The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 31, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Binyamina in Palestine, 20 miles north of Haifa, in a predominantly Jewish area, the Cairo-Haifa train was blown up along the coastal plain, killing 24 persons aboard and injuring another 61. Thirty to fifty British troops had been aboard but none were injured. It was believed that the explosion was Jewish retaliation for Arab attacks on Jewish convoys resulting in food shortages in Jewish settlements.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco announced that he might reshuffle his Cabinet and install a new premier if Spain were to be admitted to ERP aid, as voted the previous day by the House could occur, provided Spain met the conditions required for the aid. Under the proposed Franco plan, he would remain as head of state.

The House rejected an attempt to cut the foreign aid bill by 1.3 billion dollars from the 6.025 billion approved the previous day. The proposal would have cut ERP to four billion dollars during its first year.

The Pan-American Conference of 21 nations meeting in Bogota, Colombia, was likely, according to Secretary of State Marshall's aides, based on promised commitments of delegations, to issue a strong statement in opposition to subversive activities in support of Communism in the Western Hemisphere.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., urged the Senate Armed Services Committee to authorize the immediate voluntary enlistment of 50,000 young Europeans in the U.S. Army, after which they would be eligible for citizenship following five years of duty. He wanted the number never to exceed 15 percent of the the total American troop contingent in Europe. The goal was to limit the need for American troops and thus limit the necessity for a draft and universal military training.

In Washington, A. Philip Randolph, head of the AFL Porters Union, stated to the Senate Armed Services Committee that millions of blacks would refuse to register for either a draft or universal military training if it were to become law, based on racial discrimination existing in the armed forces. He called on the Committee to end racial segregation in the military as part of any such bills.

A representative of the NAACP opposed UMT before the Committee as being unsound and permitting continuation of racial discrimination in the armed forces.

Russia eased its terms regarding the Austrian peace treaty, stating that it would accept 150 million dollars in cash as partial reparations over a period of six years, previously having demanded 200 million in two years. Russia also wanted two-thirds of Austrian oil production over the following 50 years and full control of the Danube Shipping Company, on which the Western powers had agreed to go half way. The announcement came as part of a four-power meeting in London.

The President received the fact-finding board report on the coal strike and announced that he would delay any action until he had a chance to study it during his trip to Williamsburg, Va., beginning the following afternoon, returning Saturday.

Following a day of disorder in front of the New York Stock Exchange by pickets supportive of the strike of the clerks, picketing continued in an orderly fashion and trading on the two affected exchanges was brisk.

The President signed the new rent control extension bill, which he described as weak but better than nothing. It extended controls for one year, creating a special Federal court to oversee disputes between the Federal Housing Expediter and local rent boards which wanted to allow increases. It provided for no rent increases.

The President was expected to veto the new tax cut bill before the end of the week, providing for a 4.8 billion dollar tax reduction.

In Columbus, O., weeks of heckling and stone throwing at the local Communist leader's home culminated in a crowd of 300 cheering 30 or 40 persons who broke into the house when the leader and his family were absent. The police read the crowd the riot act and they dispersed. The Sheriff stated that he was going to see if the Communist leader could be run out of town as a declared public menace. Previously, a stone had been thrown through the 28-year old New York College student's window and two persons had knocked on his door, but he had refused to file a complaint and the police promised to patrol the street.

The Sheriff needs to join forces with Señor Franco's better government campaign.

In Peiping, adventurer Milton Reynolds, as a result of airplane trouble, had to abandon his plans for the nonce to locate a peak higher than Mt. Everest in the Amne Machin chain in China.

No such mountain has ever been found. If you find it, let us know.

John Daly of The News tells of Duke Power announcing plans to construct two steam electric plants in Piedmont South Carolina at an estimated cost of 20 million dollars to provide 130,000 additional kilowatts of power to the region.

You'll have all the power you need, then.

On the comics page, a new episode of "Mary Worth" was beginning, promising to be one of the most exciting in her career. You won't want to miss that worthy adventure.

On the editorial page, "The Last Hope for Peace" comments on Samuel Grafton's exhortations to the President to initiate a peace conference with Premier Stalin, a sentiment recently echoed by Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, as discussed by the column the previous day. Both were liberals in the traditional sense of the word.

