The Charlotte News

Friday, May 28, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan announced that the battle for old Jerusalem, a less than one-mile square area of the city, had ended this date with the surrender at 2:30 p.m. of the last 400 Jewish holdouts, trapped for days without food and water following two weeks of fighting against a greatly outnumbering Arab Legion force. Under the terms of surrender, the Red Cross would receive the 300 women and children and the elderly men in the old city, and the remainder would be sent to a concentration camp outside Palestine. The total number in the old city were said by Jews to number 1,500 to 1,600.

Israelis continued to claim to hold control of most of the modern city of Jerusalem.

Jewish forces claimed capture of two Arab villages, Beit Sasun and Beit Jix, along the crucial Tel Aviv-Jerusalem supply route. A decisive battle was ongoing for Latrun along the road, which the Jews claimed also to have captured, though details of the battle were not released by Israeli military security. The British Near East radio described Latrun as one the largest battles fought in Palestine thus far.

To the north, Jewish sources reported capture of the Arab village of Zir'in, midway between Nazareth and Jenin, pivot of the Jenin-Nablus-Tulkarm triangle, on the Arab-Jewish border of the U.N. partition line.

Britain had ordered 21 of 37 British officers to withdraw from Palestine and their service in the Arab Legion of King Abdullah. The remaining 16 were mercenaries of Abdullah and thus were not subject to British orders.

The 41 detained Americans in Lebanon, who had been removed from the American ship Marine Carp at Beirut as being able to bear arms for Israel, had agreed to return directly to the U.S. The State Department was negotiating the terms of release.

The State Department announced that the U.S. was planning to ship 60 million dollars worth of military surplus supplies to Iran, including a few tanks, fighter and cargo planes, guns and ammunition. The Senate Appropriations Committee had approved the aid. The State Department found Iran not on good terms with the Arabs and so saw little chance that the arms would be used against Israel.

Prime Minister Jan Christian Smuts of the Union of South Africa resigned after defeat in Tuesday's election by Dr. Daniel Francois Malan, an outspoken isolationist favoring segregation of the native population. The Nationalists formed a coalition with the Afrikaners to win the election. Mr. Smuts lost his seat in Parliament in the election and his United Party wound up in the minority vis-à-vis the coalition. Mr. Smuts had been Prime Minister since 1939 and had also served in the post from 1919 to 1924.

General MacArthur stated that he would not wish to return to the U.S. until after the Republican convention, starting June 21. The statement came in reply to the vote of the Senate Appropriations Committee to have him appear to testify anent Far East relations. General MacArthur said that he wanted to avoid any political taint to his return to the U.S. for the first time since before Pearl Harbor.

The GOP Policy Committee determined to try to adjourn the second session of the 80th Congress on June 19 and abandon all except emergency meetings in committees. The Congress intended to complete work on the displaced persons bill to admit 200,000 immigrants over a four-year period, the proposed draft bill, aid to the Western European Union, and the extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, in addition to regular appropriations matters. No schedule had been set for the pending civil rights legislation.

Attorney General Tom Clark labeled 32 more groups "subversive", adding to a list of about 90 so labeled the previous November. The list was for the Federal Loyalty Review Board, assessing the loyalty of Federal Government employees. Membership in one of the organizations was deemed by the President to be only one factor in assessing loyalty.

William Z. Foster, American Communist Party leader, said that if the Mundt-Nixon bill were to become law, the Party would not obey its requirements, subjecting "subversive" organization officials to criminal penalties for non-registration and not supplying membership lists. He said that the bill would create a "Fascist police state" in the country and would destroy the bill of rights.

Don't worry. Under Mr. Nixon's own definition, the bill excludes political parties and so, obviously, the Communist Party, as long as it fields a slate of candidates, is not within the ambit of the proposed legislation.

In Marion, O., a father drove his car with his two little girls, ages 3 and 2, into the path of an oncoming passenger train moving at 70 mph, killing all three of them instantly. The father had bought the little girls two bottles of soda pop and made a telephone call to his estranged wife, threatening to kill himself and the girls, a half hour before he undertook the action. The father had just been cited for contempt by a court for violation of a restraining order to prevent him from contact with his family after the wife had filed for divorce two weeks earlier.

In Rockville Centre, N.Y., the blonde woman who was advertising for a husband, provided he had $10,000 and would support her and her two children, had extended her deadline for interviewing her several respondents until Tuesday, to accommodate a sucker from Lexington, Ky., who claimed to be a breeder of thoroughbred horses. A North Carolina manufacturer was among those vying for the nurse-hatcheck girl's hand. Whether they called her "Snapshot" was not indicated.

