The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 6, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that twenty-one Southern Senators demanded equal radio broadcast time to respond to a presentation by the Mutual Broadcasting Company, titled "To Secure These Rights", a program which dramatized the President's civil rights program. All Southern Senators of eleven states, save Claude Pepper of Florida, signed the petition. Mutual said that it would consider it. The same Senators had vowed to filibuster the civil rights program.

We note that it was 50 years ago this date in 2015, when on March 7, 1965, men and women of the United States sought to embark on a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and were prohibited from so doing by Governor George Wallace's police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the police inflicting beatings and shoving to the ground people involved in the march, black and white, sweeping through the peaceful crowd of marchers with billy-clubs, a scene which had become all too familiar to American television viewers in the preceding five years. The marchers would eventually be permitted to pass unimpeded to Montgomery on March 21, but only after a Federal Judge intervened to grant the permission and President Johnson federalized the Alabama National Guard and mobilized the Army to assure the marchers' safe passage. The march was intended to dramatize the need of a voting rights bill, which the President would later in the year sign into law, a hundred years after the end of the Civil War and the Fifteenth Amendment's expressed guarantee to all citizens of the right to vote.

The little man in Montgomery, who was most responsible for sowing the seeds of hate in the country which led ultimately to Dallas and, eventually, to Memphis and Los Angeles, was once again made the fool for all with any sensibility to see. He would, however, finally pay dearly for his rhetoric of hate and racism. And, of course, he was not the only such spewer of vitriol on the national political stage in that era. But he was the most visible and had the largest following of any other of the numerous hate-mongers, including those of the Klan.

We never accepted the sincerity of his subsequent apology, for we think it was tendered for political expediency, just as he conducted his entire public career.

He was, indeed, probably not a racist personally. But that is of no moment when he led, deliberately, for his personal political aggrandizement, a movement in the country which stimulated the fire in the belly of many atavists, who had not the sense to get out of a shower of rain, to resist to the bitter end any form of rationality, destroying in the process others' good and decent lives, and, in some instances, even killing those with whom they disagreed. This carefully cultivated coterie of states' rightists formed in the South came to embrace, ultimately, by 1968, those of like mind from all sections of the country, hurtling them onward with the rhetoric of discord cloaked in "peace" on their own terms, in a manner resemblant to the old techniques of Machiavelli, taken over in more modern times by such personages as Mussolini and Hitler.

We count George C. Wallace, therefore, as the worst citizen to hold high political office in the United States during the Twentieth Century. He has, however, a lot of competitors from that period of the 1950's through the 1970's.

In London, the U.S., Britain, and France had agreed upon international control of the German Ruhr, including Germany, and to have close cooperation in utilizing Western Germany's resources as part of the Marshall Plan. The three nations also reached accord on the provision that Western Germany should have a federal form of government, protecting the rights of the states but under a sufficiently strong central authority. The three powers had not yet formally merged the French zone economically with the British-American zone, but indications were that such was forthcoming.

A 36-nation five-year wheat agreement, establishing a $2 per bushel ceiling price on that exported by the U.S., Canada, and Australia, was formed in Washington. The market price at present was about $2.50. Russia and Argentina refused to participate in the agreement. Argentina was selling wheat to Europe at $4.85 per bushel.

Former FDR kingmaker Jim Farley, speaking on the new radio show "Meet the Press", predicted that Henry Wallace would receive five million votes in the November election. He would actually only get a bit more than a fifth of that. He also said that President Truman would be the Democratic nominee. Among his possibilities for vice-president, he did not name the eventual nominee, Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky, Democratic Minority Leader. He correctly predicted that his native New York State might vote Republican in November, albeit, in the end, only by less than one percent. He believed that if there were to be a fight at the Republican convention, then Senator Arthur Vandenberg might emerge as the dark horse.

At San Francisco, Harry Bridges was ousted as the CIO Northern California regional director for supporting Henry Wallace's third-party presidential campaign, contrary to CIO policy. A third attempt was reportedly being made to deport him to his native Australia, but the Justice Department denied these reports. Mr. Bridges remained head of the International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union and vice-president of the CIO National Executive Council. He charged the Truman Administration with playing politics with his deportation.

During tests at White Sands, N.M., a new Navy rocket, the Aerobee, reached a record apogee for an American rocket of 78 miles and an American rocket record speed of 3,000 miles per hour. The German-made V-2 had reached an altitude of 114 miles and a speed of 3,500 mph during earlier post-war U.S. testing at White Sands.

