The Charlotte News

Friday, April 23, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan urged all Arab nations to send their armies into Palestine to battle the Jews at the point when the British ended their mandate on May 15. Trans-Jordan had supplied 10,000 troops, two-thirds of its armed forces, to the British in Palestine. The King assured that they would maintain those duties until the mandate ended, at which point they would join the Arab effort against Zionism.

In Cairo, sources said that as many as 50,000 Arabs from six countries would move into Palestine after the end of the mandate unless U.N. action first intervened to change the situation. The move came in response to a determination of underestimation of the power of the Jewish forces operating under Haganah, which had just taken control of Haifa after a rout of the Arab forces.

The British Colonial Secretary urged the U.N. to take immediate action to stop open warfare in Palestine rather than trying for the nonce to effect a long-term solution to the problem, prior to May 15. He said that the British Government would cooperate with any stop-gap measures undertaken between May 15 and August 1, at which point the final withdrawal of British troops would be complete. The Government said that his statements did not reflect any Cabinet decisions of the previous two days.

Republican members of the House Banking Committee raised objections to the public housing provision of the Senate-passed Taft-Ellender-Wagner long-term housing bill to encourage 15 million new homes to be constructed by 1958. But Congressman Jesse Wolcott, chairman of the Committee, said that some form of housing bill would pass. Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas of California, a Democrat, expressed assurance that the bill, as written, could pass the House. She was petitioning to get a majority of the House members to favor bringing the bill directly to the floor. The provisions of the Senate bill are stated.

Representative J. Parnell Thomas, chairman of HUAC, stated that there would be a "showdown" if the President continued to insist on not turning over the results of the loyalty investigation of Dr. Edward Condon, head of the Bureau of Standards, accused by HUAC of being the principal risk in the Government to atomic security for his having allegedly had contact, "knowingly or unknowingly", with a Communist espionage agent. Mr. Thomas gave the Secretary of Commerce 48 hours to comply with the demand.

The President had replied at a news conference that there had been a case involving Thomas Jefferson as President refusing to provide a letter requested by the defense counsel of Aaron Burr in his trials for both treason and subsequent misdemeanor after his acquittal in the treason trial, a decision ultimately upheld by Chief Justice John Marshall, resultant of a compromise whereby the letter was turned over with certain parts of it redacted.

Mr. Thomas said that his opinion was that times had changed, that there was precedent for demanding that the Secretary of Commerce produce the letter or be taken into custody by the House sergeant-at-arms until he did so. He added that there had been no decision reached, however, to resort to that latter extreme measure. In that event, the Secretary would then ask for a writ of habeas corpus and the matter would wind up in the Supreme Court for final resolution.

That same incident involving President Jefferson, as we pointed out obliquely and by coincidence a few days ago, was raised by President Nixon during Watergate, at a press conference of October 26, 1973, regarding tapes being subpoenaed by Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in relation to the Federal Grand Jury proceedings, seeking indictments for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury against John Erlichman, Bob Haldeman, John Mitchell, Chuck Colson and three others involved in the Watergate coverup, to which objection had been made by the Administration under the premise of "executive privilege", that the tapes contained matter deemed unilaterally by the Administration to be protected for the purpose of assuring "national security", the same rationale used in this instance by President Truman, albeit not regarding the break-in of the Republican National Committee headquarters during a presidential election year, with those arrested linked back to the Committee to Re-Elect the President, headed by the previous Attorney General of the United States. President Nixon had sought, on the basis of the Jefferson precedent, a compromise whereby Senator John Stennis of Mississippi would act as auditor of the tapes, providing a transcription or summary of relevant portions, a compromise which Mr. Cox rejected, leading to his being ordered fired by the President on October 20, 1973 and the redundant firings of two successive Attorneys General the same day who refused to fire Mr. Cox, until President Nixon found his compliant errand boy in Bobby Bork, that which became notoriously known at the time as the "Saturday Night Massacre"—probably giving someone at NBC eventually the notion two years later to inaugurate "Saturday Night Live" to afford the nation the relief of laughter following 12 years of tears.

But, perhaps the operatives in that one thought the "C" in DNC stood for "Commee". Follow the money.

President Truman had inadvertently attributed, according to press secretary Charles G. Ross, to Thomas Jefferson a remark properly belonging 25 years later to President Andrew Jackson, that Chief Justice Marshall had made the decision and now he should enforce it, in reference to Worcester v. Georgia and its holding that a Georgia statute, under which a non-Indian missionary was convicted for trespass for being on Indian lands, was held unconstitutional for its usurping exclusive Federal jurisdiction of Indian lands. President Jackson had intended his comment ironically, to suggest that the Supreme Court could not enforce Federal law on the states, in those days there being no FBI or National Guard to be Federalized.

To avoid confusion, incidentally, no tomahawks were involved in Worcester or in the Saturday Night Massacre, the latter having nothing, insofar as we know, to do with either Presidents Jefferson, Jackson or Truman. Why, even Bob Haldeman eventually grew his hair a little longer and John Erlichman sprouted a beard.

