The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 5, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Bombay, India, the police commissioner informed that six enemies of Gandhi, named as co-conspirators by his assassin, Nathur Ram Godse, had been arrested. Two others were still at large. The motive for the assassination was concern that Gandhi's call for peace with the Moslems would work to effect a solution to the communal problem in favor of the Moslems. The former president of the militant organization Mahasabha, of which Godse was a member, was also detained for questioning without charges.

In Atlanta, Southern Democrats still suffered from hurt feelings from the President's proposal of a ten-point program on civil rights. The Atlanta Journal compared the program to something initiated by Moscow. Even normally progressive editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Ralph McGill, wrote that it gave to "despicable organizations ... a membership appeal," in apparent allusion to the Klan, in hair-trigger reaction to the President's plan. He found secession from the national party, however, to be no answer.

E.D. Nixon, president of the Alabama branch of the NAACP, stated that the South was seeking to "re-enslave" its black citizens and that opposition to anti-lynch legislation was so that Southerners could continue to use the old ritual as a means to keep the black person down, mentally and spiritually.

Southern Republicans expressed the opinion that the trouble boded well for them, as they would never treat the South as the Southern Democrats were about to do.

President Truman told a press conference that prices were rising so fast that a crash was inevitable unless something were done to halt the increase. He had no comment on the sharp nosedive of the previous day and this day on commodities and stocks.

Corn and wheat prices fell by as much as ten cents a bushel, the limit for a day, on the Chicago exchange. Cotton fell on the New York market by $3 per bale before rallying slightly.

The President said that the efforts by Republicans in Congress to cut his 39.7 billion dollar budget proposal would get nowhere.

He also refused to say flatly that he would be a candidate for re-election in 1948.

Attorney General Tom Clark stated that Communism could be curbed only through laws on the books and not by declaring the Communist Party illegal, that such an act would only drive it underground and would in any event possibly be unconstitutional.

In Tulsa, Okla., a woman won the title as purse-cramming champion, winning a purse flashlight. She had managed to stuff 218 items in her purse, including a car and a wheelbarrow.

Tom Watkins of The News reports of the State estimating a million dollars worth of damage to roads in an eight-county area around Charlotte from the recent snow and ice storm. Counties in the eastern part of the state had been hit even worse because of the greater presence of secondary dirt roads, costing twice as much to repair.

Tom Schlesinger of The News, son of historian Arthur Schlesinger and brother to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., tells of a Charlotte couple heading north to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a seven-week vacation. The auto trip in their 1942 Chevrolet would range to 6,000 miles. They had spent some time there during the war and liked the cold climate. Estimated time of arrival was February 27. The couple's cat would reside with a neighbor, as cats were not present in Alaska. The husband of the couple manufactured an ice chipper and business was slow during the winter.

Tom Fesperman tells on page 8-A of the "sassy and hardy" pigeons of downtown Charlotte. He was writing in a literal sense, not of the shoppers and motorists.

On the editorial page, "Welcome to Traffic Engineer" welcomes Charlotte's new traffic engineer, Herman Hoose, from the Midwest. It hopes that he would soon determine whether the Charlotte driver was the worst in the state based on the highest accident rates or whether the problem lay elsewhere, in the city's snarled traffic problems and lack of parking.

All we can say safely is that whoever designed the present-day traffic system in Charlotte, that existing for the past 25 years or so, was drunk at the time. It is quite possible to become lost, as in few cities in the United States, despite good familiarity with previous traffic patterns, and emerge only after hours of difficulty, especially on a rainy, foggy day. The system, somewhere along the line, lost its rhyme and reason, its intuitive good sense, to some idiotic efficiency experts, who are never that, but rather fools lacking common sense.

Sorry. That is our estimate of it.

"'Just Around the Corner' Again" finds the hearings being held on inflation control to be cosmetic, only for purposes of the election, and that what was bound to emerge would be more of the same passed by the special session, voluntary type measures without teeth.

The Gallup poll showed that 51 percent of the country wanted restoration of controls and rationing, as favored by the President. Only 41 percent opposed. Thus, the Administration would exploit the lack of action by the Congress in the coming campaign. The Administration shared responsibility with the Congress for initially abandoning controls in 1945-47, but the President had made his stance clear in his ten-point program since the message to the special session in November, reaffirmed in his State of the Union message and budget message.

