The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 20, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. the previous day, the United States, acting through Ambassador Warren Austin, proposed to abandon the Palestine partition plan approved by the General Assembly the previous November 29, stirring controversy among Jews and in Britain. The proposal called for a temporary trusteeship over the Holy Land. In response, the Jews of Palestine were likely to declare a separate Jewish state, leaving the U.N. to ignore it or recognize it. Arabs hailed the reversal in U.S. stance as a victory against Zionism. The Arab League said that it might agree to a short trusteeship and might even reach agreement with the Jews, but would not agree to indefinite postponement of independence for Palestine.

Britain stated that it would evacuate its troops from Palestine no later than August 1, confirming through Commons the end of the mandate on May 15.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Jerusalem as Palm Sunday approached, commemorating the entry of Jesus to the city. Thirty people were killed the previous day and more this date.

The U.S., Britain, and France proposed the return of Trieste to Italy via revision of the Italian treaty, from its current status as an international territory under U.N. protection. The move was seen as necessary to fulfill the goal of allowing the territory to become democratic. According to the three-power declaration, Yugoslavia had already incorporated that portion of Trieste occupied by Yugoslav troops, primarily the rural zone. An additional complication impelling the proposal was that there had been an impasse on the Security Council regarding selection of a governor for Trieste.

The move appeared strategically timed to appeal to Italian voters in advance of the April 18 elections.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed until Monday action on the proposed 570 million dollars of aid to China. The Committee approved the proposed 275 million of additional aid to Turkey and Greece. The House Foreign Affairs Committee had approved the bill on China, reserving 150 million for military aid.

The House was expected to begin debate on ERP Tuesday, following the unanimous approval the day before by the Foreign Affairs Committee of a unified aid package of 6.205 billion dollars, inclusive of the aid to Turkey, Greece, and China.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon stated that he would support the Republican tax cutting measure of 4.8 billion dollars, leaving little doubt that it would pass on Monday, when it was scheduled to come to a vote. Some Democrats had also expressed support. Senator Morse had voted against the back to back identical tax cut bills of the previous summer, both vetoed by the President and sustained. Republican Senator William Langer of North Dakota, who also had voted against the two previous bills, likewise indicated his support of the new bill.

The death toll reached more than 50 in a nine-state area hit by a series of tornadoes the previous day, stretching from Texas to New York, leaving more than 300 injured and several hundred homeless. The storms hit hardest in Illinois near St. Louis, in Macoupin County, where 41 were killed.

Ten miles from Somerset, Pa.,—near the location of the September 11, 2001 crash of the second hijacked plane bound for Washington, believed designated to target the Capitol, commandeered bravely by passengers and sent into the ground—, at least five persons were killed in a mid-air explosion of a two-motored transport and crash into a mountain near the Pennsylvania Turnpike. More victims were possible, according to police.

In Boston, a drunken gunman at the Charles Liquor Mart offered customers bargain prices on merchandise while his accomplice held the owner in a back room. He then made the owner wait on four customers and refuse payment. They got away with $300 after a half hour in the store.

In Charlotte, police were still looking for the accomplice of the 20-year old man who had admitted to robbing a prominent local attorney as the latter emerged with his winnings from a craps game at 3:30 a.m. the previous day. The man under arrest claimed that his accomplice had shot the attorney in the neck and beat him up, that he had nothing to do with the violence.

Sports editor Ray Howe provides a preview of the upcoming Gate City Golf Tournament in Greensboro, subsequently the GGO, to commence the following week.

In Madison Square Garden in Kansas City the previous night, Kansas State beat Wyoming 58 to 48 and Baylor nipped Washington 64 to 62 in the remaining quarterfinal games of the N.C.A.A. Tournament.

This night, in Madison Square Garden, Holy Cross would contest Kentucky, and in Kansas City, Baylor would vie against Kansas State, in the overall tournament semifinals, respectively the East and West finals, the two winners to meet on Tuesday in the Garden for the championship game.

In New York, stripteaser and writer Gypsy Rose Lee was wed to artist Julio De Diego.

In Hollywood, the 20th annual Academy Awards presentation took place with "Gentleman's Agreement" winning Best Picture. Elia Kazan also won the Best Director award for the film. The other nominees for Best Picture were "Crossfire", "The Bishop's Wife", "Great Expectations", and "Miracle on 34th Street". Loretta Young defied the conventional wisdom that Rosalind Russell would win the Best Actress award for "Mourning Becomes Electra". Ms. Young won for her performance in "The Farmer's Daughter". Ronald Colman got the nod, as anticipated, for Best Actor for his role in "A Double Life". Many thought, according to a poll conducted by Daily Variety, however, that Gregory Peck would win for his performance in "Gentleman's Agreement". The same poll correctly predicted that Celeste Holm would win the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in "Gentleman's Agreement" and that Edmund Gwenn would win the Best Supporting Actor award for "Miracle on 34th Street".

