The Charlotte News

Monday, May 24, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Arabs appeared to have rejected the Israeli-accepted ceasefire ordered by the U.N. Security Council for Palestine, but Syria had requested 36 hours until midnight Tuesday to consider the matter. The Arab League said that they would stop shooting only if the Jewish Army disbanded and partition were shelved. Syria added that they would cooperate only if the new Israeli Government ceased to function.

The secretary-general of the Arab League said that he would not object to a truce in Jerusalem if both sides were disarmed.

Fighting in Jerusalem, meanwhile, continued, with Arabs claiming that the Jews were trapped. A Jewish spokesman said that they were prepared to turn the city into another Stalingrad if necessary to keep it from Arab possession. An A. P. report stated that the Jewish position was precarious. Irgun reported that the electricity in the city had been restored but that the water supply remained low.

Irgun condemned to death 40 British officers serving in the Trans-Jordan Arab Legion and asked the Israeli Government to ban British reporters as Arab spies.

Lebanon had rejected the U.S. demand for the release of 41 Americans who had been interned from the American ship Marine Carp the previous week because they were of age to carry weapons for the Israeli Army. Eighteen other Jews of other nationalities had also been interned.

Based on continued East-West bickering, American diplomats had given up on the "false peace" period of the previous three weeks in the cold war. Tass had declared the U.S. wrong on every issue dividing the two countries and blamed the U.S. for stultifying progress in relations. The period had begun twenty days earlier with the Russian reply to a note transmitted by Ambassador to Moscow Walter Bedell Smith, which the Soviets believed to be an offer to hold a bilateral conference, a prospect the Soviets said they would be interested in discussing. The State Department, however, had denied that the note was intended to communicate such a desire and refused any discussion of matters relating to other nations except before the U.N.

Charles Brannan was appointed by the President to succeed Clinton Anderson as Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. Brannan was Assistant Secretary.

The President nominated Frieda Hennock as a member of the FCC. She was the first woman ever appointed to the Commission.

The President was set to make speeches in Chicago, Omaha, Seattle, Berkeley, and Los Angeles during his cross-country tour set to start June 3.

A minority report of the Senate-House Atomic Energy Committee contended that the bill passed by the Committee to allow reappointment of the five commissioners of the AEC to only two-year terms each rather than the previously legislated terms of one to five years on a staggered basis would pose a danger to atomic research. Congressman Lyndon Johnson of Texas was among the five Democrats signing the minority report.

After the Government ordered a temporary halt to exports of cotton to the 16 Marshall Plan nations per the advice of ERP administrator Paul Hoffman, cotton prices fell by as much as $5.05 in New York. The lower prices, however, attracted domestic buyers and the prices began to rebound.

In Detroit, General Motors offered workers a wage increase, possibly as much as twelve cents, the terms not being disclosed. A UAW strike was scheduled to begin on Friday unless the union's 25 cents per hour wage demand were met. UAW sought a 30 cents increase from Chrysler.

In Chicago, meatpacking plants reopened following resolution of the ten-week strike.

Representative Gerald Landis of Indiana proposed that Taft-Hartley be amended to require that management and labor negotiators be required to swear that they were not Communists—as labor union officials presently were required to do to partake of the services of the NLRB. He also wanted the law to state that a worker could be fired for membership in a subversive organization, as determined by the Attorney General.

In Chicago, previously convicted bank robber Leo "Little Sneeze" Friedman, a reputed racketeer, was killed by gunfire from a passing car as he walked to his hotel with his wife. Police had sought him for questioning in relation to another killing.

In Norristown, Pa., the police believed that a skating rink explosion had been deliberately caused by the use of dynamite. The explosion occurred a half hour after 300 patrons had left the rink. No one was injured in the blast, though one man was blown through the door.

In the Pacific Northwest, flooding took place amid heavy rains, continuing along the Columbia River. The Spokane, Wash., area had suffered over four and a half inches of rain in May, an all-time record for the month. The flooding extended into Idaho, where a big dike collapsed at Bonners' Ferry, western Montana, and British Columbia.

In Fayetteville, N.C., the mother of four children died following a severe beating reported the previous week. Her husband was held without bail in the case pending further investigation.

In Shirley, Mass., a "sinners only" service at the United Church the previous day had attracted many new faces to church. The pastor had asked "saints and righteous" persons to stay away.

A photograph shows two fifth graders from somewhere in some state who stole a plane and flew it 120 miles to some other place before making a perfect landing in God only knows where, utilizing only comic book instructions.

On the editorial page, "Danger in the Mundt Bill" finds that the President, Governor Dewey, and Senator Taft each had found fault with the Mundt-Nixon bill, designed to curb Communist activities in the country through registration and criminal penalties for non-registration, essentially outlawing the party. The President stated that he would veto the bill, already passed by the House, if it also passed the Senate. Senator Taft believed the bill's punitive sanctions were unconstitutional. Governor Dewey believed it both unconstitutional and impractical, merely driving Communists underground to circumvent the strictures of the bill, which included denial of issuance of a passport and inability to hold employment in the Federal Government.

It was believed that liberals, susceptible to being labeled members of front organizations, would suffer under the bill rather than the relatively few Communists in the nation.

Powers granted in the bill could easily be stretched to make it a club against progressives and trade unionists. With that in mind, the bill appeared to be aimed at thought control, which would create the effect of a police state.

Some 40 percent of America's Communists were said to be concentrated in New York City, but amounted to raw numbers of only 60,000 people out of nine million inhabitants.

There were already 23 laws on the books against sedition and subversive activities. The FBI and other agencies had ample machinery to undertake counter-intelligence work sufficient to thwart any attempt to overthrow the Government.

It concludes that the Mundt-Nixon bill was the product of false fear which would lead the country into undemocratic ways.

