The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 27, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in answer to a Russian protest of March 6 that the West, by discussing Germany's future, was splitting Germany and Europe in defiance of the Potsdam agreement, the U.S. and Britain had stated in diplomatic notes to Russia that the British, French, and American efforts to pacify Germany and bring about economic recovery had not caused the cleavage but rather that it was the result of the Soviet effort and that of their satellite states of Eastern Europe, interfering with recovery from the effects of the war. The note contended that nothing in the Potsdam agreement prevented discussion of Germany by three of the powers if one of the powers invited to join the discussion refused, as had Russia. The note also charged that Russia was eliminating political opponents in Eastern Germany by putting them in the former Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Oranienburg.

South of Bethlehem, according to the RAF, four Jewish aircraft bombed concentrations of Arabs surrounding a 30-vehicle Jewish convoy in a battle near Solomon's Pools. The convoy was returning from Kfar Etzion to Jerusalem and had met 17 Arab roadblocks along the way. The route to Kfar Etzion before dawn had been uneventful. An armed British escort vehicle had reportedly been disabled in the fighting.

An undeclared Good Friday truce in Jerusalem ended the previous night and a five-mile line of gunfire, from Beit Jala to the commercial center of Jerusalem, could be heard along with muffled explosions. Units of the British Royal Warwickshires carrying large mortars moved along the city walls through the Valley of Gehenna, regarded Biblically as hell. Unoccupied Jewish dwellings in the Sheikh and Jarrah quarters of the city were blown up by Arabs. Six Jews and four Arabs were reported killed in scattered violence across Palestine the previous day.

The British Foreign Office denied that negotiations were transpiring with the U.S. regarding a delay in the ending of the British mandate and evacuation of British troops from Palestine, scheduled to occur May 15.

Democrats opposed to the President, including FDR, Jr., and Elliott Roosevelt, were seeking anew to convince General Eisenhower to seek the Democratic nomination. He reportedly told them that he was no more available to the Democrats than to the Republicans. He had withdrawn his name from consideration in mid-January. Neither Roosevelt sons attacked Mr. Truman but did criticize Henry Wallace.

In California, James Roosevelt had just mollified Democrats threatening revolt in that state regarding the Administration's switch on the Palestine partition plan. FDR's daughter, Anna Boettiger, stated that she was opposed to a military man as President.

A Federal fact-finding board recommended a 15.5 cents per hour pay raise for locomotive engineers, firemen, and switchmen. The three railroad brotherhoods, who had sought 30 percent wage increases, had until April 26 to consider the proposal, after which they were free to go on strike.

A Federal court in Indianapolis enjoined the AFL International Typographical Union from violating Taft-Hartley by participating in strikes, slowdowns, or walkouts. An ITU strike had been ongoing for four months in Chicago while the six major newspapers continued to publish via typewritten copy printed by photo-engraving.

The pilot of a Pan American Clipper passenger plane stated that he observed a submarine 60 miles southwest of San Francisco during the morning. It submerged as the plane passed over its position and bore no identifying marks. A Navy spokesman stated that an American submarine was operating in the area and was probably that which the pilot saw.

In Duncan, Okla., a former Duncan police officer admitted beating to death a waitress while he was on duty. The City Manager discharged the chief and three other officers over the incident for withholding information during investigation of the murder. The officer had resigned nine days after the slaying and ten days before the body was discovered in the trunk of an unrelated vehicle. During the interim, the officer was permitted to participate in some phases of the investigation.

Tornadoes which hit hard in Indiana and into parts of Missouri, Illinois, Georgia and Alabama the previous day had killed 22 persons and injured more than 80 others. Thirteen of the dead were in Coatsville, Ind., about 30 miles west of Indianapolis. Nineteen of the dead were in Indiana and the three others were in Georgia. For the week, the death toll had reached 75 from three separate sets of storms.

The bulk of the page is devoted to Easter, to be celebrated the following day, including the story of Jesus during the time between Palm Sunday and Easter, as related in the Book of Mark in the Bible.

Traditional Easter services were to be held at the Amphitheater in the National Cemetery at Arlington, with a cross of white lilies to be placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the Grand Canyon south rim in Arizona, the 14th annual Easter services would be held and broadcast nationally by radio. The Yaqui Indians of Arizona would hold their Easter Pagan-Christian ceremonies at Pascua Village near Tucson and at Guadalupe near Phoenix. In the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, a hundred miles from the Trinity test site of the first atomic bomb, an Easter commemorative service would also take place.

