The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 8, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Britain again was considering use of fighter escorts to accompany transports into Berlin after an unsatisfactory formal reply to the incident on the previous Monday in which a Russian fighter had crashed into a British transport killing all aboard, with Marshal Vassily Sokolovsky now blaming the British transport for the crash, claiming it was outside the allowable air corridor at the time and came from a cloud bank, hitting the fighter. He had called the British version, laying blame on the Russian fighter, a slander, stated that unless there were adherence to the flight rules established by the four-power commission, Russia would undertake measures to protect its air traffic over the Soviet zone. He also turned down the proposal for a four-power investigation of the crash.

The matter had appeared resolved amicably after a meeting between Field Marshal Lord Bernard Montgomery and his old friend, Marshal Sokolovsky, in which it was agreed that there would be no further fighter interference with transports as long as the British dropped their plan to use fighter escorts, which the British agreed to do. The written reply, however, appeared to fly in the face of those oral assurances. The British spokesperson said that he could not relate the actual words of the Government response to the changed attitude for the fact that ladies were present at the press conference.

American officials stated that the U.S. would also use fighter escorts if the British initiated such a policy.

In Munich, it was reported that 20 non-Communist Czechs commandeered a Czechoslovak Airlines plane and flew it to the American occupation zone of Germany, near Munich. The hijackers included three crewmen, holding a fourth at gunpoint. The plane had 26 aboard, the other five passengers not realizing what had occurred. The six non-participants, who had been headed originally to Prague, elected to return there and were issued visas for the passage. The 20 hijackers were permitted to stay in the U.S. zone.

In Palestine, Arab forces drove Haganah forces from Mount Kastel, six days after the Haganah forces had occupied the hill in an effort to keep the highway open for Jewish supply convoys, being routinely attacked from the hill by Arabs. Abdul Khadder Husseini, cousin of the exiled Mufti of Jerusalem and commander of the Arab Judean Army, was killed in the fighting. Arabs claimed that 40 Jews had been killed and 70 wounded. The British stated that 30 Jews and one Arab were killed, with five more Arabs injured. Jerusalem, short of food, was now facing a water shortage after Arabs had reportedly severed a water pipeline from Ras El Ein near Tel Aviv. The second source of water for Jerusalem, Ain Farah Springs, lacked fuel oil to run its pumps.

Haganah provided protection to a convoy of about 50 trucks bringing food for the Jews of Jerusalem, numbering 100,000.

The number killed in Palestine since partition had been approved by the U.N. the previous November 29, had now reached 2,428.

At the Pan-American Conference in Bogota, Colombia, the U.S. indicated its need for more oil from Latin America, the leading producers being Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia. The oil was necessary to overcome a critical shortage and alleviate the heavy dependence on Middle Eastern oil, beset by both political turmoil and lack of effective means of transport, impeding the increase of supplies. The U.S. thus encouraged new exploration by the Latin American producers. Several countries, including Mexico and Argentina, expressed a willingness to do so but stated that they lacked sufficient steel and equipment to drill new wells.

The delegate from Argentina supported elimination of certain European colonies in the Western Hemisphere, in specific reference to the Falklands, controlled by Britain, and Antarctica, under international control. The Chilean and Guatemalan delegates supported the proposal.

President Truman asked Congress to appropriate 725 million dollars for expansion of the Air Force. The Congress was focusing on the expansion program in lieu of universal military training, which was shunted into the background by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. There was also consideration being given to the President's previous call for a temporary draft.

In Washington, the head of the Southern Coal Producers Association stated that he intended to file a charge of unfair labor practices against John L. Lewis and UMW for prolonging the soft coal strike in violation of a Saturday Court order to end it and refusing further to obey the order to engage in negotiations with the operators regarding the demanded pension payments. On the previous Monday, the UMW had contended at an NLRB meeting that the Association head was not a proper negotiator for the operators, as the Association had not signed the 1947 contract with UMW.

A fact-finding board delivered its findings to the President regarding the meatpackers' strike, which had begun March 16.

In Joliet, Ill., William McCabe, a former state legislator and publisher of a weekly newspaper which published outspoken political views, was severely beaten and reported to be near death after a car, containing three armed men, forced his car to a stop near his farm home. The men then beat him with a spiked club and demanded $5,000. When he said that he did not have it and offered his wristwatch and $35, they beat him further until he lost consciousness. They were apparently frightened away by an approaching car, whose driver saw them flee, then found Mr. McCabe in a ditch. Mr. McCabe, 65, stated cryptically, on regaining consciousness, "Well, they finally got me." He had been fighting what he considered to be a corrupt political machine operating in the county since 1936.

In Jacksonville, Fla., a murder of a resident nurse at the Bolles Military School remained unsolved. The married woman had been knocked in the head and then her infirmary quarters set ablaze by use of kerosene.

During a three-day campaign trip swing through Nebraska in advance of the primary the following Tuesday, Governor Dewey demanded that the U.S. refuse to recognize coups by which nations were taken over from within. He continued his attack on Administration policy toward Russia as being overly appeasing.

