The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 9, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians in Berlin had complained again of American incursions during airlift operations of the four-power regulations anent flight over the Soviet zone of Germany. The Russians recommended that flights be limited to above 3,300 feet over the Soviet zone.

The previous day's airlift had flown 6,133 tons of supplies, the second largest tonnage yet in a single day.

The U.N. approved a convention outlawing genocide. During the final debate, the Russian delegate had asked the Assembly to order disbanding of such organizations as the KKK.

The Israeli application for membership to the U.N. was stymied in the Security Council and appeared headed for inaction until the April session in New York.

The U.N. political committee voted 41 to 6 to approve the recommendations of the Korean commission, favoring recognition of South Korea and withdrawal of all occupation troops as early as practicable.

Government military sources in China admitted heavy casualties, saying that the 16th Army group, which had until recently been defending Suchow, had been virtually wiped out. The other two groups from Suchow were reorganizing and resuming attacks on the Communist forces threatening the capital at Nanking. Neutral sources estimated that the former Suchow defenders had lost a third of their strength, estimated at between 110,000 and 250,000 men, since following orders to abandon Suchow December 1. The Communists announced that 30,000 of their troops had been lost to the three Army groups.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek would talk with the President the following day regarding aid for China.

The President labeled again the HUAC Communist spy hunt as a "red herring", as he had referred to it during the campaign. He called HUAC "dead".

Are you threatening those nice, patriotic gentlemen, sir?

Congressman Richard Nixon responded by saying that in light of what the Committee had uncovered, the statement by the President was "a flagrant flaunting of the national interests of the people."

That's not true at all. He did not make any ostentatious display. You mean "flouting".

Mr. Nixon continued that only the Committee could uncover the facts and that the President was stonewalling the Committee by refusing to turn over information about the "stealing of America's top secrets by the Communists".

It's good to know that there is one man in America who is keeping the country safe for democracy.

Representative Karl Mundt of the Committee challenged the President to publish the "secret documents" were it so that the Committee's investigation was a red herring. He reiterated the State Department's assessment that the documents could imperil national security, even ten years after they had come into the possession of Whittaker Chambers.

The President had said that if the Committee were in earnest, it would have turned the documents over to Attorney General Tom Clark rather than holding public hearings to grab headlines.

Apparently, the basis for the remark of the President regarding the Committee being "dead" was the fact that Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn in the new Congress intended to try to dispense with the Committee's existence—all the more reason of course for the urgent, sudden revelation by Mr. Chambers of his "pumpkin papers".

This date, HUAC heard from Henry J. Wadleigh, a former employee of the State Department in the late Thirties, in the office of Assistant Secretary of State Francis Sayre. He invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer the Committee's questions whether he had ever known Whittaker Chambers, whether he had provided State Department documents to him in 1938, and whether he had provided any restricted information to any unauthorized person at any time. He admitted a passing acquaintance with Alger Hiss in the course of his work, but refused to answer whether he knew Mrs. Hiss, Mr. Hiss's brother or had ever visited the Hiss home. He said that he did not recall providing Mr. Hiss any documents, though he could have in the course of his work duties. He also refused to answer whether he knew Elizabeth Bentley, the other principal Committee witness who claimed to have been a Communist and then decided to leave the party and identify persons in the Government who were Communists.

Before the grand jury in New York, Whittaker Chambers this date testified that while Mr. Wadleigh had given him secret documents, he did not type them as did Mr. Hiss. Mr. Chambers claimed to have preserved only the Hiss documents, not the Wadleigh documents or those received from either Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department or Ward Pigman of the Bureau of Standards.

Perhaps it should not go without notice that the November 20 Toombs County, Georgia, case, involving the killing of Robert Mallard, whose nickname was "Duck", shot once allegedly by several robed white men, arose shortly before Whittaker Chambers began talking about Mr. Wadleigh and his claimed status as a transmitter of State Department documents to Mr. Chambers.

