The Charlotte News

Friday, March 12, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Britain, France, and the Benelux countries adopted at Brussels a 50-year treaty of mutual political, economic and military cooperation, intended to check Soviet expansion into Western Europe. The treaty would be signed the following Wednesday.

There was no indication of the result of consideration as to whether Germany would be considered as a possible aggressor nation.

President Truman, on the first anniversary of his proposal of aid to Greece and Turkey, which became known as the Truman Doctrine, had stated at a press conference the previous day that, for the first time, his confidence had been shaken that world peace was attainable.

Secretary of State Marshall spoke the previous night at a meeting of the Federal Council of Churches, saying that the world was "in the midst of a great crisis inflamed by propaganda, misunderstanding, anger and fear." He advised clam and moderation on the part of the American people, advice echoing that of the President, who was in the audience. Officials expected that the crisis would reach a climax in the April 18 elections in Italy, where it was believed the Communists might prevail.

Both the President and Secretary Marshall placed emphasis on ERP, the formation of the Western European Union, just agreed at Brussels, and stated that the problem of maintaining world peace was more difficult than at any time since the war.

Senate Republicans slated action on the 4.7 billion dollar tax reduction bill for the following week, after whittling it down from 6.5 billion.

The DNC executive committee met to debate the civil rights program advanced by the President but no word came on what was discussed. DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath possibly would issue a statement the following day.

Meanwhile, the President stated at his press conference that he would not send any bills to Capitol Hill in furtherance of the ten-point civil rights program he had enunciated February 2.

In Washington, in the Federal District Court case of Maj. General Bennett Meyers on three counts of a charge of subornation of perjury of a witness before the Senate War Investigating Committee the previous November, the jury began deliberations after conclusion of testimony, arguments, and instructions. General Meyers, if convicted, faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The General was accused of inducing his brother-in-law, dummy president of the Aviation Electric Company, to lie about the General's actual ownership of the company while he served as deputy procurement officer of war contracts for the Army, funneling lucrative war contracts to the firm. The only defense offered by General Meyers was that the witness in question never lied to the Committee and so no perjury occurred. The judge in the case had denied a motion for acquittal on directed verdict following conclusion of the Government's case.

In Atlantic City, the American Association of Cancer Research heard this date of a new discovery of a possible carrier, a combination of porphryn and metals, for radioactive atoms for the purpose of attacking with precision hidden cancers to burn away the malignant tissues with gamma or other radiation, without destroying surrounding healthy tissue in the process, the latter being the problem. The carrier had appeared successful in experiments performed with mice. The scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore, who made the discovery, believed that it also might be useful in detecting cancers, as the porphryn would glow red under ultraviolet light in the presence of cancerous cells.

In Ottawa, Ill., an appellate court ruled that a farmer could not evict his aging mother from his home by use of a noise-making bull tied to a tree with a milk can with which to play, an electric fence stretched across the driveway, shutting off the water, placing iron pipes in the weeds as trip devices, and other such methods to annoy her. The farmer's parents had deeded the family farm to him in 1936 with the provision that they could live in the farmhouse for the remainder of their lives. The father had died in 1941. The mother continued to live there with her daughter and son-in-law, to the consternation of the farmer-son, obviously a little bastard.

A slight earthquake was felt in four states of the Western U.S., apparently centering in Oklahoma's panhandle. It was felt only for a couple of seconds in an area of about 60 miles in radius.

In Washington, a hospital orderly learned that a wealthy man from Houston, who had been a patient under his care in 1935, had left him, in appreciation of the service, $200,000 in his will.

In Asheville, N.C., the Highland Hospital fire, occurring the previous date at around midnight, was under investigation for possible arson. The fire at the mental facility had killed nine patients. Two fires of undetermined origin at the hospital the previous April had done little damage. But there was now suspicion that they might be linked with a fire, known to be the result of arson, at Duke Hospital in Durham the previous spring. The Highland Hospital was a unit of Duke Hospital.

Dick Young of The News reports of vandals having broken into Freedom Park the previous night and released most of the water from the five-acre lake via a valve, the chain on which they had cut. The act had killed most of the fish in the lake, just placed there the previous fall at a cost of $5,000. Grounds maintenance equipment had also been pushed into the lake. Police believed it to be the act of older persons because of the necessity of two workmen to open and close the valve.

Nancy Brame of The News tells of two young girls in Charlotte being locked for several hours in a small closet after entering it while playing hide-and-seek in a house under construction and nearly suffocating as a result before being found by a distraught parent searching for the children after dark when they did not come home for dinner.

Ally, ally oxen free.

In New York, stripteaser and writer Gypsy Rose Lee and a New York artist, Julio De Diego, were about to apply for a marriage license on Monday.

On the editorial page, "Protection for School Children" advocates accident coverage for public school children in North Carolina. Thirty-four other states, led in 1931 by Wisconsin, had adopted such protection. Charlotte had group coverage, limited only, however, to athletes in the high schools. The PTA had taken the lead in trying to adopt a plan for all school children in Charlotte. The cost of a group plan was low, 15 cents per student per season in Wisconsin to $2 in New Hampshire.

