The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 7, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Southern Governors meeting at Wakulla Springs, Fla., showed a split in its ranks. Governor M. E. Thompson of Georgia was opposing any effort by Mississippi Governor Fielding Wright to hold a nominating convention separate from that of the regular Democratic Party. Governor Jim Folsom of Alabama agreed with Mr. Thompson, though both expressed the position that the President's ten-point civil rights program was "unwise". South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, who would eventually lead the Dixiecrat revolt at the Democratic convention after introduction of the civil rights plank into the platform, had no comment on the Wright proposal but intimates said that he disfavored it. Governor Beauford Jester of Texas was said to hold the same view. Both Governors William Preston Lane of Maryland and Millard Caldwell of Florida were opposed to criticism of the President.

It was believed that discussion on the U.N. five-nation Palestine Commission would reach the showdown stage within a week, as it prepared to complete a report to the 11-nation Security Council on the need for armed force to carry out the partition approved by the U.N. on November 29. The larger nations had thus far not made any statement on use of force. Syria was the only Arab nation currently on the Council.

Seven Jews and two Arabs were killed in different areas of Palestine the previous day, bringing the death toll since partition to 1,080. One of the dead was a Jew killed by two Arabs in a robbery.

Reliable sources reported that February 15 continued to be "D-Day" for the volunteer Arab force formed in Syria to begin its campaign against Jews in Palestine.

The Greek Government executed nine persons convicted of subversive activities.

The Senate Banking Committee called a cooling off period until February 16 before writing a draft of a bill on rent control extension, set to expire at the end of the month.

General Omar Bradley took over as Army chief of staff from retired General Dwight D. Eisenhower, about to become president of Columbia University. The President presented General Eisenhower with an oak-leaf cluster, his third such cluster added to his Distinguished Service Award received in World War I. The President also presented him with a silver cigarette case.

Bread, flour, and lard would cost less following the four-day decrease in grain prices. Kroger in Cleveland announced that a 20-ounce loaf of bread would drop on Monday by a penny, from 15 to 14 cents.

You had better get there early and buy about 3,000 loaves.

The Kitty Hawk Wright flier, which made the maiden flight on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N.C., was to be returned to the United States to rest in the Smithsonian in the wake of the death of Orville Wright on January 30. The plane had been at the Kensington Science Museum in London since 1928 when Mr. Wright, enraged over the Smithsonian claiming that a plane designed by former Smithsonian secretary Samuel Pierpont Langley had actually been the first machine with the capacity to fly, then transferred the plane to Kensington. He had, however, left a letter behind from 1943 indicating a desire to have the plane return to the Smithsonian.

A late bulletin reported that an Eastern Airlines plane with 60 persons aboard was reported crashed at sea, 80 miles off Jacksonville, Fla. No other details were available.

In San Francisco, an Indian daredevil, Alfred (Dusty) Rhodes jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge wearing life jackets, parachutes, and football padding, but nevertheless did not survive the crashing plummet into the notorious riptides beneath the bridge which usually break the backs of jumpers before they drown. His parachutes opened but failed adequately to break his fall and he hit the water on his face. The man's wife watched as he undertook the stunt, captured on film by a Hollywood cameraman. Mr. Rhodes had been a movie stuntman for several years. He did not have permission from the Bridge Authority to make the jump.

In 2013, a record number, 46 people, committed suicide from the Bridge, 38, in 2014. Something over 1,600 people have died from leaps off it since it opened in 1937. Only 33 of those who jumped have survived. Two persons have barely survived stunt jumps with parachutes.

Representative John Folger, 68, of North Carolina's Fifth District, announced that he would not seek re-election. He had held the seat since June, 1941, following the death of his brother, Congressman Lon Folger, in an automobile accident. Mr. Folger had been the Mayor of Mt. Airy.

AAA reported that longer hemlines in women's dresses lowered safety, as stockings caught the eyes of drivers at night better than long skirts.

In Hollywood, Wayne Morris was stricken with pneumonia.

Buz Sawyer returns to the Saturday colored comics supplement after a three-week absence, in response to reader demand.

On the editorial page, "Rent 'Figment of Imagination'" tells of the National Apartment Owners Association claiming that the housing shortage was such a figment and that rent control should thus be removed.

One consulting economist had stated that allowing rents to rise would have the effect of causing many people to double up in their housing, which would have ripple effects socially, including the potential for eviction riots and demonstrations of the homeless.

It had taken the New Deal to get the country out of the mindset that such living conditions were the norm, and it would take many more such economic and social innovations to get the country out of the illusion this time, should it drift into it. Landlords, it suggests, ought therefore be plumping for inflation control, not an abandonment of rent control.

"Steps for the Public Health" tells of the County Board of Health adopting new standards for hog pens and hog lots as a result of the increasing swine population in Mecklenburg County.

The Board also adopted new sanitary regulations for humans based on shocking conditions discovered in Furr Town.

Well, enough said on that.

"Lost Riches in Carolina Clay" tells of an industrial promoter of the Duke Power Co., who hailed from Australia and had lived in North Carolina for 35 years, having studied the soils and its rich clay deposits and counseled that businesses be established for the production of brick, tiles, insulators, pottery, china, and tableware.

