The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 10, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Jan Masaryk, 61, Czechoslovakia's non-party foreign minister, had been reported to have committed suicide by jumping from his third-floor office window, about 50 to 60 feet. The paved courtyard below sloped abruptly downward, adding to the distance of the fall. Prague radio said that he must have been wounded by the attacks on him by the Western press. The son of deceased Thomas Masaryk, responsible along with President Eduard Benes, for establishment of the post-World War I Czech republic, had spent the night reading letters and telegrams from the U.S. and Britain, critical of his continuing to participate in the Communist Government following the takeover February 20. No one believed the death was anything other than a suicide. He was quoted the previous Thursday as telling the Army that there had to be unity with Russia and that the Czechs should be grateful for being permitted to be unified with the Russians. He also stated that there had been a bloodless revolution and that the country had entered a new phase of its history.

The Czech delegate to the U.N., Dr. Jan Papanek, demanded that the Security Council investigate the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. He charged that the takeover was engineered by Moscow and thereby violated Czech independence in breach of personal promises made by Prime Minister Stalin to President Benes.

In Brussels, France, Britain, and the Benelux countries, meeting to form a military and economic alliance, agreed in principle that the prospective Western European Union would be open to other European countries, believed primarily to be for the benefit of Italy. The Benelux countries said that details of this provision still needed to be worked out before formation of the pact could be finalized, the remaining tenets of which had been settled.

In the New Hampshire primary, Governor Thomas Dewey won six of eight delegates at stake and, according to campaign manager and future Attorney General under President Eisenhower, Herbert Brownell, increased his chances thereby to achieve a repeat of the Republican nomination for the presidency. Former Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota obtained the other two delegates. No other candidate had a full slate of delegates on the ballot. The next primary would be in Wisconsin on April 6.

Southern Governors and Senators, led by Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, achieved agreement from a subcommittee to hold hearings, previously deemed unnecessary, on the proposed anti-poll tax legislation.

Senator Taft stated that he would vote to trim ERP to four billion dollars from 5.3 billion for its first year appropriation but would oppose attempts to cut it to a lower amount.

Maj. General Claire Chennault urged the House Foreign Affairs Committee to pass the foreign aid bill proposed by the President for China.

In the trial in Washington of Maj. General Bennett Meyers on a charge of subornation of perjury of a witness before the Senate War Investigating Committee the previous fall, an Ohio State student testified that he was offered $2,000 by the General to lie to the Committee regarding a $3,000 Cadillac, stating that the General urged him to testify that the car was given to the General by the Aviation Electric Co. for his personal use. The former president of the company had told the Committee that General Meyers owned the company in fact and set him up as its dummy president, while other evidence showed that the General reaped $150,000 in wartime profits as he funneled war contracts to the company as the deputy procurement officer for the Army during the war. The Cadillac, according to the company president, was purchased by General Meyers from assets of the company.

In Winston-Salem, the evidence and arguments concluded in the case of the teenager accused of killing his parents on New Year's Eve following an argument with his father regarding theft of money to finance the boy's York, S.C., elopement. The Reynolds High School student faced the death penalty in the case, in which he had confessed the acts to police. The defense presented three psychiatrists, one from Bowman Gray School of Medicine, who testified that he was not mentally responsible for the homicides, saying that he labored under the misapprehension that his sweetheart was pregnant, causing him to suffer acute panic at the thought of his father blocking the marriage. It was at that point that the boy shot his father with a rifle and then shot his mother when she sought to phone police.

May old acquaintance be forgot.

In Charlotte, three young defendants, all brothers, were bound over for trial in Superior Court after a probable cause hearing on charges in five cases of breaking and entering and possession of stolen property, which allegedly was taken from break-ins of houses on the Catawba River. The three had confessed to the break-ins. Some of the brothers' seized booty is shown in a photograph.

According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. population stood at 145,340,000 at the start of 1948, following a record number of babies in 1947, 3,908,000 raising the collective decibel level of the country. The death rate continued low at 215,000. The net gain of 2.667 million exceeded the previous record increase in 1946 by about 400,000. The population had increased about ten percent, or 13.7 million, between 1940 and the beginning of 1948.

