The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 14, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen had won the Nebraska presidential primary of the previous day, his second victory in a row after the Wisconsin win the previous Tuesday. His campaign manager proclaimed him the number one contender for the Republican nomination. He appeared to have thirteen of the fifteen delegates in his corner, albeit none bound by the popular vote. Governor Thomas Dewey came in second, followed by Senator Taft and Senator Vandenberg, in a field of seven candidates. The poor showing of General MacArthur, coming in fifth, virtually eliminated him from the race. The other two candidates on the ballot were California Governor Earl Warren and House Speaker Joe Martin.

The campaign manager in Nebraska for Governor Dewey, future Warren Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin of Lincoln, said that while he was disappointed that Mr. Dewey could not campaign longer in the state than he had, his showing was nearly twice that of the other five candidates and thus was good.

Mr. Rankin, as Assistant Attorney General under President Eisenhower, would argue on behalf of the Government in favor of abandonment of the separate-but-equal doctrine in Brown v. Board of Education in 1953 and 1954.

President Truman won the Democratic primary in the state without opposition, taking all twelve delegates.

In Jerusalem, an explosion took place in the Jewish Yemen Moshe quarter after Arabs drove up in a Haganah armored car and placed a box of explosives in a house at the edge of the quarter. The attackers escaped to the Jaffa gate, despite Haganah gunfire trailing them. It was the third explosion in the quarter during the previous month.

The previous day, a six-hour battle, after an Arab attack on a Jewish convoy bound for Hadassah hospital, took the lives of 35 Jews, ten Arabs and two British soldiers.

In Bogota, Colombia, the 21-nation Pan-American Conference resumed its meetings following the end of the rioting which had erupted five days earlier. Secretary of State Marshall attributed the disturbance to international Communism.

Russia had turned down the three-power Western proposal to give Trieste back to Italy. The Soviets stated that the Italian treaty had determined that Trieste was a free city administered by a U.N.-appointed governor and should not be changed.

An authoritative Italian newspaper in Rome predicted that the Christian Democrats, led by Premier Alcide De Gasperi, would easily win Sunday's election over the Communists. Until a month earlier, polls had shown that the Communists would elect the largest bloc, albeit only a plurality. But that situation had changed.

During testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Army chief of staff General Omar Bradley said that an Army ground force of twelve regular combat divisions, backed by a force of six divisions of the National Guard, was the smallest the nation could afford for its security. He regarded the draft which would boost strength by 200,000 troops and UMT which would equip 25 stopgap divisions in the event of a war to be more important than an increased Air Force from 55 to 70 groups, as favored by Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington. He said that the country at present had only about 54,000 combat-ready troops, that it was mainly an administrative Army.

The Senate quickly confirmed Herschel Johnson as Ambassador to Brazil.

The President formally asked Congress to appropriate 4.245 billion dollars for the first fiscal year of ERP, starting July 1. A billion dollars had already been provided via the RFC to last the first quarter in which the program would be implemented, before July 1.

The Senate War Investigating Committee reported to the Congress that the negotiations between Howard Hughes and General Bennett Meyers, recently convicted for unrelated subornation of perjury, were "obviously corrupt". The report urged the Congress to pass a law requiring disclosure of any attempt at bribery or extortion or other corrupt acts in connection with Government business. General Meyers had been the deputy procurement officer for the Army during the war, in charge of forming Army contracts.

Senator Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut told the American Brush Manufacturers Association, meeting in Atlantic City, that unless business could police its own prices, Congress would step in to limit profits.

John L. Lewis and UMW entered pleas of not guilty to charges of contempt based on the failure for a week to obey a Federal District Court order to end the soft coal strike by UMW members, Mr. Lewis finally having called an end to it on Monday after successful settlement of the demand for a $100 per month pension for the UMW members. The trial was before the same judge who had held Mr. Lewis in contempt and fined him the previous year for refusing to end a November, 1946 strike. He was fined $10,000 and the union, 3.5 million in that case, subsequently trimmed to $700,000 by the Supreme Court.

The Ohio River, between Pittsburgh and Louisville, suffered its first major flood since March, 1945, forcing a thousand families from their homes. But the flood waters had largely receded by this date.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia also suffered some flooding. Other flooding took place at Grand Forks, N.D., forcing a hundred families from their homes.

A fire spread through Laramie, Wyo., causing a million dollars worth of damage in one downtown block.

On the editorial page, "Ambassador Johnson to Brazil" finds Herschel Johnson of Charlotte to be a good appointment to the post of Ambassador to Brazil, departing his current position as deputy delegate to the U.N. Security Council.