Campaign observers were awaiting the results of the Nebraska primary, in which seven Republican candidates were on the ballot for the state's 15 delegates, before offering any appraisal of the Tuesday Wisconsin results and its impact on the campaign for the Republican nomination.

In Salisbury, N.C., a 12-foot plywood boat was stolen from its berth on the Yadkin River. Consideration was being given to implementing a river patrol by the police.

Perhaps apropos to the 83rd anniversary of the last full day of the Civil War, penultimate to the surrender in Virginia of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox Court House on the 9th, it was reported from Beatrice, Neb., that at 11:11 p.m. on the previous Tuesday, the local Fire Department was called to put out a trash fire at 1111 N. 11th Street. Three more calls during the night brought the total for the month to eleven fires.

They might wish to look into whether there was a chapter of the Klan operating in Beatrice.

On the editorial page, "Stassen Revives Willkie Hope" finds the surprising victory in Wisconsin by former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen to have thrown confusion into the ranks of isolationists such as Col. Bertie McCormick of the Chicago Tribune and William Randolph Hearst, both of whom favored a strong man such as General MacArthur as the next president. Mr. Stassen had thus captured the same ground held by Wendell Willkie in 1940, when he became the nominee.

It finds Governor Dewey to have suffered a major setback despite having advocated a get-tough policy toward Russia, vowing to be tougher than either the President or General MacArthur. He had won all of Wisconsin's delegates in 1940 and, without campaigning, captured a majority in 1944, when he became the party nominee.

The Stassen campaign offered a viable alternative to the negative "stop Communism" efforts championed by leaders of both major parties. The Wisconsin results represented the same message being delivered to the Republicans that the earlier Bronx special Congressional election had delivered to the Democrats when the Henry Wallace-backed American Labor Party candidate had won.

"Where Is Our Big Stick?" tells of Dr. Gregory Zilboorg, New York psychiatrist who had emigrated from Russia to America in 1919 after serving as Labor Minister for the Lvov and Kerensky Cabinets, having been quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch as denouncing the "crazy war hysteria" prevailing in the United States. He had asserted that war could be avoided as long as a new President were elected and President Truman did not push the country into war in the meantime. He cited the collision of the Russian fighter with the British transport over Berlin the previous Monday as example of the war hysteria, causing the U.S. Government to assume the collision to have been deliberate.

Parenthetically, the concern did not derive from supposition that the collision was deliberate but rather from the question of why the Soviets were sending fighters in the first place into the vicinity of a British transport flying within the proper air corridor.

It goes on to quote Dr. Zilboorg further, suggesting that America and Russia had been on friendly terms until Winston Churchill was invited by the President to speak at Fulton, Mo., in March, 1946, at which time Mr. Churchill delivered his warning anent an "iron curtain" descending over Eastern Europe.

The piece thinks Dr. Zilboorg to be wrong in his assertions that America was "all dressed up for war", the contrary being true and that being the ultimate ground for the concern, that the postwar demobilization had been so thorough that America was now unprepared for a potential war. The defense apparatus was consigned to dependence primarily on the sole possession of the atomic bomb, of limited use. It defends the country's security concerns based on the experience at Pearl Harbor.

"A 'Good Gamble' with Hoffman" comments favorably on the selection by the President of Studebaker head Paul G. Hoffman as director of ERP. He had acknowledged that the Plan was a gamble, but felt it "a good gamble".

Mr. Hoffman had brought Studebaker out of receivership in the early Thirties and it had been doing well since. He had worked on peacetime reconstruction plans since before the end of the war, had headed a committee of businessmen to develop plans for full postwar employment in the country and reconversion of industry to civilian purposes. He had served on the Committee of 19 headed by Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman, assigned to develop the resource report on the Marshall Plan the previous October, determining the ability of the country to supply the needs stated by the 16 recipient Western European nations under ERP. During that process, he had personally talked with the heads of state of the recipient nations.

The piece finds the country to have made a "good gamble" with both ERP and its new director.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "To Be Pasted in a Hat", reports that, based on the standards for payment of teachers, hinged to experience and level of training, North Carolina had paid more money to black teachers than white teachers the previous year, by an average of $51 per teacher, $28 more in 1945-46. White principals had received $19 more than black principals on average in the previous year, and $51 more in 1945-46.

It promotes the disparity as existing under the separate-but-equal doctrine, with good results. It responds to Northern criticism of the South, bristling in the process, bragging with regard to these statistics.

"Careless criticism hurts. Helpful praise is a rarity indeed."

Perhaps, then, to provide a fuller basis for assessment of equality of education under Jim Crow segregation, there ought be a comparative study of the facilities and books provided the black schools versus the white schools during the same period, and, moreover, while obviously subject to a host of variable factors outside the educational environment, analysis of the standardized test scores achieved by black students relative to white students.

Theoretically, based on the editorial's premise of higher-trained black teachers, if there was no inequality between the segregated schools, there ought to be little, if any, disparity between the performance of black and white students on standardized tests administered during the same period.

Have at that hypothesis, enterprising sociology student.

