The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 16, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., France, and Russia had agreed at the U.N. that, in principle, a threat to the peace existed in Palestine, a preliminary finding before the Charter allowed use of force to restore order. China had not yet agreed on certain wording of a resolution to be presented to the Security Council regarding use of force to uphold the partition plan which the General Assembly voted into being the previous November 29. Britain, scheduled to abandon its post-Word War I mandate in Palestine on May 15, took no part in the discussions.

The five-nation Palestine Commission meanwhile predicted chaos and bloodshed in Palestine by spring.

In Paris the 16-nation European Recovery Conference, planning utilization of ERP aid, voted unanimously to include Western Germany in the Plan. Action was deferred on Portugal's proposal that Spain be included.

The President was scheduled to provide to Congress a report the following day on world conditions.

The supply of coal to the Pittsburgh steel companies was completely cut off by the walkout of the bituminous coal miners in protest of the operators' rejection of the pension terms sought by John L. Lewis of UMW. Some 70 percent, or 280,000, of the nation's miners were now off the job. The demand was for $100 per month in pensions for those with 20 or more years in the pits. The contract set to expire in July only required the miners to work as long as they were "able and willing". They were now not willing.

The operators forgot to include the Sanity Clause.

A strike of 100,000 United Packinghouse Workers took effect at midnight, not heeding the President's plea to await a fact-finding board's determination of the dispute on higher wages. The AFL workers, numbering 150,000, remained on the job.

Industry experts predicted that markets would have less meat within two weeks should the strike continue. Pork would be more plentiful than beef, lamb, and mutton.

We need plenty of mutton this week.

In Florence, Ala., a tornado struck at 2:00 a.m., destroying about 75 homes, leaving 200 persons homeless.

Dick Young of The News reports that Charlotte's City Health Officer, Dr. M. B. Bethel, enjoyed substantial support to become the successor State Health Officer, following the resignation of Dr. Carl V. Reynolds from that post. Dr. Bethel had been head of the Charlotte Office since 1945, after serving in the same position in Concord for seven years. The State post paid less than the Charlotte position.

In Charlotte, a ten-year old daughter of a family, spending a rainy night under a railroad trestle at N. Graham Street, was killed when she wound up in the path of a locomotive at dawn while her father went in search of coffee. Her brother and sister, also huddled in the path of the engine, were able to jump free in time to avoid injury. The destitute family had been wandering for days in search of work. The two surviving children said that they only saw the locomotive as it was right on them. They were trying to teach the younger sister to form words with letters when the train came upon them.

The father, a "news butcher", had sold newspapers and concessions on a train, but lost his job. They left their home in Marion and headed to Gaffney, S.C., where his brother lived, but along the way had run out of money for train fare, had to walk most of the remaining sixty-mile distance to Gaffney. His brother had put them up for the night, given them some money and put them on the bus for Charlotte, where they arrived at dusk the previous day.

At Madison Square Garden in New York the previous night, NYU defeated Depaul 72 to 59 and St. Louis beat Western Kentucky 60 to 53, in the semifinals of the N.I.T. The finals would be played Wednesday night.

On the editorial page, "Taft and the War Danger" finds the reassurances of Senator Taft that there would be no war to be discomfiting, based on his similar reassurances not long before Pearl Harbor. He contradicted his own assertion in explaining his vote finally for ERP on the premise that, while he believed it fiscally wasteful, the stakes were too high not to try to rebuild Europe as a bulwark to Communism.

Indeed, Senator Taft had been one of the principal advocates of precipitating a showdown with Russia. He merely had to maintain the illusion of there being no risk to justify his opposition to universal military training, his support of a large tax cut, his stand against peacetime economic controls on inflation, and his delay of the Marshall Plan.

His performance was that of "an irresponsible master in the art of political hocus-pocus."

"Optimists and the Boys" tells of the Charlotte Optimists Club developing a Junior Optimists program, which brought into focus the civic organization's work on behalf of the community, including the establishment of recreation centers throughout the city for youth to "keep the boys off the street".

Marion "Footsie" Woods was employed as the director of the program at North Brevard Park. Mr. Woods had been a stellar athlete at Clemson and was well qualified to lead the program.

"Charles I. Burkholder's Gifts" tells of the passing at age 75 of Mr. Burkholder, a pioneer in the state's electrical industry. He had come from Illinois as an engineer, after years of association with G.E. wizard Charles Steinmetz, to work for Duke Power in 1906 and became a visionary in the development of electrical power for the state.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Exit the Martians", tells of the scientists, having observed recently Mars from the McDonald Observatory in Texas, concluding that there was no life on the Red Planet, other than mosses and lichens, that Martians were not. It ponders what the science fiction writers and satirists of same would do henceforth, as no lore surrounded Venutians.

It concludes that the best comfort came from the scientists who promised that the generation's great-great-grandchildren would be able to take trips to the moon.