Maybe it is strange coincidence; maybe not. Maybe it was cooked up in the Garden, out on the Farm.

Senator Herman Talmadge, in 1948 the newly elected Governor of Georgia, as we know, sat on the Senate Select Committee on Watergate in 1973. He did not appear then as any friend to the Nixon Administration's inimical stance to civil liberties, its abridgment of the Bill of Rights.

President Truman said that a report on the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests of 1946, Able and Baker, had been prepared but would not be made public.

The President was doing his best to prevent deportation of a group of Esthonians who had sailed to the country from Sweden in a small boat, to escape their Soviet-dominated country.

The President had sent along best wishes to a 15-year old boy in Perth Amboy, N.J., who had been struck by 50,000 volts of electricity causing him to lose both of his legs in an accident October 9. According to nurses, the letter from the President had caused his condition to improve "200 percent". He said that if the President could win in November, then he believed he could pull through his ordeal.

A B-36, largest bomber of the Air Force, had completed a record non-stop flight of 8,000 miles from Fort Worth to Honolulu in 35 hours, carrying a bomb load half the distance. The record was for time, not distance, held by a Navy Lockheed Neptune patrol bomber, flying 11,236 miles non-stop in October, 1946.

Mr. Draft's draft record was forwarded to the draft board in El Dorado, Kans., by Ms. Board, clerk of the board at Boise City, Oklahoma.

Temperatures dipped to twenty below zero in Montana and Wyoming, and the Dakotas and northern Minnesota would experience 25-below temperatures this night.

Minor League Baseball passed a resolution which would ban all network broadcast or telecast of major and minor league baseball games. But it might not be approved by the Major Leagues.

In Hampton, S.C., a coroner's jury ordered a 41-year old grocer held on charges of murder of his wife and two children by beating them to death with a baseball bat. A doctor who had examined the accused, a former mental patient, recommended that he be taken to the State hospital for the insane for examination and observation. He had told the doctor that his wife was planning to kill him, but that he did not know why he had killed the children. He said that he hit them multiple times because they were hard to kill. He had apparently begun striking the three as soon as they returned from an outing at the movies.

In York, S.C., the trial continued of the oil company salesman accused of murdering his boss the previous June. A German Luger belonging to the defendant was introduced into evidence by the chief of detectives, testifying that when it was found at the defendant's home, it was missing three rounds from the clip. Three bullet holes were found in the warehouse wall where it was believed the employer was murdered. The defendant's automobile, a 1941 Cadillac, had a box of Luger bullets in the glove compartment, from which several rounds were missing. When found, the gun had been cleaned and heavily oiled. The boards comprising the wooden crate in which the victim's body was found matched boards from the warehouse.

The young defendant sat beside his girlfriend "Boots" during the testimony. Both yawned several times.

In Charlotte, police were searching for a woman who had checked out Monday from the hotel in which her supposed "husband" had been shot to death Tuesday afternoon by the hotel proprietor. The dead man was found with his hand in his pocket clutching a knife and the hotel proprietor maintained that in his crippled state, he could not have fought off the man, acted therefore in self-defense. The woman had called the desk on Monday and said that she had to leave because her drunk husband was cursing and beating her. The hotel proprietor described the man as drunk and belligerent toward him Tuesday, immediately before the shooting.

The News, celebrating its 60th birthday, tells of Charlotte's various problems in January, 1889. A horse became frightened at the Air Line Depot a few months earlier and had run off, breaking up the owner's buggy, resulting in a lawsuit by the owner against the company.

A five-year old girl was scalded, as the family had the water boiling to scald the hogs and the child had overturned the pot, burning her nearly to death. She was being kept alive by morphine. Her sister had been bitten by a cat a few days earlier.

A house of four rooms had seventeen occupants.

A man swore out warrants for his estranged wife and a man who had run off with her and gone to South Carolina. After her arrest, however, the husband had gone to town to beg for her release as he wanted her back home.

