The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 3, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Southern Democrats were boiling mad over the President's ten-point anti-discrimination program which he provided to the Congress the previous day, including recommendations to enact legislation to end Jim Crow segregation, establish a Federal anti-lynching law, an anti-poll tax law, and to make permanent the Fair Employment Practices Commission.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi called the proposals "outrageous".

Representative John Bell Williams of Mississippi stated on the floor of the House that he would rather see the Democrats defeated than to stab its "best friends" in the back.

You are not the best friend the Democrats ever had, pal. So, if you wish to defect, good riddance.

Representative John Rankin of Mississippi wanted to know why the country should spend billions fighting Communism in Europe only to have the President "ram the platform of the Communist Party down the people".

Representative Jamie Whitten of Mississippi said the South gave blacks the best protection of any region in the land.

Representative L. M. Rivers of South Carolina said that the South had been the nation's whipping boy too long and warned that the Solid South one day would not be so solid.

Georgia Representative Ed Cox succored likewise the South's continued chickens' hit against the President's proposals, saying that he thought Henry Wallace looked good, compared to the President, was sickened by the President's attacks on his loyal Southern supporters.

One Deep South Senator, unnamed, said that a conference of Southern governors was going to occur in Tallahassee the coming Friday, to lay plans to nominate their own candidate for the presidency.

Just call him "Gator", with his sidekick, "Crock".

The House voted in favor of the Knutson tax reduction measure the previous day, by a tally of 297 to 120. The North Carolina delegation voted 9 to 3 against it.

In India, large numbers of the Mahasabha and the RSS, reactionary militant Hindu groups which had opposed Gandhi's call for peace with Moslems, were being arrested for questioning while others were beaten and stoned throughout the country.

The assassin of Gandhi the previous Friday was named in the press for the first time as "Narayan Vinayak Gadse". The actual spelling was Nathur Ram Vinayak Godse. He would be convicted and executed before the end of 1949.

Gandhi's ashes would be cast into the Ganges at Allahabad on February 12, not within 36 hours of the cremation ceremony on Saturday, as originally stated in the press. The date was selected by "casting of the stars" to determine the most propitious date.

In Damascus, Syria, truckloads of Arabs were observed arriving, leading to speculation that a general attack on Jews in Palestine was being planned. Statements by the leader of the Arab forces, Fawzi Bey Al Kaukji, provided support for the belief. It was thought by some observers that the attack would occur February 15.

In Athens, the Greek Government announced the arrest of 139 persons in Lamia for a plot to seize that town. The Government said that 25 Communists were among those arrested. All would be tried by a military tribunal.

In the British-American occupation zone of Germany, two to three million workers were idle in protest of food shortages, paralyzing industry. The strike was expected to last a day. U.S. Military Governor of the U.S. occupation zone in Germany, General Lucius Clay, declined to criticize the action, but suggested it as unproductive of the desired end to obtain more food. There were no demonstrations against the black marketeers, whom Germans held responsible for the food shortage.

In Stuttgart, Germany, General Clay rebuked Pastor Martin Niemoeller, imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp during the war, for his urging defiance of the de-Nazification program in Germany. General Clay said that while Germans had freedom of speech, it was unwise to criticize the policy given the conditions in Germany. Pastor Niemoeller asserted that the program sowed anew the seeds of hate.

Russia was planning to return seven tankers and a cargo vessel loaned by the U.S. during the war. The return would take place in the ensuing two months. The U.S. had asked for return or payment for a hundred such vessels.

Joseph Curran, head of the CIO maritime committee and the NMU, stated to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opposition to the proposed transfer of 500 merchant ships to the 16 recipient nations under the Marshall Plan.

John L. Lewis implicitly threatened a strike by April 1 in the bituminous coal industry unless payments were begun from the negotiated welfare fund, being held up by the operators. Operators took the statement to be in compliance with the 60-day strike notice provision of Taft-Hartley.

AFL president William Green announced selection of former Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana as head of its new PAC in the coming elections. Mr. Green asserted that Senator Wheeler's pre-war and wartime isolationist views would not interfere with his duties, as the primary goal of the organization was to obtain repeal of Taft-Hartley. His pro-labor record during his four terms as Senator was the foundation for his selection.

The AFL council voted to oppose Henry Wallace's third-party candidacy on the basis that they found him to be an "apologist" for Communism.

