The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 19, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Arab forces by 10:20 a.m. this date had driven halfway through the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem. Some 400 soldiers of Haganah and Irgun were reported by the A.P. to be on the verge of surrender. A previous report by the Arab League in Cairo, however, that all of Jerusalem was in Arab hands proved untrue.

In Tel Aviv, Jews had broken through the Arab-held Zion gate at midnight and widened the breach in the Arab lines.

A Syrian Army source said that the Army had struck at two points with Iraqi forces, at Beisan, 14 miles south of the Sea of Galiliee, and at Safad, seven miles from Galilee's north shore. Beisan protected the valley leading westward to the plain of Esdraelon, the site of Armageddon.

The world is going to end.

At the U.N., it was reported that the U.S. was determined to press for sending troops to quell the violence. Russia supported the move, but Britain and China opposed it.

Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Nicaragua joined five other nations, including the United States and Russia, in recognizing Israel.

Secretary of State Marshall said that consideration was being given to lifting the arms embargo for Palestine, both as to Arabs and Jews, but that it was connected to whether the U.N. Security Council would order a ceasefire as proposed the previous day by the U.S. The embargo had been put into effect the previous December.

He also stated that future cooperation of Russia would determine the sincerity of Prime Minister Stalin's recent call for greater understanding between nations. The Secretary reiterated the position, however, that a bilateral conference regarding other nations was not in the cards, that such issues had to be addressed before the U.N.

The House refused to accept amendment of the Mundt-Nixon bill definition of "Communist front organization", which some said was so broad as to include the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace. Congressman Richard Nixon of California, co-author of the bill, disputed the contention, saying that he was not, nor ever had been, a Crook. He said that the bill was deliberately worded to exclude political parties and was intended to reach "subversive activities"—such as those of the Democratic Party down the long, circuitous road a piece, in 1972.

So, if the Communists decide to run a slate of candidates...?

There's always the P.T.A.

The House was expected soon to pass the bill. Senator Taft, however, said during a radio program that he expected it to face tough sledding in the Senate. Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, said on the same program that the bill was "unwise and unsound", seeking to get at Communism "through a side door".

The Dixiecrats intended to place the name of General Eisenhower in nomination at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia the following month. Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina said that he hoped to do the honors. The Southerners intended to walk out of the convention if the platform supported the civil rights program enunciated February 2 by the President.

The Alabama electors had been instructed not to vote for President Truman, regardless of the outcome of the popular vote in November.

As a compromise to the Southerners, Senate Minority Leader Alben Barkley had the inside track either to be named temporary convention chairman or to deliver the keynote address, as he had done in 1932 and 1936 and had been chairman in 1940, placing FDR in nomination in 1944. He had thus far remained aloof from the fight over civil rights.

Senator Barkley would be the vice-presidential candidate.

House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn was likely to be named the permanent chairman of the convention. He had announced his opposition to the civil rights program but had not made attacks on the President for promulgating it.

The Southern Senators refused to compromise on the draft bill in their drive to eliminate the anti-discrimination provision and substitute a provision which would permit segregation of units. The Republicans sought a compromise whereby the matter would be left up to the individual secretaries of the military branches, but the Southerners rejected it. The Republicans foresaw a terrific fight on the floor unless a compromise could be reached.

The Federal District Court extended until May 29 the restraining order preventing a rail strike, to afford additional time to try to resolve the wage dispute of three railroad brotherhoods. The Government for the nonce was operating the railroads.

Negotiations for a new soft coal contract collapsed over the issue of the Southern coal operators' participation, leading the Southern operators to charge John L. Lewis with unfair labor practices. The operators sought an order from the NLRB to force Mr. Lewis and UMW to bargain with the Southern operators.

In Westport, Conn., the woman who had refused to pay to the Government withholding tax for employees on the basis that it was unconstitutional, had her bank account garnished for the amount owed. She said that she would take legal steps to try to get the money back.

In Springfield, O., the estate of Charley Corte, who bragged of playing violin for the crowned heads of Europe, was being settled following his death in the Dayton State Hospital on Wednesday. In addition to old newspapers and trash he had gathered from the streets, his estate included $80,000 in Treasury bonds, municipal bonds, cashier checks and cash. His niece was the only known relative. Mr. Corte's house had no electricity, with a street light supplying his needs. He once had water, but it had been shut off some years earlier after he refused to pay the bill. Since that time, he had obtained his water by the bucketful from a neighbor.

It was said that he was once a concert violinist in his native Italy and had also been a drummer in a minstrel show. His wife had died in 1913. His main activity of late had been cleaning the streets around his house and bringing in old newspapers.

We hope that they had no blood on them.

In Gastonia, N.C., Fred Beal, who fled to Russia to escape a prison sentence for a conviction of participation in a conspiracy in the shooting death of Police Chief O. F. Aderholdt in the Loray Cotton Mill strike of 1929, was granted his citizenship after renouncing Communism and the Russian way of life to the satisfaction of the court. He told reporter John Daly of The News that he now leaned toward the type of socialism advocated by Norman Thomas.