The North Carolina primary was set for the following day. Near record turnout of a half million was anticipated for the gubernatorial and Senate races. The record was 516,000, set in the 1936 gubernatorial race, won by current Senator Clyde Hoey of Shelby. The primary candidates for the Senate, incumbent Senator William B. Umstead and former Governor J. Melville Broughton, would deliver statewide radio addresses this night. The primary gubernatorial candidates, Kerr Scott and Charles Johnson, would also deliver radio speeches.

Be sure to put in a good word for P. C. Burkholder at the polling booth, running again for the Republican Congressional nomination. He will send you some free buttermilk.

On the editorial page, "Blythe Will Do a Good Job" finds Charlotte businessman and State Senator Joe Blythe to be a good choice as treasurer of the DNC. He was moderate and cool-headed and could bring about party unity in the South. In North Carolina politics, he said little but routinely was elected without opposition. He was foremost a party loyalist and had accomplished much in his ten years in the State Senate. He had advocated settling differences over civil rights within the party and not bolting. He was also a shrewd and able fundraiser, his primary new role in the national party. It believes that the Democrats' chances would be improved by taking his sound advice.

"Please, Fellers, Don't 'Help' Us" seeks to paraphrase in its title the essence of the resolution adopted recently by the Washington Conference on American Small Business Organization, which stressed free enterprise and freedom from Government control of business and agriculture, and disfavored the Fair Employment Practices Commission and international agreements on exports, prices and acreage controls in agriculture. The piece thinks it was saying that small business did not really want the "help" of the Government to fight big business as they wanted to become big business one day.

"Do You Deserve Citizenship? Vote!" urges voting in the next day's North Carolina primary, asks a series of questions designed to spur citizens to get out and exercise their franchise freely, invokes as inspiration the ongoing pageant, "Shout Freedom!"

A piece from the Charleston News and Courier, titled "Truthful Menus", favors truth in advertising of everything obtained at the restaurant if margarine was to be subjected to a requirement of being so labeled on the menu. It provides a suggested required menu list, concluding: "And as for our biscuits just like mother used to make, mother should sue. P.S. The butter is oleo."

Sigrid Arne, in the continuing series on each presidential candidate, examines Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan. He had been instrumental in guiding the Marshall Plan through the Senate, had used his usual method of assembling and marshaling the facts, a procedure gleaned during his tenure as a newspaper editor for 22 years in Grand Rapids. He wrote his own speeches, did not delegate the task to ghost writers as many of the candidates did, then would practice the first draft on his family and close friends and use the feedback to make changes. He routinely addressed the opponents' arguments and blunted them before they had a chance to speak.

He had managed to avoid Senator Taft's attempt to cut ERP aid drastically.

He stuck to his forte, foreign affairs, and left the fight on most domestic issues to others, such as Senator Taft. He had disturbed some in labor, however, by voicing support for Taft-Hartley.

The Senator continued to belong to his old church in Grand Rapids, lived near the house in which he had grown up.

Mr. Vandenberg had said repeatedly that he was not a presidential candidate, but would accept a draft by the Republican convention as long as he did not have to connive to obtain it. Friends believed that he would rather be Secretary of State than President.

He had authored three books on Alexander Hamilton and found writing to be his most rewarding occupation. At the end of his current Senate term in 1953, he wanted to write a book on St. Paul.

Drew Pearson tells of Harold Stassen having stumbled in the Oregon primary because he had tried to be all things to all people, giving approval, for instance, to Taft-Hartley, when he had been an outspoken opponent of the bill a year earlier when it was before the Senate. He notes that when the former Minnesota Governor had been asked where he stood on universal military training, he had responded that he favored "something a little less than compulsory and a little more than voluntary." He had managed to cultivate a reputation as a liberal while drawing support from meatpackers, grain operators, U.S. Steel, and some of the largest businessmen of the Northwest.