It recites key facts which it regards as indicative of the futility of such a conference. First, Russia had refused the offer of Britain for a 40-year military pact. Second, Russia, according to Winston Churchill, had refused an offered 80-year pact by both Britain and the U.S. tendered at the Tehran Conference in November, 1943 to allow Russia free passage through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean, with Stalin saying that he wanted a military fortress on the west side of the Bosphorus, indicative of his desire for exclusive control of the Dardanelles. Third, Russia had refused Bernard Baruch's tendered offer of the atomic secret in exchange for international inspections to assure peaceful use of nuclear energy.

It suggests that in view of that record, Stalin had done more to close the door on peace than anyone else and until the signs were to the contrary, showing that Russia desired peace, it was unsafe for America to engage in anything other than building its defenses.

"Alcibiades and Wallace" comments on President Truman's statement at the Greek-American organization's dinner two nights earlier, comparing Mr. Wallace to the Greek demagogue Alcibiades, after which Mr. Wallace had accused the Administration of creating a "false crisis" to prevent a downturn in the economy and to get the country on board with universal military training and a temporary draft.

The piece indicates that it found the Alcibiades reference initially to be a cheap attack on a political opponent, as Alcibiades was never an idealist or social reformer as Mr. Wallace. But in Mr. Wallace's Senate Armed Services Committee testimony of the previous day, it did see on display one of Alcibiades's traits of which Mr. Truman had spoken. Yet, it was a trait shared by Mr. Truman and all politicians from time to time and in one degree or another, that being to magnify or belittle purported crises to one's own political will and advantage. Mr. Wallace had failed to mention the pressure from the Communists on the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and China, as well as the Communist-backed underground army formed in Northern Italy, even as he made valid points regarding the Administration's exaggeration of the international crisis.

Between the assertions of the two men, there was both a fake war on the one hand and false security being preached on the other. But the Wallace preachments appeared the "phoniest and most dangerous".

"As a Man Thinketh, So Itcheth He" discusses the findings anent allergies of the retiring president of the American College of Allergists, as told in The New Yorker. Doctors were divided on the causes of allergies, especially when one group thought it a mental reaction and another, a physical reaction. The doctors were leaning more toward the mental causes produced from increased anxiety in modern life, as was the case generally with regard to health ailments.

For all that, it still finds no cure to whatever it is you might have.

A short piece from the Montgomery Advertiser tells of farm mortgages in 1947 rising to an estimated 30 billion dollars, causing a warning from the Institute of Life Insurance that some families may have stretched their budgets too far.

Drew Pearson tells of the Navajo Indians in Arizona and New Mexico being in possession of one of the richest deposits of uranium ore in the country, vital to atomic energy. The Vanadium Corporation was extracting the uranium in the upper corner of the the two states. But the Navajo had not received anything in the way of royalties. The price which the Government was paying for the uranium was secret. Meanwhile, the Navajo remained impoverished as a tribe.

The only leases regarding mineral rights allowed the Navajo to receive 10 percent royalties, but expressly excluded vanadium compounds, from which uranium was extracted.

The Indian Service viewed the uranium as a separate metal apart from the vanadium and therefore subject to the ten percent royalty. They had no record, however, of the amount taken over the several years the company had been extracting it. The Atomic Energy Commission informed Mr. Pearson that there was no secret on the amount of royalty payments involved.

John L. Lewis, according to acquaintances, was prepared to go to the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of the provision of Taft-Hartley allowing the Government to obtain an injunction to end a strike in the event of a national emergency. If such an injunction were procured on the current UMW strike over pensions, then he was going to test the validity of the provision.

The column next provides two previously censored paragraphs from a War Investigating Committee report when Senator Truman was its chairman, dated March 4, 1944, regarding General MacArthur's failure to get 300 airplanes off the ground at Manila, leaving them as sitting ducks in the attack by Japan in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, despite General MacArthur having received advance warning of the latter before the attack on the Philippines commenced. Because of objection by three Senators on the Committee, Senator Truman had relented in his original intent to publish the matter at the time. Mr. Pearson brings it up in light of the General's willingness to be drafted as the Republican presidential nominee.

The two censored paragraphs condemned the censorship of the War Department during two years, regarding the failures in the Philippines. It stated that part of the reason for the suppression was to avoid public backlash regarding the negligent loss of 300 badly needed planes.