Emery Wister of The News interviews the American Legion national commander, James O'Neill, speaking in nearby Kannapolis the previous night. Commander O'Neill believed that Universal Military Training would likely pass in the Congress, but that it would be only after a hard fight. He criticized Henry Wallace's recommendation of deference toward Russia.

Governor Gregg Cherry of North Carolina, speaking at East Carolina Teachers College, said that the state had more illiteracy than 42 other states in the nation, the five below North Carolina all being Southern states. While the state was making progress in education, he urged that much more was needed through cooperative effort. He informed that the state had two million boys and girls between five and seventeen years of age who were not in school, the tenth highest rank in the nation in that statistic.

On the sports page, sports editor Ray Howe continued his coverage of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament. The semifinal games in Durham the previous night wound up with Duke beating Davidson handily, 53 to 37, and N.C. State winning over North Carolina, 55 to 50, setting up the final game for this night—which N.C. State, as anticipated, would win against Duke, 58 to 50.

N.C. State would now proceed into the N.I.T., an invitation to which they had already received, at the time as well or better received as that to the N.C.A.A. Tournament. State would lose in the first round quarterfinal game to DePaul, 75 to 64.

No Southern Conference school other than State was invited to either tournament, each with only an eight team field.

As indicated last month, the State team included on its roster two future head coaches, Vic Bubas of Duke and Norm Sloan of State, one nearly winning a national championship, but for U.C.L.A., and the other winning a national chmapionship in spite of U.C.L.A., a decade apart.

Kentucky, under Coach Adolph Rupp, would win the 1948 N.C.A.A. Tournament, its first such championship and the first of two consecutive N.C.A.A. championships, while St. Louis would win the N.I.T. Kentucky had won the N.I.T. in 1946.

We venture that it will not be so this year, in 2015. Sorry, but perfect records in regular season usually have a way of finding an exception to the rule in post-season tournament play. You should have lost while you had the chance, several times.

A light freezing rain began in Charlotte by 11:00 a.m., threatening to usher in more cold weather. It was predicted that the freezing rain would continue into the following day and could change to sleet.

City buses continued to run on schedule, as did airport traffic.

On the editorial page, we note initially that the previous day, Brodie Griffith, longtime Managing Editor, appeared on the masthead for the first time as Executive Editor, a new position at The News. As of August 23, William Reddig's name would be dropped from the masthead as Editor, though, apparently, he still remained in that titular position. Just what the change suggested, we shall have to wait and determine later, as there is no mention of it on the front pages or editorial pages of these dates.

According to Bruce Clayton, W. J. Cash's second biographer, former Associate Editor and acting Editor during the war, Burke Davis, and News reporter Reed Sarratt described Mr. Griffith in 1984 in these terms: "...[A] South Carolina farmboy, who liked a clear, crisp, lean sentence, a swig of whiskey—in the 1940's he became a tee-totaler—the Democratic Party, the American Legion, and reminiscing about his days in the infantry during World War I. This old-time Southern newspaperman surveyed the world from beneath a green eye-shade and through a haze of cigarette smoke. He scowled at young reporters. But he could also offer fatherly advice and be courtly, particularly around ladies. He was a 'yellow dog' Democrat, he liked to tell newcomers to the paper, meaning he would vote for a yellow dog should the party nominate one. He saw nothing irregular about the fact that his crack reporter, John Daly, was deeply involved in local Democratic politics and regularly served as campaign manager for congressional candidates." —W.J. Cash: A Life, 1991, p. 132

"Second Call for Eisenhower" suggests that the 2,600 participants in The News straw poll, registering their clear preference for General Eisenhower and Henry Wallace in that order, conveyed the notion that there was a heavy protest vote against both major parties. Together, the two polled nearly half of the votes. The Asheville Citizen, in consequence, called Charlotte "The Disgruntled Queen". It referred the results, rigged though they might have been, to the attention of Southern Textile Bulletin publisher Dave Clark, "preoccupied aforetime and longtime with the heresies of Chapel Hill."

Charlotte ought respond by calling Asheville "Mr. Mustard" for that undeserved insult.

The editorial finds the protest to extend beyond the area of civil rights, since Mr. Wallace stood to the left of the President on that issue. Many in the Democratic Party were seeking General Eisenhower as a replacement for President Truman on the ticket. They believed that he fit better with the Democrats than with the GOP, having been given his command of the European theater of war by President Roosevelt and made chief of staff of the Army by President Truman.

