The Charlotte News

Monday, December 27, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Palestine, the second battle of the Negev Desert region was growing to a full-scale fight. A virtual news blackout prevailed on the Israeli side. It appeared that Israel was seeking to push Egypt back across its own frontiers or to bring Egyptian leaders to armistice talks. Egypt claimed that its military position in the fight was good, but gave no details. The fight extended from Egypt's Rafa frontier base inside Israeli territory northward to Gaza.

An Israeli spokesman said that they were willing still to discuss peace. He also said that there was no fighting in the vicinity of Faluja, anent which Egypt had registered a complaint the previous week to the U.N. Security Council for alleged violation of the truce by the Israelis.

U.N. observers in Palestine charged that Israel had violated the truce with the attack on Egyptian forces in the Negev.

In China, Communist radio read a list of war criminals, including Chiang Kai-Shek and Madame Chiang, to be punished by a people's court after the war. The list included also most of the top political and military figures in the Chiang regime. The move foreclosed any hope of a negotiated peace.

Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall charged that Russia had placed two million Germans, including women and children, into forced labor camps in Russia. A total of thirteen million were said to be in these camps, including nine million Russians. If the figures were accurate, it meant that the Russians had taken about a thousand Germans per day from Germany since the end of the war, prompting pointed questions of Mr. Royall from the press.

In Frankfurt, Germany, six American soldiers were arrested by the Russians the previous night in the U.S.-Soviet border zone of Germany. Return of the soldiers, however, was promised this night. The German police reported that there was an exchange of about twenty shots when the soldiers were apprehended.

Former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, 56, despondent over the death a week earlier of his friend and former associate in the State Department, Laurence Duggan, was found in a field a mile from his home in Oxon Hill, Md., unconscious and in shock from exposure for several hours to 15 degree temperatures. He had gone for a walk late Saturday night, a customary habit, and had not returned. It was not clear whether his frozen fingers and toes would have to be amputated. Mr. Welles had regained consciousness on Sunday afternoon and could not relate what had occurred. His family believed that he became ill, possibly suffering a heart attack. He had suffered with a heart ailment eighteen months earlier.

Mr. Welles would live until 1961.

The U.S.S. Saipan, attempting to transport rescue helicopters for the now thirteen stranded Air Force fliers on Greenland, six of whom were, themselves, rescue personnel, ran into bad weather and was being delayed.

Better luck next time, fellows. Hope you get home by 1960. You can always start a colony.

Off of Morehead City, N.C., the Coast Guard effected rescue of two seamen from the stern portion of their Argentine merchant tanker, El Capitan, which had broken in two the previous day, causing them to drift in sub-freezing temperatures for 70 miles.

The death toll for the holiday weekend was 395 persons across the nation, with 276 dying in traffic accidents, more than the 265 predicted by the National Safety Council. The largest single other cause of death was fires. North Carolina suffered four traffic fatalities and three other accidental deaths. California led the nation in both categories with 37 traffic deaths and twelve from other causes. Michigan was second with 24 traffic fatalities and two other deaths. Ohio was a close third with 23 traffic deaths and three from other causes. Wisconsin was a distant fourth and New York, fifth.

Frigid weather which had prevailed across the Middle Atlantic states and the Ohio Valley through the weekend was starting to break. Drenching rains fell in the San Francisco Bay Area and a heavy snow fell across Northern California. It was 15 degrees in Raleigh, 27 in Charleston, 65 in Miami, 3 in Spokane, Wash., and 46 in San Francisco.

Tom Fesperman of The News provides the first in a three-part series of articles on North Carolina Governor-elect Kerr Scott, tells of his being a plain farmer from Haw River, not given to pretension or ceremony, possessed of a Will Rogers-style rural wit. Mr. Fesperman visited with him on his farm, where he had lived with his wife since they were married in 1919.

Governor Scott's son Robert would also be elected Governor in 1968, ten years after the death of his father, following the elder's election to the Senate in 1954.

News sports writers Furman Bisher and Bob Quincy were slated to cover, respectively, the Sugar Bowl and the Gator Bowl, both on New Year's Day. North Carolina faced Oklahoma in New Orleans and Clemson was set to face Missouri in Jacksonville.

Special correspondents and the A.P. would also be covering the Dixie Bowl between Wake Forest and Baylor in Birmingham.

What will we be doing on New Year's Eve, you ask (singing lousily off-key as if you're drunk)? Well, we won't be having pizza, Mr. Referee with the free-flying flag. And we hope that you are at home doing what you do best...

On the editorial page, "The Size of the Job Ahead" tells of the improvement in the State's educational system being top priority for the 1949 biennial Legislative session. It would have importance for the future and would be costly.

North Carolina was seventh in the nation for number of school-age children per thousand. It led the nation in ratio of children under a year of age to those over 21, thus indicative of a continuing problem into the future. It was also 41st in per capita income and 42nd in expenditure per school-age child. It was 34th in school teacher salaries, 45th in the number of students enrolled in secondary schools, with the seventh largest number of draft registrants classed as educationally deficient during the war and the eighth largest group rejected for educational deficiencies. Yet, it was 12th in expenditures overall on education, both state and local.