Rumors circulated that industrial leaders had gotten together in a "Waldorf Conference" and determined not to provide more than the 9 to 11 cents wage increases, which had been given respectively in recent days to the meatpackers and GM workers. Mr. Pearson recommends that the steel industry, which the previous year had balked at wage increases while the railroad brotherhoods received 15 cents, considered minimal at the time, provide voluntarily a 9 to 11 cent increase to the Steelworkers Union to demonstrate fairness to the world and encourage production under the exigencies of the Marshall Plan. Such would redound to the benefit of all of industry and placate labor troubles. The cost of living had recently gone up while U.S. Steel had its greatest profits in history.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia was fighting the draft bill in the Armed Services Committee because of amendments to it to eliminate segregation. He was prepared to filibuster the amendments to death. The Republicans would not invoke cloture, however, because they wanted to make political hay out of the controversy during the election cycle.

Georgia Congressman Eugene Cox was seeking to kill the displaced persons bill to admit 200,000 European refugees over a four year period. To do it, he had agreed with Representative Leo Allen of Illinois, chairman of the Rules Committee and opponent of the draft bill, to kill both the displaced persons bill and the draft bill jointly. Their power in the Committee would likely prevent both bills from reaching the House floor.

Stewart Alsop, still in Prague, tells of the information in Czechoslovakia being so controlled by the Soviet-puppet Government, virtually a police state, that rumors conveyed the only means of approximation to truth. The opposition in the country had ceased to exist, were in jail, had fled to the American zone of Germany or were "unavailable", were followed everywhere by the OBZ, the latest incarnation of the Soviet secret police, the OGPU.

Westerners were isolated and had to obtain information in dribbles, deduced from the rumors. The new rulers of the country were at odds, one group being "the politicians", such as Premier Gottwald, Foreign Minister Vladimir Klementis, and Minister of Interior Vaclav Nosek, all Communists who nevertheless appeared before the voters and were willing to make compromises, even at times being reasonable. But they were only the titular heads of the Government.

The other group, "the conspirators", held the real power in the country. They were represented by such men as Minister of Justice Alexei Cepicha, jailed three times on criminal charges including rape, Communist Party secretary-general Rudolf Slansky, Jindrich Vassilli, part of the Interior Ministry, and Colonel Rietzin, chief of intelligence in the OBZ. They were of the Soviet mold of tough-minded hard liners and formed essentially what some called a "shadow government". It was likely they would accumulate more power as time passed.

It was anticipated that soon, within the coming month or so, the time of the relatively benign "twilight terror", as Mr. Alsop had discussed two days earlier, would end and the "night of the terror" would begin, to be characterized by mass arrests, mass trials, and mass executions, completing the pattern of the Soviet-dominated police state. Without the pressure from Moscow, Czechoslovakia might become democratic, as envisioned by Thomas Masaryk after World War I. It would, however, he finds, be twisted by Moscow into a replica of the Soviet regime in Russia, as anything less would be viewed by the Russian masters of the Politburo as suspicious.

Samuel Grafton finds America living in a "flat time" again, a kind of plateau, indecisive years as those following World War I, prior to the coming of the hope and passion characterizing the Roosevelt years. During plateau periods, changes occurred only underneath the surface.

Such was suggested by the tightness of the Republican race, as there was no FDR to prod the Republicans into nominating a dynamic progressive such as Wendell Willkie in 1940. The mercurial switch of Republican favor from Harold Stassen to Governor Dewey and now to Senator Vandenberg showed that the race was dominated by concerns over personality and technical politics rather than policy. Much was made over small differences in points of view.

The people had come to accept without much gripe the extant situation of inflation and shortage of housing, reminiscent of the Twenties. They appeared to have given up hope for a political solution to these problems. There was also prosperity on the surface while social evils were tolerated, without attention to them being paid by major political leaders. Even major issues in foreign affairs were left dangling and unresolved.

Yet, many important things were happening, as also during the Twenties. "The most important is probably what goes on deep in the minds of men during such a time, down where the realities of fear and hope are stowed away, and the slow emotions generated which pop up during times like the time of Roosevelt, times which are not plateaus."

A letter from a veteran wants to address to the candidates for the State Legislature the issue of the continued necessity for the law in North Carolina which required all local bond issues which were not deemed necessary for the public good to pass by a majority of those registered to vote and not just those actually voting. Bond measures in Charlotte for the public library, for public parks, and a new city auditorium had each passed by regular majorities but not by the required registration majorities. He posits that the law was passed at a time in the Depression when local government fiscal constraints were of utmost concern and was now outdated in times of greater prosperity.

A Quote of the Day: "As a matter of record, there has not been a lynching in Grenada since 1900. It is also a fact that Grenada County is the only county in the state, if not the entire South, where a white man was legally hanged for the murder of a Negro." —Grenada County (Miss.) Weekly

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