Three businessmen in Durham were forming a company to promote the "Cigarette Bowl", to be held annually beginning on New Year's Day, 1950 and which, they claimed, would one day rival the Sugar and Orange Bowls.

We are all indebted to these three gentlemen for their foresight in beginning the Cigarette Bowl, which, it goes without saying, is the biggest bowl on today's college scene, as it has been for decades past.

Oh sure, you know it by another name. But the spirit of the "Fag Bowl", as the public came popularly to call it, endures.

On the editorial page, "Regional Education: An Opportunity" finds the regional plan for graduate schools in the South to be a good idea, proposed the previous year at the Southern Governors Conference, set to be reviewed again in a few days at the current Conference. The plan had become identified with an attempt to continue segregation, but, according to Chancellor J. D. Williams of the University of Mississippi, that was an unfair assessment as it had little to do with race relations. Rather, it would permit Southern colleges and universities to pool resources to establish regional graduate studies programs which individual institutions could not afford, opening opportunities for more Southern students.

"A Strange December" tells of the unseasonably balmy December in the Carolinas, without any hint of the usual signs of winter on the landscape. Only the barren trees bore witness to the change from autumn. With Santa wiping perspiration from his nose and the frogs croaking, it was hard to imagine that Christmas was only a couple of weeks away.

"In Defense of Santa Claus" finds disturbing the report from Burlington, N.C., that a boy had set fire to Santa Claus's pants and then cut his boot with a knife, nicking his toe, as Santa rode a float in the Christmas parade. It wonders whether children still restlessly awaited the arrival of Santa on Christmas Eve and whether they still blessed Santa in their December prayers. It refuses to believe that such traditions had passed. Santa had been observed in Charlotte, still attracting young eyes brimming with excitement and expectation of Christmas morn to come.

It denies that the assailant in Burlington was a child, whether seven or seventy. Rather, he was the "victim of prematurity", "made cynical by an apparently cold and evil world".

All children, regardless of age, it posits, understood that Santa, the symbol of hope, trust and faith, existed. Those who would put those things to the torch had already lost them.

At the same time, it must be realized that there is another aspect to Christmas beyond Santa arrving down the chimney as a thief in the night, bearing gifts. There is the notion of coal in the stocking for misbehaving children, that Santa induces good behavior through the year by the promise of gifts on December 25. Why does Santa have black boots and a black belt?

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "The Common Sense of Being Prepared", tells of the early war experience having taught the lesson of the need for regular cooperation among the allies in military preparation, especially flight training. Now, Canadians and Britons were regularly made a part of some of the B-29 crews and American pilots were flying British jets and sharing the same mess and regimen of discipline with the RAF. Such cooperation, it ventures, would hopefully discourage the Soviet Union from risking World War III.

Drew Pearson tells of Henry Wallace, while Secretary of Agriculture during the Thirties, having fired several liberal employees for being too left-wing. Among those who had drawn criticism was Alger Hiss, not fired. Mr. Hiss had written an opinion that Agricultural Adjustment Administration benefits for curtailing the cotton crop should go to sharecroppers and landlords, drawing much criticism in the South. All of the men were despised by the Communists. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, who had recommended Mr. Hiss for the position at Agriculture, eventually intervened on his behalf to stop the criticism.

About a month afterward, Mr. Hiss transferred to the Justice Department for a short time and then to the State Department, serving under Assistant Secretary Francis Sayre. Many of the secret documents which wound up in the possession of Whittaker Chambers were marked as being from the office of Mr. Sayre. During the Canadian spy case of 1946, Igor Gouzenko had revealed that one Soviet contact was either an assistant to an Assistant Secretary or an Assistant Secretary of State. Mr. Hiss was investigated at the time, but the investigation proved inconclusive. Mr. Hiss was allowed to resign.