North Carolina was flush financially and could afford to do much more for education, though progress had been made since 1946, after the 1947 Legislature approved higher teacher salaries and school construction.

It recommends, however, not seeking Federal aid but doing the job at home—for, beware those hidden strings which might possess the devil behind them, Integration. Then everybody would become black.

"The Wrong Approach" disfavors the suggestion of North Carolina State Representative John Regan that all instructors in State institutions of higher education be required to sign non-Communist oaths. It was aimed at UNC only. The piece suggests that if it were implemented, it ought apply to all State employees. It did not distinguish between those who were members of the Communist Party, intent on overthrowing the Government, and those who merely were seeking an alternative to the Democrats or Republicans. It would also tend to deter scholars from joining the North Carolina system of higher education, already suffering from relatively low salaries.

Merely teaching about Communism was not to proselytize in its ways.

The greatest threat to the American system, it offers, was not from Communism but from those frenzied many who were seeking in reaction to Communism to limit American freedom of expression and thought.

"Elegy for Apartment Dwellers" finds that the early American folk musician who had written "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" might have been ahead of his time. Aside from the rather pleasant sound of crowing roosters at dawn, there was little drawback to living in the outskirts as opposed to the inner city.

One could play with one's red setter in the country. A yard provided the feeling of unfettered freedom. The air was fresh.

It agrees with John Milton that it was not the best life to be "long in populous city pent, where houses thick and sewers annoy the air." It adds that it meant thereby no slight to the city sanitation department.

You had better also issue a disclaimer with respect to HUAC.

Drew Pearson addresses his column directly to Congressman Karl Mundt, acting chairman of HUAC, telling of his having, immediately after the death of Laurence Duggan a week earlier—discussed further by Marquis Childs—, issued the statement that Mr. Duggan was implicated by the testimony of a Committee witness as having given documents to Whittaker Chambers. Mr. Mundt had then said to the press, "We will give out the other names as they jump out of windows."

Mr. Pearson finds Mr. Mundt to have placed himself with that statement in the same category as Soviet torturers in Prague who had caused Jan Masaryk to jump out a window the previous March, even in the same category as Heinrich Himmler.

Mr. Pearson knew Mr. Duggan personally, says that he was not a Communist, rather had sought to cure the evils of Communism, had sought to curb the dictators of Latin America, as Fascist Juan Peron, and to help the starving people of Latin America.

The extent of his flirtation with Communism was that he had attended some Communist meetings in Alexandria, Va., in 1932 at the depth of the Depression when he was in his twenties. He was, says Mr. Pearson, a kind and sensitive man who worked hard for his meager Government salary.

He warns Mr. Mundt that such a statement might earn him the title "Murderer Mundt", no sooner than Mr. Pearson had praised him for his level-headedness after his election to the Senate in November. He reminds Mr. Mundt of the tradition of trial by jury in the country, not by hearsay or humiliation in the press.

"Remember also that the headline-seeking of a few Congressmen is a lot less important to this nation than our personal liberties, and that the era of terror you are promoting may do a lot more to undermine our American system than the ten-year outdated Communist spies you belatedly seek to expose."

The import-export bank had turned down requests by Franco's Spain for loans with which to purchase U.S. cotton, and New York banks had refused industrial loans to the country.

Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett had convinced Secretary Marshall that John Foster Dulles ought be appointed the permanent U.S. chief representative to the U.N. Mr. Dulles had been the acting representative in Paris during the last few weeks of the session after both Secretary Marshall and chief delegate Warren Austin returned stateside to attend to health issues.

ERP administrator Paul Hoffman was urging recognition of Venezuela, recently taken over by a military dictatorship, so as not to interfere with oil flowing from Venezuela to Europe.

Madame Chiang had failed to attract any more U.S. aid to China during her tour of the U.S. She was, however, going to try to get money from the International Monetary Fund. Claire Chennault, who had formed a flying squadron for China during its early fight with the Japanese in 1937, had been persuaded not to try to form a new flying squadron, that it was too late.

The President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan, had received negative mail for accepting a decoration from Juan Peron in Argentina, the mail triggered by disclosure of the pinning by Walter Winchell.

He corrects a previous column in which he misstated that the Civil Aeronautics Board had approved transportation for Senator Owen Brewster to make a speech at San Antonio to the automobile dealers, while refusing free transportation to the smog victims of Donora, Pa., to Wilmington, N.C. In fact it was the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

Lumbermen were complaining of the low demand for lumber, partly the result of high housing prices and, in another part, the high cost of steel and labor.