On the editorial page, "Editorializing on the Radio" comments on the Federal decision to limit editorialization on the radio, the so-called Mayflower decision of the FCC in 1941. Frank Stanton of CBS had told the FCC in hearings that the decision limited free speech by broadcasters and implied that the public was not smart enough to filter and discriminate between differing points of view. The public had the frequency changer available, just as they could change newspapers and magazines if they did not like the content.

The piece agrees and believes that the radio broadcasters, having become plentiful in number across the country on both AM and FM bands, with about 3,000 frequencies, were no longer susceptible to the argument of scarcity of access and thus monopoly of opinion. They were deserving of the opportunity to present opinion before the American people.

The Mayflower decision would be overturned in 1949 by the FCC in favor of the Fairness Doctrine, requiring broadcasters to air matters of controversy which were of interest to the public and to provide differing viewpoints on the subject matter. The Doctrine was abandoned by the FCC in 1987 during the Reagan Administration in favor of subjective talk radio and talk tv rubbish, of no use to anyone except idiots whose only form of recognized "argument" is dictation in an echo chamber.

"Word Stronger Than Atom" indicates no security coming from Connecticut Senator Brien McMahon's statement in an article in Collier's that the U.S. had enough radioactive material above ground to wipe out all human life on the planet if efficiently applied. The Senator called for an educational program for the world to counteract Soviet propaganda by educating Europeans to the truth about democracy versus Communism and to communicate a realization of the meaning of atomic energy as both a weapon and a constructive force. The Senator estimated the cost of such an information service to be between 200 and 300 million per year for the next few years. The Soviets were spending 120 to 180 million per year on propaganda.

The piece thinks that such a war of ideas made much more sense than a war of arms or threat of use of radioactive material by an efficient means of application.

"Rocking the Boat in Crisis" finds Nebraska Senator Kenneth Wherry's effort to abolish the Atomic Energy Commission and turn atomic energy back over to the military to be indicative of the military extremists who had developed in Congress, particularly among Republicans. His plan would remove hope for development of peaceful uses of atomic energy.

The Army, according to Secretary Kenneth Royall, was completely satisfied with the current set-up of AEC.

But a drive in Congress was shaping up to push the Administration to move faster on armament production than the President and Secretary of State Marshall deemed necessary. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., was leading six Senate Republicans in pushing for increase of the number of air combat groups from the planned 55 to 70. Governor Dewey stated during the week that he believed that the Administration was not being tough enough on Russia, at a time when the Administration was getting as tough as it could diplomatically without declaring war.

These efforts were interfering with the carefully balanced planning by the military and diplomatic arms of the Executive Branch and served to create hysteria which could push the country into premature military action.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Frame for World Order", tells of the "Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution" having been developed by an eleven-man committee headed by chancellor Robert Hutchins of the University of Chicago. The proposed government would have a federal convention in which popularly elected delegates from each nation, based on one for each million of population, would take part. The convention would elect a President for one six-year term and a unicameral legislative Council of 99 members, with the President then having power to appoint a judiciary, the selections being subject to veto by the Council, the veto subject to override by two-thirds vote of the judiciary. The convention would also elect a Tribune of the People to represent minority interests, serving for three years. Within three years, an official language of the world government would be selected.

The drafters conceded that the circumstances were not ripe yet for such a government but it was hoped that as the atomic age progressed, it might become a reality.

The plan, the piece predicts, was too simple and rational to be acceptable any time soon. But such a world government needed to be adopted in the not too distant future and the draft proposed would hopefully provide the impetus for it.

Drew Pearson tells of the President having approved large-scale plans made by the Department of Defense to arm friendly democratic nations via military lend-lease as before and during the war. The plans, proposed by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, were to arm 40 divisions of the French Army, provide thousands of surplus rifles, machine guns and ammunition to the Italian Army, with 30 divisions to be armed as fast as equipment could be produced, provide naval craft and arms to Norway, and give new American planes to the British RAF, making it the most powerful striking force in Europe.

Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman, a believer in getting tough with Russia, was the prime Cabinet supporter of Secretary Forrestal's plan. Both men understood that the reaction of Russia would likely be to get tougher, producing a risk of war. But not to undertake the armament program was to risk anarchy abroad.

DNC chairman Senator J. Howard McGrath had found New York Democratic leaders seething over the switch in Palestine policy and demanding that the President be replaced on the ticket. Former Senator James Mead, who had just refused an appointment as a commissioner on the Federal Power Commission, concluded that the Democrats hadn't a prayer with the President as the nominee. Congressman Arthur Klein was set to begin a drive to find a new candidate. All had written off New York in November.

General "Wild Bill" Donovan, head of the O.S.S. during the war, was amazed at the amateurish way in which the new C.I.A. conducted its business.

The Southeastern Methodist Church organization had recently passed a resolution supporting the President on civil rights.

Regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, a claim of relatively recent origin has surfaced that the wallet of Lee Oswald was supposedly found originally at the scene of the murder of Police Officer J. D. Tippit, occurring about 45 minutes after the assassination two miles away, rather than being taken by police, as they reported, from the person of Oswald at the time of his arrest. A wallet examined by police at the scene of the Tippit murder, as captured by WFAA news footage, was described contemporaneously as that of Officer Tippit.

Of course, Oswald was arrested in the Texas Theater, a block south and five and a half blocks west, three-quarters of a mile, from the scene of the Tippit murder at 10th and Patton, the officers arriving at the theater initially in response to the Tippit murder and a report of a man entering the theater without paying. (For the shooting suspect's route, orient on the Google map linked above from the vantage point immediately to the left of the "Camera Location" of Warren Commission Exhibit 523, noting "S" to demark the suspect's line of travel to S. Patton.) It should be noted that one eyewitness at the theater has stated that Oswald, based on the start time of the feature then running, "War Is Hell" with Audie Murphy, entered the theater at around 1:07, a few minutes before the time stated by the Warren Commission as that of the Tippit shooting, 1:15 to 1:19, which, if accurate, would obviously be exculpatory of Oswald.

Julia Postal, the box office tender at the theater, did not specify the time of Oswald's entry, but placed it at "just about the time" she had opened the box office, which she specified as 12:45, as police cars blaring sirens passed the theater going west. She said that the ticket-taker who worked the concessions, Warren "Buddy" Burroughs, had initially said that he saw Oswald enter the theater, until she was able to convince him that he had not and that Oswald must have slipped by him into the balcony, from which there was ready access to the orchestra level without being seen by the concessionaire, provided he was looking away. Mr. Burroughs testified before the Commission that he had not seen Oswald, so told the police when they entered the theater, saying that the man might have slipped by him into the balcony, told the Commisssion that it likely occurred while he was bending down tending the candy. He was not asked about times.

Johnny Brewer, who worked for a shoe store at 213 W. Jefferson, about 60 yards from the theater, claimed to have seen Oswald duck inside the vestibule of the store as police cars were first going west on Jefferson and then, after they made a U-turn and proceeded east, leave the vestibule and head west toward the theater, into which Mr. Brewer said he saw Oswald duck. He could provide no time frames, however, except that he recalled he had already heard on the radio the announcements of both the rumor of the President's death and the shooting of Officer Tippit. According to the police dispatcher's log, NBC, whether radio or tv not being stated, was reporting by about 1:32 that Officer Tippit was determined to be dead on arrival at Parkland Hospital. Mr. Brewer also contradicted Ms. Postal's testimony that she did see a man in the vestibule of the theater but not his actual entry through the doors. He stated that she told him, when he first approached her at the box office, that she had not seen any man fitting the description he provided.

Between 1:19 and 1:22, the suspect in the Tippit shooting was seen running west past 401 E. Jefferson, in the direction of the Texas Theater, about four blocks away. The police were dispatched to the Texas Theater at around 1:40 and Oswald was arrested at about 1:51.

In any event, the report on the Oswald wallet is, if accurate, also more exculpatory than incriminating of Oswald in the Tippit shooting. For if the Dallas Police were willing to falsify evidence of a critical nature, evidence which would have been the linchpin of the case both as to the Tippit shooting and, in consequence, the assassination of the President, the inference may quickly be made that other evidence was falsified.

