The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 28, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Western powers, the Big Three and the Benelux countries, agreed to set up a system of international control over the Ruhr, the French plan, rather than returning the industrial area to Germany. The Ruhr was ordered to produce solely for peace. Germany would have a place on the ruling board once it established its government. The three Benelux countries would each have one vote on the ruling board, whereas the other countries, including Germany, would have three each. An international system of inspection was established to prevent the region from returning to war-making industry. The agreement was for an indefinite term and left open the question of ownership of the industries.

The Israeli drive in the Negev Desert region appeared to have cut the Egyptian's coastal corridor to Gaza or made it effectively not subject to reinforcement. An Israeli spokesman said that the battle was slackening and it appeared the battle, the second for the Negev, had virtually ended after six days. The 40-mile long Gaza Strip had been awarded to the Arabs under the 1947 U.N. partition plan.

A member of the Moslem Brotherhood, a nationalist group in Egypt, while disguised as a police officer, assassinated Prime Minister Mahmoud Fahmy Mokrashy Pasha during the morning of this date in Cairo. The assassin fired five times and then tried to kill himself, was immediately taken into custody. The Prime Minister died within five minutes of the shooting. The Prime Minister, in office for most of the time since the end of World War II, had recently outlawed the Moslem Brotherhood because of its violence, causing several deaths. The Brotherhood had accused him of weakness in the Palestine campaign against Israel.

The U.N. Security Council ordered the Dutch to release within 24 hours captured Indonesian Republic leaders, including President Soekarno and members of his Cabinet. Eight of the Council members, including Russia and the U.S., supported the resolution, which also condemned the Dutch for not obeying the previous order of December 24 to cease fighting and release the prisoners.

The six U.S. Army enlisted men who had been taken into custody by the Soviets in the border region between the Russian and American occupation zones of Germany the previous day were released. The soldiers said that the Russians questioned them about American military training. The soldiers admitted inadvertently entering the Russian zone. They were trying to leave when they were stopped and several shots were fired.

The twelve airmen who had been stranded on Greenland, seven of them for three weeks and the others, their would-be rescuers who also became stranded, for shorter periods, were rescued this date. The Air Force said it was in error in its previous report that 13 men had been stranded, believing that one of two rescue gliders which also became stranded had contained two men rather than just one. The rescue was effected by a C-47 equipped with landing skis and jet-assisted takeoff equipment.

An altercation between Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee and Silliman Evans, publisher of the Nashville Tennessean, took place in a corridor of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington about two weeks earlier. Senator McKellar said that he had struck Mr. Evans in the face during a chance meeting. Mr. Evans, 54, did not return the blow to the 79-year old Senator. Senator McKellar said that he did so because Mr. Evans had been writing editorials about him being old and decrepit. He apologized for losing his temper.

Over the same issue, he had grabbed by the collar and kicked several times columnist Jack Anderson, an associate of Drew Pearson. Senator McKellar said that he regretted that incident also.

In Marburg, Germany, the woman accused of murdering her war-hero husband, claiming self-defense for his allegedly having beaten her and threatened to kill her, was convicted of murder by a military tribunal and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The woman and her husband who had kidnaped her child from its foster parents, the grandparents of the child, was found in Pomona, California, and the three-year old child was safe. The child had not been eaten alive or placed in a boiling cauldron.

Tom Fesperman of The News, in the second of a three-part series on Governor-elect Kerr Scott, tells of his political upset of the machine-backed Charles Johnson in the spring primary. He was one of a handful of North Carolina Governors since 1868 who had not been a lawyer. He said that he started his political campaigns by writing to the people on the farms, who he knew would support him. He told them to feed ham to the people who came to see them from the city and talk up his candidacy at the same time. He was going to fix the roads, including the dirt road to his farm in Haw River. He was outspoken and did not hesitate to criticize utilities, industry, and capitalists who dodged taxes. He was not planning to fire anyone right away in State Government, but thought that some should resign for having said during the campaign that he would ruin the state if elected.

On the editorial page, "The Sky's the Limit" tells of the Hoover Commission having uncovered problems in the care of veterans, consisting of duplicated services, waste of medical personnel, and unwarranted construction of new facilities, all resulting from lack of central planning in the provision of Federally administered medical care.

The Government had treated 24 million veterans and their dependents since the war.

New facilities were being built which had no staff available from the medical profession. A large share of the blame was on Congress for approving the appropriations without proof of need. The new Congress would receive the Hoover Commission report at the beginning of the year and could proceed to effect appropriate remedies.

"The Continuing Constable" tells of the City Council having forgotten about its 1943 appointment of the City constable who had been quietly collecting court costs from black citizens hauled in during the night on gambling charges, based on evidence collected by a patrolman who went around the black neighborhoods peeking in windows to obtain evidence. The constable had no fixed term and was serving indefinitely. The grand jury had exposed the practice. The City Council, meanwhile, had taken no action in response, awaiting final action by the grand jury and the County Solicitor. But the piece thinks that at least the Council could define the duties of the position and its term of office.