The primary exhibit which was set to unravel the Hiss-Chambers matter was an old typewriter on which the secret documents were, according to Mr. Chambers, transcribed by Mrs. Hiss at the Hiss home.

Ward Pigman to the pink and white tent.

Based in part on the advice of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Army Chief of Staff General Omar Bradley had initiated a policy to have more recruits trained by sergeants and warrant officers and fewer by commissioned officers.

The President was having trouble finding his clothes after the move to Blair House.

Chief U.N. delegate Warren Austin would resign by January for health problems.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek had offered to have the Chinese Government and Army run by Americans, provided aid would be increased ten times.

There was a standing order by the Kremlin to knock off Marshal Tito at the first opportunity. He had once earlier double-crossed Moscow, having been sent to Yugoslavia in 1941 with strict orders not to try for any top job in post-war Yugoslavia.

Marquis Childs discusses the proposals being put forth to remedy the problems still being experienced in competition between the military branches. The National Security Organization of the Hoover Commission had made recommendations, suggesting that the Secretary of Defense, who lacked a staff, would receive a principal military assistant and a military representative on the Joint Chiefs to act as umpire in disputes between the branches. Such was lacking at this juncture.

Two members of the NSO, former Assistant Secretary of War during the war, John J. McCloy, and former Undersecretary of War and, briefly, Secretary, Robert Patterson, had recommended more boldly that a chairman of the Joint Chiefs be appointed to resolve conflicts. Mr. Patterson believed that the unification bill of 1947 had created more problems than it had resolved, and had not brought about the end of duplication and efficiency which it was designed to do. Many favored Mr. Patterson to replace Secretary of Defense James Forrestal when he finally resigned.

A recent magazine article by Secretary Forrestal positing that all was going well in the unification process had brought derisive laughter through the Pentagon. The continued divisiveness appeared to invite disaster of the type experienced at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the President now intending to play a decisive role in making foreign policy, a departure from his previous delegation of authority to the Secretaries of State and Defense. They predict, incorrectly, that Averell Harriman would replace Secretary of State Marshall at the point when he would resign after the resolution of the Berlin crisis. Dean Acheson would become the new Secretary.

The President received a daily two-page CIA briefing which he read thoroughly. More important was his daily briefing from the Secretary of the National Security Council, Sidney Souers. The NSC met twice per month. The President ordinarily did not attend the meetings but studied the Council's recommendations through Mr. Souers. The President sat in occasionally when an immediate decision on policy was desirable. Until recently, the President had accepted nearly all of the Council's recommendations, but had just amended one related to the Berlin airlift and reversed a recommendation to withdraw the Navy from Tsingtao, ordering instead reinforcement of the garrison.

Policy papers were always initiated by the State Department to prevent undue military influence.

Though the President was now taking a more active role in developing policy, the Security Council would tend to act as a check on his tendency to make snap judgments, to which he had been prone in the past.

A letter from a physician comments on the letter from a pastor and the editorial response to same on December 6 regarding alcohol and prohibition. The doctor favors vigorous enforcement of prohibition laws and education to bring about societal recognition of the dangers of alcohol and stem its use. He believes that neither prohibition nor ABC control would eliminate the alcoholic, but that making alcohol less easily available in society would reduce consumption, that only the chronic alcoholic would, as the editorial had posited, resort to such ersatz as shoe polish or a cocktail of grain alcohol and soft drink.

A letter writer thinks that the effort in the state to return to a blanket prohibition law statewide was an intrusion on the choice of individual adults to make their own decisions regarding consumption of alcohol. He does not favor abuse of alcohol, but believes no one had the right to tell him he could not drink if he chose to do so.

A letter from the associate pastor at Garr Auditorium tells of the photograph of the old City Auditorium attending the column "Charlotte 60 Years Ago" on the front page November 30, representing a building which had been torn down but purchased and rebuilt from its original parts across town, being now Garr Auditorium, still in service.

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