The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 1, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, the Russians, beginning what would become the most visible boundary of the Cold War for the ensuing 41 years, launched a drive to control entry into the city from the West, shutting off military train traffic into both the British and American occupation zones. It was viewed as an attempt to squeeze the Western allies out of Berlin. Russian inspection was required of all roadway and railway traffic at the border of the city. Attempts of Russian troops to board American and British military trains, however, was refused, causing the trains to be denied passage. The Soviets used as the rationale for the auto and rail searches the halting of transfer of machinery out of the Eastern sector, controlled by Russia. The U.S., Britain, and France lodged protests.

General Lucius Clay, American military governor, ordered the Air Force to supply 10,000 persons in Berlin with food and passenger service by air. By international agreement, the British and Americans had the right to the airspace into the city without restriction. For the time being, he canceled all American military train travel into and from Berlin, about 100 miles from the border of the Western zones. Regular flights from Frankfurt to Berlin's Tempelhof Airport would take their place.

Pravda announced that four-power control of Germany was at an end and that henceforth, the country would be partitioned.

April Fool.

The Senate and House confreres worked out a compromise on the foreign aid bill which struck the provision added in the House to make Franco's Spain eligible for aid under ERP. The President had expressed his opposition to the provision. Senator Vandenberg said that the decision should be left to the 16 recipient nations of Europe. The confreres continued to work on the remaining provisions of the bill.

The U.S. moved to shore up its defenses of the Dardanelles, presently guarded by 700,000 Turkish troops. The first of three shipments of planes was set to depart San Francisco for Istanbul. Each transport normally carried 90 wing-folding Navy planes or 30 to 40 Army planes. An American military mission of about 260 men was already in Turkey, providing instruction.

The President advised Congress that he would ask for an additional three billion dollars, added to the eleven billion already sought for the defense budget for the 1948-49 fiscal year. The spending would provide for increased manpower. According to a source, the President had told the Joint Chiefs that he wanted a peace program and not a war program.

According to Navy authorities, the four Marines captured by the Chinese Communists at Christmas while on a hunting trip, inadvertently entering Communist territory, were released. The men appeared in good condition. A fifth Marine had been killed at the time of capture. The Communists claimed that the Marines were participating in the Chinese civil war at the time.

At the 21-nation Pan-American Conference at Bogota, Colombia, Chile's delegate urged a strong anti-Communist stand be taken by the Conference. It appeared likely that such would occur.

The United Financial Employees, on strike at the New York Stock and Curb Exchanges, invited comment from 21 prominent American businessmen from whom they specifically solicited response on their strike. The strike was in its fourth day, as trading remained normal on the exchanges with brokers and traders taking up the duties of the striking clerical workers.

The President consulted with top advisers regarding the next move in the coal strike, following the report being issued by the Administration-appointed fact-finding board the previous day. It was going to be hard to prove that John L. Lewis called this strike and, in any event, to force the 400,000 miners back on the job. The President was headed to Williamsburg to receive an honorary degree at the College of William & Mary.

It was expected that the President would veto the Republican 4.8 billion dollar tax cut the following day.

Some Republicans, especially backers of General MacArthur, stated that they were opposed to the Democrats trying to substitute someone else on the ticket in lieu of the President, as they thought the President would be more vulnerable than another candidate.

The national commander of the American Legion, James O'Neil, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Henry Wallace a "Russian-Firster", urged support of universal military training.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon expressed concern over the statement the previous day to the Committee by civil rights leader and head of the Brotherhood of Pullman Porters, A. Philip Randolph, that blacks across the nation would refuse to register for either a draft or UMT as long as the military forces remained segregated. Senator Morse warned that such a move could lead to charges of treason, but Mr. Randolph responded that blacks were willing to pay that price to make their voices heard against Jim Crow practices.

Actor Adolphe Menjou predicted in Baltimore that President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia would die within the ensuing six months. Mr. Menjou was apparently psychic. He had predicted that Jan Masaryk, who had committed suicide within the previous month, would also soon die. President Benes, 64, would die on September 3 of natural causes.

Mr. Menjou, incidentally, who had been a major witness at the HUAC hearings investigating Communism within the movie industry the previous October, would die October 29, 1963.

On the editorial page, "Counting Our ABC Chickens" finds the report of ABC Board chairman Frank Sims that the City and County had taken in $816,000 in profits during the first six months of ABC-controlled sales of liquor to be welcome news to everyone at City Hall and the County Courthouse. It provides the breakdown of the figures and counsels that the increased revenue to the general fund be used to lower local taxes before being spent.

"'New Look' for Air Force" tells of the new uniforms for the Army Air Force costing ten million dollars, to differentiate them from the Navy Air Force uniforms by means of a slightly different hue of blue. The total re-outfitting cost for the Air Force would be over 54 million dollars to replace the old khaki uniforms. The rationale for the change was to improve esprit de corps and morale, but it was time, opines the editorial, to improve morale of the people by saving such unnecessary spending.

It concludes: "Blue! Here we taxpayers go into the wild blue yonder."

"Don't Overlook the Soybean" tells of the nation producing six times more soybeans than a decade earlier, for the value of the derived oils and proteins in nutrition, especially valuable for feeding the world. Soybeans depleted the soil of less nitrogen, requiring less fertilizer, than corn or small grain crops and so were attractive to the piedmont and coastal plain regions of the Carolinas. The Roanoke variety of soybean was recommended for the Charlotte area.