Without it, the children were left unprotected, as the courts had ruled that the inherent risk of athletic competition and games in the public schools meant an assumption of risk under the law, preventing liability by the State in the event of an accident during the course of properly supervised school activities.

"'Very, Very Serious' for America" finds Secretary Marshall not exaggerating when he so described the situation abroad and the consequent dissonance aroused in the country.

There was concern in Italy that the Communists would win the elections set for April 18. Should they win, it would place Soviet influence in the Mediterranean, menacing Greece, Turkey and the Middle East, shifting the balance of power and perhaps leading to war with Russia, as the mood of the American people might be so panicked as to demand it.

Such would be premature as the country was not ready for major war and would not be for some time.

The people of Europe had to rise more determinedly against Communism before the cold war could be won by the apostles of democracy.

It finds that the hotheads of America needed to quiet down to enable more persons of courage and wisdom, as General Marshall, to be heard.

"Our Opportunity in Margarine" finds North Carolina an ideal spot for the manufacture of margarine, all of its ingredients being abundant locally, save salt. The substance had an annual consumption rate of 3.6 pounds per person—and the rotundity to prove it.

It provides the ingredients and finds that margarine was no more a substitute for butter than a zipper for a button, but its reputation as such had limited its manufacture. Taxes imposed on oleo had also caused manufacturers to shy away.

Both Senators Clyde Hoey of North Carolina and Burnet Maybank of South Carolina were advocates against the tax. But only one plant, in Greenville, S.C., existed for its manufacture within the region.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Dispatch, titled "An Aye for Texas", tells of journalist Stanley Walker, writing in the American Mercury, having taken to task his adopted state of Texas but concluding on the whole that it was doing pretty well. He also suggested, section VI of the article, that the state might declare anew its independence from the United States and that Congress might joyfully agree to grant it. And it could even find a Texas oil millionaire who would be willing to become king should the state resolve not to return to the status of a republic. It could become a military buffer, he added, between the U.S. and Mexico.

The piece thinks the notion not to be amusing for the fact that Texas actually had the resources to accomplish the proposal. And the White House, with its civil rights program, had given the state incentive to proceed.

It thinks Texas, in that status, would also merit a seat on the Security Council of the U.N. and concludes therefore that Mr. Walker must be trying to aggravate Russia as much as Texas.

It should be noted that Mr. Walker found fault with the anachronistic criminal justice system in Texas, indicating that it was easier to get away with an egregious homicide or a light sentence for same than for theft of a horse or automobile, citing as the most recent miscarriage an appellate court's reversal of a murder conviction for the fact that the convicted stomper of a man to death had not been properly charged in the indictment with the manner of his stomping, that it was with his feet.

As the subnote to the article points out, Mr. Walker had also contributed, among fifteen additional articles to the Mercury since 1925, a piece the previous December, titled "The Dallas Morning News", in which he recounts some of its history, starting with founding publisher George Bannerman Dealey's adoption of a Davy Crockett aphorism as the newspaper's motto: "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." Among other things, he tells of the three-year fight of The Morning News against the Klan, starting with a nighttime march through the downtown area in 1921. He also informs of the newspaper printing a want-ad in 1944, seeking a "colored man" to work at night as a paper handler for the newspaper, whereupon the FEPC in Washington quickly registered a complaint to the ad as discriminatory, at which point the newspaper printed an editorial defending its racial specification as being what it wanted, just as a white mother might want only a white girl to take care of her children. Mr. Walker had worked at the newspaper as a reporter in 1918-19 before moving on to the New York Herald Tribune where he became city editor.

We note again that the co-founder of the newspaper in 1885 was A. H. Belo, mentioned in the article, originally of Winston-Salem, son of Edward Belo, who originally owned the Belo House in Old Salem, built in 1849. There is also extant a Belo House in Dallas, built by A. H. Belo.

Drew Pearson tells of DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath, Senator from Rhode Island, being frustrated in his position, as recently exampled by the determination of Secretary of Defense James Forrestal to appoint a big business Republican, president of Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, to be head of civilian defense without first checking with Senator McGrath, a traditionally understood precept in both Democratic and Republican administrations for time immemorial. Mr. McGrath believed the appointee unacceptable for anti-labor stances in Nebraska. Civil defense involved labor. Secretary Forrestal agreed to withhold the appointment until it could be considered by the President. But then the story of the appointment mysteriously appeared in the press and Secretary Forrestal claimed in consequence that he had to proceed with it.

There was at least one other example of Secretary Forrestal making such an appointment without prior approval by Mr. McGrath, that of the Remington Arms Company president, who helped foment war in Latin America by selling arms to Bolivia in 1928, to be the deputy Defense Secretary in charge of atomic matters. This person was also a Republican who helped finance a campaign against President Roosevelt in 1940.

Senator Homer Ferguson was about to start his probe into the Civil Aeronautics Board and, in the process, was expected to investigate a Washington law firm, Gambrell and White, attorneys for Eastern Airlines.

