The Charlotte News

Monday, April 12, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that according to Haganah, Jews retained possession of Kastel, the hillside town from which Arabs had been firing at Jewish convoys carrying food from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus key to the battle to preserve Jerusalem's 100,000 Jews from being conquered by the Arab forces. The town had switched hands almost daily for the previous ten days.

In Italy, a nationwide one-hour strike called for this date had occurred, but not with the widespread support which the Communist organizers had hoped in advance of the elections scheduled for the following Sunday. The strike was in protest of the killing of 35 Sicilian labor leaders during the previous two years.

A pro-Communist newspaper claimed that the previous afternoon, two persons were killed and 22 injured in a bombing of a Communist-dominated Popular Front rally at Lizzanello near Lecce in Southern Italy.

The Government of Colombia announced that it had broken off relations with the Soviet Union after the three days of rioting and looting in Bogota which had left 300 dead and nearly every official building in the city damaged, in addition to a thousand stores set ablaze. Two Russians and 13 other foreign agents were arrested for stimulating the violence. No Americans were reported among the injured. The city lay in ruins.

Secretary of Defense James Forrestal told the House Armed Services Committee that while the Russians had the understanding of how to make an atomic bomb, they thus far lacked the industrial capacity to produce one. He said that he obtained the information from Dr. Vannevar Bush. He was testifying in favor of the temporary draft and universal military training.

Herschel Johnson of Charlotte, deputy delegate to the U.N., was named Ambassador to Brazil by the President. Mr. Johnson had served in the diplomatic service for nearly 28 years.

John L. Lewis and the UMW reached agreement on a pension plan and ordered the miners to end their strike. But he was still ordered to stand trial for contempt based on his refusal to obey the order served a week earlier immediately to end the strike at that time. The trial was set for Wednesday. Whether the miners would obey the directive, given the court's action, remained to be seen.

The resolution of the impasse granted the miners the sought $100 per month pensions, but only for those over 62 with 20 years of service, limiting the coverage to those who retired after May 28, 1946, whereas the miners had sought the coverage for everyone over 60 with 20 years of experience, regardless of when they had retired. The cutoff date represented the time when the welfare fund was created, based on a royalty payment of ten cents per ton of coal mined contributed by the operators. The compromise plan was suggested by Senator Styles Bridges, appointed as the third member of the welfare fund board of trustees over the weekend. The representative of the operators continued to vote against the plan.

In London, the statue of FDR at Grosvenor Square in front of the U.S. Embassy was unveiled in ceremonies attended by Eleanor Roosevelt, King George VI, and Winston Churchill. The statue was erected from $160,000 worth of contributions obtained from Britons by the Pilgrims Society.

The seven candidates on the ballot in the Republican primary in Nebraska set for the next day prepared to receive the results, with groups of supporters of Thomas Dewey, Harold Stassen, and Senator Taft each predicting victory.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of an 84-year old man from La Junta, Colo., marrying a 75-year old Kannapolis, N.C., woman after a whirlwind pen-pal romance since December. They had met via a small ad. They would live in La Junta.

Tom Schlesinger of The News tells on page 7-B of the banks being closed because of Halifax Day.

In Claremont, CA., twenty miles from Hollywood, the Edgar Bergen Show experienced a glitch which kept it from being aired over NBC, despite the show going forward, unaware of the lack of broadcast. The cables from the auditorium, for some reason, had not carried the signal. Each show cost sponsors $25,000 and NBC was looking at who was responsible for the loss of transmission.

The Jack Benny Program, originating from Palm Springs, also suffered an interruption, but only for two and a half minutes. We wish the sponsors luck on getting their prorated money back on that one...

It was probably them Martians again.

On the editorial page, "'We Have Nothing to Fear...'" recalls the death of FDR three years earlier, finds that the country had drifted since VJ-Day into a feeling of panic and despair regarding the world situation.

Fear best characterized the chief threat to peace, according to William Benton, former Assistant Secretary of State and now chief U.S. delegate to the Freedom of Information Conference in Geneva. That fear, he said, was a potential cause of war with Russia.

The piece asserts that the problem would not be solved until leaders asserted FDR's oft repeated exhortation from his first inaugural, at the time regarding the effects of the Depression. During his twelve years in office, the country had gone from crisis to crisis, facing each with equanimity, demonstrating that it was equal to any emergency. There was no panic because the President was able to maintain public morale.

The difference, it finds, was that the men in leadership roles had lost their nerve. It again reiterates that there was nothing to fear except fear itself.