He had been in the diplomatic service since 1920. For his work in developing the partition plan for Palestine and guiding it through the process of passage before the U.N. General Assembly the previous November, he had been honored in Charlotte during Brotherhood Week in February with the Gold Medal award by the Carolina Israelite.

The Pan-American Conference was stressing increased cooperation among the 21 nations meeting in Bogota before the riots had erupted there. The proposal was to reorganize the Pan-American Union as a regional branch of the U.N. and Mr. Johnson would be able to advance that cause from his new post in Rio.

The piece does not speculate on whether differences with the Administration regarding the change in policy on the partition plan—seeking, in light of the continuing violence since the plan was announced, to have the U.N. abandon it in favor of a trusteeship for Palestine—, may have been the principal reason for the change in Mr. Johnson's assignment.

"A Boston Claghorn Sounds Off" tells of Lt. Governor Arthur W. Coolidge of Massachusetts having recently claimed that the "Bilbo belt banjo-strummers" of the South were "kidnaping" the textile industry of the North and that, in consequence, he was declaring war on the effort.

The piece takes exception to the suggestion of "kidnaping" by the Southern textile manufacturers. While it was true that the South was taking some of the textile industrial strength from the North, some of the Southern Claghorns were moving to New England to set up shop.

And the woolens and worsteds industry which Mr. Coolidge claimed was being taken from the North was being financed in the South by Boston banks. The textile industry was recognizing economic facts and relocating to an area where it was closer to the raw materials and hence cheaper to manufacture the finished product.

It concludes: "That's an economic fact, son."

We add that the woolens and worsteds included the formerly powerful New York college basketball establishment, being wooed slowly to the Southern mills as well.

"A Bigger Game Is Being Played" tells of Albert Einstein remarking to reporters that he had never seen a football game since coming to Princeton. He had come together with five other atomic scientists to state that the only way to avoid future war was to create a world government.

He remarked further anent sports, that if a hundred horses were running in a race, it did not matter which one came in first. The editorial finds the expression, upon reflection, an abstraction in verity—perhaps lending to it, for the identity of the speaker, more substance than its essentially nihilistic suggestion deserved, notwithstanding the informal setting of the remark, responding to an inquiry apart from the purpose for the Professor being present. If it not matter which horse comes in first, what matter anything in the sport of kings?

It finds that the reading habits of the population had changed since the war, that now everyone read the front page of the newspaper in detail, whereas previously it was only skimmed and the sports page the object of scrutiny by males, the fashion pages by females, while children read assiduously the comics page.

It concludes that while the average citizen would not be as detached as Professor Einstein, the atomic age was one in which world government was a more exciting subject than football.

Well, of course, in April...

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Family Life Test", tells of a prospective White House conference on whether the family could survive. While the family unit had always been threatened, it had never come under such threat as in the present, with the rate of divorce at the highest in the country's history, with growing juvenile delinquency, lack of religious faith, inadequate housing, other economic effects, and the long-range armament program all affecting the family unit.

It posits that the family was not threatened with extinction, as it had undergone pressure before, but it did require adaptation to a changing world. It was hoped that the conference would be able to coordinate expertise to allow for schools, church groups, special agencies, communities and the Government to strengthen the family to enable it to conserve basic values.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington having changed from his former support for a temporary draft and universal military training to favoring instead a large Air Force. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal was displeased with the change of heart. It was the first time Secretary Forrestal had allowed a subordinate to speak his mind at a hearing, this one before the Senate Armed Services Committee in closed session. Secretary Symington confirmed the suspicion that the Army and Navy had been holding down expansion of the Air Force. He warned that it might already be too late to build up the Air Force before Russia developed its own atomic bomb. He stated that he had favored UMT before realizing that the Air Force would be cut back from its proposed 70 groups to 55.

Air Force chief of staff General Carl Spaatz added that even 70 groups was too few to win a war, that it was only sufficient to prevent the enemy from winning. For three years, there had been an appeal to modernize the Air Force under a peacetime plan but it had never previously come before Congress.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia objected to the notion of building more B-29's, which he believed were obsolete. Secretary Symington assured the Senator that they would be improved versions.

Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall said that a 70-group Air Force might be necessary in the event of immediate danger but that UMT would provide security in the long-haul.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon urged better coordination between the branches and warned Secretary Forrestal that there was little or no chance of passing both the draft and UMT in one bill. Armed Services Committee chairman Chan Gurney of South Dakota agreed.

Marquis Childs looks at the bloody revolution in Bogota and wonders why, with the new CIA, there was no advance warning of the uprising prior to the Pan-American Conference taking place in the city at the time. He points out that the CIA had its own staff of agents and coordinated intelligence reports from the FBI, the Departments of State and Defense, and the Atomic Energy Commission.