"Our Candidates Look Better" finds that each of the major presidential candidates had a New Look for the spring. The President was set to exhibit his during the upcoming Western tour.

Governor Dewey, for long known as the man in the blue serge suit, had been photographed in the campaign for the just completed Oregon primary, which he had won, with his coat off, a two-day growth of beard and tousled hair. He had also cavorted with a group of cavemen dressed in bearskins, identified as the pirates of Coos Bay.

Senator Taft had been transforming himself from a conservative to a liberal, especially in the recent Ohio primary. He would appear in Charlotte on June 4.

Harold Stassen had been a wildcard candidate who placed stress on the rest of the Republican field, to good effect. The nation, the piece offers, owed him a debt of thanks for putting life into the campaign. His strategy would likely set a trend for future candidates.

"Will Dewey Be President?" finds it increasingly likely that the Republican nominee would be the next President and that the nominee would be Governor Dewey. If so, he would have accomplished the task by perseverance against a nearly repulsive personality. Many women liked him for his mustache.

Democrats, however, still had a chance, it ventures, as long as they found someone other than the President or the unwilling General Eisenhower to nominate.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Who Are the Rulers?" finds that historian Henry Steele Commager had stated in '48 Magazine that the people whose ideas had influenced America were those who actually controlled the country. He submitted a group of 61 Americans who fit that description to rebut a list of 64 Americans submitted by John Gunther.

Professor Commager's list was dominated by Virginians in the field of statecraft, while New England natives had been most influential in poetry, scholarship, and philosophy. His list included Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, and Booker T. Washington, all Virginians. Also included was University of Virginia Professor William H. McGuffey, an opponent of slavery prior to the Civil War, for his Readers. The North Atlantic and Midwestern states had produced the greatest industrial leadership.

Drew Pearson tells of three prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Joe Martin, discussing recently the draft. The other two thought that the allocated money would be better spent on beefing up the National Guard and Reserve. Speaker Martin agreed but believed that a limited draft would prod draftees to join the Guard and Reserve. A compromise was agreed, whereby all men between 18 and 30 would register, strategic materials would be stockpiled, and the President would receive authority to draft up to specified ceilings which would be held down.

He notes that the Reserve had been neglected, the Army not having contacted 630,000 men who had enlisted in the Reserves during the year, because the Army apparently wanted to build up its manpower through peacetime conscription.

An Illinois Republican had suggested paying $500 to stooge candidates to run on the third-party ticket of Henry Wallace to take away votes from Democrats in Congressional races.

The Army was reinforcing its service troops in Alaska with 14,000 combat troops, to provide some limited manpower on the country's only frontier facing Russian territory.

Both sides in the railroad wage dispute were becoming jittery about nationalization of the railroad industry, worried that Congress might be disposed to leave the railroads under Government control. The Government had seized them in 1943, 1946 and now in 1948, to avert on each occasion a nationwide stoppage.

Samuel Grafton tells again of Harry and Margaret. Harry couldn't sleep in the middle of the night, started smoking, examining the table in the room, too large for its surroundings. They had bought it just after the war in anticipation of having a house. But the house had not materialized. He thought that he should sell the table to help pay their bills. They had stopped talking about the house they would have, seemed to have lost their curiosity generally about the future amid the daily struggle to make ends meet. The bright future to which everyone had looked forward during the war had not come to be.

After he had pondered it awhile, Margaret walked into the room and told Harry not to move the papers on the table, that she was having a meeting of housewives the following day to draw up a petition for more housing rather than more arms. Their large table served well, she said, for the meeting.

Stewart Alsop, in Vienna, tells of Secretary of State Marshall having recently included Austria in the three areas where Russian actions would speak louder than words in giving substance to their claimed desire for peace. Austria was dangerous because of the Russian occupation zone, the last soft spot in the Soviet territory in Eastern Europe. The only way that the Russians could harden it was by breaking the power of the central Government, through provoking the worst crisis since the end of the war.

The Russians had sought to break the Government by denying oil and other vital raw materials to the Austrian economy, but the plan had failed because of American aid.

Another technique was fear and coercion. Some 400 minor Austrian officials had been taken away by the Soviet secret police during the previous eighteen months. But that, too, had failed because of the determination of Austrian Government officials to thwart it by ridding the police of Communists in the Russian zone.

The next technique would involve increased force by means of the "Black Brigade", a Soviet-sponsored military organization of about 2,000 trained, heavily armed Austrian Communists, stationed about an hour from Vienna. It would become the spearhead for a "people's revolution" against a largely unarmed Austrian police force. The Allied security forces were headed by Russians one month out of every four pursuant to the four-power agreement, affording the opening by which the Russians could easily take over.

Recently, the Russians had imposed a requirement of a special pass for access from the Western zone through the Russian zone into Vienna. To test the plan, the British armed thirty men without the special passes to pass to Vienna. When they were stopped at the Russian checkpoint and the special passes demanded, they were ordered by their captain to get out of the truck and surround the Russian guardhouse. Eventually, they were allowed to pass. The incident showed that if the West was prepared to meet Russian threats with force and demonstrated the fact, the Russians would back down.

Such a rule, he believes, applied whether or not an Austrian treaty were signed. The Western powers had to guarantee the Austrian frontiers to make clear to the Russians that any attack on Austrian sovereignty would fail. He concludes that the rule applied everywhere in the world.

A letter from the acting secretary of the Charlotte Central Labor Union compliments the editorial of April 24, supporting the Taft-Ellender-Wagner long-term housing bill. The union members had liked it so much that a resolution was passed commending The News.

A letter writer supports State Treasurer Charles Johnson for Governor.

Agricultural Commissioner Kerr Scott would actually win the election.

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