The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 8, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a British U.N. delegate claimed to the Security Council's Palestine committee in Paris that Israeli armed forces had invaded Trans-Jordan and that if the report proved true, it would oblige Britain to take action under a mutual military assistance treaty with Trans-Jordan. He urged the Council to take action in the form of either diplomatic and economic sanctions or consideration of the present situation, and put an end to the fighting in Palestine.

In China, the 12th Army group of 110,000 men was reported to have broken through the Communist encirclement and joined other Government troops for the defense of Nanking. The group had been trapped for about two weeks southwest of Suhsien, 45 miles south of Suchow.

But other Communist columns were said to be tightening their grip, 50 miles southwest of Suchow, on the 250,000 Government troops who had been ordered to abandon Suchow to aid in the defense of Nanking and to free the trapped 12th Army troops.

About a quarter of the population of Rome had the flu. When in Rome...

HUAC questioned in executive session Eunice Lincoln, State Department secretary for Alger Hiss in 1937-38 in the office of Assistant Secretary of State Francis Sayre, Mr. Hiss's immediate boss.

The Committee had planned to present the testimony of two men accused of supplying secret Government documents to Communist agents, but the unnamed men could not be located. Representative Karl Mundt of the Committee said that the Committee members wished they knew where these men were. Whittaker Chambers also was supposed to appear but his testimony could not be arranged, as he was testifying before the grand jury in New York this date.

The Committee in the evening session would hear from the first person to whom Mr. Chambers had gone when he broke from the Communist Party in 1938, Isaac Don Levine, testifying regarding certain persons not previously named in the hearings who were connected to the American Communist apparatus.

The Committee contended that the documents which Mr. Chambers had in his possession and which, after retrieving them recently, in response to a dicovery request, from the dumbwaiter shaft in his nephew's home where they been for the previous decade, he had secreted in a pumpkin on his Maryland farm in undeveloped microfilm form, were "top secret" and, according to State Department officials, could have been used by the Russians to break the American diplomatic code for transmittal of diplomatic messages. Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett said that the code had been completely changed in the previous decade and was secure against espionage.

In Saginaw, Mich., a former grave digger surrendered to police, confessing to the murder of a woman the previous spring after she had spurned his advances. He left Saginaw because his former job required him to dig a grave for the victim of his crime. He surrendered because a Philadelphia iceman had been accused and convicted on November 23 of the murder. He had served during the war for five years overseas and believed, he said, something in him had cracked. Police had not yet filed charges, pending further investigation of his confession.

In New York, actor Errol Flynn paid a fine of $50 after pleading guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct, based on the alleged kicking of a copper in his shin the previous Tuesday morning after Mr. Flynn and his publicity agent and the driver of the cab in which they had been riding were hauled in by the copper, based solely on the alleged "abusive" language of the publicity agent toward the copper and the belief of the copper that the driver was "too young". The alleged kicking occurred at the police station during an argument. Mr. Flynn apologized and shook hands with the copper.

In York, S.C., the man on trial for the murder of his employer was confronted with a witness who was an auditor, testifying that the defendant was short by $1,457 on his accounts as a salesman for the oil company, thus presumably providing the alleged motive for the killing. The defendant delivered the oil, received payment, made up a receipt, gave the customer the copy and destroyed the original, pocketed the money received.

In Charlotte, meat prices, which had begun to decline several weeks earlier, were down twenty percent, with top quality sirloin dropped from $1.20 per pound to $1.

Also in Charlotte, a crippled hotel proprietor, who had, the previous afternoon, shot a man to death, claimed self-defense. He was in custody, charged with murder. He said the man walked into his hotel room drunk and invited the proprietor outside to settle some business, presumably from an argument between the two the previous September, as described by a hotel employee. The proprietor got his gun and hid it in his pillow. The man cursed at him, reached into his pocket for something, at which point, the proprietor shot him fatally in the center of his forehead. The victim was a war veteran.

You know, things were never like this in Mayberry.

The News, celebrating its 60th birthday, relates of the crime extant in Charlotte in 1888, one man having his throat cut but apparently surviving.

A mad dog had gotten loose and harassed the residents until one man conked it on the head with a club, followed by two or three pistol shots to end the reign of terror.

A man who was drunk was fined $30 for grabbing a woman by the arm and calling her "sweetheart". He was just forecasting a song. Doesn't he achieve writing credit?

A man sought to swindle another in a swap trick by which he traded a ten-dollar bill for $2, until the swindled man noticed that the bill was Confederate money.

He probably put the bill on the parking meter and walked on down the road.

So it was in Charlotte, in 1888.

In Cleveland, O., five high school boys had revived a stunt from a few years earlier by having a permanent wave performed on their forelocks.

