The Charlotte News

Friday, February 20, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that about 50 Democratic Congressmen from eleven Southern states formally declared war on President Truman's civil rights program, pledging cooperation with Southern Governors opposing the proposal. The group was chaired by Representative William Colmer of Mississippi. Not all members of Congress from each state were present at the meeting which led to the declaration. Only one Congressman from Virginia attended. Former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas was absent.

RNC chairman Carroll Reece said that the President's call, made at a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner the previous night, for the common man to rally for battle behind the forces of progressive liberalism, the Democratic Party, against the "privileged few", the reactionary party of Alexander Hamilton, had represented only an effort to beg for Henry Wallace and his supporters to return to the fold of the Democratic Party.

Despite not attending the dinner for fear of being seated "next to a Negro", the wife of South Carolina Senator Olin Johnston attended a tea at the White House given by First Lady Bess Truman. Mrs. Johnston had led the boycott of the dinner, held at the Mayflower Hotel, by the South Carolina delegation, all but about ten of the 45 South Carolinians having refused attendance. Governor Strom Thurmond and his wife had likewise canceled their reservations.

It was obviously quite alright in the Governor's mind to engage at age 22 in miscegenation with a 16-year old Negro maid and to father a child of the momentary union, a youthful indiscretion. But to have to sit down next to one of them at a dinner was absolutely intolerable. Taking maybe a few table scraps out to them in the barn would be an acceptable demonstration of Christian charity for a white Southern gentleman of the Governor's stature to extend, but not to break bread with any. The Governor was progressive but only up to a point.

Florida Senator Claude Pepper, when informed that a Congressman was proposing him to be the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, stated that there were better qualified candidates than he to carry the message to the people that the Democratic Party stood for the ideal of the ordinary man against the privileged few.

In Prague, three outspoken anti-Communist members of Czechoslovakia's Cabinet resigned, constituting the first open break in the country's postwar republic formed in April, 1945. The coalition Government was headed by Communist Premier Klement Gottwald. The three resigning Cabinet members had provided an ultimatum to the Premier to desist in his efforts to purge the security police of non-Communist members. The Social Democrats had joined the revolt against Communist efforts to dominate the Government in the coming elections.

Non-Communists were planning not to attend a peasant group demonstration set for February 29 and a trade unions congress as they believed the events were part of the Communist plot to maintain pre-election turmoil in the country.

The President gave a long report to Congress on the work of the U.N. in 1947, finding it was making headway despite Russia's refusal to cooperate in its decisions, such as by refusal of Russia and Poland to participate in the U.N. watchdog commission on the Greek borders, the Ukraine's refusal to sit on the commission to unify Korea, and rejection by the Slav group of nations of the creation by the General Assembly of the permanently meeting "Little Assembly", the political committee, to transact business when the General Assembly was out of session. The document stated also the persistent use of the Russian veto on the Security Council as problematic, as well the labeling by Russia of the U.S. as a warmonger in its Turkish-Greek policy and the Marshall Plan. Only on Palestine had Russia agreed with the West.

The President asserted that strengthening the organization was a cornerstone of American foreign policy. The organization had chosen to undertake the major problems confronting the world in trying to restore order postwar rather than sitting on the sidelines.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed to Secretary of State Marshall the desire for General MacArthur to return from Japan to advise the Committee on the Chinese and Far East situation, to provide an assessment on the President's request for 570 million dollars for one year of aid to the Chiang Government to promote economic stability.

During a rally before 8,000 people in Miami, Henry Wallace urged that the U.N. control Middle Eastern oil to lessen the chance of war. He charged that the Truman Administration policy on oil was designed to protect the big oil companies and that the men in power had waged psychological warfare against the people.

CIO president Philip Murray pleaded not guilty to charges of violating the Taft-Hartley Act by engaging the labor organization in political activity through support the previous summer of a Baltimore County Congressional candidate. The matter was intended as a test case of the provision of the law banning such political activity by unions, to determine whether it violated the First Amendment.