A Charlotte magistrate settled a dispute on ownership of a dog in a unique way. The short-tailed dog allegedly had been stolen by a man who claimed it was his and that its name was Fuzzy. The woman from whom it was taken claimed it was named Buck and that it had been her dog for some time. The man claimed that Fuzzy had a long tail and that he had lost him months earlier, that in the interim someone had cut his tail. In City Recorder's Court the previous month, the judge had ruled that the dog did not belong to anyone, dismissing theft charges, because neither party had paid city taxes on the dog. The woman then paid the taxes and brought a civil action to establish possession. The magistrate had the two parties each address the dog by its respectively claimed name and when the dog answered to "Buck" and remained fuzzy at "Fuzzy", the woman left with Buck legally established in her possession.

Somebody affected his hearing also.

On the sports page, a report tells of the first Associated Press NCAA All-America basketball team. The first team consisted of Ralph Beard of Kentucky, Ed Macauley of St. Louis, Jim McIntyre of the University of Minnesota, Kevin O'Shea of Notre Dame, and Murray Weir of the University of Iowa. Alex Groza of Kentucky was on the second team. Dick Dickey of N.C. State and Bob Cousy of Holy Cross were on the third team. Kentucky would win the NCAA championship, its first and the first of two consecutive championships. St. Louis would win the NIT, considered to be of equal or greater prestige in those times to the NCAA tournament.

On the editorial page, "Truman and the Party's Fate" asserts that the entry of President Truman officially to the presidential race would not stop the Southern revolt or the attempt to replace him on the ticket. It also believes that the President's decision might not be final. If the nation and the party made clear its decision to reject him, then he would likely bow out. His decision to close the door on rival candidates by an early declaration suggested alarm at the White House regarding the combination of the Wallace third party candidacy and the Southern revanche.

The Alsops the previous day had suggested that the Administration hoped that the inevitable worsening of the foreign situation would cause gravitation of support back to the President, but many Democratic leaders doubted that even that could save him. The piece believes that worsening of the foreign situation would work to Republican advantage and that the prospect should lead the Democrats to seek a new person for the head of the ticket.

"'To Achieve Their Lofty Aims'" comments on the McCollum case decided by the Supreme Court the previous day, preventing religious instruction, even on an optional basis and by several sects, in the public schools.

The piece finds the instruction to have been only a slight infringement of the First Amendment Establishment Clause but nevertheless finds it salubrious to have the Court's reaffirmation of the principle in such a situation. It finds salutary the majority opinion's statement that both Church and State could "achieve their lofty aims" better when maintained indefinitely separate from one another, as well the additional language that the First Amendment had erected a "high and impregnable wall" between the two, religious and secular.

It expresses belief that Christianity flourished only when there was freedom of religion granted to all and that the Church was safe only when kept free of the State. Europe had learned the lesson recently, when Nazism and Communism destroyed free practice of religion.

America needed to maintain its leadership in freedom and the case upheld that principle well.

If you or someone you know has trouble with the conceptualization mandated by the Establishment Clause, think of it this way: You would no more play baseball in church than you would in the classroom, for want of a proper diamond in each locus. We must maintain our apples and oranges separate thus for proper appreciation of the art of each, in apropos alignment of taste buds. If the two become comingled, then the result is applorange, or Our Lady of Fatima's Four Horsemen, hot as hell on the heart and causing the head to throb in heat. You do not want to partake of applorange, as a gluttonous child on Christmas morn out of the stocking, for then your Days are Numbered as the hairs on your head, such that once you are bald...

"MacArthur Can Relax Now" finds General MacArthur's offering of his hat into the presidential ring likely to have little response beyond a small coterie of supporters in his home state of Wisconsin and elsewhere. The Republican leadership had rejected General Eisenhower because of his being a military man and the same would be true of General MacArthur. The latter appeared to have entered the race to take advantage of the continued support for General Eisenhower even after he had withdrawn his name from consideration.

But the support for General Eisenhower, it offers, was based on his warmth of personality and a perception that he had human qualities to complement his executive ability and world experience, implying that General MacArthur lacked the former qualities.

A piece from the Kansas City Star, titled "Topping the Boomerang Tosser", tells of Chicago hotel manager and wrestler and boxer, Riley Bender, declaring his candidacy for the presidency, as he had in 1944. He was known as "Cockeyed Riley" to boxing fans. He had also been a football player and professional baseball player.