He had returned to the U.S. in 1937 and surrendered to prison authorities. He received parole after four years in jail on a 17-year sentence, pursuant to commutation in 1942 by Governor J. Melville Broughton.

On the editorial page, "'Peace Offensive' Goes On" finds the quick reply by Prime Minister Stalin to the letter of Henry Wallace, suggesting a meeting to resolve the Soviet-American difficulties, to have circumvented the President, who had the previous week nixed any conference between the two leaders, save in Washington. It would likely be interpreted in the White House as a Soviet attempt to bring pressure to have a bilateral conference and to portray Russia as a peace-seeker and the U.S. as an obstructionist nation.

Former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles provided his view of the matter in a column on the page, opining that the Russians were attempting to throw the U.S. off its guard in preparation for a military showdown in the fall.

The piece thinks the warning by Mr. Welles made it clear that the U.S. should approach with caution every step toward what was labeled "peace". Yet, it believes, Mr. Welles's opinion should not be accepted necessarily as fact until more evidence of Soviet subterfuge became manifest.

He had advocated that any attempt at settlement before the Politburo became aware of American rearmament would be a mistake. The piece agrees, but adds that the evidence suggested that the Soviets had become convinced that American military strength was equal to that of Russia and that it was for that reason that they were seeking a conference.

It concludes that it was too early to ditch potential diplomatic solutions to the crisis.

"GOP Exploits Red Hunt" suggests that the Republican debate on Monday night in Portland between former Governor Stassen and Governor Dewey had revealed that the Republican Party was taking the country down a dangerous road, in its stressing of the Red hunt.

It scored a takedown for Governor Dewey in his statement that the Communist Party could not be outlawed without creating the dangerous situation of driving its membership underground.

Mr. Stassen, however, countered with the notion that the Mundt-Nixon bill, pending in Congress, would go further than his suggestion of outlawing Communists, as it would make outlaws potentially of fellow travelers, applicable possibly to trade unions and liberals generally. Governor Dewey had no response. Both men, however, challenged the constitutionality of parts of the bill. But Governor Dewey did not take a firm stand for or against the bill.

The debate, it believes, had ended in a draw. It showed, however, that the Red scare was contributing greatly to the political aggrandizement of the Republicans.

"Who Murdered George Polk?" discusses, as does Marquis Childs, the murder in Greece of the CBS correspondent whose body was found in Salonika Bay three days earlier. The Greek Government was "1,000 percent" certain that it was accomplished by Communists. But as the investigation was just starting, it appeared that the the members of the Greek Government who so asserted knew too much and that their claim amounted to no more than anti-Communist propaganda.

Mr. Polk had told friends that he was seeking an interview with a Communist guerrilla leader just before his disappearance. Such an interview would have exposed him to as much danger from rightists as guerrillas, however, for the prospect of his giving publicity to the latter.

He had incurred the wrath of the Greek Government for his honest reporting on its reactionary character and inefficient administration, including permitting an active black market to thrive. Reports had surfaced of attempts by Government operatives to coerce American journalists to report favorably on the Government.

The murder of Mr. Polk, it hopes, would bring pressure for a house-cleaning of the Greek Government, to rid it of its reactionary elements and place it on sound democratic footing.

A piece from the Rocky Mount Telegram, titled "'Dixiecrats'", credits The News, specifically telegraph editor Bill Weisner, with coining the term, believes that it might catch on as a concise description of the Southern Democrats rebelling against the President's civil rights program. It had been received well by newspapers because it lent itself to a tight fit into headlines.

Politicians with unusually long names, as President Roosevelt, had to have their appellations compressed to initials to fit the page. (Indeed, not only was it "FDR", as the piece indicates, but more usually, "FR".) So it was, also, with Government agencies.

It concludes, therefore, that "Dixiecrats", producing fewer headaches for the headline writers, was likely going to stick.

Well, how about, therefore, the "Dix-c's"?

Sumner Welles, as indicated in the column, examines the quick response of Prime Minister Stalin to the letter of Henry Wallace. He finds signs of intensified activity by the Soviets all over Europe, in Asia and the Near East, as well as in the Americas. Russia's immediate goal was to convert the Black Sea into a Russian seaway. The first step would consist of a "request" by Rumania and Bulgaria to join the U.S.S.R. Pressure was being exerted on Iran to cease friendly relations with the U.S. and become friendly to Russia. Russia would also demand cession from Turkey of Kars and Ardahan, plus military control of the Dardanelles.

Whereas the State Department was contending that pro-Soviet sentiment predominated in Israel, the exact opposite was the case. The provisional Government was heavily anti-Communist. It was no longer a secret that American volunteers were training and directing the Jewish army. But Communists were busy spreading anti-American propaganda in the Near East.

The evidence suggested that the Soviets were planning to force a showdown by the fall, before ERP could become fully effective and before American rearmament could be completed.

The spirit of confidence in the wake of the April 18 Italian elections, in which the Communists were soundly defeated, was on the wane.