Marquis Childs discusses the waning number of people in the country, including military, who continued to be in favor of a war, resolving to those with intense hatred of Russia for slights perceived in its propaganda. Those in the military who at one time had favored a preemptive war understood now that America's demobilization beginning at the end of the war had made the country ill-equipped to engage in warfare with a major power.

The emphasis needed to be on promoting peace and preventing war. But those in the Congress who were promoting cessation of all trade between East and West were pushing the country toward war. That included the bill sponsored by Congressman Karl Mundt of South Dakota which would cut off trade in given materials between the recipient nations of Marshall Plan aid and the Eastern bloc as long as the U.S. forbade trade in those goods.

Former President Hoover had advised against such termination of East-West trade as tending to retard Western European reconstruction. Presently, the War Investigating subcommittee chaired by Senator Homer Ferguson was investigating the matter of the effect of trade with the Eastern bloc countries.

The trade between the U.S. and Russia was small, especially compared to the eleven billion dollars worth of trade during the war. Insofar as any military equipment, aid mainly involved obsolete items and nothing subject to military secrecy. Moreover, Russia shipped vital goods to the U.S., including scarce platinum. Half the trade was in furs which could be terminated, but the processing of the furs provided jobs to 30,000 Americans. The primary reason for the trade was to promote reconstruction in Europe, which was beneficial to the U.S. Thus, it could not be said that the program of East-West trade was in any way appeasement.

Samuel Grafton begins to look at the candidates for president, starting with Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, considered a dark horse for the Republican nomination. Mr. Grafton met with the Senator at the Capitol and asked him whether it would not be a good idea to hold a conference with the Russians. Senator Saltonstall said that he did not know enough about matters to answer, which gave Mr. Grafton pause based on the fact that the Senator in 1946 had been a sponsor of the National Council for American-Soviet Friendship. Now, he was primarily concerned, as was most of the country, with security and maintaining the military within a balanced budget in peacetime. It appeared that the move toward peace had been abandoned so pervasively in favor of defensive security that leaders were no longer willing even to examine the possibility of rapprochement.

The Senator commented that the Veterans Administration had more employees, at 210,000, than were in the entire military apparatus of the country at one point in the thirties. It struck Mr. Grafton as a statement within the Senator's field of specialty, leaving foreign affairs for others.

He did add that he favored continued faith in the U.N., about which Mr. Grafton promises a subsequent column.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, discusses the reversal of the U.S. stance on the Palestine partition plan, finding the change without justification and humiliating to the country. The rationale advanced was that the plan would allow Soviet troops into Palestine as part of an international police force to preserve order and thereby compromise Western security in the Middle East. He posits that if the Administration had the foresight, at the time the partition plan was passed the previous November 29, to insist on a police force comprised of the smaller nations, then the problem would not have arisen.

The reversal meant that the Arabs now believed that they had won and could flout through violence U.N. authority. They would likely attempt to take over Palestine when the British evacuated, scheduled to occur May 15. The Jews were only defending the areas granted to them under partition and had announced the intention to form a provisional government, sought recognition for it from the U.N.

The proposed alternative, a trusteeship for Palestine, would only increase the violence, as the Jews would feel betrayed. Russian intervention would then be a certainty after evacuation by the British.

Mr. Welles wonders whether the country had lost sight of moral leadership in favor of military security as the driving force behind foreign policy. Changing the position on partition undermined the U.N. and could produce far-reaching effects on its viability, as had the refusal of the old League of Nations to protect China against incursion by the Japanese in 1931 when they invaded Manchuria.

A published statement of a delegate of one of the Latin American nations had indicated the belief that the change was "treachery" and that it represented a forfeiture of "whatever moral justification" the U.S. once had for leading the small nations.

He concludes that the change would increase the danger of war in the Near East and had dealt what might be the death blow to the U.N., while shaking confidence in the U.S. worldwide.

A letter from Dorothy Knox, a former columnist for The News, urges contributions to the Mecklenburg Chapter of the League for Crippled Children, which had set $10,000 as its goal for March and remained far short of it. If they made the goal, she assures readers that they could hear her whooping all the way to Mt. Mitchell.

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