A Senate Banking subcommittee voted 3 to 2 against authorizing the Government to prepare for meat rationing as proposed by the subcommittee chairman, Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont. The proposal would next be considered by the full committee. The action appeared to foredoom the President's requests for other inflation control authority.

In Los Angeles, the third wife of Johnny Weissmuller was not contesting a Reno divorce obtained by the former Olympic swimming champion and star of the Tarzan movies, but had filed anew to obtain support for the couple's children. Mr. Weissmuller had married his fourth wife right after the divorce on the previous Thursday.

Reporter Ralph Gibson tells, on page 5-A, of FBI agents being prepared for anything which might develop.

In Cambridge, Md., foxes had become so abundant that they were chasing the hounds and romping with them in the backyards of homeowners.

Things are bad. Beware the end of time.

On the editorial page, "Inflation with Tax 'Relief'" finds that the American people did not appear excited about the GOP tax relief measure because it promised more inflation as more money in circulation would accelerate demand for goods, causing prices to rise further. Inflation would hamper the effectiveness of ERP, and ERP was necessary to prevent Western Europe from falling into the grip of Communism.

The only members of the public who were seeing it otherwise were within the Republican trance, viewing the tax cut proposal from a self-interested stance. But the wise taxpayer understood that the relief provided by the bill would be transitory in the face of further inflation.

The better course would be to use the money to pay down the war debt, to legislate inflation control for the sake of success of ERP.

It posits that the Republicans were making a grave error in backing the tax bill, one for which they would likely pay come November—as they would, across the board.

"It's Too Smoky to See the Law" says that the smoke abatement ordinance in Charlotte, on the books since December, 1940, was good. That it was not being enforced was a product of the war and the dimming of memories since the war of former times. The smoky pall which had hung over the city the previous day was a new recurrence—brought about by the increased use of coal and wood for heat resultant of the fuel oil shortage.

It urges enforcement of the ordinance, despite the shortage, as minor repairs of ventilating systems could bring about better efficiency.

"India's Example for the West" suggests that the more it examined the violence and split in India, the less it seemed so remote, as many Americans believed it, the difference between Hindus and Moslems being not unlike the American difference with Communists, in each case over religion and politics.

The assassination of Gandhi, it offers, could be more easily understood by imagining the assassination of such an American exponent of peace, seeking resolution of differences between America and the Communist world.

The identified assassin of Gandhi was a member of the Mahasabha, a politico-religious Hindu organization favoring militant violence, seeking to transform India into a religious state and revive ancient Hindu laws and practices. At the division of India into Moslem and Hindu regions the previous summer, the rivalry had begun which had set the stage for the current crisis.

Much of the same sort of thing had transpired in the West with respect to Communism.

India's leaders were seeking to invoke the memory of Gandhi to carry forward his peace program. Should it succeed, then the West would have to admit that the Hindus and Moslems were more civilized. Should it fail, the result would show what happens from preaching hate.

We in the United States, of course, for the past half century, do not have to imagine any longer the situation described, perfectly fitting the pattern prior to and after the assassination of President Kennedy.

The only thing we would add is the factor which fueled immediate hate among many Southerners of that time, accustomed to reaction over any suggestion of racial integration, as set forth in perfect example on the front page of this date. It was that reactionary temperament coalescing with xenophobic urges toward Russia, labeling "communist" anyone favoring integration or other progressive programs, urges often coexisting in the same people, which drove the hubris, in assumption of official sanction, to commit the assassination if not contributing to the actual conspiracy, in turn whetting the appetites of blood lust for more.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Boys in Trouble", tells of a survey showing that 80 percent of juvenile delinquents came from good homes, the most common factor found being parental neglect. It finds the movies, the comics, and the radio holding forth false values for the younger generation. The solution, however, was not to engage in censorship, as proposed by the Soviet delegate to the U.N. Subcommission on Freedom of the Press, but rather for parents to provide their children with interests and ideals more appealing than those hawked by the purveyors of sensationalism.

Drew Pearson tells of 91-year old George Bernard Shaw having written a letter to Fanny Holtzmann, a New York attorney, endorsing Henry Wallace, stating also that he would prefer a Republican President should Mr. Wallace not prevail. The Republican, he said, might steal a horse, but the Democrat would dare not look over the hedge. Mr. Pearson reprints the letter.