A prime suspect for such manipulation would be the alleged finding of two rifles in the Depository, or, in the case of the second rifle, possibly on the roof of the Depository, one being described as a 7.65 German Mauser, in addition to the 6.5 caliber Mannlicher-Carcano associated with Oswald. And, of course, such also opens the door for evidence manipulation by the police with regard to the palm print of Oswald allegedly found on the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle on the night of the 22nd by the Dallas Police, albeit an "old print" found underneath the wooden stock after its removal from the gun. The two fingerprints found near the trigger guard of the rifle could not be identified. Interestingly, an ejected live bullet in the chamber of the Mannlicher-Carcano and ready to fire when the rifle was first discovered on the sixth floor of the Depository, bore no fingerprints.

The point is that if the door is opened to evidence manipulation in one key aspect of the case, the door is opened to manipulation of all of the primary evidence linking Oswald to either crime. One cannot cherry pick the evidence to suit one side or the other, finding evidence manipulation when suited to an explanation of one anomaly favorable to one result and excluding the possibility of manipulation when it cuts the other way.

And with the assumption of evidence manipulation by the police, could the scenario regarding the wallet not have been the converse? That is to say, was the wallet of Oswald brought to the scene of the Tippit murder by the police after being retrieved from the person of Oswald on the way to the police station, deliberately allowed to be photographed at the scene, in anticipation of it perhaps becoming useful, if necessary, as "added" evidence of Oswald's guilt, had there been a trial? It would have taken less than ten minutes to get from the police station, a couple of blocks from Dealey Plaza, back to the scene of the Tippit shooting. The death of Oswald on Sunday, two days after the murders, would have made manipulation of the Tippit evidence no longer necessary, and so the need to change the location of finding the wallet extraneous. Thus, it was recorded as having been taken from Oswald at the time of arrest, as in fact it probably was.

But if the Oswald wallet had been found at the scene of the Tippit murder, then it would probably fill in the blanks of the unspoken story of what happened leading to the shooting, as it contained two identifications, one for Oswald and the Selective Service Card of Alek J. Hidell, the name to which were linked, via mail order documentation, both the Mannlicher-Carcano and the .38-caliber pistol, the latter allegedly found on Oswald at the time of his arrest and linked to the Tippit murder, albeit not conclusively. Assuming Officer Tippit stopped Oswald based on the general description being broadcast from 12:45 of the person of interest in the assassination—made before the focus was on Oswald, per se, as a suspect and before he was discovered missing from the Depository, no earlier than 1:22—, and assuming Officer Tippit then asked for identification, whereupon Oswald produced the wallet, the inference to be made is that Officer Tippit then, discovering the two identification cards, sought to detain Oswald for further investigation, at which point, Oswald, realizing the officer had in his possession a link to the assassination rifle, the Hidell alias, then shot Officer Tippit and walked hurriedly away from the scene, turning left diagonally across the corner lawn onto S. Patton and then a block away turning right onto E. Jefferson, heading west. (It should be noted that the appearance of the intersection of 10th and Patton has been changed considerably with construction in recent years and 10th is no longer a through street to the west as it was in 1963.)

If that scenario is correct, however, one has to question why Oswald would have left his wallet at the scene and not taken the extra moment to bend down and take it back from the dead officer's possession, knowing that it contained his actual identification and that of the alias connecting to both guns, the presumed motive in that scenario for the murder. And, regardless of where the wallet was eventually found, one has to question why Oswald would have been so dumb as to carry with him the Hidell alias card knowing that it linked him to the rifle which he had just used to assassinate the President of the United States. It should be noted that a wallet of Oswald was found at the home of Ruth Paine, where Marina Oswald was staying, with $170 which he had left there the night before. Oswald had less than $14 at the time of his arrest, not suggesting any intention to make a conventional getaway, at least not very far—as, in fact, the Commission expressly determined.