Larry Eldred of the A.P. reports that the consumer could purchase more for the dollar than a month earlier but not as much as a year earlier and considerably less than prior to the war in 1941, when ham was 21 cents per pound, margarine, 8.5 cents, butter and beefsteak, 33 cents (if, that is, you wanted to butter your beefsteak), and tomatoes, seven cents a can. Now that was living, back in 1941.

But now, based on Chicago advertisements by the major food chain stores, beefsteak was at 69 cents, down a dime from a month earlier, against 55 cents a year earlier and 39 cents in February, 1946, when price controls remained in effect. A can of tomatoes was 13 cents against the same price a month earlier, 23 cents a year earlier, not advertised in 1946. Butter was at 83 cents, the same as a month earlier, 76 cents a year earlier, not advertised in 1946. Margarine was 39 cents, 41 cents a month earlier, 43 cents a year earlier, 23 cents in 1946. What about the ham?

In Rowan County, a man was arrested for the monkey wrench bludgeoning of his estranged wife and her parents near China Grove. The three were in fair condition.

Mayor Herbert Baxter of Charlotte said that he would write the School Board, urging institution of a political science course in the City's high schools to promote good citizenship. He had been impressed by the need for same expressed at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors from which he had just returned in New York.

A 68-year old California mining engineer, not Herbert Hoover, sailed a backyard built yawl more than 1,900 miles from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii, without a radio. The trip took 52 days, sailing eight hours per day since departure on December 27. During squalls, he took down the sails and made himself comfortable below deck. He said that nobody but a crazy man would sail the Pacific in January, but on beautiful days the journey had been enchanting.

It was yawl's doing that he left and got there.

Charlotte City Manager Henry Yancey, the previous week, had sent out letters to smoke engineers around the country, inquiring of interest in the position for the City, but so far none had responded.

On the editorial page, "Bronx Strengthens South's Case" comments on the special election in the Bronx Congressional race, resulting in election of Leo Isacson of the American Labor Party, backed by Henry Wallace, and the determination by some South Carolinians to stay away from the Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Washington on the basis of the President's civil rights proposal.

By staying away, the Southerners tended to appear to foist their stance on other states, in derogation of the states' rights principles for which they plumped. On the other hand, it showed that they were serious in their opposition to the President's program and would bolt the party should the Administration not see reason.

The results in the Bronx election showed that the President had only a slight chance to offset the Wallace appeal to minorities through concessions to the left.

The piece finds that both matters in combination suggested that the Administration ought reconsider its civil rights proposals.

Wisely, the President would resolve to let the Dixiecrats go where they may and to stick to his guns on civil rights.

"The Promise of Brotherhood" comments on Brotherhood Week, sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the absurdity in the premises that brotherhood had to be learned. But, upon reflection, on looking at the divisions in India, China, Europe, Palestine, and in the United States, the concept appeared valid that brotherhood did require learning, despite it being a founding principle of the United States. The world's best hope lay in the notion that brotherhood could be learned.

"U.S. Must Act in Palestine" posits that the obligation to assure implementation of the partition plan in Palestine lay primarily with the United States for its leading role in supporting it. Force would be necessary to provide that assurance.

Even prior to the previous November 29 when the plan was approved, it had been evident that a police force would be necessary to supplant the British when they abandoned their mandate in mid-May and to supplement that force in the meantime.

The viability of the U.N. was being jeopardized by the continuing violence in Palestine, responsible for the loss of 1,200 lives since approval of partition. The U.S. would have to make the attempt to enforce the plan, despite the hazards, or abandon the U.N. and Palestine, an unthinkable surrender of leadership.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "The Phooey Look", comments on the new look in men's hats, which had turned out to be no more that narrowing of the brim a little, to 2.25 inches. All it did was to accentuate any flaws in appearance otherwise maintained in shadow by the wider brims, such as "to make our squint appear squintier, our double chin chinnier and our gable ears eerier." The piece thinks that the designers of women's hats could do something positive for the men's varieties.

Drew Pearson addresses an open letter to Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, chairman of the subcommittee investigating commodities speculation, with particular emphasis on the grain and cotton speculation of Oklahoma Senator Elmer Thomas based on his own speeches on the Senate floor impacting prices. Mr. Pearson had revealed the speculation conducted by surrogates for the Senator since 1933. Senator Thomas had written to the subcommittee that he did not wish to be bothered further on the matter, that he had revealed all of the information necessary.

