The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 11, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. State Department made public an official protest of the abduction on January 14 of two American military attaches by Soviet troops in Hungary. They had been released following an initial protest. The protest stressed that the Russian troops were not occupation forces but were present only to maintain Russian supply lines into Austria and thus should respect Hungarian sovereignty.

Commodities prices continued to fall causing world stock markets also to fall. Wheat fell the daily limit of ten cents and corn, 8 cents. Cotton also fell by $4 to $7 per bale in New York, along with cocoa, hides, tallow, grease, and butter. Cattle and sheep remained steady in the barnyard while hog prices increased 50 cents to a dollar per hundred-weight as arrivals at the Chicago market were the smallest in number since the week price controls ended in October, 1946. Securities markets in London, Copenhagen, Sydney, and Manila slumped in response to the changes.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson told the Senate committee investigating speculation that E. T. Maynard of Chicago had been a major commodities speculator who made $300,000 to $400,000 during the previous few days as market prices fell. He had sold short a million bushels of grain on February 4, the day prices began to plunge.

A Federal Grand Jury in Washington indicted the CIO and its president Philip Murray for criminal violation of the Taft-Hartley ban on expending money for political purposes for its taking out an ad the previous summer for a candidate in a Maryland Congressional race. The violation was deliberate, for the purpose of establishing a test case on the provision of the law, which CIO believed to be violative of freedom of speech. Attorney General Tom Clark admitted that, while the Justice Department would enforce the statute as written, there was a potential free speech problem in the provision at issue.

In Los Angeles, a leading psychiatrist, Dr. Edward A. Strecker, chairman of the psychiatric division of the National Research Council, said that the increase in divorce and juvenile delinquency had the country on the brink of disintegration. Parents, especially mothers, were failing to instill self-reliance in their children, causing them to become immature adults unable to meet responsibilities. The materialistic society had caused loss of spiritual values. He said, however, that the road to decadence was reversible with much effort.

In Hollywood, Samuel Goldwyn announced that MGM executives had agreed to take a 50 percent cut in salaries in the interest of security in the film business.

Hope they don't wind up in the poor folks home.

Lionel Weil, member of the UNC Board of Trustees and prominent Goldsboro businessman, had died at age 71 in his hometown.

New Orleans had one of its gayest Mardi Gras celebrations in its history and began the celebration of Lent on this Ash Wednesday, the inception of a 40-day period of abstinence and penitence. Police said that they had received only 426 complaints on Shrove Tuesday, the culmination of the week of Mardi Gras.

Tom Fesperman tells of a Duke Power Company bus having skidded off a snow-covered embankment and landed on its side on Providence Road in Charlotte, leaving three people, the driver and the only two passengers, narrowly escaping serious injury. They had only minor scratches. The bus suffered only a broken window.

You'll have to call a tow truck.

Primary roads in Charlotte had been cleared of snow the previous afternoon and secondary roads were now clear. Local buses were running on schedule, but most transportation to the east and west had been canceled. Eastern Air Lines had canceled all flights into and out of Charlotte. All other major North Carolina airports were closed.

Charlotte City schools resumed classes but most County schools remained closed.

Light freezing rain was predicted through the afternoon of this date and ordinary rain for this night and the following day, with the next day's minimum temperature anticipated to be slightly above freezing after a low this date of 24. It was 28 at noon, 90 degrees in the shade.

On the editorial page, "South Answers the Challenge" gives praise to the Southern Governors conference held at Wakulla Springs, Fla., for its endorsement of the regional college concept in the South, an idea which the piece views as promising more progress for the South than the President's ten-point civil rights program.

It thinks that the Governors presented a good example by taking a positive step rather an exclusively negative step in opposing the President's program. And they had put on hold the proposal of Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi to revolt against the Democratic Party and hold their own nominating convention. It appeared to push the old reactionary leadership into the background in favor of a more thoughtful, progressive program.

But, as the column, itself, had recognized recently, the regional graduate college proposal would not likely pass constitutional muster in the Federal courts as it entailed construction of facilities to meet the separate-but-equal requirement by pooling state resources regionally, causing some states therefore not to have the necessary facilities within their boundaries, clearly requisite under the recent Sipuel decision of the Supreme Court, as well as its predecessor decision in Gaines in 1938. Thus, any wisdom it ascribes to the endorsement of the plan by the Southern Governors is necessarily limited by these metes and bounds staked out by the High Court.

Moreover, the predictions in which the editorial engages, suggesting battle lines being drawn between the more progressive Southern politicians and the reactionaries, would never fully materialize without the considerable intervention of the Federal courts to drag the South, literally kicking and screaming in some parts, into the Twentieth Century.