Marquis Childs discusses the death of former State Department employee Laurence Duggan, who had fallen, was pushed, or jumped from his sixteenth floor office December 20, after being dragged into the mire of the HUAC hearings on the hearsay of Isaac Don Levine, a Committee witness on December 8. Mr. Childs tells of Representative Karl Mundt having reached a new low among lows in Committee behavior by having released to the press the night of Mr. Duggan's death the fact that Mr. Levine had said in executive session that Whittaker Chambers had named Mr. Duggan as one of the persons who had provided secret documents to him for transmittal to the Soviets. Mr. Chambers the following day denied knowing Mr. Duggan or receiving any documents from him.

Mr. Childs had known Mr. Duggan first as a reporter and later as a friend during Mr. Duggan's tenure with the State Department from 1930-44. He had worked efficiently and with loyalty, getting along with both Secretary of State Hull and Undersecretary Sumner Welles, though the two superiors were often at odds with another on policy.

Mr. Childs had ascertained through both Mr. Welles and former Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle that Mr. Duggan had worked tirelessly to uncover the Communists in Mexico who in 1938-39 were assisting William Rhodes Davis in effecting a deal with the Nazis to supply the expropriated U.S. and British oil from Mexico to Germany. He had done all he could to foil the enterprise. Such was consistent with his behavior throughout his tenure at State.

Throughout the Thirties he had been a central personage in cementing relations between the American republics, culminating in the Chapultepec agreement of 1945.

Mr. Duggan was recovering from a long illness at the time of his death, was sensitive. The FBI investigation of his loyalty was routine, growing out of his having been mentioned by Mr. Levine. Nothing was found. Mr. Mundt, on the night of his death, had grabbed headlines cheaply, even making the crude wisecrack, quoted above by Drew Pearson, about people jumping out of windows.

"It is hard to see how anything can justify such injustice and cruelty. For a long time to come this record will stand."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the subcommittee report of the Hoover Commission anent the State Department, finding a problem in the chain of authority, with no one person able to make a decision. The Secretary, the Undersecretary, the Counselor and the Chief of Planning had authority to act on foreign policy. At present, each of those positions was held by competent men, Secretary Marshall, Undersecretary Robert Lovett, Counselor Charles Bohlen, and Chief Planner George Kennan, the latter the architect of the Marshall Plan. But they were badly overburdened, leading at times to paralysis.

Responsibility needed to be spread over a greater number of personnel, but the current system had bogged down into a series of committees, remindful of the song "Make Me Another Old-Fashioned", with the title changed to "Set Up Another Committee". The consequence had been that all except the most important decisions were shoved under the rug.

The Hoover subcommittee report, drafted primarily by James Grafton Rogers and Harvey Bundy—father of Kennedy-Johnson Administration National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy—, suggested that the authority at the top be spread around, with two additional deputy undersecretaries appointed, one responsible for "high-level operational policy" and the other to handle the routine of administering the Department. It also recommended appointment of a new Assistant Secretary to act as liaison with Congress, now the responsibility of Mr. Bohlen, as well as another to deal with the public. Four new regional Assistant Secretaries, one each for Europe, the Near East and Africa, the Far East, and the Western Hemisphere, plus one for "Multilateral Affairs", were also recommended.

Another problem was the cession of State Department authority to military commanders in making foreign policy, as in the case of General Lucius Clay in Germany and General MacArthur in Japan. ERP administrator Paul Hoffman had recently appeared to revise American foreign policy with respect to China. Foreign policy as a result appeared to head in different directions at once.

The National Security Council had been a step in the right direction to coordinate policy, but more such bodies were recommended by the subcommittee report.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly examines the Hoover Commission report on streamlining the Executive Branch, with emphasis on appointment of additional assistant secretaries to relieve the burden on top officials. A recommendation had been made that at least one new Cabinet-level department be established and that numerous agencies reporting directly to the President be combined into existing Cabinet departments or new master-agencies of nearly Cabinet rank. Salary increases all down the line were recommended.

Representative Karl Mundt wanted stiffer anti-spy laws, as did Attorney General Tom Clark. Representative Richard Nixon was urging legislation to prevent Federal employees from refusing to testify on grounds of self-incrimination. (Now, Dick, that would violate the Fifth Amendment, and aside from your belief that when the President does it, it's not illegal, surely you must know that even that silly aspiration to Royal prerogative would not apply to allow the Congress to pass a law in contravention of the Constitution. Where did you go to law school?)

Congressmen Walter Huber of Ohio and Emanuel Celler of New York, the latter to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, intended to introduce legislation to terminate HUAC and replace it with a civil rights committee. Mr. Celler was determined to establish at very least a civil rights subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee.

A letter from a local preacher recommends that the new Independence Boulevard across town be called "Big Bend Boulevard", similar to "Big Ben Boulevard" in St. Louis.

So that when you stop to ask directions...

A letter writer, whose grandfather came from Ireland and fought in the Seminole wars in Florida, says that the epitaph for Irish patriot Robert Emmet could now be written, as he had said, "Let not my epitaph be written 'til Ireland is free." Eire had just become completely independent of Britain.

Third Day of Christmas: Three Axial Pigs.

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