The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 17, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. Palestine Commission predicted that the partition plan, approved by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947, would fail unless backed up by adequate armed force. The Commission asked the Security Council to form and authorize such a force before the scheduled British evacuation on May 15. The partition plan was to go into effect by October 16. No word came from members of the Council, which was expected to begin debate on the issue the following week. The Commission was comprised of representatives of five of the smaller nations.

The Security Council would have authority under Article 42 of the U.N. Charter to employ such force as necessary "to maintain or restore international peace and security". While the Security Council's Big Five members each had the power of unilateral veto, all five, including Russia, had approved the partition plan.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved unanimously a four-year commitment to ERP, with 5.3 billion dollars to be allocated for the first year, consistent with the President's proposal which had sought 6.8 billion for the first 15 months but had tacitly been altered to the one-year compromise to make the Plan more palatable to Congressional conservatives challenging the amount of money to be appropriated for the Plan. The Committee also determined that three billion of the first year's allocation would come from the seven to eight billion dollar budget surplus anticipated for fiscal year 1947-48, to spread out the allocation over two fiscal years. The Committee plan also would require the 16 recipient nations under the Plan to balance their budgets as soon as practicable.

In Pyongyang in North Korea, two liaison officers of the U.S. Army were reportedly manhandled and placed under temporary arrest by Korean police and denied access to Soviet authorities the previous Sunday, as they sought to watch a parade of the North Korean People's Army in the Soviet-occupied territory. The two were released unharmed a half hour later, but the camera of one of the men and its film were seized at gunpoint by a civilian who then fled the scene.

The Soviet authorities insisted that such liaison officers enjoyed freedom of movement and could take pictures as they wished. They had, however, refused to interfere with the detention as they claimed no authority in the matter.

The Army reported that a new Government had been formed the previous day in North Korea by the Soviets, in violation of international agreements regarding the occupation zones. The U.S. occupied the Southern zone.

In Warsaw, five American fliers who returned American Ambassador Stanton Griffis from London to his post in Warsaw were detained by the Polish police for trespassing. The claim was that they entered the country without clearance and visas. The captain of the airfield had given the crew permission to land provided they departed immediately, but that permission was later overridden and revoked.

A month earlier, such an incident had occurred with regard to a crew of a plane out of Berlin and the Polish Government said that the U.S. Embassy at that time promised there would be no recurrence of the intrusions without clearance.

President Truman urged to a Labor Department conference of women leaders that housewives use their power in the household to fight the high cost of living.

The President would likely encounter pickets organized by the Puerto Rican Youth Congress when he visited Governor Jesus Pinero in San Juan the following Saturday, during his trip to the U.S. territory.

There would be an attempt on November 1, 1950 to assassinate the President by two Puerto Rican nationalists, while the First Family lived in Blair House across from the White House, as the latter was having its interior gutted and restored. Killing a police guard and wounding three others stationed outside the house as the two men sought to storm it, they never got close to the President who was sleeping on an upper floor at the time and was not aware of the violence outside. One of the two attempted assassins was killed and the other wounded in the attack. Later that day, the President, carrying on his planned schedule, attended ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

Senator Taft urged quick action on long-term extension of rent control, set to expire at the end of the month. Senator Alben Barkley, Democratic Minority Leader, agreed, wanted, as did Senator Taft, immediate action on a long-term bill before the deadline, rather than providing a thirty-day extension as approved by the House Banking Committee the previous day. The Senate Banking Committee had the previous day approved a fourteen-month extension, which both Senators supported.

A grand jury in Baltimore indicted retired Brig. General Bennett E. Meyers for evading $15,000 in income taxes, allegedly received secretly from war contracts of a company he founded while deputy chief procurement officer of the Army during the war. Based on testimony presented before the War Investigating Committee the previous November, the company had dummy officers consisting of General Meyers's family members and friends and had received favorable treatment on war contracts for which the General was responsible in procuring.

Prices started downward on some commodities on the New York and Chicago markets after a brief rebound the previous day. Cotton futures were down as much as $1.50 per bale in New York. Some Eastern food chains began raising again slightly the prices of meat, and the Agriculture Department said that the dip in meat prices would likely be transitory.

Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation raised its prices.

DNC chairman, Senator Howard McGrath of Rhode Island, canceled a speech he was slated to give in Atlanta after Democrats there, hearing that he would discuss the President's civil rights program, changed the date of the rally by four days. They said the change was made necessary by a conflicting teachers convention in Atlanta. Senator McGrath said that he had not selected the topic for his speech.

In Mississippi, a group which called itself "Jeffersonian Democrats", opposing the President's civil rights program, set up a headquarters.