Americans for Democratic Action called on the Congress to end Jim Crow segregation. It should be noted that as a practical matter, the Federal Government could do no more than declare public facilities not according Equal Protection of the law through the separate-but-equal doctrine and that private facilities open to the public and operating in interstate commerce could not discriminate based on race or other prohibited forms of discrimination under the Constitution. The Congress is limited by the powers set forth in Article I of the Constitution, including those "necessary and proper" to carry out the laws passed pursuant to its powers, which include the power to regulate any activity substantially impacting interstate commerce.

The same argument, incidentally, may be applied to attempts by private individuals to restrict freedom of speech.

In Kansas City, 70 police officers clashed with strikers at the Cudahy Packing Co. meatpacking plant, after orders issued for them to get tough, resulting in a ten-minute battle inside the union hall. Eight persons, including two women, were injured. The union hall was emptied. The union demanded an investigation of the incident for use of police brutality—to say nothing of the abuse of the rights of freedom of assembly and exercise of free speech and association, for which the police could be sued pursuant to 42 USC 1983, on the books since shortly after the Civil War.

The Federal District Court in Washington postponed indefinitely any further action regarding the possibility of further fines or jail for John L. Lewis and others on the executive committee of UMW in further penalty for the contempt by refusing to end the coal strike until a week after service of the order by the Court to do so. The Government recommended no further action at the present time, as most of the miners were now reporting back to work. The Court had already fined Mr. Lewis $20,000 and the union 1.4 million the prior Wednesday.

In Detroit, the police continued to investigate the attempted murder of UAW president Walter Reuther, having taken into custody two hearsay witnesses, one an admitted Communist who said that he knew who fired the shotgun which wounded Mr. Reuther as he stood in his kitchen with his wife. The man was working at the Ford Motor Co. foundry at the time of the shooting and so was not being charged with complicity.

An unidentified witness said that a political opponent of Mr. Reuther, a former secretary-treasurer of UAW, had been seen on a street corner near the Reuther residence at around the time of the shooting, talking to two men in a red car. A red sedan had been seen fleeing the scene of the shooting. The former UAW officer denied the claim to prosecutors and told of his whereabouts at the time.

In Raleigh, two black men, one convicted of three murders by arson involving the house of his girlfriend wherein were her two small children and the other convicted of rape of a white woman in front of her two children, were executed minutes apart in the gas chamber at Central Prison. Both men maintained to the end that they were innocent.

In Lenoir, N.C., a man hit on the head at a carnival and found dying, subsequently succumbed to the injuries. The police were looking for a man known as "Pee Wee" as a suspect in the homicide.

If you should see Pee Wee, alert law enforcement that they might handle the situation. Don't shoot at Pee Wee or beat him over the head.

In Windsor, N.C., a man accused of passing counterfeit money, robbery, and assaulting a Highway Patrolman near Fayetteville was apprehended via roadblocks. The robbery consisted of taking the officer's revolver and patrol car keys. At the time of capture, the man was accompanied by his wife and another man, neither of whom had any role in the criminal misconduct. The man was originally stopped based on a license number taken of his car after he passed a counterfeit bill at a service station in Selma, N.C.

On the editorial page, "Fight Against Truman Stalls" finds the pledge of the Texas Democratic delegation to support the nominee of the party and not to engage in a revolt against the President to be signal of the anti-Truman campaign having lost its momentum. It now appeared that the President would be nominated by the convention on the first or second ballot.

It was unlikely that the Republicans would try to pass the civil rights legislation which was the basis for the Southern revolt, for to do so might knock the President out as nominee and upset the Republican plans, hinged to the nomination of the President whose chances for election they viewed as slim to none.

"Threat to Basic Principles" tells of the Senate bills to curb or ban liquor advertising, protested by the American Newspaper Publishers Association for violating free speech and press for it being outside the power of Congress to regulate.

The News did not accept liquor advertising, but did for wine and beer. But the piece assures that doing so as a matter of taste did not mean that it favored a ban for others; it did not.

It believes that neither the Federal Government nor the State had the right, with liquor sales approved, to ban advertising of a legal product, that doing so at least violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution.

We note that the Supreme Court has distinguished commercial free speech from individual free speech, on the notion of the former speech being a function of commercial purchase under contract, and thus not deserving of the same level of strict protection as the latter, though still embraced by the First Amendment.

"Italian Voters Sadden Wallace" comments on Henry Wallace's statement that the U.S. was foolish if it believed that it had bought friendship along with the votes in Italy with coercive pressure under the promise of ERP aid.

The piece finds the argument to suggest no more coercion than utilized in an American election, and that the demands to be continually made on Washington by Italy would neither be surprising nor new.

The key point, it concludes, was that the American view had won out over the Communist view.