The wallet transposition scenario also leads to the question why the Dallas Police would have cleansed the Tippit shooting scene of the most damning evidence to Oswald in the Tippit murder, evidence also leading back inexorably to the assassination based on its containing the Hidell alias. Does it stand to reason that it was because, as posited by the F.B.I. agent who says in the new report on the Oswald wallet that he was asked at the scene of the Tippit murder whether he knew of an Oswald or Hidell, the police were so concerned about the appearance of bumbling by handling the wallet and destroying fingerprints that they would have dissembled on where they found the wallet in a manner destructive of incriminating evidence? Fingerprints of police officers can always later be eliminated from evidence if identifiable prints of the suspect can be discerned, as, for instance, was the case regarding one of the boxes comprising the Depository "sniper's nest", found to contain Oswald's palm print in addition to 19 other prints, linked eventually to investigating officers. (That latter piece of evidence, incidentally, has never lent strong proof of Oswald being necessarily connected to the assassination as he had normal access to the sixth floor in his duties as an employee and could have innocently therefore had his fingerprints on many of the boxes, moving them around to gain access to boxes to fill orders in the normal course of his duties. But see also Commission Exhibit 3131, Vol. XXVI, p. 802.) And why would the officers have been so concerned about messing up fingerprints on the wallet with the identification of Oswald in the wallet?

The question is also begged by the contemporaneous narration of the film by Ron Reiland of WFAA on November 22, 1963, whether the wallet being photographed was actually at the scene of the Tippit shooting at the time or at the police station or outside the theater and merely edited in juxtaposition to the Tippit scene, making it appear in continuity. Another unexplained anomaly is that Mr. Reiland describes a gun being held by the officer holding the wallet as being the alleged weapon used to murder Officer Tippit. But the gun identified by police as the murder weapon was not that gun, rather the snub-nosed .38 revolver allegedly taken from the person of Lee Oswald at the time of his arrest. The gun in the film is not a snub-nosed pistol, appears consistent in appearance with a Dallas Police revolver and thus may have been Officer Tippit's weapon. At very least, there were, in the rush to inform the public, details in the coverage that day which were understandably at times confused.

Candidly, we find this new Oswald wallet evidence and accompanying explanation therefore to go nowhere, only leading, if correct, to the opening of a can of worms, to more questions than can be reasonably answered.

Marquis Childs tells of two of the Republican presidential candidates having assailed the Administration's about-face on partition of Palestine, and the others could be expected to follow. He finds the Palestine policy a revolving blankety-blank-blank, paraphrasing the late columnist, General Hugh Johnson. It could be attacked from any angle. The pro-Zionists felt betrayed. Those who had opposed partition all along could wonder why it was ever favored in the first place. The U.S. had failed to foresee the obvious problems in implementing the plan.

FDR was adept at reconciling the extremes within his Administration with compromise. He began to show signs of inadequacy in this regard only in the last two years of his life. President Truman had tried to emulate his predecessor but had been unable to effect the compromise necessary for a workable solution. The unresolved tension was evident in the reversal of the Palestine policy.

The result was doubt at home and abroad of the nation's integrity. It did not even appear that the President had recognized his error in light of swiftly changing international events. Rather, the change appeared to be the result of bumbling lack of coordination of policy within the Administration.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest that the turnabout on Palestine would not only cost the President the election but also the Democratic nomination. The erosion of support of the President by Northern Democrats now found added impetus in this issue.

Eleanor Roosevelt had written the White House disapproving of the change in policy and offered to resign as a delegate to the U.N. Her loss to the Administration would be substantial and the White House would try to persuade her to remain. Her support of the Administration had provided continuity from the New Deal and caused many otherwise reluctant Democrats to remain on board with the President. Were she to resign, she might even join the movement to replace the President with someone else on the ticket.

Likewise, Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, formerly a Truman supporter, had called for the President to step aside, making the Southern revolt nearly unanimous, save for Senator Claude Pepper of Florida.

It appeared also that the anti-Communist and anti-Wallace labor wing of the party was about to depart the Truman train. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find any Democrats outside the White House who favored the President.

They conclude that with so many forces aligning against him, his chances were slim even to garner the nomination. The only saving grace was that there was no single candidate, save General Eisenhower, on whom the disparate interests within the party could agree as a suitable replacement.

A letter writer finds the U.S. to have lost face since the death of FDR and that the country could not defeat Russia without using the atomic bomb. But he says that he would rather be underneath the first one dropped than to be the person responsible for its use in the next war.

A letter from failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder, running again in 1948, as always, attacks the Marshall Plan as a Government give-away to Europe, emblematic of the New Deal philosophy. Provision of aid to Poland since the war, he says, was a double-cross to Americans as it had gone only to help the Communists in control of Poland.

Forget not.

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