A piece from the St. Louis Star-Times, titled "Young Drivers", tells of insurance underwriters being in favor of higher rates for drivers under 25 because of higher accident rates in that age group. Stricter parental guidance would be one method of lowering accident rates, but the primary means would be by better driver education and tougher licensing laws.

Drew Pearson tells of strategic planning in the U.S. for a possible Russian takeover of the Continent, leaving only Britain and Spain as suitable locations for military bases. Thus, it was necessary to insure that Britain would not take a neutral position, as many Britons favored after more than five years of uninterrupted warfare. Many on the Continent felt the same way. The British Government had provided assurances that it would fight in the case of a Russian attack and that British bases would be available to American bombers.

The President's food advisers were considering an increase in wheat allocation to Europe in the coming three months. But it had to be accomplished without encouraging renewed speculation and consequent rising prices. The 1947 crop had been the largest in U.S. history and the 1948 crop would likely be second largest.

He next tells of one of General MacArthur's chief backers in Wisconsin being former Governor Fred Zimmerman, reportedly a former Klan member.

The Americans for Democratic Action were reported to be ready to announce support for General Eisenhower on April 10.

Belgium, part of the new Western European Union and recipient under ERP, had just concluded a trade pact with Russia.

Eric Johnston, MPAA head, told the President that Italian and French attendance at movies had risen despite free showings of Russian films and free transportation to the theater.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the next step in the U.S. response to Soviet expansion would likely be a revival of military lend-lease as during the war, to provide backing for the new five-nation Western European Union. The move had already been approved and awaited only the right timing for implementation, the present not being ripe for the fact of a probable reaction from Congress that rearming of Europe could substitute for the draft and universal military training and, at the time of the President's foreign policy speech, that the WEU was still nascent.

It would also have been seized upon by the Soviets as further evidence that ERP was an imperialist tool. Thus, Secretary of State Marshall believed that the initiative ought come from the founding five nations, France, Britain, and the Benelux countries.

The need was made manifest by the situation of the French, whose troops were committed in Indo-China and North Africa, with only a small number at home. Their equipment was obsolete or non-existent. Thus, consideration was being given in Washington to equipping ten French divisions.

If such a program were to become a reality, it would form a tight military alliance between the U.S. and Western Europe. Britain and the U.S. were already coordinating plans for the joint occupation zone in Germany. It would require coordination of leadership of the military with those of the five WEU nations, plus Italy if it eventually joined the union. It opened the way for a European combined staff.

Samuel Grafton continues his look at Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, a dark horse candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. The Senator told Mr. Grafton that a new president could provide change, with new faces in the Government, giving the people a new confidence.

On foreign policy, he would follow the path laid down by Senator Arthur Vandenberg, firmness with Russia and friendship to nations who kept their promises. Domestically, he favored a long-range agricultural policy and housing and health care aid to the urban areas. All of it would be done while keeping expenditures down.

He disfavored entering the WEU, felt that so doing would cause ERP to end the U.N. for all intents and purposes. He believed that the nation had to maintain faith in that organization.

Mr. Grafton regards his positions as sounding fine, but he wonders whether in practice it could all be accomplished. First, deep problems had to be overcome with Russia to make the U.N. work.

A letter from an eighteen-year old German boy of Dortmund in Westphalia, Germany, tells of the country's problems, to educate Americans. Most things had become worse since 1945 and the longing was for a start to the reconstruction process. Hunger was pervasive and the people worked as hard as they could on meager diets. They received much less than the stated ration of 1,500 calories per day. Clothing was also scarce as it had not been available for a decade.

A letter writer finds the editors of the Columbus, Ga., Ledger-Enquirer, as praised in a March 20 editorial, deserving neither pity nor commendation in their efforts to uncover the local Klan, with three staff members winding up threatened with death by the Kluckers and eventually forced to consume copious amounts of liquor and left for the local gendarmes to arrest on the side of the road—eventually being abandoned by the attorneys for the newspaper and, without their permission, having guilty pleas entered for them on public drunkenness charges.

The author thinks, however, that the North Carolina house was not so in order, as evidenced by headlines which he provides regarding four cases of forced incest, that the editorials across the state ought be condemning Georgia for its sins before cleaning up those of North Carolina.

Nothing like comparing oranges to prunes, unless he was suggesting by implication that necessarily all of the incestuous relations were had, definitionally, by Klansmen.

Incidentally, on the eve of what we hope and trust will be another great basketball triumph in two successive games, the fifth as it were should it come to pass, we understand that on April Fool's Day, 2015, Duke adopted a zero-tolerance policy to rope on campus. We laud this action. It is about time that a major university took responsibility for its students and their welfare and banned hemp. Kudos to Duke and its student body, who demonstrated in favor of the No Hemp policy.

Back in our day, candidly, forty-odd years ago, had students found such rope on campus, absent any particular connotations, the general reaction of virtually all students, at a time when there was relatively extraordinary sensitivity to individual rights and liberties, given that period through which we had all just lived in the 1960's, would have been to regard it as an April Fool's joke on prospective basketball fortunes, that perhaps a choke was in the offing in Indianapolis, as spring was in the air, laughed about it and gone on about our day, as likely Duke students would have, too. But, given the times, we were all collectively irresponsible in our overly libertarian views regarding the use of hemp by our fellow students.

We hope that the Duke campus police will duly note the new policy which the students so fervently support, so important to the welfare of the students that it was enunciated to the nation and the world, and strictly enforce it.

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