The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 4, 1948


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 European states.

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 George Washington.

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 exciting.

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 reconstruct themselves.

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 Congress.

"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 "puzzle" indeed.

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 Democrats.

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 occurrence.

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 Western Europe.

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.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.