A piece in the Atlanta Journal, "Peace Now Is a Necessity", finds peace necessary for survival in the atomic age. While Dr. Philip Owen of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Survey Commission had stated that the effects of radiation following the Japanese blasts were not prolonged, such was of little comfort in the face of figures showing that the Hiroshima bomb killed 78,150, 21.2 percent of whom died of radiation, and injured another 64,678.

And the bombs had already become far more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb and would only become increasingly potent as time went on. The most recent figures in the Information, Please Almanac for American deaths in World War II in 44 months of fighting showed 201,000 killed—now set at around 300,000.

A rain of atomic bombs would obviously end civilization.

Drew Pearson tells of a document being found in Germany, written during the war, which sought authorization for a new crematorium which would be big enough to burn 40 bodies daily at Auschwitz, run by the I. G. Farben company. It was believed that the document would assure findings of guilt against the company's directors for complicity in war crimes. Just as the evidence surfaced, however, General Telford Taylor, the effective war crimes prosecutor, was called home to Washington. At the same time, some highly placed defense chieftains had started a quiet drive to save I. G. Farben, Krupps, and other munitions manufacturers from conviction for being complicit in war crimes, that they might continue to supply arms for Western Germany, deemed necessary to stop Soviet expansion.

Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had been a partner in Dillon, Read, which had loaned large sums of money to the munitions manufacturers in question. Now, there had been a change in Administration policy since after the end of the war, whereby there was no longer the intention to break up the large German cartels and hold the munitions companies responsible for war crimes. General Lucius Clay, military governor of the U.S. occupation zone, had refused to approve such a policy.

National defense officials were giving top priority to construction of fourteen underground factories for essential industries. Large American air bases with underground hangars were being built to afford flights across the Arctic. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith had been retained by Secretary Forrestal to advise on mobilization.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Soviets continuing to wage a war of nerves in Europe, stressing a recent tantrum thrown by the Soviet Ambassador to Iran before a diplomatic colleague not involved with Iran, saying that Iran could fall under Soviet dominance very easily unless it stopped kowtowing to U.S. imperialism. The Ambassador said that Soviet forces were prepared to invade Iran to protect the Soviet frontier. He then related that Norway and Denmark were next on the Soviet agenda after the takeover in Czechoslovakia.

The Danes and Norwegians were aware of seven Soviet divisions deployed in the northern part of the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, conducting maneuvers around Rostock, near the Danish border. There were rumors that Russia might invade both countries. The Russian war of nerves, however, appeared to have slackened in Scandinavia after Finland agreed to a treaty with Russia.

The Alsops suggest that if the Soviets were planning to occupy Iran to prevent it from becoming a base for anti-Soviet activity, as the Soviet Ambassador had intimated, then it would mean world war three. But most experts fortunately believed it to be more bluff in the continuing war of nerves.

They find Congress, however, continuing to reduce ERP appropriations and resisting provision of the military with the necessary manpower effectively to resist Soviet efforts at expansion. They find it to be playing "political tiddly-winks with the destiny" of the United States.

Samuel Grafton finds the way in which America had to listen for results of the Italian election to determine the future to have been a demeaning and humiliating experience. The country's fortunes should not be dependent on the fortuitous outcome of a foreign election.

He insists that such a situation should not recur in the future and that the way to prevent it was to assure that there would be no reasonable doubt as to how a civilized country similar to the U.S. would vote. As long as the cold war continued, there would be other such battles.

He opines that changing from prosecution of the cold war to searching for peace would be a way to get more things done faster. The Marshall Plan conveyed the notion that bread was important and that in America there was plenty of bread. But also it had to be shown to Europe that peace existed in America. Then, the outcome of foreign elections would be predictable.

He again suggests insistence by the U.S. on holding conferences with Russia and to stress waging peace, ignoring those who would call it appeasement. They ignored the precept that if the U.S. allowed Russia to make the demands for peace, the Soviets would use it as a sword.

A letter replies to that of A. W. Black of April 20 which had criticized the recent series of four articles of the United World Federalists favoring world government, with or without the Soviet bloc of nations. The author says that Mr. Black was correct in asserting that the U.N. was no more than a weak debating society, accomplishing little. His argument, however, was that war was inevitable and could not be prevented by world organization or world government.

This author concludes that war was obsolete and it was worth giving world government a try to eliminate it.

A letter writer likes the editorial cartoon of Vaughn Shoemaker carried on April 12, finds it illustrative of the belief that no amount of dollars could bring peace, that only a spiritual awakening could do so.

A letter writer advises Charlotteans dismayed over finding adequate funding for indigent patients admitted to the Charlotte Memorial Hospital to come to Shelby and find a population contented with its perfect system.

From our experience, limited though it is and in the distant past, the folks in Shelby went to the hospital in Charlotte whenever they needed hospitalization. We cannot recall a hospital even existing in Shelby in that time. If there was one, it was very small. But maybe he refers to something else, perhaps the charity extended by family members to those who were discharged from the Charlotte hospital.


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