"A Different Viewpoint" tells of the president of the Prudential Insurance Company, addressing a news conference in Atlanta, having said that better brains needed to be in government, to replace the bureaucratic mentality, that some matters should be left entirely to business, others entirely to government, and still others performed cooperatively. His words showed that some businessmen had moved beyond laissez-faire doctrine.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Snakes and Religious Freedom", tells of a Tennessee conviction of handlers of poisonous snakes, fined $50 under a statute forbidding the practice, having been upheld by the State Supreme Court as not violative of the First Amendment's protection of freedom of religion.

The piece agrees with the ruling, that a contrary ruling would protect any manner of dangerous or immoral practices in the name of religion.

It points out that a snake-handling case in Forsyth County had not reached the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Generally, the courts have distinguished free exercise of religious belief and worship from free exercise of religious practices, offering less protection to the latter.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, in a piece written prior to his Sunday heart attack and being found nearly frozen to death in a field near his home, discusses the political unrest in Latin America gathering momentum in the midst of economic crisis. He counsels that the interference of the U.S. in Argentina had bred nationalist resentment, resulting in the election of Juan Peron. In turn, the trend toward military dictatorships was the result largely of the military winning popular support in Argentina.

The abandonment of the Good Neighbor Policy and the failure to extend ERP into Latin America, in favor of a policy to coerce democracy in the U.S. mold was doing a disservice in Latin America, souring relations in reaction to U.S. interference in internal affairs of the countries.

More economic aid to raise living and educational standards and less imposition of U.S. standards of constitutional democracy would be salutary. The U.S. had no right to determine the type of government which the Latin American peoples should desire and have. While there should be inter-American cooperation in protecting basic human freedoms, to go beyond that would only harm inter-American relations.

Drew Pearson tells of Texaco and Cities Service, in conjunction with the State Department, having been seeking for some time to reopen Mexican oil lands to American operators. The State Department contended that it would benefit both countries, giving Mexico needed American dollars and the U.S. needed Mexican oil. But agreement had been held up by the inability to obtain from the Aleman Government in Mexico assurance that there would be no further expropriation of oil interests as in 1938, causing American companies not to invest in Mexico, and by the reluctance of President Miguel Aleman to enter an agreement for fear that Communists in Mexico would incite revolt at the renewed presence of American oil interests. He wanted a loan from the U.S. to enable Mexico to expand its oil production under Mexican management.

President Aleman had authorized payment for a junket to Mexico for Congressman Bob Crosser of Ohio and his family, as he would be the chairman of the Interstate & Foreign Commerce Committee.

Mr. Pearson notes that a compromise might occur whereby the U.S. oil companies would get their assurances against confiscation and Mexico would receive a loan to build refineries and pipelines, with the understanding that American companies would be permitted to drill in Mexico on a limited scale. Mexican oil exports would be sold through Pemex, the Mexican Government monopoly.

Five thousand White Russians were contemplating mass suicide rather than awaiting their fate at the hands of the Chinese Communists sweeping into Shanghai. They had fled across Siberia to Shanghai after the 1917-18 Bolshevik Revolution. They now carried poison or were planning to hurl themselves from buildings in case the Communists took over the city. White Russians had met a cruel fate before the Chinese Communists in Manchuria. They were trying to flee Shanghai but with little success, except for those of Jewish ancestry who could go to Palestine and a few permitted to emigrate to South America. Many had been lured by the Soviet amnesty program after the war only to find that they preferred return to their stateless status.

Courtesy of the Air Force, Senators-elect Lyndon Johnson of Texas and Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, along with Senator Joseph O'Mahoney, flew aboard the "Dew-Drop", the special plane outfitted by Lockheed for President-elect Dewey, to an honorary dinner in New York for Vice-President-elect Alben Barkley. But it landed in a snowstorm on Long Island and the Air Force staff car became bogged down, forcing the VIP's to walk to the subway, after a ride on which they arrived at the dinner four hours and fifteen minutes after leaving Mitchell Field. Had they taken the train from Washington instead of the free Government ride, they would have arrived two hours earlier.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell in detail of their first-hand experience aboard "Big Easy 103", a C-54 transport plane taking a ten-ton load of dried apricots, canned applesauce, cement and roofing paper from Wiesbaden to Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin, after a 35 minute rest for the three-man crew in between runs.

The airlift had been the lifeline for Berliners in the Western zones since the blockade was established by the Soviets in the latter days of June.

Marquis Childs tells of Washington diplomats hoping for one Christmas gift: a clear policy on Europe and, in particular, Germany. There was a policy followed by General Lucius Clay in Germany, another by the State Department, and seemingly yet another by the White House.

The French had won what they had sought, an agreement by the Americans and British that an international force would control the Ruhr rather than turning it back to Germany. The State Department had supported this policy while General Clay and the Pentagon had favored giving control back to Germany.

Yet, it appeared that the old cartel system in Germany was being restored, despite the President's commitment not to allow it. Such was the problem with a policy without a firm central authority. The idea of appointing a special assistant to the President on foreign policy had been set aside as potentially giving rise to too much rivalry and controversy. But some new approach needed to be undertaken in 1949 and afterward.

Fourth Day of Christmas: Four Calling Herds.

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