In Laurel, Miss., three black citizens, the first blacks ever to serve on a Jones County grand jury, were sworn in the previous day along with 15 whites. The action took place pursuant to a State Supreme Court decision which had quashed an indictment for the fact of there being no blacks on the grand jury determining whether charges would be filed against a black man, who had been convicted, pursuant to the indictment, for the second time and sentenced to death for criminal assault on a white woman. The piece does not explain the ground for reversal of the conviction on the first occasion.

It notes that blacks had served on Federal Court juries in the county and had been called for jury service previously, but had always excused themselves, presumably following the unwritten law of going along to avoid lynching or jailing for leering—the law, in one form or another, still quite extant in some places, even if we would prefer to think otherwise and hide our heads behind the convenient veil of tv-think, that all is well in Mudville and that our societal advances, while significant and substantial, signify more of a departure from the past than they actually do.

In Hyeres, France, it was reported that an officer and seven men were missing from the American aircraft carrier Midway, after a shore-to-ship launch, in which they were returning from shore leave, had been swamped by rough seas off the Riviera the previous day. It was not clear whether the missing men had drowned or simply had failed to report for duty after attendance at a party during shore leave.

At McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Tex., astronomers were hoping to settle the question of life on Mars during the ensuing 24 hours, as they planned to look for water on the Red planet and determine whether its green areas represented trees or grass. The improved observations on the occasion were to be made possible by the fact that the orbit of Mars passed a point closer to that of Earth, 63 million miles, than it would for the following two years. The observatory was located in the most favorable position on the globe to view Mars. An astronomer at the observatory said it would not be surprising to find that the green substance was a form of life likened to lichens, as the moss-like plant withstood extremes of cold and drought. The astronomers also planned to study the planet's polar caps. The green surfaces became greener after the receding of these caps.

On the editorial page, "Court Recognizes Our Emergency" praises the Supreme Court's holding, announced the previous day, in the Cloyd W. Miller Co. decision, upholding rent controls against a constitutional challenge for being beyond the emergency Congressional war powers after the hostilities had ended, as declared officially by President Truman at the end of 1946. Writing for the Court, Justice William O. Douglas had stated that the wartime emergency continued during the aftermath of hostilities, to enable readjustment of the economy to peacetime.

The President's request for more money for Greece and Turkey reminded of how far the country was from peace, and, it suggests, the Supreme Court recognized that reality.

"'Farmer Bob' Stays on the Job" finds it pleasing that Representative Robert Doughton would seek another term in Congress despite being 84 years old and the second oldest member, Adolph Sabath of Illinois being the oldest, entering Congress in 1907, four years before "Farmer Bob".

Mr. Doughton's experience through his 37 years in the House, it suggests, was irreplaceable and would serve the nation, the state, and his district well.

"'Overtime' Rate for Doctors" tells of doctors of the Rowan-Davie Medical Society in Salisbury having adopted a $5 fee system for weekend, holiday, and nighttime house calls, $7 after 10:00 p.m. The standard fee for a house call was $3, until 7:00 p.m., $2 for an office visit.

Two dollars? Will these greedy doctors never stop with the bills? It is better to die of the croup than have to pay that kind of dough to be told only to eat chicken soup and get plenty of bed rest.

The Society had imposed the overtime rates with an eye toward reducing unnecessary off-hour calls. But the piece thinks, while understandable, it might also have the effect of delaying a necessary call during such times, to the point of exacerbating the need for emergency treatment.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Another McKellar Drive", discusses the long-term enmity of Senator Kenneth McKellar toward TVA for his not having been able to acquire patronage rights in the project. He had recently introduced a bill which displayed that historic animosity. It would convert TVA from an autonomous Government subsidiary to a political agency dependent on annual Congressional appropriations, thus tending to become a source of patronage.

The piece hopes that the Senate Public Works Committee, considering the bill, would visit the TVA and observe firsthand its efficient flood control and hydro-electric power production for the Tennessee Valley.

Drew Pearson tells of FDR having engaged in a long-running feud with the house of J. P. Morgan during his Administration, whereas President Truman was embracing the banking firm with the appointment of Thomas McCabe, a product of Morgan backing throughout his meteoric rise in Government, to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

He tells of Mr. McCabe's past, his rise from manager at Scott Paper Company and, through engineering a loan in 1927 to Drexel, a Morgan subsidiary, to be president of Scott, and with it, through stock transactions aided by Morgan, becoming quite wealthy. Through working with Morgan, Scott had become the leading toilet paper company in the world.

Mr. McCabe had become friends through Morgan with former Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, who also had enjoyed a meteoric rise from his position as head of U.S. Steel. Mr. Stettinius, after becoming the head of Lend-Lease during the early part of the war, had made Mr. McCabe his deputy. When he became Secretary of State in latter 1944, Mr. McCabe came to the State Department, placed in charge of liquidating U.S. war property overseas.