Senator Irving Ives of New York, a proponent of civil rights, congratulated, Senator John Stennis of Mississippi for his restrained handling recently of his first speech against the President's civil rights program.

Marquis Childs suggests that the country appeared fated to continue repeating a pattern of error, citing the example of China, regarding which the country was in agreement that some action was needed, but as to the specific mode of action, demonstrated querulous disarray. General Albert Wedemeyer, Chiang Kai-Shek's former American chief of staff during the war, wanted military aid for the Chiang Government against the Communists of Mao Tse Tung, whom General Wedemeyer saw as being backed by Moscow. Representative Walter Judd of Minnesota saw China on an idealized, moral plane, with Chiang essential to U.S. interests.

The situation was parallel to that of Greece a year earlier. When the President sought 400 million dollars in military aid for Greece and Turkey a year earlier, it was couched in similar terms, saving them from imminent Soviet expansion, as those enunciated by the partisans now wanting military aid to China. The President had recently sought 267 million dollars in economic aid for China, but not embracing military aid.

The result had been less than successful, as the politicians in Greece became aware of the American commitment to Greek security thus articulated. The royalist party press attacked America in language similar to that utilized by the Communists, as imperialist invaders. Premier Themistokles Sophoulis, the aging liberal democrat, was regarded by some observers as a prisoner of the royalists.

Greece was small, with only seven million people, whereas China had 500 million, most living at subsistence levels. Commitment indefinitely to such a regime as the Chiang government could have disastrous consequences. Some believed that Chiang had less popular support than the royalist power clique in Greece a year earlier. Thus, lest it be thrown down the drain, any aid to China had to have conditions attached to it, that reforms had to be undertaken in good faith, which the aid to Greece and Turkey did not.

There were anti-British demonstrations recently in Nanking, not just Communist-inspired, but growing from a deep resentment in the people toward the presence and exploitation of a foreign power.

Partisan politics should not enter into the debate on aid to China, distracting from the more immediate and vital interests of Western Europe, where the debate ought be concentrated. There were moves in Congress by Republicans to place the Chinese aid proposal in the same appropriations bill as the Marshall Plan.

Samuel Grafton again defines terms. "Constructive Criticism" was a way of telling someone to do something wrong in a better way, as employed by those who wanted universal military training because, implicitly, a war with Russia had already been declared. It would be destructive criticism to inform them that what they were advocating was wrong in the premises. Another example was the proposal to provide military aid to China a year after the same program in Greece had proved a failure following a year of effort. The converse was to suggest that the country ought move in a different direction.

"Charm" was that subtle appeal exerted by certain presidential candidates, having to do with the fact that they had never been in politics.

"The Vice-Presidency" was the peculiar status in American politics, variously described as either representing a powerless member of the Executive Branch or a member of the Legislative Branch without a vote, save on the rare occasion to break ties in the Senate. The office was of chief significance during election campaigns. Its occupant was usually sought on the basis of regional, philosophical, or personality balance with the head of the ticket. If the candidate could be conjoined with the presidential candidate, together they would make the ideal for the electorate. But the ultimate effect was to have, in the event of the death of the President, a Vice-President succeeding to the office who promised to be almost the exact opposite of the deceased President.

"Fantasy" was an unreal, distorted view of the future, as a person who believed that boom and bust cycles of the economy could be leveled out, not to be reconciled with the realists who understood that there had to be cycles of unemployment and depression as inevitable response to cycles of great prosperity and full employment, creating inflationary pressures, absent controls.

"Critical Detachment" represented the viewpoint of book reviewers who believed that Jim Farley's book on his former boss, FDR, was an historical treatise on a politician by a statesman.

A letter writer finds it a serious infringement of free dissemination of information for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to have refused permission of newsreel cameras to the hearing in which Henry Wallace had testified anent the Marshall Plan and his view that it fostered American imperialism and encouraged the cold war. Mr. Wallace had proposed an alternative to be administered through the U.N., but the press had buried the fact.

A letter finds pleasing the sarcastic suggestion in a letter from former News reporter C.A. Paul, that a society be formed to force white Californians not to discriminate against Mexicans and Japanese.

This writer thinks that the civil rights bill would cover it all anyway and so it was probably unnecessary to have the society proposed by Mr. Paul.

That's very funny, too.

A letter writer finds amazing the comment in a March 6 letter from P. C. Burkholder, candidate once again for the Republican nomination for the local Congressional seat, the failed nominee in 1946, attacking the March of Dimes as a hypocritical racket. This writer reminds that the victims for the most part of polio were under voting age but had parents and relatives who were not.

A letter from Superior Court Judge Wilson Warlick thanks the newspaper for its editorial supporting his appointment as the new U.S. District Court judge to replace retired Judge E. Yates Webb.

As indicated, Judge Warlick would eventually be appointed to the position the following year, after an interim recess appointment by the President of another judge, David Henderson, apparently because of the Republican majority in the Senate.

For the second successive day, the editors solicit opinions from readers re the column of Drew Pearson, especially with a view toward the esteem in which readers held him.

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