It suggests that, despite the General having removed his name from consideration in January, his candidacy would both end the Southern revolt and assure the Democrats another four years in office. It predicts that the Democratic convention might yet therefore try to draft General Eisenhower.

In perfect hindsight, one benefit would have been that a certain vice-presidential candidate likely never would have surfaced from the subterranean regions with which he was most familiar, as eventually colorfully portrayed by Herblock, or ever been considered seriously for the presidency. How much history might have been changed.

But, as the editorial said, that's just a pipedream...

"Good News from Brussels" finds important Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett's statement that any European union to be formed between France, Britain, and the Benelux countries at the conference in Brussels would be only between European countries, would not involve the U.S. The union would be broadened to include other nations when they were able to join economically.

Communists would likely attack the union as being a stalking horse behind which American imperialism could develop inroads to Europe. But the fact that the U.S., though encouraging the union, would remain aloof from it gave proof that there was no substance to the charge.

The union, it offers, could be formed without doing violence to the U.N. Charter, which allowed for regional pacts of this sort for mutual security. The Western Hemispheric Security Zone, formed the previous summer at Rio, was a precedent for such a mutual defense agreement.

The Western European Union, to be formed the following September after the Treaty of Brussels would be signed two weeks hence, would lead, in April, 1949, to creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which did include the United States. The push for it became more insistent with the Berlin blockade imposed by Russia in the coming month of 1948. Eventually in response, in 1955, the Warsaw Pact between Russia and Eastern Europe would be formed.

"True Heroism at Belmont" agrees with a letter writer who suggested that Clarence Perkins of Belmont, N.C., 18, deserved a Carnegie Medal for his efforts to save a three-year old girl who fell to the bottom of a 60-foot well. After two older men were unable to extricate the child, young Mr. Perkins agreed to be lowered by his ankles down into the well, where he was able to grasp the child's hands and pull her to safety. She suffered only minor injuries.

A piece from the St. Louis Star-Times, titled "Good Old Vivien", welcomes the return to the national scene of Vivien Kellema, to provide some livelihood and sense that the ordinary had returned. She had publicly refused to make the final payment on her 1943 income tax because she did not like the war. In 1944, she got mad about leaks of personal correspondence to a representative of the Nazi steel interests in Argentina. Recently, she had told the Los Angeles Rotary Club that she did not like the income tax system and hinted that she would cease withholding Federal taxes from her employees' wages.

The piece finds her one-against-all campaign to be silly rather than inspiring. But at least it hearkened a return to normalcy.

Drew Pearson writes an open memo to Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, head of the subcommittee investigating war contracts. He provides evidence and witnesses against Senator Owen Brewster, head of the War Investigating Committee, which had launched the investigation into Howard Hughes and Elliott Roosevelt the previous summer. Senator Brewster then wound up being charged by Mr. Hughes as having said he would agree to drop the investigation provided Mr. Hughes and his TWA would agree not to compete with Juan Trippe and his Pan American Airways for the South American air routes. Senator Brewster and Mr. Trippe were tight.

He provides the name of Senator Brewster's housekeeper who could testify that the Senator would fly to Dexter, Maine, nearly every weekend for six months out of the year in a private Pan Am plane. He also flew to speaking engagements in the plane. Senator Brewster, however, stopped using the plane when the hearings began the previous summer, instead took the train or flew aboard Northeast Airlines. The housekeeper was told to remain mum regarding the Pan Am largesse.

Mr. Pearson points out that it was illegal to provide free trips to members of Congress.

He provides the name of another witness, whose nephew worked for Pan Am in 1946-47 and saw Senator Brewster boarding the private Pan Am plane on several occasions. He also provides the name of the pilot of the aircraft. He suggests, in addition, checking Pan Am logs and records which would show that the Senator's trip to South America had been of interest to Mr. Trippe.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the candidacy of Harold Stassen, thought by many observers to be a political lightweight but being taken more seriously of late and regarded as one of the toughest political professionals in the field. If he could inflict a serious blow to either Thomas Dewey or Robert Taft in the New Hampshire primary or, more importantly, the Ohio or Oregon primary, then he would be well positioned to be on the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate of one or the other of the two front runners. Mr. Stassen hoped to run well in the Ohio industrial cities on the strength of opposition to Senator Taft because of Taft-Hartley. If he were to capture around ten to twelve of the 53 delegates from Ohio, he would be doing well and position himself for a fight at the convention. If he got only two or three delegates, however, he would have a poor showing.