Drew Pearson tells of some harmony having been achieved at a meeting of Democratic leaders during the previous week, led by Governor Robert Kerr of Oklahoma. Chicago boss Ed Kelley and Bronx boss Ed Flynn did not attend. DNC chairman Howard McGrath urged that the President's civil rights program had been made a tenet of the party by the 1944 platform. In terms of its provision to eliminate segregation in public carriers, he stressed that the President was merely calling attention to a ruling of the Supreme Court which forbade segregation on interstate carriers. He stated that the Democrats could win with the President as long as there was united support.

Southerners expressed their outrage against the civil rights program based on their belief that they were already eliminating the evils which the program addressed, such as lynching and abrogation of the poll tax. They contended that in Alabama blacks were paid the same as whites in many industries. In North Carolina, teachers received the same pay, regardless of race. But Senator McGrath retorted that, while he recognized these advances, the party policy which the President was carrying out had been set in motion by FDR and therefore the President should not become the object of ridicule for following it.

The Navy had admitted that many of the instructors at a school in Florida for civilians, a lobbying effort with the public to show what the Navy was doing, were going to be flown from remote places, as Alaska, at Government expense and in Navy planes. The Navy program only imitated the Army's similar drive to educate the public, efforts being limited by Congress as fiscally wasteful.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss HUAC's poor handling of the case of Dr. Edward Condon, head of the Bureau of Standards, as it deemed him the top security risk for the atomic secret for his alleged "knowing or unknowing" association with a Soviet espionage agent. HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey had, according to the New York Herald Tribune, become the society's "greatest single gift to Communist infiltration".

The Alsops focus on the letter of the FBI regarding Dr. Condon's loyalty issues and how the Committee obtained it. Robert Stripling, HUAC chief investigator, would not reveal how it came to them, except that it came from the confidential files of either the FBI or the Commerce Department, the latter having oversight of the loyalty investigation of Dr. Condon conducted by the FBI. Both agencies denied giving the letter to HUAC. Commerce had refused HUAC demands for it and the FBI stated that it was illegal to divulge it. The letter was not verbatim or complete and so apparently was the result of a HUAC investigator being allowed to read it and then transcribing its contents from memory.

They posit that whoever so revealed the letter's contents was a far more fit subject for HUAC investigation than either Dr. Condon or Hamilton Robinson—not to be confused with actor Murray Hamilton—, leading Republican in the State Department, the object of HUAC scrutiny for leftist tendencies.

Someone had revealed to "ineffable" Congressman Clare Hoffman of Michigan the names of the ten State Department employees discharged for loyalty issues the previous summer, also an illegal revelation.

Since the leak in the Condon matter, several Government scientists were considering resignation. It was already difficult to obtain competent Government employees in such positions and such leaks of sensitive personal information made it the more difficult.

Samuel Grafton posits that the thing missing from Secretary of State Marshall's warning the previous week of the "very, very serious" situation with respect to Russia was a demand for participation of the Soviets in a conference to ease tensions and seek resolution to the problems. He wonders why the country was behaving as if the solution had to come only from the U.S. Taking the offensive for peace would be an act of leadership for the world which would be emulated.

"Passion in the service of a proper goal is no menace to anybody."

But remember, Mr. Grafton: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." You will learn of that further down river, somewhere between here and Aintry.

Not to undertake such passion was to say that the other side was indifferent to the issue of war or peace, and such was impossible to believe. Fear should be expanded to being on behalf of the world, not just the U.S. or even confined to "civilization". It also involved the Tahitians, Tibetans, Afghans, and Uzbeks.

Several letters had been received in response to the "People's Platform" invitation issued by the editors to express opinions on Drew Pearson's column:

One letter writer says that he and his family liked Mr. Pearson and found in his travels that the columnist commanded respect above all other newspaper writers.

Another letter writer likes the entire page, including the editorial column and the columns of Messrs. Pearson, Grafton, and Childs, making it, he thinks, preeminent in North Carolina among newspaper editorial pages.

Another letter writer thinks Mr. Pearson to have engaged in fine reporting at times but also devolved to being a professional peeping-tom at others. He passes on the column as being too unrestrained in its revelations.

Another letter writer, while not agreeing with all of Mr. Pearson's opinions, finds nothing but respect for him generally, especially his October suggestion for the Friendship Train, to provide food and clothing for France and Italy during the winter, which he saw through to its conclusion. While in the service during the war, the writer found a friend to the enlisted man in Mr. Pearson. He finds that he was in part to be judged by his enemies, who included the late Senator Theodore Bilbo and President Truman.

He fails to recall that FDR called Mr. Pearson a "calumnist".

Another letter wants Mr. Pearson's column jettisoned and C. A. Paul's local column brought back.

That's a hell of an idea.

Another letter writer wants the column retained, as she enjoyed it immensely.

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