Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that five nations,
Britain, France and the Benelux nations, began talks in Brussels
regarding the British proposal to form a Western European union as a
bulwark to Communist expansion. The Communist Party takeover in
Czechoslovakia and the entreaties by Moscow to Finland reportedly
colored the closed-door talks. Britain and France already had a
military alliance under the 1947 Dunkerque pact. The proposed union
would run along the same lines with the Benelux countries. The State
Department announced that the U.S. would take no part in the meeting
and that any Western European union formed from it would be only of
Pollster Elmo Roper presents results from two Fortune
polls of 1947, comparing views on the U.N. in January and December,
showing unflagging confidence in the organization, with 55 percent
support spread across every region of the country, while world
leaders, led by Britain's Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, were
expressing doubt. There was no change in views during the prior
year. There was some increase noted in the respondents' support for
a move toward world government. Less than ten percent favored no
participation by the U.S. in the organization.
Lt. General Albert Wedemeyer, former chief of staff to Chiang
Kai-Shek during the war, proposed to the House Foreign Affairs
Committee that military aid be provided to Nationalist China,
warning that America would pay in blood if the spread of Communism
were not stopped. He stated that he did not, however, support
military participation by the U.S. in China, finding it unnecessary
at present. He believed the Chinese Communists were acting in
furtherance of world Communism and not as a separate peasant
movement. General Wedemeyer also favored military aid to all
countries with policies and "economic structures"
simpatico to those of the U.S.
The 570 million dollars in aid proposed for China by the
President was not to include military aid.
Dr. Edward Condon, head of the Bureau of Standards, being
investigated by HUAC for supposed knowing or unknowing association
with a Communist espionage agent, asked the Senate-House Atomic
Energy Committee to investigate the public smears of scientists both
in and out of the Government to restore confidence among scientists
in working for the Government. Secretary of Commerce Averell
Harriman, on vacation, was going to examine whether the Commerce
Department should turn over the subpoenaed records to the Committee
regarding the Department's loyalty board investigation of Dr.
Condon, a report which had found him fit for service.
The Virginia Legislature declined to accept the proposal of
Governor William Tuck to bar President Truman's name from the ballot
by placing only party names thereon in the November election to free
electors to vote for the Democrat of their choice. They did,
however, adopt a compromise, approved by the Governor, to have the
electors bound by the vote of the Virginia party convention.
Three New England Democrats, led by previously imprisoned
Boston Mayor James Curley, wanted General MacArthur to become the
nominee of the party. Mayor Curley had been pardoned the previous
Thanksgiving by the President after serving five months of a six to
eighteen month sentence for mail fraud. His gratitude was to demand
that the President remain out of the presidential race. The other
two favoring General MacArthur were former New Hampshire Governor
Francis Murphy and former Massachusetts Governor Joseph Ely, a
supporter of Al Smith over FDR in 1932 and James Farley in 1940.
Florida postponed its Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners to raise
money for the national party until after the Democratic convention.
Former King Mihai of Rumania, who had abdicated the throne in
January, stated that it was forced upon him by the Rumanian Cabinet
and did not consider himself bound by the abdication.
The battleship U.S.S. Pennsylvania, survivor of Pearl
Harbor and the two atomic tests at Bikini Atoll in July, 1946, was
scuttled at Kwajalein on February 10. The main reason for its
unseaworhiness was damage sustained at Okinawa, 59 hours before the
war ended, rather than during the atomic tests. Twenty men had died
aboard the ship when it was struck by the Japanese torpedo at
Okinawa. The 33,000-ton ship had been in service since 1915. It was
about to sink in the Kwajalein lagoon and would have potentially
been a menace to navigation. It was towed to sea before being
scuttled. Two other ships were also scuttled.
In Chicago, police said that a father beat his 30-month old
son to death with a belt to try to break him from wetting his pants.
The father was detained without charge.
In Islip, N.Y., residents received late arriving Christmas
mail out of a previously lost pouch from December 23. Postmaster
Andrew Mellon said that he theorized that something had gone wrong
with the mail train's catcher, throwing the sack into the snowbank
rather than into the car. Late bills were also included from the
Long Island Lighting Co.
