership, would continue looking at the allegations of spying into 1949.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, wishes Merry Christmas to various persons and organizations, starting with Herbert Evatt of Australia and Secretary-General of the U.N. Trygve Lie, for their attempt in October and November to advance the cause of peace by trying to get the Big Four to the table to mediate the Berlin blockade crisis. He regards it as a "greater miracle than producing strawberries in January." How about February?

To all Netherlanders who opposed the "police action" of their country in Indonesia.

To the man who used a spade to clear snow from his snow-removal machine, restoring in the crowd of observers faith in man's wherewithal over that of the machine.

To all who knew how to save the world, that they might have a little doubt, thus armed with humility into the New Year, perhaps might in fact save the world.

To all "leathery characters who make a great commercial to-do of the happy Christmas time knocking out the eyes of client and contact with wondrous gifts." He wishes that they might go to "ever deeper adventures in this field", the miracle of friendship.

To the U.N. for making genocide a crime.

To all Republicans who wanted to make their party liberal and all world governments who wanted to set up a constitution for the planet.

And, finally, he wishes a Merry Christmas "to all the harassed, worried people, mostly women in galoshes, whom one sees ducking in and out of the shops... It is love which crowds the bus, too, and puts its elbow on your neck. That is humanity for you, at its least graceful when at its most glorious; its nose red and running, its heart clear and true."

A letter from the state director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews offers season's greetings and counsels sustenance for the idea of brotherhood of man, antithetical to which were "slavery, war, prostitution, race prejudice, religious bigotry, and group discriminations."

A letter from A. W. Black asserts that Dr. Frank Porter Graham, president of UNC—soon to become Senator replacing deceased newly elected Senator J. Melville Broughton—was a Communist.

Well, everybody knows that, A. W. Everybody at UNC are Communists, wear light blue to fool you, in honor of Robespierre and Danton. So what's your beef? We like Communists.

Merry Christmas.

A letter writer thinks that the best way to operate buses was to run several for the whites and several for the blacks.

Minorities came to the country with European names, using English, and then looked for slights and insults after doing so well here.

That's a hell of an idee, I.D.

Merry Christmas.

A letter from the general chairman of the Variety Club of Charlotte thanks The News for its help in promotion of the second annual All-Star-Clipper game held in Memorial Stadium December 5.

A letter from the recipient of the prize of $58 for 58 consecutive years of subscription to The News thanks the newspaper for award of the prize.

But it was so chintzy that he decided to cancel.

Merry Christmas.

...And to all, a Good Night.

First Day of Christmas, tomorrow: A pocketed holograph willed to an apple tree.

Second Day of Christmas, Sunday: A Cuckoo and a Cuckold.

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