After the election, it was clear that controls would have to return to prevent the spiral of inflation. Nothing outside an OPA-type set-up would suffice to put the brakes on it.

The idea that a curb on inflation through "keen competition" was "just around the corner", as an industrial executive contended, reminded of Herbert Hoover's like prognosis for prosperity, made just after the October, 1929 Crash.

"Where the State Is Losing Money" explains why it was taking time to obtain the allocated 2.5 million dollars for improvement of the State's mental facilities, that the commission in charge of the spending wanted to wait until the market was ripe for the cost of building materials, to get the most for the money. It questions, however, whether enough had been done since 1937 when the commission was first set up to advise on the problems of the facilities and their solutions.

Drew Pearson finds the ultimatum of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma that he would not testify regarding his cotton and grain speculation, to be raising the prospect suffered by other Republican Senators in the previous forty years who took such stands while being investigated, that of being denied their seats or being so severely censured that they had to resign. He offers several examples. The only Democrat suffering such a fate in that period had been the late Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, in 1946-47, prior to his death the previous August.

The record showed that Senator Thomas had made speeches on the floor which influenced cotton prices while he speculated on the cotton market through associates, his wife and his secretary. Such appeared as a criminal violation of the Commodity Exchange Act.

Ed Pauley, about to leave his Government positions, was leaving behind friends in high places who could potentially aid him in his oil interests.

Rural Missourians who never cottoned to the Pendergast machine would likely vote for President Truman in November because of $3 corn and wheat. It was the same kind of impetus which had propelled the re-election of Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

Marquis Childs discusses the problems in Palestine, with British policy being informed by the fear that the Holy Land would, within a decade, become Communist, in a weakened condition characterized by the widespread violence. A recent dispatch from the British Foreign Office to the New York Times had said that of 15,000 unauthorized immigrants to Palestine aboard two ships, a thousand were members of militant Communist organizations.

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin placed the blame for this condition on the U.S. Both the State Department and Defense Department had received such reports of Communist infiltration for some time. The refugees had come from the Soviet satellite states and were presumed therefore to have been assembled deliberately by the Soviets for the purpose of infiltration.

Russia's assent to the partition plan, approved by the U.N. November 29, 1947, was presumed to have behind it the intent to enable Soviet domination ultimately of Palestine and the Near East, depriving the West of the necessary oil coming out of that area.

At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the Western democracies had dodged the reality of the situation, allowing the moderate Government of Spain to come under the control of Communists, as the Soviets were supplying the only aid being received by the Loyalists to combat the tanks and planes from Italy and Germany supporting Franco's Insurgents. In the end, Franco's fascist dictatorship resulted.

Mr. Childs suggests that something of the kind could take place in Palestine should necessarily immediate decisions be evaded in an atmosphere of suspicion.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the first crisis having come up in the debate on ERP as Senator Arthur Vandenberg the previous weekend had talked with the State Department in an effort to develop a realistic figure which would be approved by his Senate Foreign Relations Committee and yet be effective, without alienating the opposition. The Budget Bureau had sought such a method by limiting the estimate to the coming fiscal year, knocking off the additional calendar quarter and taking out another quarter of the appropriation because of slow payment by the Government on its contracts, creating the illusion that only 4.5 billion would be necessary for allocation in the first year, rather than the 6.8 billion sought by the Administration for the first 15 months.

Such a plan appeared to be supported by conservative Senator William Knowland of California who led twenty opposing Republican Senators. It was believed that he could supply many of those in that faction in support of such a plan. It would delay final decision on ERP effectively until after the election without restricting ERP spending in the meantime. If the administrator spent the money faster than anticipated, he could ask the next Congress for a deficiency allocation.

But the appearance of a concession at the outset remained bothersome to the State Department as the Plan still would have to clear the more troublesome hurdle of the House. Thus, the State Department appeared inclined to retain the original 6.8 billion dollar request for the first 15 months rather than resort to the suggested artifice.

A letter writer objects to the President's ten-point program on civil rights, especially the recommendations for ending segregation, establishing an anti-lynch law, an anti-poll tax law, and making permanent the FEPC.

He says that since there was only one lynching in 1947, there was no need for an anti-lynch law.