The News straw poll still showed General Eisenhower in
the lead with 220 votes, with Henry Wallace remaining in a close
second with 214 votes. Thomas Dewey had 187, Senator Vandenberg,
123, Senator Taft, 118, Senator Harry Byrd, 112, followed by
President Truman, still in a distant seventh place, with 76 votes,
two ahead of former Secretary of State James Byrnes. Since the
previous two days, the President had overtaken Harold Stassen, who
had fallen back to ninth place, with 72 votes.
If you have not yet sent in your ballot, you are free to call
the newspaper at 3-0303, between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. this date, and
cast your vote verbally. The poll ends this date at 9:00. 30-30.
Parenthetically, it is amazing how the poll managed to tap
the mainstream microcosm of America and perfectly foreshadow the
final results of the election.
Former News Associate Editor and acting Editor during
the war, Burke Davis, now with the Baltimore Evening Sun,
tells on page 11-A of finding an eccentric city to the north. Mr.
Davis would go on to write several books on the Civil War, at least
two of which became widely read during the 1950's and 1960's.
In the opening round of the Southern Conference Basketball
Tournament in Durham, Duke beat South Carolina 63 to 48 and William
& Mary beat Wake Forest 61 to 56 the previous night. This day's
quarterfinal games would be N.C. State, with a record of 29-2 and
heavily favored in the tournament, against William & Mary, North
Carolina versus VPI, Davidson versus Maryland, and Duke against
If you are in the area, you won't wish to miss them. Drop
over to Duke Indoor Stadium and ask for your tickets. It should be
On the editorial page, "War Party Acts in Congress" discusses the five Republican Senators' amendment offered the
previous day to the Marshall Plan appropriation bill to establish a
"supreme council" outside the U.N. without a veto, as an
alternative to the U.N. Security Council to check Soviet expansion.
The piece finds it to have enunciated a Republican policy which
denied the significance of the U.N. while promoting the cold war
until it would explode into a hot war.
The move followed a report by the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, dominated by Republicans, which outlined Russia's
ten-point program for world revolution, including the notion that
the Russians feared a Western coalition forming against it, hence
the fear of reconstruction or federation among the Western states,
explaining Russia's insistence on formation of friendly buffer
states in Eastern Europe.
Were the Republicans to adopt the amendment, then it would
confirm every charge made by Henry Wallace that ERP was an
imperialistic plan designed to aid Wall Street. The "supreme
council", the piece deduces, would be a tool for implementing
U.S. foreign policy and bringing about a capitalist revolution
worldwide against any socialism found in Western Europe. It would
thus politicize a plan which, by design, was to be apolitical,
allowing the 16 recipient nations to engage in self-determination,
utilizing to the extent possible their own pooled resources to
The timing of the offered amendment suggested that its
intention was to discourage any compromise by the Administration
with Russia regarding Palestine. It represented, finds the piece,
the boldest move yet by advocates of war and imperialism within the
"Russia's Gesture Toward U.S." finds Russia's
conditional acceptance of the U.S. plan regarding Palestine to be a
move to check the U.S. Russia accepted the U.S. idea of five powers
consulting on the problem but rejected the notion of a five-power
commission to report to the Security Council. It did so on the
rationalization of avoiding delayed action on Palestine.
The Russians had the better of the argument. The American
plan might subject the partition plan to being reopened for debate
in the U.N. and the five-power commission could outvote Russia in
recommending that the partition plan go back before the General
Assembly for reconsideration. That could take up weeks or months of
precious time, during which no action would be taken to curb the
violence, a situation to become especially dangerous after the
prospective British evacuation in mid-May.
Agreement on an international police force would entail other
issues as it would result in a moratorium on the cold war. Palestine
had played into Russia's hands as it forced the U.S. to compromise
and reach settlement or to take the responsibility for abandoning
Palestine, leading inevitably to the failure of the U.N.
It concludes that the decision on Palestine would likely
determine the course either to world war or peace.
"A 'Dead Bird' and a Puzzle" comments on the
statement by Congressman L. M. Rivers of South Carolina that the
President was a "dead bird already" and that the
Republicans, in consequence, were wasting their time in trying to
pass the civil rights program, in the instant case, the
anti-lynching bill passing the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday,
to cripple the President politically—a charge which made little
sense in the abstract given that the President was a strong
proponent of the anti-lynching bill and had started the ball rolling
in this direction with his civil rights program enunciated on
February 2. It was a backwards formation of logic which only a
Southerner could develop without a red face for its absurdity.