At the same time, the column reveals, one of the Senator's long-time friends was transacting a deal on the dried-pea market, appearing to have been based on inside information that the Government intended to buy 6.5 million bags of peas. The man constructing the deal was a regular at Senator Thomas's office and had been a broker for the Senator in the commodities market.

The trader had made a killing in goobers.

Republican Congressman Clifford Hope of Kansas and Democratic Congressman Stephen Pace of Georgia were debating the parity program on the House Agriculture Committee when Representative Norris Cotton of New Hampshire spoke up to say that "faith, hope, and charity" in the Bible now meant "Pace, Hope, and parity."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the decision facing President Truman on whether to favor the use of force via an international police force formed by the U.N. in Palestine to enforce the partition plan when the British evacuated in mid-May. He had favored formation of a bipartisan committee to study the matter and report back in 60 days with a recommendation. But advisers told him that the situation could not wait 60 days for decision and that no one on Capitol Hill would wish to share the President's responsibility in making it.

He would have to determine whether to commit perhaps 30,000 American troops to the troubled Holy Land as the backbone of any U.N. force. An adequate force could not be formed by contingents from the smaller nations. For the U.S. not to form the heart of the force would mean that the vacuum would be filled by Russia. The British currently had 90,000 troops in Palestine.

Such a force would require national mobilization. The suggestion of a force comprised of volunteers was not practical as it would take eight months for adequate training of such a force and would still carry the unpopular consequence of committing American troops on foreign soil. It was feared that sending American troops would arouse fierce opposition in both the Congress and among the people, with racial antipathies surfacing in backlash.

Part of the problem in Palestine had derived from the President's failure to commit troops earlier, based on his hopes that the predicted consequence of Arab revolt against partition would not be realized. Had the commitment been made earlier, the present violence, the Alsops posit, would not be taking place.

The Administration appeared likely to lift the embargo on arms sales to Palestine, provided the U.N. Palestine Commission so requested. But such a move would not fulfill the Commission's recommendation for an international police force or act as an adequate substitute.

Marquis Childs again discusses the Atomic Energy Commission, focusing on its campaign to educate the public on the revolution brought about by nuclear fission. The Commission's goal was to overcome the fear and mystery accompanying it.

Secrecy within the AEC remained tight and the FBI worked closely with the Commission to assure that secrecy was maintained.

If it had not been for that groundbreaking effort, our cars today would not be powered by nuclear reactors instead of the old internal combustion engine and your home heating from the reactor in your basement would instead be provided by one of those old, clunky mechanical furnaces. The marvels of technology have once again solved all of man's problems for centuries to come. Why there were even climate-change models suggesting that some form of global climate change might have taken place by now without the miracle supplied by clean and safe nuclear energy in every home and automobile on the road today.

Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.

A letter from a director of the Duke Power Company addresses the proposed changes to the bus routes in Charlotte to better accommodate riders, especially those young riders wishing to reach the Mint Museum of Art. He asks that residents address a postcard to the City Manager stating that the museum's request for the changed routes was reasonable and necessary.

A letter writer from Shelby says that some of the things stated in letters from P.C. Burkholder, failed Republican Congressional candidate, got crosswise in his craw. Mr. Burkholder's opposition to Social Security was one such thing. Republicans supported it and while some money would be lost along the way, the country did not abandon Government operation of the postal service because there were a few crooked postmasters.

Moreover, the Republican Congress had not repealed any major New Deal legislation.

He wants "Mr. B." to let President Roosevelt rest in peace and The News to start charging regular advertising rates for printing PCB's regular letters promoting his own coming campaign for Congress.

A letter writer comments on the heading attached to a previous letter he had written. The title added by the editors was "Truman Loses a Vote", to which he responds that the President had not lost his vote based on white supremacy, the subject of his prior letter, but rather on a "two-world" foreign policy which could only end in world war, which would likely this time end everyone with it. He suggests that only FDR could lead the country back to a one-world concept. Such a person could not be plucked out of the air.

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