The passage of the draft measure and rearmament measures by Congress would make a showdown by the Soviets less likely.

The purported peace overtures by Russia were designed to weaken American resolve for rearmament. Such rearmament needed to take place before any attempt at settlement with the Soviets. Such an effort at present, he thinks, "would either end in futile compromise by appeasement or in a stalemate that would serve Moscow as a pretext for further expansion."

Drew Pearson tells of the price of natural gas likely to rise from the efforts of the lobby. The Senate Commerce Committee had voted down a bill which would have taken 75 million dollars from the pockets of gas consumers. But the Federal Power Commission, split 50-50 on the bill, could nonetheless, through administrative action, effectively make the bill law. A new commissioner, Thomas Buchanan, awaiting confirmation, would exercise the tiebreaking vote. He was against the big power companies and gas interests as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. So the lobby was trying to block his confirmation, aided by a friend to the utilities, Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, helping to block the confirmation in committee, hoping to delay it until after the election. But Senator Wallace White, the committee chairman, also from Maine, voted not to block the confirmation. Other tricks by Senator Brewster to that end had also been frustrated.

Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi was observed recently looking at the statue of General Grant in the Capitol hall of fame. The observer asked why he was admiring General Grant and he responded that he was just checking to see if he had more stars than General Lee. Both, notes Mr. Pearson, wore three.

Recently, 23 vice-presidents of steel companies, sitting as an advisory committee to Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer, recommended allocation of 60,000 tons of steel for prefabricated housing, a third of that recommended by the prefab industry, meaning that veterans cooperatives, formed to finance such housing developments, would be deprived of adequate low-cost housing and would have to develop in consequence more expensive housing which most veterans could not afford. The Commerce Department approved the recommended allocation. The veterans had mounted a protest of the decision to Congress.

Joseph Alsop, in Portland, Ore., tells of Harold Stassen and Thomas Dewey caring not much for each other. If the result in the primary on Friday proved close, the main beneficiary would be Senator Vandenberg. If the aging Senator were nominated, he would serve only one term and would likely choose either Governor Dewey or former Governor Stassen as his running-mate.

Thus, Mr. Stassen and Mr. Dewey stood for the future of the Republican Party, as Senator Taft stood for its past. Mr. Stassen's ambition showed less amid his greater self-confidence, thus enabling him to be better liked than Mr. Dewey. The latter's staff, however, was more experienced and impressive.

Mr. Dewey stood for sensible fact-finding on both foreign policy and domestic issues. His credo, that he would support New Deal-type legislation but do it more efficiently, was the essence of true conservatism. It was likewise so in his approach to foreign policy.

Mr. Stassen was more baffling. Until recently, he had supported G.M. strikers and advocated limited world government. But he had just published a book which, in the words of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., had placed him to the right of Senator Taft on domestic policy. He supported suppression of the Communist Party and not giving any economic aid to the iron curtain countries. The anti-Communist stance suggested a regime of political thought control. He had not provided detail as to how his program would work, and that was not reassuring.

Mr. Dewey was more sophisticated in the realm of ideas. But the observer got the feeling that Mr. Stassen, as had Mr. Dewey, would develop with time and responsibility. Neither man was a liberal as both claimed. But both promised a rebirth of intelligent conservatism, which would, Mr. Alsop posits, be welcome after the preceding 16 years.

Marquis Childs tells, as does an editorial in the column, of the murder in Greece of George Polk of CBS. Mr. Childs had met with him the previous fall in Athens. He was one of the ablest correspondents in Greece, one who wanted to get underneath the story, causing him to be resented in high Greek Government circles. He had told Mr. Childs of attempts to smear him as a Communist or fellow-traveler. He knew that he had made enemies within the Greek Government.

The initial reports had attempted to lay blame for his murder on the Communists, but they had to be taken with a grain of salt. Mr. Polk's stories might have interfered with the coming American and Greek military build-up, had he returned to Harvard, as planned, to become a Nieman Fellow for a year. He had published an article in the December, 1947 Harper's, in which he had criticized, albeit fairly, the moderates in Greece. The Greek Ambassador to Washington took offense, however, and sent a violent protest to Mr. Polk in response to the piece.

Edward R. Murrow had given credit to Mr. Polk for digging out the facts behind several reports on Greece which Mr. Murrow had broadcast in recent months.

Other reporters in Greece had been similarly interested in getting out the facts, irrespective of the support of them by the Greek Government. But only Constantine Argyris of the Christian Science Monitor remained in Greece. Homer Bigart of the New York Herald Tribune had been criticized by American aid administrator Dwight Griswold and had then been transferred to Belgrade, albeit stated by the newspaper as the result of his own request.

There was great need for more of the type of unstinted reporting which Mr. Polk had delivered. The actual situation in Greece, with the recent mass executions of prisoners, was unclear.

A letter writer comments positively on the editorial of May 10 regarding the assessment of the North Carolina gubernatorial candidates, in which The News had endorsed Charles Johnson, State Treasurer.

The editors so remark.

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