Mr. Pearson wonders whether the public or the old friends of Mr. McCabe at Morgan would derive the greater benefit from his chairmanship of the Fed.

General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, had been scheduled to speak to the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary but never showed up, to the disappointment of those assembled.

Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho was fond of sending out sacks of potatoes, one of which had gone to DNC vice-chairman Gael Sullivan. The latter wrote back his thanks for the spuds, said he would put them in his basement in case he had to hole up against the Confederate Army, in reference to the Southern Democratic revolt.

General Omar Bradley had turned 54 on February 12, and since he had just been named chief of staff of the Army, the top brass at the Pentagon were eager to celebrate the event. But when the birthday party occurred, only staff, enlisted men, clerks and secretaries were present. No brass hat, except General Bradley's old friend General Eisenhower, was invited.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the changes in the campaigns being conducted by Senator Taft and Governor Dewey for the GOP nomination for the presidency. Until recently, Governor Dewey had played the reluctant candidate, going about his business as Governor, remaining aloof from the national fray. His recent Boston Lincoln Day speech, however, had been remarkable for its straightforward approach to the issues, signifying a sea change in his candidacy.

He had given a frank appraisal of ERP, regarded it as the sine qua non for rebuilding Europe and enabling in consequence American and Western security. He was critical of the bipartisan foreign policy and sought to display what he would do as President. The Alsops find it the most realistic assessment anyone had given to ERP, save Senator Vandenberg. Governor Dewey believed that ERP needed a strong administrator who could be trusted by Congress to have working capital with which to maintain ERP on an effective level, and that the appropriation for the program could not be determined in advance.

It was believed that he had examined the national opinion polls attesting to the fact that the people wanted a strong, decisive leader.

Touring the Midwest, Senator Taft, who had openly been campaigning since the previous fall, had also changed courses, no longer trying to defend the Republican Congress but, finding that a difficult road, had chosen rather to sell his own candidacy. He grudgingly accepted ERP, believing its appropriation ought be pared down.

The Alsops suggest that the attitude displayed a lack of appreciation of the Plan's importance to world security.

They conclude that the difference between the two approaches was that Senator Taft looked to the past while Governor Dewey had faced the facts and was dealing with them.

Samuel Grafton also examines the candidacies of Senator Taft and Governor Dewey from the standpoint of their recent Lincoln Day speeches, finds Senator Taft blaming the Big Three Tehran and Yalta conferences during the war for having too much appeased Russia, his statements coming close to foredooming the possibility of any future such conferences. He saw conflict between the effort presently to stop the spread of Communism via the Marshall Plan and these earlier conferences and the agreements coming from them.

Mr. Grafton wonders whether that stance meant that Mr. Taft viewed the Plan as ruling out peaceful accord with Russia, an approach antithetical to that championed by Secretary of State Marshall who conceptualized the Plan rather as a means to peace, one open to all nations, including the Soviet bloc, to enable self-determination in the postwar rebuilding process.

Senator Taft appeared to favor the idea that to try to reach any accord with the Russians would necessarily involve a level of appeasement, which would spell the end of the bipartisan foreign policy.

He asks whether such rapprochement with Russia would imply such a release of strain that the country could not take it, would verge on becoming an "anti-agreement agreement".

Governor Dewey, in his Boston speech, to the contrary of being in opposition to Mr Taft, appeared to parallel his approach, providing the same scorn of the earlier conferences with Russia and their agreements, eschewing bipartisan responsibility for them. He welcomed the new bulwarks to Communism in Western Europe.

The difference in the two approaches was that Mr. Dewey wanted a big Marshall Plan whereas Mr. Taft wanted a small Plan. Both men, however, spoke of walls between East and West and not treaties. Both sneered at the past compromises with Russia while setting forth ideas which would preclude such compromises into the future. Neither man was a warmonger, but each offered the world nothing better than a century of "sentry-go", provided with an air of bequeathing heirship to the people.

The real quarrel over the Plan was not over whether it was too large or too small but rather whether it was an initial approach to peace or the end of the journey in that direction, "a miraculous gadget which can stop questions without supplying answers."

A letter from a student at Elon College expresses support of the President's program to advance civil rights, urges private action individually to undertake such a program.

A letter from a night watchman, who had found a boarding house which served meals as part of the bargain, complains that he discovered the house did not serve from Saturday through Monday morning, expresses disgust for being gouged as a newcomer to town.

He asks for help from the newspaper in finding a room which he could share with his wife. If he did not find something soon, he says, he might have to quit his good job and break into jail.

A letter writer complains of a rude bus driver who warned a passenger that if he did not lay off the cord, he would not be let off the bus. Another had told him of seeing a woman board with a baby and the bus depart before she could take her seat. He wants such behavior reported to the Duke Power Company.

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