They were just forecasting the coming of the Fifties, a year away. Rock 'n' roll is here to stay...

On the editorial page, "Changing Human Hearts" suggests that as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, at the instruction of newly elected Governor Herman Talmadge, was investigating the November 20 Toombs County slaying of Robert Mallard, allegedly committed by several robed white men, the Government of India had abolished the laws which segregated untouchables as a caste, providing them full rights as citizens. It suggests that Jim Crowism thus was not necessarily endemic only to the American South.

It quotes former News Editor Harry Ashmore, since July, 1947 Editor of the Arkansas Gazette, as having said recently on a "Town Meeting of the Air" that his own study of segregation had convinced him that the South had no monopoly on it and did not invent it, that it had been around as long as there had been different races of people living in close proximity to one another.

Yet, the piece finds, the fact did not lessen the responsibility of those living in a bi-racial society to eliminate miscarriages of justice based on differences in skin pigment. To the contrary, such societies had to be more diligent than others in pursuing justice.

The theory of "gradualism" in the South, the gradual elimination of segregation, rested on building mutual respect between the races and eliminating tragedies spawned by the past master-slave relationship. The mindsets surrounding that relationship, it posits, did not go away in only a couple of generations since the end of formal slavery. The attempt to improve relations was manifested in passage of laws. But laws, it continues, could not alone bring about mutual respect and dignity. It expresses the hope that continued progress in race relations would help alleviate the fears and suspicions which had bred intolerance.

It finds that in Toombs County, the murder of Mr. Mallard had apparently been triggered by the green-eyed monster of envy over his personal prosperity. The code of silence might for a time protect the assailants, but eventually, it suggests, public outrage regarding violence might win the day, even in Georgia.

Change in such locales would come when there was a change in the hearts of the people, much as change was coming in India because of the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi to change hearts and teach respect for the dignity of man.

It posits that no civil rights legislation could change people's hearts, but would cause only "retrogression". Only by living and getting along together could change be effected.

After writing a very nice editorial through 90 percent of it, in one succinct concluding paragraph, this piece has shown itself to be completely without reflection on the extant conditions of segregation, which, without legislation, would obviously have continued unabated indefinitely, the very conditions which foster misunderstanding between races. That was the basic premise behind the movement to integrate society, starting with the schools and the job place, moving eventually to public accommodations and housing, the latter, because of slow healing of economic and educational disparities, lagging behind.

"Bring on the Intoximeter" advocates the intoximeter as a scientific method of determining blood-alcohol level, to eliminate the sole reliance on subjective anecdotal testimony of officers who witness a driver weaving, a driver who then claims that he was only tired and not drinking. In one recent case in County Recorder's Court, the driver and his wife were charged with being drunk, the driver with drunk driving, after the officer saw the car weaving and, after stopping the vehicle, spotted a partly-consumed container of whiskey. Both were acquitted, having claimed that they had only consumed a couple of drinks through the first quarter of a recent football game in Chapel Hill and had not touched a drop since, having driven the 180 miles to Charlotte before being stopped some seven hours after the last little droppy-poo.

What was the score? UNC obviously won.

Fail that field sobriety test and maybe you were drinking too much.

"Miss Carrie McLean" tells of the death of one of Charlotte's pioneer career women, one of the state's first female attorneys and legislators. She had been an early advocate of consolidation of city and county services, and as a member of the 1927 Legislature, had enabled passage of legislation permitting consolidation of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments. Now, the City Council was asking the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill to study that possibility and make recommendations.

Ms. McLean, it says, was profoundly interested in the welfare of people, and her energies were primarily directed to the public good.

A piece from the Washington Post , titled "Marriage Deflation", tells of decline, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, in issuance of marriage licenses the previous September in 72 cities. Most servicemen had completed their post-war romances and the middle-aged and elderly had been sufficiently hitched. The rise in the cost of living and the housing shortage had also contributed to the decline.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly looks at the prospects for Congress providing additional aid to China, finds Senator Tom Connally of Texas and Representative Sol Bloom of New York, to head, respectively, the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, to be critical of the Nationalists' conduct of the war against the Communists, but still willing to consider the aid issue, provided the arms to be given the Chinese would remain with them. Democrats appeared to want more information about foreign spending generally before making any commitments.

It also looks at other prospective legislation to be before the 81st Congress, the President's military budget ceiling of 15 billion dollars, the Taft-Ellender-Wagner ten-year housing bill for slum clearance and public housing, expansion of Social Security benefits, change of the electoral college to institute proportional voting, re-imposition of a modified version of the excess profits tax from the war years, standby price controls, and flood control.