Perhaps, however, the foreboding power of the atomic bomb, unleashed for the first time three months after the death of President Roosevelt, had transformed in an instant mankind, to a state of fear of itself and its own power now to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants in godlike fashion, a power previously reserved only to natural forces.

Had man, by unleashing the ultimate deus ex machina, becoming only more powerful with time and sure to be possessed soon by other nations outside the West, put forth his own footprint on the earth in such a menacingly omnipotent way as to make him fearful of his own reflection, one that even FDR, had he lived, could not have superseded sufficiently to instill confidence again in the viability of the future? Had, in short, man lost control of his own destiny?

Plainly, given the fact that for three years, no country other than the United States, Britain, and Canada had been privy to the atomic secret, at least insofar as the actual production of a bomb, the only thing the people appeared to have to fear was themselves.

FDR, incidentally, was the 32nd President, not the 31st, as stated by the piece—the difference being the counting of Grover Cleveland twice, not because he was so rotund, but because he served two separate terms, interspersed by Benjamin Harrison. We make note of the issue so that you will not think yourself confused should you start counting from FDR as 31 and wind up one President short. It is readily understandable why the counting of each separate administration rather than each individual in the office would be the case, as any individual serving two separate terms while ticking back a position on the number of the presidency would tend to confuse history and current events, in the end making no sense. In other words, in 1893-97, they would have been otherwise referring to the 22nd President, Grover Cleveland, after the 23rd, Benjamin Harrison. It could have driven people crazy.

The editorial writer, in undoubtedly renewing memory by examining the clippings file from three years earlier, paid the price of reliance on the A.P. report attendant the death of the President.

"Bogota Serves a Warning" finds the rightist revolt in Colombia to serve warning that not only Communism remained as a threat on the world stage. There were only 8,000 Communists in Colombia and the only Communist move in the revolt was the calling of a general strike after the bloodshed and rioting set off by the assassination of the Liberal Party Leader, Sr. Gaitan. Liberals then moved to take over the Conservative Government as crowds took out their vengeance on Conservative leaders.

While it was possible that the assassin, lynched by the crowd and his corpse dragged through the streets of Bogota, may have been a Communist, the revolutionary spirit was precipitated by a rightist Government.

America, meanwhile, was supporting many rightist regimes, such as the dictatorships in Argentina, Turkey, and China, as well as the Government of Greece which was other than democratic. Moderates were in control of Italy and France, but they were also undertaking policies which made them vulnerable to attack by the left.

The disturbance in Colombia showed that the U.S. needed to devote attention to the rightist stimulus of such revolts, and not just to stopping Communism. Otherwise, other civil wars might erupt in allied nations.

"A Note on the Dogwood" remarks on the suggestion by Ernest Rogers of the Atlanta Journal that the name of the dogwood be changed to something more poetic, finds it a misplaced sentiment. For the dogwood, itself, had always evoked poetry, even if the appellation was ironic in that which it literally conjured.

The "Carolina Farmer" section of the newspaper devoted its attention this date to the blooming of the dogwood, which was said to have supplied the timber for the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. The mythology had it that the tree was originally as large and strong as an oak before the crucifixion and then winnowed to its contemporary slender, bent form so that it could never again be used for the purpose. The blossoms bear nail prints on each petal and the rust in the center of the flower is said to be an imprint of the blood, so that it would always be remembered as the tree on which Jesus had suffered unto death.

The people of Charlotte had preserved and protected the dogwood, in accordance with the prescription of the Bible, such that it blossomed in profusion.

It is too bad, of course, that they were not as busy protecting and cherishing the Constitution of the United States and the right of every citizen to be regarded as equal, also an entirely Christian concept.

The same, to a lesser extent, remains true today.

A society can preserve all the aesthetic natural beauty it wants, but it is for naught if that same society demands so much law and order as to encourage the hiring of unstable gun nuts, who fire first and apologize and backfill later, to police the land. It is okay to let a non-violent suspect escape custody. There will be a lot less trouble over that than from the shooting of someone unarmed and not dangerous. And if a town or county cannot hire and train personnel with enough common sense to understand that basic precept, which is also consistent with the limits laid down by the Supreme Court of the United States, then the leadership in that town or county must go. Everyone in the country has rights at stake as we all travel from time to time. It is beyond just the provincial views of each town and burg along the way to determine how law enforcement operates. And it is time to have national standards which will be strictly obeyed to end this senseless, outrageous violence, which portrays the country as little more than a third world Fascist banana republic.