The piece finds that it remained unclear to whom the
Southerners would turn as an alternative to the President while
still voting Democratic. Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina
had stated that he was "through with Truman" but would
vote for a Democrat in November, after which point, he predicted,
there would be a new President. Boss Ed Crump of Memphis and others
had said the same thing.
One method of accomplishing such a task would be to free the
electors to vote for the candidate of their choice by placing only
the party name on the ballot. But it might be more difficult when
coming down to cases to control those electors in December.
Another method would be to nominate a rival at the
convention. Governor Thurmond preferred either General Eisenhower or
Secretary of State Marshall. But the practicalities of such a move
could prove formidable. General Eisenhower, notwithstanding his most
recent statement as elucidated by Drew Pearson this date, had pulled
himself out of consideration. Secretary Marshall had also renounced
any intention to run and was too loyal to the President to allow
himself to be drafted in any event. Senator Harry Byrd was not
likely to garner convention support nationally, while being a
favorite among the Southern reactionaries.
If the Southerners provided expressed support to the
Republicans, then it might induce them to allow a Southern
filibuster. It could also pave the way for a two-party system in the
South. The piece suggests that such might occur by November
regardless of how the situation played out in the meantime.
While it would later become so in the mid to late 1960's,
starting with the defection of Senator Strom Thurmond to the
Republican Party, at present, the situation would be resolved by the
Dixiecrat walkout of the convention in July and the nomination then
of Governor Thurmond as the party's candidate, along with Governor
Fielding Wright of Mississippi as the vice-presidential candidate.
Whether, incidentally, the Southerners thought it interesting
to create a Thurmond-Wright ticket, as a subliminal form of protest
to the Allwright Supreme Court decision of 1944, requiring
Texas to open its primary to all voters, resides in the realm of the
recondite to which only Klan members are admitted.
But the "dead bird" concept of L. M. Rivers
definitely becomes interesting by the time of Dallas in 1963. Mr.
Rivers lived until 1970 and remained in Congress until his death.
It should be recalled that Joseph Milteer, who, on November 9,
1963, was recorded with a police informant saying that the
assassination of President Kennedy was "in the
works" and that "they" were going to try it with a
high-powered rifle from a tall building, was from Quitman, Georgia, near the Florida border. Reportedly, he traveled to Columbia, S.C., with the informant on the day following the assassination to meet with Klan members.
His statement on November 9 suggested Miami as the location of the
attempt, causing the cancellation of a planned motorcade during the
President's visit there on November 18. But was Mr. Milteer trying
to create a false sense of security for other places which the
President was slated to visit? Ditto for the threat in Chicago to
the President on the weekend of November 2 when he was scheduled to
attend a football game, Army versus the Air Force, at Soldiers Field but had to cancel,
ostensibly because of the Diem coup in South Vietnam the same day. In fact, as it
would subsequently be revealed by a former Secret Service Agent, he
was asked not to come to Chicago because of a discovered plot to
assassinate him there.
A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Unsociable
Americans", tells of Americans becoming less friendly with one
another as the nation became more crowded. Yet, when people rode
buses or gathered for a parade or bargain sale, they continued to
exchange opinions freely on various subjects. It finds therefore
that not all Americans had become introverts.
Drew Pearson tells of General Eisenhower once again
reaffirming to the Manchester Union Leader his determination
not to run for the presidency, despite continued interest being
expressed in his candidacy notwithstanding his having written the
Union Leader in January, firmly taking his name from
consideration. But he also implied to the Union Leader that
he would not resist a movement to draft him at the convention,
leaving room for such a draft by either the Republicans or the
The British Foreign Office had sent an instruction manual to
British officials in Palestine to instruct them on the methods of
withdrawal, set to occur by May 15. It ordered that equipment be
destroyed or sold and no intent of cooperation was indicated with
the Jewish population, despite a 30-year British occupation—not to
mention the Balfour Declaration of 30 years earlier, declaring it to
be British policy to facilitate establishment of the Jewish homeland
in Palestine. He provides a brief excerpt from the manual.
To prevent the fall potentially of Italy and then France, ERP
needed to be passed forthwith.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the broad outline for what
had just occurred in Czechoslovakia, with the Communist Party
takeover of the Government, having been set forth in Moscow during
the war, five years earlier. They had been able to grab power
through two non-Communists, the War Minister, General Ludvik
Svoboda, and the Deputy Premier, Dr. Szdenek Fierlinger, leader of
the Socialists. Both had been manipulated during wartime by Moscow.