His strategy was to do harm to the front runners and for that, he was not popular with either one. It was therefore not to be expected that either candidate would throw his support to former Governor Stassen in the event of a deadlock at the convention. Senator Taft's supporters hinted that a deal would be made whereby, in the event of a deadlock, one of the two front runners would withdraw.

Mr. Stassen's strategy was an all-or-nothing gamble which, if it succeeded, could lead to the nomination even if that prospect was unlikely. But he would nevertheless have a substantial likelihood of being the vice-presidential nominee, especially on a ticket with Senator Arthur Vandenberg following a deadlock.

Marquis Childs tells of two Senators offering a remarkable contrast, Senator Vandenberg on the one hand, receiving high praise for his recent speech in praise of ERP, and Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota on the other, the leader of the opposition to ERP, wishing to cut the first year appropriation from 5.3 billion dollars down to around 3.5 billion, despite the fact that such a cut would so emasculate ERP as to render it useless in terms of rehabilitation and recovery of Western Europe.

Senator Vandenberg had displayed political maturity while Senator Ball had shown the opposite characteristic. Not long before, prior to the war, Senator Vandenberg had been a leading isolationist who coasted along on the Washington party circuit. But World War II and its advanced weaponry had caused him to mature and develop a sense of personal responsibility.

In 1944, Senator Ball, despite being a Republican, had supported FDR. He based his decision on foreign policy and continued conduct of the war. In doing so, he embarrassed former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen, who had initially appointed Senator Ball to the seat. But now he faced re-election in 1948 and appeared to be burning bridges from his 1944 bipartisan stand.

His new position appeared to be on the zig-zag, much as his labor stand. Mr. Childs concludes that since he was twenty years the junior of Senator Vandenberg, Senator Ball's stance might be just a function of his need still to grow up.

A letter from Francis O. Clarkson, subsequently to become a Superior Court Judge, and the son of former and deceased State Supreme Court Justice Heriot Clarkson, offers George Washington's own words on the subject of religion to rebut the notion, set forth by a previous letter, that he was a Deist, that is, believed in a God of Nature but not in the Scriptures. The quotation is in the form of prayerful supplication, made June 8, 1783 at Newburgh, N.Y., asking God to keep the United States under His protection and to enable everyone in the country to do justice, love mercy, and have charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind. The prayer had been provided the members of the armed services during the late war.

He says that the reason General Washington could not be confirmed into the Episcopal Church was that there was no bishop at the time in the United States who could perform the rite.

That had to be the reason why he chose to launch an attack across the Delaware on the Hessians on Christmas night, 1776. It was because he was a devout believer in the Christian tradition, no doubt.

You are just a lawyer at this point and we make room for the prospect of your subsequent higher education once you assume the bench.

A letter from P. C. Burkholder replies to a February 20 letter critical of his letters, protesting that The News provided Mr. Burkholder free advertising for his Congressional campaign of 1948 and asked that the service be discontinued, that Mr. Burkholder be required to purchase space in the newspaper as any other candidate.

As always, Mr. Burkholder uses the opportunity again to attack the New Deal, even attacks the March of Dimes as a Roosevelt scam, an "hypocritical racket".

He notes that he had traced Shelby for a person of the last name Burkholder, which the previous letter writer claimed to be, and found no one of that name, warns subsequent writers to choose a larger town if they were going to falsify their identity.

He would become the Congress quite as well as those idiotic Republicans on the House Science and Technology Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who think that a cold winter dispels the "myth" of global warming and that melting ice in a bourbon glass signifies that no danger come what may will from ice sliding off Greenland into the Atlantic or the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice shelf into the Pacific, notwithstanding uniform agreement to the contrary by every scientist not in the pay of Big Oil, not to mention the ample anecdotal evidence cast before the eyes of anyone who can see and think beyond Big Oil money and the suicidal desire to run that gas guzzler into Hell on Earth.

A letter writer responds to a letter of March 4 which had equated, by favorable association, President Truman with Herbert Hoover and Winston Churchill and then proceeded to lambast the President as the equivalent of a Republican isolationist.

This writer appropriately thinks that the previous writer sounded "exactly like a fellow that started out to drink everybody under the table and ended up 'crying in his beer'."

He obviously has been watching some of the hearings before the House and Senate Science and Environment Committees of late.

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