The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 11, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President did not agree with the Soviet indication that there had been agreement to hold a meeting between the U.S. and Russia, as reported in the Moscow newspapers. The report apparently was based on a misinterpretation of a report provided to the Soviets by Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith on May 4, which the President characterized as intending to make no change in American policy.

American observers in Moscow attached great significance to the fact that the report, false as it was, had stimulated immediate interest in the Russian people, who quickly snatched up all the copies. Press and radio gave wide publicity to the prospect of agreement between the powers. Capitals throughout Europe likewise reacted with relief and surprise at the announcement.

In Jerusalem, the Jewish Army announced the capture of the Arab village of Beth Mahsir along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem supply route, above the Bab al-Wad Gorge. Irgun members described the battle as the largest yet between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs had launched a counterattack at Bab al-Wad under the leadership of Iraqi Col. Mohammed Mahdi Bey. The road had not yet been opened as there was still fighting ongoing in the adjacent hills. The Jews wanted to establish first a clear corridor for five miles on either side of the road. Jews also claimed capture of Safad in northern Palestine.

Bans against shipments of perishables and livestock on the railroads were lifted in the first day of operation of the trains under direction of the Army. The railroads were reported by Secretary Kenneth Royall to be functioning normally. Efforts to resolve the wage dispute with the three railroad brotherhoods, who otherwise would have started striking this date, continued.

CIO president Philip Murray criticized the issuance of injunctions to stop strikes under Taft-Hartley.

In Annapolis, a Navy midshipman was killed when a classmate accidentally hurled a javelin in his direction fifteen feet away, striking him in the neck. The javelin had slipped as it was being thrown during a track and field workout.

In Greenville, N.C., the police chief was found shot to death in his parked car the previous day, the victim of suicide. No reason for the act was suggested by family or officials. His wife had said that he had been restless the night before and talked in his sleep.

In Winston-Salem, Harold Stassen was scheduled to speak this night before heading to Oregon for a debate with Governor Dewey on a date as yet not set.

We shall provide the coverage of the debate when it occurs, as the event, undoubtedly, will determine the next President, at least in Chicago.

In Charlotte, a 13-year old boy, one of the two youths who had been convicted in March of draining the Freedom Park lake of its water, killing most of the fresh $5,000 stock of bream fingerlings, was in trouble for the third time in two months, this time for stealing a motorboat valued at over $3,000, having in the interim been accused and found guilty of the theft of a milk truck on April 20, also with a youthful accomplice. Another young boy was a defendant as well in the new case. They were caught cruising around in the boat on the Catawba River.

Tom Schlesinger of The News tells of a little known tropical plant reaching out from a display window of the Newton & Newton store on East Trade Street in Charlotte and sucking the blood of passersby. Bugs and spiders were committing suicide within the plant.

Hey, pal, you may be the son of a prominent historian and the brother of another to be, but you cannot fool us. We have already seen that movie—twice over, in fact.

Besides, someone brought a Venus flytrap to show and tell in the first grade. That's old stuff. It certainly is not front page news when the world is about to come to an end in less than five years.

On the editorial page, "America's Trains Must Run" supports the President's decision to seize the nation's railroads to prevent the strike by three railway brotherhoods which would have taken effect this date. The Administration did not have resort to Taft-Hartley to obtain an injunction as with the coal miners' strike.

There was need, it suggests, of amending the Transportation Act to bring it into conformity with Taft-Hartley, though the railroad brotherhoods would object. The President was acting pursuant to residual wartime emergency powers in the seizure.

It urges that management and labor take greater steps to cooperate voluntarily to avoid additional Government regulation.

"Thurmond's Keynote on Rights" remarks on South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond's address to the States Rights convention in Jackson, Miss., the previous day, in which he warned the Democratic Party that the Southern states would be lost if it pursued the civil rights plank in its platform or if it nominated a candidate supporting the President's civil rights program. He had insisted that even if the proposed civil rights laws were passed, the Federal Government could not force integration of the South, even with bayonets.

The piece agrees with this latter point and finds the legislative effort to repeat the mistake of Radical Republicanism during Reconstruction. It recommends educational growth through time to improve race relations.

It also agrees with the Governor's statement that only Southerners had "cared and provided for the Negroes" in the South. The "emancipators", said Mr. Thurmond, had done nothing to make the task easier.

The editorial concludes that the "cause of true emancipation" would suffer greatly from use of Federal power to coerce change in the South.