President Benes, in London, tried to put a stop to the movement but
he could not afford to flout Soviet authority during the war.
The transformation to a Communist Government had begun by the
end of the war and all opposition melted away the previous summer
when the Government acceded to the demands of Moscow not to
participate in the Marshall Plan, as the Cabinet unanimously had
initially voted to do.
They stress again that while the takeover had not altered the
balance of power, it had provided a model which could be employed in
other nations, as Italy and Greece, which would alter the balance.
They suggest that in the coming months, the crisis on the world
stage could reach a critical point.
Marquis Childs informs that the general feeling in
Washington, prior to the takeover in Czechoslovakia by the
Communists, had been that war could be avoided for the ensuing five
to seven years. No longer was that belief held. Russia did not want
war, but the attitude being displayed made it more likely of
The Russians believed that the U.S. did not want a war and
that opinion in the country would be so divided on the prospect that
the U.S. would not stand down the Soviets in a confrontation.
He reminds that following September, 1938, at the time of the
Munich Pact, ceding the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia to Germany for
its German population, it only took a year for the world to be at
war. The fall of Czechoslovakia could start a series of dominoes,
first Italy, then France.
Secretary of State Marshall had urged that ERP money be
passed for the 16 recipient nations by April 1 or the interim
supplies to Italy and France would run low.
Moscow interpreted the opposition to the program from
Congressman John Taber of New York and Henry Wallace as being
representative of a schism within the collective will of the nation.
Such was consistent with what the Soviet representatives in the
country reported to Moscow, for they knew it was that which Moscow
wanted to hear, lest they be demoted.
Western diplomats in the country were pressing for indication
from the Administration of where the line existed beyond which
Soviet aggression would not be tolerated.
Mr. Childs counsels that to correct this misperception of
American opinion by the Russians, a meeting ought be held between
the White House, Congressional leaders, and all leading Republican
presidential candidates, plus leaders of organized labor and
industry, following which there would be a unified expression that
it was vital to American interests to maintain the independence of
A letter writer first associates President Truman with the
Republicans and the Conservatives in Britain, by dint of the facts
of his having consulted early in his Presidency with Herbert Hoover
and having invited Winston Churchill to speak at Westminster College
in March, 1946, the latter, to the author's mind, issuing then a
"declaration of war" on Russia—an overstated assessment
of the caveat anent the "iron curtain" descending on
Eastern Europe which Mr. Churchill stated on that occasion.
He then proceeds to chronicle the Republican isolationism
preceding the war, equates it by syllogism with President Truman.
He thinks that there would be no war with Russia as, being
atheists, they would compromise to save the human race.
Whatever you want to believe.
A letter writer responds to an editorial of February 25, "Wallace Out of This World", which
had taken issue with Henry Wallace and his supposed naive belief
that the men in power in the world could be replaced. This author
thinks that the editorial made no sense in its belief that a
program needed to be formulated which was acceptable to Washington
and Wall Street, as well as to the realists of Russia.
A Quote of the Day: "In New England, the weather is so
variable that natives say, 'You don't like our weather? Just wait a
minute.' In these parts we are more philosophical; when we don't
like the weather we just wait." —Greensboro Daily News
Despite growing up in those parts, we don't know what the
hell they're talking about. It was always fairly predictable, season
to season, fifty-odd years ago, and not all that vicissitudinous
until more recent times, in the last 25 years or so. Maybe, the
weather was different over in Greensboro. But perhaps we
misinterpret the remark.
Moreover, supposedly it was Will Rogers who made a comment
about Oklahoma weather similar to that which the quote attributes to
New Englanders. But the attribution to Mr. Rogers may just be
posthumous poppycock invented by asses.
Whatever the case, they were not talking of long-term changes
in climate, just transitory changes during the course of a given
year. Of course, those who suffer from attention deficit disorder,
short attention spans, may have difficulty focusing on the long-term
and thus understanding what the hell we're talking about, even
within the space of a single paragraph. Read it through quickly,
rest, read it again more slowly, rest, and read it again. Time is
running out and denying that it is so does not make it the better for
humankind or the less expensive to try to arrest.