Some of the cloak and dagger surrounding the Agency was comical, as when a top secret report arrived under seal, carried by an armed guard. The seals had to be broken only in the presence of the recipient CIA official. Once opened, sometimes it turned out to be nothing more secretive than a document published in London and available freely to many readers in the public.

The coordination between the CIA and the FBI anent domestic sabotage, within the ambit of FBI jurisdiction, was not effective. During the war, Army G2 and ONI did not coordinate well with the Bureau. The FBI, for instance, had monitored a conversation on December 6, 1941 between Honolulu and Tokyo in which there was a thinly veiled reference to a major event about to occur. The FBI passed the information on to the Navy and Army, but both had ignored it.

He finds the extant arbitrary separation between foreign intelligence gathering and domestic intelligence gathering to be dangerous in the face of the threat of world Communism. He urges coordination henceforth of information to avoid the kind of surprise which obviously was attendant the Bogota uprising.

Samuel Grafton tells of having spoken recently with Speaker of the House Joe Martin who informed that the mood on Capitol Hill was somber, that one of the advantages of having a new President would be to achieve better unity. Mr. Grafton asked whether it would not be good to achieve unity on foreign policy for the sake of the nation, irrespective of political differences and concerns. Mr. Martin responded that he did not wish to be a backseat driver, not having all of the information, and believed that no one in the world really wanted war. It was a typical Republican response. The idea conveyed was that the policy itself was not bipartisan but that bipartisan support was provided a Truman policy.

Some Republicans were torn between the anti-Communism in the President's policy, which they liked, and the danger of its precipitating a war. The compromise they appeared to want was to erect an Air Force curtain while maintaining the anti-Communist content of the President's policy, the idea of a "spear and shield", "with the shield of the Air Force always ready to avert the possible consequences of too much spearing."

Mr. Grafton was not certain that the Speaker followed precisely this approach, but he did favor a big Air Force.

Mr. Martin was more formidable as a presidential candidate than appeared obvious. His deft handling the previous Saturday of the UMW strike by obtaining agreement from Senator Styles Bridges to sit as the third member of the board of trustees of the UMW welfare fund had led to the resolution of the strike after nearly four weeks, and was more presidential than emblematic of his position as Speaker.

Mr. Martin believed that the Democratic organization would crack under the prospect of defeat in November and that the vote for Henry Wallace would be unpredictable right up to election day, dependent on events in the meantime and the other candidates in the race. He concluded by saying, "There is a lot of friction."

Can you imagine that? They would be amazed at how the smooth and wonderful atmosphere of fellowship prevails in the Congress today and for as far back as anyone can remember after they got rid of that bumptiously strident Harry Truman.

A letter writer praises the Congress for overriding the President's veto of the tax bill, the third time he had vetoed a tax bill during the previous year, the first two vetoes having been sustained.

A letter writer from New York comments on the April 1 editorial, "Counting Our ABC Chickens", regarding the large amount of revenue raised for the community during the first six months of ABC-controlled liquor sales in Mecklenburg County. At the same time, he remarks, there was complaint for lack of adequate funds for education in the state. He recommends that the money being spent on alcohol, cigarettes, and other forms of entertainment in all of the states ought be devoted to education, in which case there would be plenty of money available. The reason why education suffered, he opines, was for the fact that the people generally preferred the more frivolous pursuits.

A letter writer apologizes to Drew Pearson for having stated in a letter to The News, reprinted on March 16, that Mr. Pearson had released information during the war prematurely, compromising security. The writer had heard directly from Mr. Pearson who objected to having his patriotism called into question. The author assures that he had nothing of the kind in mind, believed Mr. Pearson a good patriot and instead meant that there had been questions about the accuracy of some of Mr. Pearson's wartime reports. He says that he should have phrased the remark more accurately.

A Quote of the Day: "Down in Georgia a nine-pound bass turned up his nose at a worm, derisively slapped at it with his tail and got caught and was reeled in. The story sends us reeling, too." —Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont

Another pome from the Atlanta Journal, this one with no explanatory opening caption:
A woman who chatters
Says little that matters.

As we indicated last month, for it being leap year in 1948 and not in 2015, we have skipped ahead one day for the fact of the sesquicentennial of the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865 and his death the next morning at 7:30, never regaining consciousness after being shot once behind his left ear by a derringer fired by John Wilkes Booth at around 10:15 p.m. during the performance of the comedic play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington.

As time transpired, steeped in a steely couch, spanning the spun decades intervening two events, the tricked underlayment played havoc perhaps with the watch's bridge, which sought only to eliminate the divide transgressed and sentried by the Unknown.

We shall backtrack to Tuesday, April 13, 1948 on Thursday.

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