The bayonets would, nonetheless, trump the feeble attempts of the fools and hypocrites, as Governor Thurmond, who wanted to lead the charge against progress to the point of stultification. In eighty years since the Civil War, grudging progress had been made only in the form of elimination of most lynching and elimination in half the Southern states of the poll tax. That was not a proud record on which to stand. South Carolina had just been ordered by the Supreme Court to open its primaries to all citizens. Vigilante racial violence and murder committed with impunity still raised its ugly head in several instances since the war.

The editorial and Governor Thurmond were still living mentally in the time of Tara and Never-Never Land—a time which never existed save in story books and the fertile imaginations of school boys and girls feeding on nonsense.

"Government Inflation Offenders" tells of the president of the American Bankers Association providing a talk in which he had said that the Government was placing inflationary pressure on the economy, with no plans to cut spending, sponsor credit or grant subsidies. No reductions had taken place to account for ERP and defense spending.

It finds wisdom in the warning and suggests that the people were not sufficiently concerned with continued spending and high taxation. It urges consideration of economy-minded candidates.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "These Sort; These Kind!" tells of marveling at Winston Churchill's mastery of the English language in his memoirs, excerpts from which had appeared in Life and the New York Times. It remarks of glowing prose, such as in the phrase, "First and foremost gleamed the Baltic," in reference to the first arena which promoted itself for a Naval offensive against Germany in September, 1939.

It criticizes Mr. Churchill's use of the phrases "these sort of things" and "these kind of things", but excuses the slight faux pas as trivial, concluding, "We are only painting the wart on the face of our Cromwell."

Drew Pearson tells of the President nixing the appointments of Paul Smith, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Richard Wells, a New York attorney, to the voluntary positions on the South Pacific Commission, designed to work with Australia, Britain, France, and other nations in helping the war-torn Pacific islands recover. The reasons were that Mr. Smith had editorialized against the 1946 nomination of Ed Pauley as Undersecretary of the Navy, and Mr. Wells was a friend of Adolph Berle, formerly Assistant Secretary of State, who recently had announced his disfavor of the President seeking the Democratic nomination.

In their stead, the President had approved the appointments of an anthropology professor from Stanford and Presidential brain-truster Judge Sam Rosenman's law partner, both on the recommendation of Judge Rosenman. Both supported the President and were Democrats, but had no particular expertise for the jobs.

The column corrects a mistaken previous reference to a supposed "reign of terror" against blacks in Mississippi in the wake of the promulgation of the President's civil rights program, urged to Congress February 2. It turned out that two black men beaten by police had criminal records and that black citizens had come to the aid of the white officer in one of the cases. The State Supreme Court had reversed a conviction and death sentence three times in the case of a black man convicted of murder of a white man. He says that he was glad to report these apparent signs of progress in Mississippi.

Joseph Alsop tells of the portrait presented of the President, as tending to the national business without concern for election-year politics, being inconsistent with the reality. Maj. General John Hilldring was an example of election-year politics, appointed as special adviser on Palestine to Secretary of State Marshall, killing any hope of effecting the Arab-Jewish truce in Palestine. General Hilldring was favored by the Jews but not by the Arabs, and Secretary Marshall had not been in favor, therefore, of the appointment.

Another example was the appointment of the ERP administrator. The President wished to appoint a Democrat, while Senator Vandenberg wanted him to appoint Studebaker head Paul Hoffman, the eventual appointee. Because Mr. Hoffman had not appointed the desired staff as his subordinates, the President announced that he would not appoint any more Republicans.

Samuel Grafton tells of there being Federal laws prohibiting the attempt to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The pending Karl Mundt bill, however, provided for punitive sanctions against those accused of such attempts, but, by the fact of allowing the punishment against those who were members of the Communist Party or Communist-front organizations, without the Government having to prove an attempted overthrow. It could reach anyone who was a member of an organization, no matter how innocent, whose membership also included a Communist, which could make it "reasonable to conclude" that the organization fell within the ambit of the law.

It was the role of the executive to ferret out treachery against the Government, and this bill sought to shift the role to the Congress, using a blunderbuss approach.

He urges that it not become law.

A letter from the publicity director of the Textile Workers Union of America seeks to correct published accounts of a speech at the union's recent convention, which appeared to urge violence by the membership to bring about organizational goals. He says that the references were only to violence directed against the union organizers in South Carolina and Georgia, and not exhorting workers to use violence.

The editors respond by quoting language on which The News had relied in its editorial of April 30 against the statements, as the TWUA speaker had urged the workers to use their own fists to combat the violence and warned that bloodshed and killing would take place in the organizational effort. The editors thus continue to be unable to understand how the statement was not exhortation to violence.

A letter writer urges relegating all anti-strike legislation to the scrap heap and to stress cooperation between management and labor to avoid strikes.

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