Apparently, he refers to the Willie Earle case out of Greenville, S.C., occurring the previous February, wherein all of the 31 defendants in the case were acquitted, 28 by the jury, and insofar as the jury verdict, in a plain nullification of the law, as eyewitnesses among the defendants identified the persons directly responsible for the gruesome murder of Mr. Earle. The point of the proposed law was to deter any such act from occurring by penalizing under a Federal law not only the participants but also the jailers who would turn over defendants to such a mob.

Even one case of lynching is one case too many for a civilized society, especially when accomplished with impunity. This writer apparently did not think so.

He also neglects the attempted lynching of Buddy Bush in Jackson, N.C., shortly after the Greenville acquittal the previous May, his escape from the lynch mob having prevented sure death at their hands. Two attempts in two different counties to obtain indictments went for naught, despite the kidnapers having been identified.

And the writer goes on in similar vein with regard to any attempt to eliminate Jim Crow segregation or discriminatory practices in employment through the FEPC, advocating finally a separate Democratic Party for the South from the national party.

We recommend, as always, simply moving to Argentina. Instead, most of these atavists eventually would become Southern Republicans.

While on the subjects of civil rights and traffic engineering, we have to wonder whether the President's motorcade through Dallas on November 22, 1963 could have reached Market Hall, across the road from the President's destination that fateful afternoon, the Trade Mart, just as easily via Industrial Boulevard, accessible directly from the convergence of Main and Commerce, but not so easily the Trade Mart without going onto the planned route of Stemmons Freeway, necessitating the sharp, slow turn at Houston onto Elm, not allowing a direct route down Main. To turn onto Stemmons Freeway, because of the traffic median, required the Elm route, not so the Main route directly to Industrial, which also leads to the Trade Mart and Market Hall area. Our question, simply put, is whether there was at the time some necessary traffic pattern upon reaching the Trade Mart-Market Hall complex which would have required a circuitous route, not acceptable for the President's motorcade, to reach the Trade Mart, to the right off Industrial, which would not have been the case for Market Hall, to the left off Industrial. We cannot answer the question as the Dallas Trade Center complex has changed markedly since 1963. Thus, we only pose it.

It is significant, as Mr. Nixon and his law firm's client, Pepsi-Cola, were holding their three-day conference, attended also by actress Joan Crawford, widow of the former chairman of the Board of Pepsi, from November 20 into the evening of the 21st, Mr. Nixon addressing the group on the 21st at Market Hall, having stayed at the Baker Hotel on Commerce, today, a block away from Belo Garden, about five blocks east from Dealey Plaza, wherein also Ms. Crawford stayed, just down the hall from Mr. Nixon, both attending a gala ball at the Empire Room of the Statler Hilton on the night of the 21st. Market Hall was thus presumably not available to the President, had the route to it been the more desirable and safe.

We have to raise the question, as such a dirty trick, a man-trap as it were, would have been right up the alley of Richard Nixon and his cadre of supporters at the time. Perhaps some enterprising researcher or someone with a memory of the streets around the Trade Mart complex in 1963, or access to the City Engineer's maps of those streets at the time, can come up with the answer. It might help to solve a riddle, a little riddle of history.

In any event, it is said that Mr. Nixon first received news of the assassination, as he returned home via taxi in New York City, while stopped at a stoplight near the 59th Street Bridge. Sock it to him?

A letter writer takes issue with P. C. Burkholder's frequent contributions to the People's Platform, as he prepared to run again for the Republican nomination for Congress, having been the failed nominee in 1946. The writer finds his reasoning specious in his letter of September 27, 1947, blaming the New Deal for everything, including the Depression, the war, and the inflation since the war. The writer thinks that he had not shown that he possessed the requisite knowledge to be in Congress and recommends that the Republicans not nominate him again.

Well, listen here, Mr. Smarty Pants. He knows about country buttermilk and what more would you want in a Congressman?

A letter from failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder answers a letter of January 29 critical of his previous stances. He says that he was thankful to be a Republican and not a New Dealer, and to live in a land where that was possible.

"My whistle is not stuck and damn the New Deal and all their long-range programs." They were designed to gain power over the people, using the stacked Supreme Court to do it. They had given Russia everything at the peace table.

Well, they did not give them you.

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