As much of this native soil was shipped elsewhere for such manufacture and finished products then purchased by North Carolinians, the manufacturing process, he advised, ought be in the state where a ready source of raw materials existed.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Mr. Hoover Is Correct", tells of John J. McCloy, head of the International Bank, having told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Administration was underestimating the needs of the 16 recipient nations under the Marshall Plan during the first fifteen months, that the actual figure would be 7.6 billion dollars, $800,000 more than that calculated by the Administration.

The piece thinks the statement ought deter those who wanted to slash the appropriation for the Marshall Plan, primarily in reliance on statements made by former President Herbert Hoover after he had visited Europe and assessed the needs from the U.S. not to be so great as the State Department contended, as the Latin American countries, he advised, could supply 3.3 billion dollars in credits during that initial period.

The International Bank, by contrast, estimated that Canada and Latin America could contribute no more than 500 million dollars worth of aid.

It suggests paying less attention therefore to Mr. Hoover and more to Mr. McCloy, for the sake of Europe.

Drew Pearson provides an open letter to Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan regarding the past dealings in commodities by Oklahoma Senator Elmer Thomas to assist the committee in investigating the Senator to determine whether he had benefited from his own announcements on the floor of the Senate regarding cotton and silver, while having surrogates trade for him on these two commodities. The column then presents the particular evidence accumulated, tending to show that the Senator had thus benefited since 1933. He had favored silver purchasing and attacked the Federal Reserve while trading in silver to his profit. The same was true more recently in his cotton pronouncements while his associates made purchases for him.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, appearing on the front page, tell of a compromise in the winds between the Administration and Senate Republicans on ERP. It would probably take the form of cutting the term of the initial appropriation from 15 to 12 months, while Senator Vandenberg's Foreign Relations Committee would endorse the full ERP program. If, after the election, the initial appropriation, ranging between 4.5 and five billion dollars, would prove inadequate, the ERP administrator could go to the new Congress for a deficiency appropriation.

The ultimate determination of such a compromise would be controlled by political expediency. For the Republicans to contest openly the appropriation would cause problems in European confidence in the Plan. Senator Vandenberg held the reins of bargaining power both with respect to the State Department and the Taft Republicans, the latter wary of political ramifications of emasculation of the Plan to the point of ineffectiveness. If Senator Vandenberg could assure the State Department that he could deliver prompt Congressional action on any compromise to which agreement was finally reached, then he would hold considerable capital.

Marquis Childs tells of the country consuming twice as much oil as before the war with the consequence that the nation hung on tenterhooks in terms of its fuel supply, worrying both consumers and the oil companies. Average per capita daily usage was 650 gallons in 1948, compared to 370 gallons prior to the war.

Some demanded that the Administration place an embargo on oil exports, but that had been sidetracked thus far in Congress. Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman had presented to Congress an able defense of the nation's oil policy, heading off discontinuance of exports with the idea that it would turn international opinion quickly against the U.S.

Total production had risen from the prewar level of 3.6 million barrels per day to the 1947 level of 5.5 million barrels. Imports prewar were 155,000 barrels per day and exports, 510,000, whereas 1947 import and export levels had been equal, at 450,000 barrels each. In 1948, the country had started for the first time importing more than it exported and that would continue indefinitely.

In Britain, the gasoline ration had been abolished the previous fall, meaning that only motorists who could prove need obtained any. Secretary Harriman had told Congress that cutting further the European oil supply would force it back to the horse-and-buggy days.

Kerosene was being used widely, for instance, in the slums of Boston for heating and cooking, such problems resulting in pressure being placed on Congress to do something about the shortage. Some Republicans felt that an oil embargo would be smart politics. It would be vetoed by the President and so would not endear him to those in the country in need of oil. But when posed against the oil needs of the rest of the world, such a move would be foolish.

Samuel Grafton predicts that if prices were to drop sharply, candidates would be selected in the fall on a very different basis from the present mode. A recession could occur after the conventions and before the general election. The question was what effect it might have on public opinion, whether to force a return to Roosevelt-type planning or, more likely, the seeking of a father figure to guide the country through the dark passage.

It could produce a military turn, with Universal Military Training becoming more appealing as a means to take up some of the inevitable surplus which would take place in the labor market, as full employment would begin to diminish. Production of armaments would suddenly become a means to keep people employed. As food sales decreased, opposition to the Marshall Plan would drop commensurately.

Mr. Grafton advises the President to inform the public presently what steps he would take in the event of a recession. He would need point out that lack of economic controls had flopped. Such leadership was necessary to inform the body politic so that it would not be rudderless when the time of recession would come.

It was a primary issue not being discussed in a campaign where the focus thus far had been how much of a tax cut to give the American people.

A letter from P. C. Burkholder responds a second time to a critical letter appearing January 29, relating his usual fare of anti-New Deal billingsgate. He cites a letter from South Carolina which had approved his drivel of January 17.

A letter from Mars Hill says that the Mars Hill School, one of five such high schools in the state, had qualified for the AAA course in Safety and Driver's Education. It had received a fully equipped Chevrolet for the purpose, with dial controls, furnished by the French Broad dealer.

Does it have a record player?

The editors congratulate Mars Hill and say shame on Charlotte.

A letter writer agrees with the piece re-printed from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Boys in Trouble", feels that the only way to correct problems of delinquency was through education, not censorship, to divest of the "old and prudish ideas that have for so long channeled minds to the point of thinking in strips."

Let's not pick the flowers.

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