Best Original Screenplay went to Sidney Sheldon for "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer". Best Adapted Screenplay was awarded to George Seaton for "Miracle on 34th Street". Best Story went to Valentine Davies for the same film.

"Tweetie Pie" beat out "Chip an' Dale", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse", "Pluto's Blue Note" and "Tubby the Tubba" for Best Documentary on a Serious Subject.

Best Musical Score went to Alfred Newman for "Mother Wore Tights" and Best Original Song went to "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "Song of the South", music by Allie Wrubel and lyric by Ray Gilbert. Best Dramatic or Comedy Score was awarded to Miklos Rozsa for "A Double Life"—which probably somehow dovetailed with "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse", not to mention "Tubby the Tubba" and Pluto, explaining perhaps why, at age four, we once had a napmare about Pluto being in the front yard.

The Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography awards for a black and white film both went to "Great Expectations", while the counterpart awards for a color film went to "Black Narcissus".

"Climbing the Matterhorn" by Irving Allen won for Best Live Action Short two-reeler.

Newsreel coverage of the event took place for the first time in its 20-year history.

Also in Los Angeles, a man reading the want-ads wondered what became of the housing shortage when he saw advertised: "For rent—3-room apt., all furnished, cry baby welcome."

With temperatures in the high eighties, Tom Schlesinger of The News tells of spring fever being in the air in Charlotte, in front of the Public Library and the First Presbyterian Church, as the first day of spring was a day away.

On the editorial page, "Georgia Editors Fight the Klan" tells of a determined fight by Columbus, Georgia, Ledger-Enquirer Editor Bryan Collier and the newspaper's president, A. H. Chapman, against the Georgia Klan. Recently, the Klan had roughed up three staff members for the newspaper, just as Governor M. E. Thompson was speaking out against the President's civil rights program on the premise that the Southern states were doing an adequate job on their own in enforcing civil rights without Federal intervention. The incident, as Governor Thompson recognized, undercut his position.

The piece pays kudos to the Ledger-Enquirer for its brave stand. The three staff members, photographer Joe Talbot and reporters Carlton Johnson and Jim Bellows, later editor of the New York Herald Tribune and associate editor of the Los Angeles Times, had risked their lives to go undercover to report on the Klan activities, and, when discovered, were beaten, drugged, and forced into a stance of simulated sodomy, of which pictures were taken, while being threatened with worse treatment, at one point homicide having been considered through a staged drunken car accident.

In 24 instances the previous year, law enforcement officers had prevented lynchings in the South. The three reporters ranked alongside them in courage. It was one reason that lynching in 1947 had been reduced to only one instance, that of Willie Earle, near Greenville, S.C.

It concludes that, while the mob spirit still lived, the moral forces in the South were winning. The news from Columbus was another episode in that long battle to defeat the forces of prejudice.

As a postscript, the three journalists had been arrested for public drunkenness as a result of the forced imbibing of liquor by the Klan, and, in mid-April, without consulting them, the newspaper's attorneys would forfeit their bonds and give up the fight to defend them, leaving the three with recorded guilty pleas of which none had approved or personally entered, not even having been informed of the hearing date. Had they, incidentally, received any competent legal advice and representation, they could have sought to overturn the pleas by way of either appeal or habeas corpus, on the theories of ineffective assistance of counsel and lack of knowing and intelligent waivers of their rights.

Now, you have a pretty good impression as to what the initiation ceremony of the Klansmen in that tarpaper shack was likely all about. They probably called it the shack of "The Cross's Deliverance".

"More Frustration in UN" tells of the Chilean delegate to the U.N. calling upon the Security Council to investigate the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, at the urging of the Czech delegate, and the Security Council voting 9 to 2 to take up the measure. The piece finds it another example of the U.N. being used as a sounding board for the East-West dispute, in a way which would only highlight the differences and have a greater demoralizing effect on the West than on Russia, without it likely accomplishing anything positive. It was another reason for America to gird its defenses.

"Another Weapon Against Reds" finds the President in his Wednesday speech to have advocated giving military aid to the nations of Western Europe, in addition to economic aid. It was a message to Stalin that if Russia continued its expansionist policy into Western Europe, it would be met by force. That would take care of "external aggression", but it remained to determine what would prevent occurrence of internal coups of the type in Czechoslovakia.

It appeared that forms of dictatorship to keep Communists out of the cabinets of Western Europe would be the only means to forestall such internal takeovers. The returning strength of General De Gaulle in France was viewed as reflecting that belief. Moves had also been made in Italy to ban the Communists. Such a move toward rightist dictatorship, however, would be unpopular and probably would produce violence.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Soilicide in America", tells of the word being coined by Congressman Ben Jensen of Iowa at the convention of Soil District Supervisors to characterize the attitude of Americans toward soil conservation. A bill before Congress, sponsored by Congressman Harold Cooley of North Carolina, would eliminate the Soil Conservation Service and transfer its functions to the Extension Division of the Agriculture Department and to state extension services. Its actual purpose was to perpetuate wasteful and inefficient soil subsidies.