It offers that Henry Wallace was a proficient thrower of the Australian boomerang, but Mr. Bender seemed to have the athletic jump on him. The piece deems Mr. Bender as well qualified as Mr. Wallace—hardly a fair assessment given Mr. Wallace's background as Secretary of Agriculture, Vice-President and Secretary of Commerce, successful, by any objective assessment, in each position, relegated to the sidelines since fall, 1945 only by his insistence that a road to peace with Russia, deemed "appeasement", was superior to fomenting the cold war with a military arms race, the so-called "hard line" approach which he believed Secretary of State Byrnes at the time to be following.

Drew Pearson, in Deland, Fla., tells of a fisherman he had run across at the start of his Florida vacation who had made him catch fish for the first time. He had always aspired to be a fisherman but could never catch any. The fisherman had fished with Cordell Hull and the editor of Field & Stream, was thus well regarded as a fisherman.

He wound up catching, on the St. Johns River, eight black bass, the legal limit in Florida.

Southern politicians were suggesting that the President's civil rights program would cause a reversal of the progress being made in the South. Students at Stetson University believed the Southern revolt to be a tempest in a teapot.

Karl Bickel, retired head of the U.P., said that better wages for field hands would solve the economic disparity suffered by blacks in the South. And it would help business.

Mr. Pearson, based on what he had heard, predicts that Senator Claude Pepper would be re-elected in November.

Daytona Beach Democrats were organizing for Henry Kaiser.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the military phase of the Soviet-Western conflict having begun, marked by the proposed defensive alliance between Western Europe and the U.S., making the military balance between Russia and the U.S. more important than ever. The Soviets were pulling ahead in air power, with reportedly 14,000 combat planes, a force equal to that possessed by the rest of the world. In the previous year, the Russians had produced 7,000 military planes, 70 percent of world combat plane production. The U.S. had only produced 14 percent of world production in 1947, but was in second place. Moreover, the Russians had built 1,700 jet fighters in five different designs while the U.S. produced less than a fifth of that number. It was anticipated that Russia would produce 3,500 jets in the coming year.

Even more disturbing was the development by Russia of a long-range air force, patterned on the B-29, heretofore the sole province of Britain and America. The plane was based on three B-29's which had landed in Siberia and which the Russians never returned.

Many of the Russian planes were of a type declared obsolete long ago in the U.S. and America still had far more trained technicians. The Russians had encountered a problem in trying to duplicate the complicated landing gear assembly mechanism for the B-29 as they had sought unsuccessfully to purchase the assemblies in the U.S.

America had a much greater industrial capability than Russia but there was no room for complacency. Soviet ground forces were far superior in numbers to those of the U.S. The Russians had 600 divisions to America's 100 during the war. Anglo-American sea power remained dominant, but had limitations in ground warfare.

The implication was that America would have to lend its military strength to the Western European military alliance being formed in Brussels or it would have no meaning.

Marquis Childs discusses what appeared to be the impending disintegration of the Democratic Party, splitting into Northern and Southern factions. The President was not causing the break-up, but was at the inconvenient point in history when the two sides, post-war, had found their differences irreconcilable.

Mr. Childs had just spent two days in Detroit and found that Walter Reuther was against the candidacy of Henry Wallace as being a front for Communists. But he also sought to develop a third party of progressives after the 1948 election which would seek to align non-Communist labor, white collar and farm groups. That would produce a third splinter group within the Democratic Party, in addition to the Wallace followers and the Southern revolters.

But many believed that these various factions separately would only reach the same dead-end which other third party movements had.

President Roosevelt had managed to maintain the scrambled eggs of the Democratic Party on one plate. But that was yesterday and yesterday was gone.

There were those who posited that the new Democratic Party ought be formed on the tradition of FDR, with genuine ties to the North, and that as industrialization began to sweep the South, it would have appeal there as well.

A letter writer finds the North Carolina tax form to be a blatant piece of extortion for not allowing deduction of Federal taxes. He urges voting to remove some of the "dead-heads" who had promoted the system.

A letter writer joins another letter writer in criticizing a previous letter objecting to Universal Military Training, suggesting that it would lead to a military state.

A letter writer finds instructive a letter of February 28 regarding a woman's tour of the North by bus and train, examining differences from the South in the way blacks lived. She repeats a conversation had several years previously with a black man from Gaston County who said he would rather live in the South than the North because Southerners were more courteous. A Southerner would give a man a ride whereas the Northerner would not.

Give them both a shove.

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