Drew Pearson tells of the Cabinet discussions regarding what to do about John L. Lewis and his refusal to obey the order to end the coal strike. Some favored imposing the injunction which had issued on Saturday, served Monday, and resulting in an order to show cause re contempt the previous day. Attorney General Tom Clark advised that such a procedure, however, being subject to appeal, could draw out matters for some time, with the country still without coal. With only ten days of coal supply remaining, Secretary of Interior Julius Krug favored a quick and hard injunction.

Presidential adviser Clark Clifford favored letting the strike go on for a time, unimpeded, such that any resulting coal crisis could be blamed on Mr. Lewis, making it easier to win in the courts. He also advised that the President could not lose by proceeding along the legal route, regardless of when it was initiated. And if he were to lose, Mr. Clifford continued, he could blame Taft-Hartley, which he had vetoed, for affording an inadequate emergency remedy.

The President became irritated at the advice and urged that his political fortunes be dismissed in favor of what was good for the country. He then adjourned the meeting.

Mr. Pearson reports having been besieged by written responses of watch companies and average Americans offering wristwatches and other potential prizes for the radio contest broadcast he had advocated the previous week for Italy, to be beamed into Russia, to extend a hand of friendship both to the Italian people in advance of the April 18 elections, and to the Russians and others living behind the Iron Curtain. He lists the various prizes and companies, including a tractor offered by Allis-Chalmers for Italy, with three Italian-Americans named as judges. As a result, shortwave broadcasts of such a contest were beginning for the Italians. He promises further details as the matter progressed.

He notes, in follow-up to a previous report on the son of a member of CAB having been employed by Eastern Airlines when CAB was deliberating on Eastern routes, that he was certain his old friend on CAB was not influenced improperly by the fact.

Marquis Childs discusses a report by General Lucius Clay, military governor of the American occupation zone of Germany, in which he had advised the President several weeks earlier of a pending crisis in Berlin and the possibility of another Bataan in the event of capture of the American civilian and military population. He advised, however, that it would be worse to alarm both the German population and the rest of Europe, as well as Americans, by a forced evacuation of the American civilians.

The Administration policymakers had cited a statement by James Reston of The New York Times, re the typical reaction of Congress: "If you tell them too little, they go fishing, and if you tell them too much, they go crazy." Thus, the tendency was to refrain from disclosing pending problems until they actually arose, as a useless effort and more likely to cause harm than ameliorative action.

In France, an observer had stated that the present Government was seeking to steer a middle course between the Communists and Gaullists, with the understanding that the country could resist Soviet invasion. Its most highly trained troops were in Indo-China putting down the revolt there by the Viet Minh. An attempt to resist a Russian invasion in France would likely lead to civil war. It would cause the Government to resign and likely be replaced by a Communist government which would then suppress all opposition and admit the Soviet troops as defenders of "free" Europe against "imperialist" America.

It would be unlikely that another resistance movement, as in the war, would form—much of that resistance movement having been populated by Communists and sympathizers to the cause.

The French leaders were thus wondering whether a Government-in-exile should be formed, which could remove to Washington or London in the event of such an invasion. The only way to prevent the occurrence of such a chain of events appeared to be deployment of American troops in sufficient numbers to resist the Red Army.

The scenario, Mr. Childs posits, was the logical extension of what was taking place in Berlin. Meanwhile, a coal strike was occurring in the U.S. and the Congress had just passed the tax cut.

Samuel Grafton continues his recounting of his interview with Senator Taft, finding it hard to get the Senator to commit to a specific foreign policy. He favored a cheaper Marshall Plan, had no real quarrel otherwise with the Truman approach, and favored a larger Air Force. He disfavored the approach of Henry Wallace, found "peace at any price" to have been the policy of appeasement which had been tried and had failed at Yalta in early 1945.

Mr. Taft believed that in the time of his father, President William Howard Taft, in office from 1909-13, the country desired peace, held that war was failure. But now, a new type of psychology had gripped the country, whereby it desired war to avoid a return to normalcy. He hoped to reverse that psychology as President.

His panacea appeared to be one favored by many Republicans, a giant air curtain to stand as a bulwark for Western Europe against the Iron Curtain.

First, however, you would have to have curtain rods, would you not?

Senator Taft opposed the full-scale Marshall Plan for its its interference with normalcy and the drain on the economy. The same reason apparently underlay his opposition to UMT. He appeared to believe that a gigantic Air Force could accomplish the ends of defense without so much interference or impingement on the economy.

But such would be an untidy peace, as a truce presented a continually open question, maintained by air power. It did not supply the security which would be had by reaching through the curtains and resolving all questions.

One had the feeling, he proposes, that mankind was divided into three classes: "peace lovers, war lovers, and curtain lovers."

A letter from the chairman of the Peace and Service Committee of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, issues a statement which advocated a program of peace rather than armed strength, specifically, extension of ERP to all countries in need, renunciation of the arms race and conversion of the U.N. into a world government organization.

A letter writer advocates world government, announces that he would be willing to serve in Congress as a messenger carrying such a proposal. He also favors regular rotation of Congressional representatives.

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