The populace of the entire country is increasingly tired of the homicide or assault du jour committed by the police. We believe it is deliberate, to deter exercise of free speech and free movement in the society, perpetrated by little power cliques seeking to preserve their political fiefdoms in a given community. And that is Fascism.

It is the safety of every citizen in the country which is at stake, not just one race or one socio-economic group. Nuts with guns behind badges present the most dangerous scenario possible, a cocktail for disaster. It will not be tolerated any longer. The people control the police in a democracy, not vice versa.

We hope that some of these lawsuits being filed against police officers who resort first to violence will literally bankrupt some of these "law and order" Fascist local governing units, until they and their constituents finally get the message that this is the United States of America, not Argentina and not Dirty Harryville. Pay more attention to reality and less to "The Terminator" or its equivalent. Most worry about crime and "criminals" is in the realm of dangerous fantasy and not reality. The average citizen has as much chance of being victimized by a violent crime as being struck by lightning or hit by a plane crashing out of the sky. It is bred by watching too much television. Try reading for a change and employing police who are stable individuals with some sense and human decency about them.

Sure, it's a tough job. But so are a lot of jobs. And there is no excuse for the level of violence now being perpetrated by the police to the point of criminality across the land. It does a disservice to the good officers who understand their roles and realize that the world will not end if a traffic violator or some other non-violent, unarmed individual gets away, especially after the person has been identified and thus can be traced for arrest for resisting. Do more than get rid of the "few" bad apples. Change the whole concept back to public service and away from the silly "law and order" punitive forms of enforcement which have gripped the country for so long that it has made it sick.

The United States is not a military occupation zone and we shall not be treated as if it is by anyone. More stress in training of police officers needs to be placed on the Constitution and its basic requirements for proper law enforcement and less on how to use force. Placing young people with problems in the field and giving them tacitly a license to harass, abuse, assault, and even kill is against the public weal, and will, ultimately, come back to haunt the leadership of the community which dares to tolerate such misbehavior for even a minute, no matter how much the leadership of that police entity or community think they are insulated with political power.

Have regular local seminars for the police, inclusive of local criminal defense attorneys, rather than exclusively behind-closed-doors conferences between police administration and city attorneys or prosecutors, usually only after questionable force has been used. Thus might end a lot of the "us versus them" mentality which obviously pervades too many police departments, then is transferred into the field. Learn to listen to the citizens who complain about an individual police officer, set up rotating citizens' complaint councils not attached to the department, with oversight and responsibility for discipline and firing, and learn to fire, if not to refuse to hire in the first instance, the officer who is trying to play a role in a shoot-'em-up, for their own good as well as that of the public. Also, learn to apologize when you are proved wrong, before you shoot someone or kill someone or lend approbation to your less controlled officers to do likewise.

It is not a television show. And you are not the stars. And the people whom you are hired to serve are not the butts of your private jokes or the basis for release of your private frustrations.

The dogwood, incidentally, we venture, is so named because it is bent, as a dog's hind leg.

A piece from the New York Herald-Tribune, titled "The 75-cent Minimum", finds that while the 40-cent minimum wage had been long obsolete, raising it to 75 cents could cause prices to rise further. For when the minimum wage was raised, so too were other wages required to be raised to provide the continuing differential in pay based on skill and experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics had found in 1944, when the 40-cent minimum went into effect, that the average national hourly wage was over 94 cents. In August, 1947, the average was $1.20. With a narrower margin between the proposed increase and the current average, the effects of raising the minimum would be felt more acutely than in 1944. The level of the minimum wage needed to be determined therefore on careful analysis of its predicted impact on the economy.

Drew Pearson examines President Truman at the end of three years in office since FDR's death. A few months later, he had casually informed members of the press from Reelfoot Lake, Tenn., that the U.S. would not share the atomic secret, sending the journalists scattering for the nearest telephone to report the news to their editors, leaving the President wondering at their sudden departure from convivial informal company. He did not seem to understand the impact of his words. Even three years later, he still shot from the hip, resulting in unsteady and unpredictable swings in policy.

Mr. Pearson predicts that historians would find Mr. Truman correct on the major social issues, price control, labor, civil rights, and monopoly, while placing loyalty too much ahead of the national welfare and allowing his temper too much to get the better of him. He had made too many mistakes shooting from the hip.