Drew Pearson tells of the new national commander of the American Legion having forgotten his Texas Legion hat when he came to the White House to visit the President, who had suggested they pose with their Legion hats.

The Army was contemplating setting up an American Foreign Legion in Western Europe, to be composed of European refugees, especially Poles, equipped with American arms. The U.S. Army would supply the orders.

A DNC national committeeman from Kansas told the President that had he made two speeches in the state, he could have carried it. But nevertheless, the GOP majority was only 70,000 votes, compared to 154,000 in 1944 for Thomas Dewey against FDR.

The Commerce and Interior Departments were at odds over rationing of steel, the former believing the steel industry could handle the job and the latter believing that force had to be applied to expand production, given the recent refusal of the industry to allocate steel to the Government's Oak Ridge atomic plant.

Three directors of the Acacia Insurance Company, which had refused to pay a claim for life insurance on a Marine's death during a test flight because of a clause in the policy which exempted the company from claims involving air accidents, responded to the complaining letter of Senator Joseph McCarthy by saying that they were incensed that he would use his high position in such a "vindictive way". One suggested that Senator McCarthy pay the claim if he were so concerned about the widow. Senator McCarthy wrote back, defending his interest in the matter because he had known the pilot when they were in the Marines and he believed it to be another example of the families of deceased servicemen having claims denied improperly.

The column relates that the secret device revealed in the documents provided Whittaker Chambers for transmission to the Communists was a now-obsolete aircraft communications instrument.

Russian diplomats had stated that Russia would soon allow foreigners to travel to the country through its bureau "Intourist", closed down for years. If true, he suggests, it was nearly revolutionary.

It should be noted that 11 years later, in October, 1959, when Lee Harvey Oswald defected to Russia, he traveled there through the aid of Intourist.

There was no further sign of Soviet reinforcement of troops in Berlin, even though the Russians were attempting complete domination of the city.

Marquis Childs tells of the President, as with every modern President, having his troubles with the press. The President had genuinely resented, however, the press treatment during the campaign. The White House believed that too much attention had been paid to the President's "give 'em hell" side and not enough to the substantive issues he had stressed along the trail.

Part of his way of getting back at the press was to issue the statement that he would make no significant changes to the Cabinet until after the inauguration, staying true to the form he had adopted when first thrust into the presidency by the death of FDR on April 12, 1945. Then, he made no immediate changes, began changing Cabinet personnel only the following June. Such a move at present frustrated the pundits in the press who were making various predictions about Cabinet changes.

Another reason for this decision, indicates Mr. Childs, was that the President wanted to make his choices without the feeling of someone peering over his shoulder. Several people had lined up for key positions. Former Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson, especially, was said to be campaigning to become the new Secretary of Defense—which he would become in the spring. Three persons were vying to become Secretary of Commerce. The President wanted to wait to allow the fervor attending these personal campaigns to subside.

Part of the President's satisfaction in his victory was the sense that he had beaten the press, which almost uniformly had opposed his re-election.

James Marlow discusses the decision the previous Monday by the Supreme Court to hear the two cases of the condemned Japanese war criminals to determine whether the international tribunal in Japan had jurisdiction to hear the cases. The hearing would only be for the purpose of allowing argument on the matter and the Court had not yet determined the ultimate issue. The Court had split 4 to 4 between allowing the hearing on the basis that there might be a case for disallowing jurisdiction of the tribunal and against that notion. Justices William O. Douglas, Wiley Rutledge, Frank Murphy, and Hugo Black had voted for the hearing. The original tie vote would have left the convictions and pending executions standing. But Justice Robert Jackson had determined to break the tie by casting his vote for the hearing. He explained his reasoning, that to do otherwise could leave a shadow of injustice hanging over the executions, that perhaps they were conducted by a tribunal without jurisdiction. On the other hand, he recognized, the integrity of the international tribunal had to be preserved against undue interference by the United States courts. Thus, he was not convinced that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to determine the matter.

He also explained that he had not cast the tie-breaking vote in the German cases on the same issue because he had been the lead prosecutor at Nuremberg and so recused himself from participation in those cases. But since he had nothing to do with the Japanese war crimes cases, he felt free to cast his vote in this matter.

The two cases would be heard on December 16, and would be decided December 20, declining jurisidiction in a per curiam decision, with Justice Murphy dissenting. Justice Douglas filed a separate opinion concurring with the majority result. Justice Jackson took no part in the final decision and Justice Rutledge deferred his decision.

A piece appears by T. H. Wingate from the Kannapolis Independent, regarding a veteran whom he had known while growing up, who had committed suicide recently. He marks him as a latent casualty of the war, as surely as if a German bullet had killed him during his five years of combat duty. He hopes that Americans would remember such persons and the inner turmoil which they faced after the shooting had died away.

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