The Jensen bill was better, proposing to concentrate soil conservation functions in the Service and to establish a new land policy to permit acceleration of conservation. The figures showed that the country was losing the battle to conserve its arable soil, with only 24 million acres under soil conservation methods in 1947.

Drew Pearson informs that the President had not received well the statement of advice from former Secretary of State James Byrnes, advising a policy of action rather than mere objection to Soviet expansion. One aide said that if Mr. Byrnes had been tougher during his 1945-47 tenure at State, then the problems presently extant would not be so bad. The general consensus was that he should have cleared his statement first with the State Department. The President believed that Mr. Byrnes had practically sold the country out to the Soviets in December, 1945. He now believed that Mr. Byrnes was seeking to assume national leadership of the party to appeal to the Southern revolters and grab the Democratic nomination.

Mr. Pearson notes that in fall, 1946, Mr. Byrnes, as Secretary, had enunciated a "get tough" policy with Russia, which led to the contrary statement by Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, leading to his firing after Mr. Byrnes insisted that one of the two had to leave. The President would not have fired Mr. Wallace otherwise, having approved the Wallace statement before he issued it.

He next provides several examples of ordinary citizens extending hands of friendship into Europe, including initiation of exchanges of letters of friendship.

Congressman Mike Kerwin of Ohio said at the Democratic executive committee meeting that big business had been saved by FDR during the early days of the New Deal and now they repaid the favor by attacking the Democrats.

Some caucusing Democrats supported the Republican tax cut bill of 4.7 billion dollars, including Senators Walter George of Georgia and Edwin Johnson of Colorado. Senators Tom Connally of Texas and Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming were adamantly opposed.

The Italian people, to show their appreciation for the Friendship Train food contributed by Americans in the fall, had financed a film, showing the gratitude of the Italians, shortly to begin general release in the U.S.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop inform that Secretary of State Marshall and his advisers believed that Premier Stalin had set in motion forces beyond his control in the expansionist policy followed since the end of the war, the reason Secretary Marshall found the situation "very, very serious".

If the Communists gained control of Italy in the April 18 elections, then U.S. aid under ERP would evaporate, as expressly confirmed the previous day by Secretary Marshall, leaving a hungry nation which could only be dealt with by dictatorial force, eventuating in civil war. Such a war could easily erupt into general war between East and West. If the Communists gained as much as 40 percent of the seats in the election, then they could make it impossible to form a non-Communist government, prompting the weak president of Italy to call on the Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti to form a government. He would fill the undersecretaryships with young, energetic Communists who could then slowly take over, reminiscent of the Czech coup of the previous month. If Italy were to fall to the Communists, then so could all of Europe and the Middle East.

But the President had made it clear to Moscow in his Wednesday speech that for the Communists to take over Italy would carry with it the inherent risk of war. Yet, Stalin could not reel in the forces set in motion, being political rather than military. He could not simply call on Togliatti to halt the advance. And to do so in any event would undermine Soviet power throughout the non-Communist sphere, compromising the Soviet ability to wreck ERP, its enunciated goal. That in turn would compromise the Soviet empire built up in Eastern Europe. It was the trap into which Stalin had placed himself with the politically aggressive policy.

Marquis Childs comments that the President's speech should convince even the tough-minded men of the Politburo at the Kremlin that the U.S. would not tolerate any aggression into Western Europe.

Meanwhile, both Henry Wallace and Senator Taft, at opposite ends of the political spectrum, equally had their heads buried in the sand. Senator Taft was engaging in the same isolationist rhetoric which he uttered leading up to Pearl Harbor, that there was no threat to U.S. security. Both men had significant support for their views, even if smaller than the isolationists during 1940-41.

It was important for the Congress to act quickly in passing ERP and to reinstitute at least the machinery for the temporary draft of 19 and 20-year old young men. Implementing universal military training was unlikely in the 80th Congress and was probably not wise in any event for the need of so much available manpower to make it work. It was also not likely that Congress would enact a draft, with only 235,000 men needed to fill the manpower gap for the armed forces. But what was necessary was to set up registration for the draft so that induction could begin quickly if emergently made necessary.

A letter writer favors the North Carolina Republican Party determination to have its Congressional candidates selected by the voters rather by the party convention, as in the state Democratic Party.

A letter from the Navy officer in charge of recruiting in Raleigh thanks the newspaper for its support of the recruiting effort, which had attracted 605 men during the first two months of the year.

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