It reports that Governor Strom Thurmond had been named by the Governors to present to the Administration their objections to the civil rights program, considers him to be representative of this new "enlightened, progressive type of leadership" in the South. Obviously, he would not be that come July, leading the walkout of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Convention based on introduction of the civil rights plank into the platform. We shall see at that juncture how the editorial column responds.

We remind also that there was more than one editorialist at work writing the column and so apparent inconsistency is not the result of schizoid or wishy-washy behavior. Plainly, this editorial presents a view which appears completely different from that of the previous editorial of January 21 regarding the regional college concept.

It finds the acceptance of the regional college proposal to indicate the lack of need for Federal supervision over the South.

If anything, when viewed objectively, it suggested the exact opposite, an attempt to maintain the antiquated Jim Crow system at any cost, including continued violation of the Constitutional requirements, in place since the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, embodied in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the former providing for equal protection under law, making the panoply of Federal rights in the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, and the latter providing the right to vote to all citizens. The President's civil rights program did nothing save to seek finally to provide some teeth to these rights, extant in the abstract for eighty years.

"Trade Crosses Another Frontier" tells of a positive sign of restoration of European economy being the reopening of the border between France and Spain for the first time since the war. It foreshadowed the return of Franco's Spain to the community of European nations and would help stabilize the West.

To Russia, however, it was a sign in furtherance of fascist influences and opened the border to Nazi spies.

There was no evidence that the U.S. had anything to do with the matter, but Russia charged that neither Washington nor London objected, tacitly permitting the trade agreement. The piece finds that such passivity did not suggest tenderness by Washington toward Franco. It instead represented far-sighted statesmanship, premised on the determination that economic restoration had to precede political settlement.

The U.S. was trading with totalitarian Russia and its satellites, and so the Russian charge that it placed the U.S. in support of a trade partnership with a fascist regime was nonsensical. The Marshall Plan envisioned restoration of trade with all of Europe, including the Soviet bloc nations.

Furthermore, Russia's attempts to sabotage the Marshall Plan had increased the need for Spanish trade.

The piece opines that it was encouraging to see the Government dealing with dictatorships of any political stripe, as it meant that the State Department was putting the need for economic recovery above ideological differences.

"Secrets Too Deep for Soviets" tells of the Soviets getting ready to release German Foreign Office documents they had seized after the war, showing the West in bad light during and after Munich in September, 1938. It was in response to the recent State Department release of documents showing that the Russians had sought in December, 1940 to effect a peace with Germany on condition that Russia be allowed to control Finland, the Dardanelles, and thus the Middle East, a tender to which Hitler never responded.

As with the latter documents, the Russian documents showed nothing new. They did remind, however, that the West was not repeating the mistake of appeasement of Germany as at Munich and was neither making Germany strong but instead stressing a European community.

It also demonstrated that Russia was repeating the same propaganda blunders followed by Germany during the war. The U.S. could not claim to have been perfect since the war but it was not making the colossal blunders of the Soviet Union.

Drew Pearson tells of Harry Truman exhibiting the patience of Job with respect to his military aide, General Harry Vaughan. But that patience had nearly reached the breaking point the previous week when General Vaughan had nominated himself as the chief armed forces aide in charge of all other military aides, contrary to protocol which had always recognized military aides as being of equal rank. Without reading the note, the President passed it on to press secretary Charles G. Ross to read to the press. Mr. Ross, after reading it, told the President what General Vaughan intended and the President became angry. General Vaughan, meanwhile, held his own press conference and announced his appointment in that role, in further violation of protocol. The President admonished General Vaughan over the incident but did not demote him.

Senator Theodore Green of Rhode Island charged that the hearings before the Homer Ferguson-chaired Senate Appropriations subcommittee investigating commodities speculation was designed to drag into the election period. Senator William Knowland of California, acting as chair, denied the allegation. The committee was preparing to look into charges that Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma had deliberately sought to influence markets in cotton and silver while he had surrogates trade in his behalf on those commodities.

Alaska's canning and shipping interests were lobbying to block re-appointment of Ernest Greuning as Governor of the Territory, for his support of higher taxes and lower maritime freight rates. Nevertheless, he would be reappointed.

Former Congressman Howard McMurray of Wisconsin had proposed to DNC chairman Howard McGrath, Senator from Rhode Island, that President Truman threaten to Congress to resign unless they would pass his program on inflation control, taxes, civil rights and foreign aid prior to May 6. With no Vice-President, that would turn over the presidency to House Speaker Joe Martin, placing responsibility for the results squarely on the Republicans. Senator McGrath, Mr. Pearson reports, did not like the idea.