NMU head Joseph Curran and John Green, head of the shipyard workers, had told CIO president Philip Murray that he should make his support of ERP contingent on an agreement that aid to Europe would be shipped only in American ships with American seamen. Mr. Murray agreed.

GOP Congressman Robert Gearhart of California told the Republican caucus on the tax bill that 77 percent of the proposed GOP bill would benefit those with incomes under $4,000. Congressman Fred Crawford of Michigan, sometimes called GM's Congressman, thought that both parties had fallen for the soak-the-rich strategy to garner votes.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop inform of a heretofore secret exodus having been ongoing since the end of the war by more than 5,000 Russians from the Russian zone of Germany to the Western zones. These citizens of Russia had nothing to fear that was not shared by all other citizens of the Soviet state, and such an exodus was without parallel in history. Sixty percent of the refugees were Soviet officers and officials, the remainder soldiers. One was a colonel. Others left behind important positions. To deter such defection, the Soviets had ordered home all dependents of the military-government staff to maintain a bank of hostages back home, and ordered most of its soldiers and civilians in Eastern Germany to move into guarded barrack areas.

Still, the exodus continued.

It had been shown that more than a million Russians had joined the Nazi forces during the war, fighting under General Vlasov, and that the fighting by these units was among the bloodiest of the war. Thus, it was not clear as to who these emigres from the Russian zone of Germany were. But the fact of the Vlasov success in recruitment during the war showed that Russian loyalty to Moscow was not complete.

They suggest that while the Soviets would conquer any form of disunity in their regime, the exodus provided hope that the Soviets would come to terms if confronted with Western strength and unity.

There are two observations to be gleaned from this piece, first, that some of the emigres may have been extreme right-wing Nazi types, and, second, that there was no guarantee that many of them were not spies who were pretending to defect for that purpose. Beware the Trojan Horse. Thus, any slender reed of hope this fact may have provided was quite tending toward the illusory, born of wishful thinking at the time.

Samuel Grafton comes to the reluctant conclusion, after reading The Gallery by John Horne Burns and That Winter by Merle Miller, that the Twentieth Century hero was a man sitting and drinking alone in a bar. Both books, set during the war, presented a shabby display of individualism, with each principal character "wrapped in cellophane" and guaranteed of no contact with any other human.

"The two books together constitute a kind of American Lushes' Guide from Italy to Iowa." The two authors presented every man as an island, with no inner voice communicating in the lost year stretching into the lost decade.

"And these are the lost people, on the edges of an individualistic society, snatching angrily for love, as one snatches for canes at a carnival." Eventually they reached only for a glass.

He finds both to be honest books, setting up honest questions, the Burns book being the richer and the Miller book, the more glamorous, the latter having to do with the fringes of the literary set in New York. The central question posed in both books asked whether a society could become too individualistic, that in tossing aside liberalism, the society might have so atomized itself into the alienated that it had broken down the bonds which forged it. Some of the characters portrayed had become as they were from race bias, others from economic slippage amid competition, and some for lack of direction at the inception.

"Call them symptoms of disturbance, in a decade in which it is too much against the fashion to have a social purpose, to be anything but alone. Novelists, like firemen and cats, have a way of being among the first to notice smoke."

A letter from the executive secretary of the North Carolina Catholic Layman's Association, who had previously criticized the editorial "A League of Honest Men", itself critical of the Christmas message of Pope Pius XII, says that he had only sought, in light-hearted fashion, to make comment, not to stir up a hornet's nest as apparently the letter had. He thinks his opinion was not very dissimilar from that of the editorial, which had recommended more attention to injustices in the West than the injustices of Communism and its threat to the internal security of the United States, thereby to inspire respect for American democracy over Soviet Communism.

So expressed, he agrees.

The editors indicate their assent.

A letter writer proposes, without so specifying, that which General Eisenhower had proposed a month earlier to Pennsylvania Republicans, a voluntary moratorium on profits for a year by industry, to reel in inflation.

It had not gone over very well with Republicans, one primary reason, as pointed out the previous day by Drew Pearson, for General Eisenhower having withdrawn his name from consideration for the GOP nomination in 1948.

A letter from the Board of Directors of the Family & Children's Service expresses thanks to the newspaper for its sponsorship, as always, of the Empty Stocking Fund for needy families at Christmas.

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