When James Byrnes had been Secretary of State, he had reminded the President to allow him to present both sides of each issue before making up his mind. It was the President's bad habit to adopt the position which Mr. Byrnes presented first. It was the reason that Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had been able, with only a few minutes of explanation, to reverse the Administration's support for the Palestine partition plan.

Recently, the President had told the press that at no time had the U.S. considered accepting Chinese Communists into the Chinese Government, belying the fact that Secretary of State Marshall, when he had been the President's special emissary in China in 1946, was given the mission by the President to attract Communists into the Chiang Government, as the President, himself, had at that time announced. General Marshall, at the time of his return from China, had said that he had failed in his mission for the fact that both sides resisted such a coalition government. But even after journalists at the press conference reminded the President of this fact, he stubbornly clung to his first statement.

When Senator, he had stated in June, 1941 at the invasion of Russia by Germany that if Russia were winning, the U.S. should help the Russians and if the Germans were winning, the country should help them, with each killing off as many as possible. While it suited the beliefs of many in the country, it did not adhere to Administration policy of aid to Russia or generally the view of most in Congress. Likewise, when he had bawled out Premier Stalin on the first day of the July, 1945 meeting at Potsdam, he did not ingratiate himself to the Russian leader, though Stalin was due for bawling out on many occasions. It was, however, lacking in protocol and diplomacy for the President to undertake such a role, had undoubtedly, along with his 1941 statement, disserved U.S.-Soviet relations.

He concludes by stating that the American people surely would elect a new leader in the fall for the disturbing, unstable ride on which the President had led them during the previous three years.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop look at the division in CIO between the anti-Communist and Communist wings, causing the anti-Communists to back General Eisenhower for the Democratic nomination, having determined not to support the President. That was so despite word coming that General Eisenhower would have favored a moderate version of Taft-Hartley, a bill the President had vetoed. The Communist wing firmly supported Henry Wallace, and the Communists increasingly were taking control of his campaign.

The anti-Communists were confident of victory in the internal CIO struggle, which was defining its presidential preference. Should General Eisenhower not ultimately be drafted by the Democrats, as recently favored by FDR, Jr., and Elliott Roosevelt, then the CIO would sit out the presidential election and instead campaign only for Congressional candidates against those who voted for Taft-Hartley.

The Alsops regard the abandonment of the President by CIO to be the final death knell to his chances of re-election.

Samuel Grafton finds the presidential campaign to be unique in the popularity of candidates who were either non-candidates, as General Eisenhower, or at least not traditional politicians, as Henry Wallace, Harold Stassen, and General MacArthur, each of whom enjoyed wide support, though on different points along the political spectrum. Professional observers had never seen the like of the 1948 campaign.

The President was given no chance to win the election, though the opposition did not appear to be based on personal antipathy toward him or his policies. Generally, people were not pointing to any particular thing he had done to which they objected. Instead, the rejection was based on doubt and concern, the desire to start fresh with a new personality in the White House.

The feeling was demonstrated by the fact that Mr. Grafton had received a great number of letters, uniformly positive, regarding his suggested moot peace conference at which a dozen prominent Americans would debate the division between Russia and the West, in the hope of coming up with a plan to bridge the increasingly wide chasm.

A letter writer finds merit in black applications to the University of North Carolina Medical School but not a "damned bit" for the applications to the Law School, as the North Carolina College for Negroes at Durham had a law school.

He thinks the regional graduate school concept was the answer for graduate school generally.

A letter writer finds disconcerting the April 7 editorial, "Race Issue at Chapel Hill", tells of it being disappointing to the readers who looked to The News for leadership down avenues of progress. He says that the goals to break down segregation in the South and to obtain equal opportunity were of a piece and not, as the editorial had suggested, mutually exclusive, with the former being the principal motive for the effort at UNC and elsewhere, as the piece had asserted that separate-but-equal facilities could be realized.

The regional graduate school plan, he says, was not an acceptable substitute as it would merely perpetuate the relegation of white and black Southerners to roles as second and third-class citizens. Breaking down segregation was in the general public interest.

By admitting the three black applicants to the UNC graduate school, the Board of Trustees would be serving the public good for all.

A letter writer gives praise to the April 7 editorial "A-Bomb Works Against Us", which had opined that having exclusive possession of the bomb led to too much reliance upon it and bred false security, undercutting the need to work diplomatically to achieve the peace, while allowing Communist propaganda to claim with apparent credulity that the U.S. had imperialist aims abroad the world. The editorial favored continued work to form world government. The writer agrees.

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