Marquis Childs discusses Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan and the renewed effort by some in the GOP to get him to run despite his firm statement a year earlier in Life that he was not a candidate. He had meant it. But, Mr. Childs informs, he would accept a draft by the convention in a deadlock under two conditions, that he would be a one-term President if elected and that he would not engage in a cross-country campaign. He believed that a one-term President would be freed from politics in making decisions. Moreover, he was about to turn 64, the same age as President Truman at his next birthday, and the demands on his health would be enormous as President. He had, however, demonstrated as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee that he had continued vitality in office.

An effort had begun in his home state to draft him, initiated by the Governor and Senator Homer Ferguson.

But Senator Vandenberg still maintained that he would not be a candidate.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, discusses I Saw Poland Betrayed by former Ambassador to Poland Arthur Bliss Lane, published during the week. He predicts that it would be attacked from the left as the viewpoint of an extreme reactionary, and hailed from the right as showing the need for American military power to resolve the world crisis. He believes the book showed clear thinking and helped to illuminate the problems facing the country on the world stage.

Ambassador Lane told of the Communist-dominated Polish Government blocking his efforts to protect American interests and to persuade the Poles that American disapproval of the Polish Government had not diminished the desire to help Poland recover economically from the war. He also informed of the Communists preventing formation of a representative government mandated by the Yalta agreement of February, 1945. He placed some of the blame for this result on the State Department under the successive direction of Edward Stettinius and James Byrnes, between latter 1944 and early 1947, being feeble and vacillating in its resolve to confront the Communists.

Mr. Lane had insisted that FDR had sold Poland out at Tehran in 1943 and at Yalta, but Mr. Welles disagrees with that part of his thesis. Mr. Welles was personally involved in these conferences and assures that President Roosevelt was committed to seeing that Poland achieved its self-determination and independence, as well as the elimination of the Danzig Corridor issue on which Hitler premised the invasion in September, 1939 to start the war. The late President also had wanted Poland to have a sovereign coast line with the economic advantages required to raise its standard of living.

FDR had favored a boundary roughly equal to the Curzon Line as Poland's eastern frontier, as a means of reducing potential controversy with Russia and providing it with a homogeneous population, reducing internal conflict. He also wanted any territorial cessions made in the East compensated by equivalent cession to Poland in the West. Any perception of softness at Tehran and Yalta had to be tempered by the fact that both conferences had occurred when any breach in Allied unity could have cost the war. In consequence, FDR had to proceed with diplomacy.

Poland and Czechoslovakia were the keys, he asserts, to the future of Central and Eastern Europe and as long as they were controlled by the Soviets, there could be no healthy solution for the problems of Germany and Austria, and little hope of eliminating the barriers extant between Eastern and Western Europe.

The Socialists in Poland had maintained their independence from the Communists and vowed to cooperate with the Socialists of Western Europe. That was a positive sign in a dark picture, as the Socialists were a moderating force, as in England, France, and Italy.

The century-long evisceration of Poland as a sovereign nation had not eradicated its sense of national identity and patriotism. Its fate depended on the policies of the great powers. Only when America would assert to the Soviet Union its commitment to the goal of Polish independence, would it regain its freedom and become a beacon for the rest of Europe.

DeWitt MacKenzie, AP foreign affairs analyst, suggests that a showdown had to transpire soon between the U.N. and the Soviet bloc nations within its membership. Korea, he posits, might be an early and decisive test. The country, annexed by Japan in 1910 pursuant to the 1905 treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, was divided after the war into zones, with the U.S. occupying the South, Russia, the North, with the aim of consolidation of the zones after free elections to establish an independent government. Russia had instead sealed off the northern zone and communized the region, while seeking to organize Communist cells in the South and stimulate rebellion.

The U.N. had authorized a commission to hold free elections, but the Russians would not allow it to enter the North. Efforts at sabotage had also occurred in the South to stop the commission from transacting its work. The commission had reported this result to the Little Assembly, which, during intersessions of the General Assembly, sat now on a permanent basis. It likely would provide authority to the commission to carry on in the South, as half a loaf was better than none and abandoning the South to the Communists would be unacceptable.

North Korea had been informally annexed to the Soviet Union. It bordered Siberia, not far from Vladivostok, making the region strategic to enable Russian penetration further south.

The U.N., he concludes, would need be content, for the sake of world peace, with half a loaf for the time being.

A Quote of the Day: "A friend of ours offers to the gentler sex the practical suggestion that skirts be mounted something like window shades. Then they can be run up or down, depending on the rapidity with which the fashion arbiters change their minds." —Jackson (Miss.) Daily News

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