The Charlotte News

Monday, May 31, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Trans-Jordan Arab Legion claimed to have smashed a Jewish offensive in the Latrun area, 22 miles southeast of Tel Aviv and fifteen miles west of Jerusalem along the major supply route between the two cities. The Arabs claimed to have killed 114 Jews in the fighting. Israelis maintained a censored silence. Armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq maneuvered to contain three sides of coastal Tel Aviv, claiming the closest troops to be twenty miles away. Irgun, however, claimed to have been attacked by an Iraqi armored column within nine miles of the Jewish-controlled city.

Arabs continued to shell Jerusalem and the 90,000 inhabitants of the modern city. The Legion claimed to have destroyed seven armored cars the previous day.

An Egyptian force struck at Isdud, 23 miles south of Tel Aviv, and Israelis returned the attack, with the Egyptains claiming that the Israelis were repulsed.

The U.N. proposed anew a four-week truce in Palestine and stoppage of shipments of arms to both Arabs and Jews. Arabs continued to persist in demanding the condition that partition be abandoned.

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee denied to Commons that a rift existed over Palestine between the U.S. and Britain.

In Oregon, another dike was ready to break after the village of Vanport, with a population of 18,700, had been deluged by a ten foot wall of flood waters after the first break, sending the raging Columbia River onto the town. The dike had suddenly burst without warning. According to one resident, ten minutes prior to the flood, the residents had been informed by officials that everything was safe. The death toll had not yet been determined, but local officials believed that many had perished. A person gives an account from the vantage point of an airplane, having seen people and their houses washed away in an instant. President Truman had declared a disaster for the area.

The Salt Lake City was sunk off the coast of California after being deemed too radioactive for workmen to salvage. The ship had been exposed to the Bikini blasts in July, 1946. Attempts to clean the exposed ships from Operation Crossroads had met with little success, suggesting they might remain radioactive for years to come. Scientists had concluded that a nuclear fission bomb bursting in air, as over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, presented no long-range threat of radioactivity, but that the effects of blasts in or near water or in a rain cloud would persist for years. Improved efficiency of the fission bomb would make its lingering effects less severe. Officials had suggested that the three explosions at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific recently had been more efficient than the earlier five bombs, starting with the Trinity test in July, 1945 through the pair of Bikini blasts.

The Federal Reserve Board reported that the market for new houses had dropped twenty percent since 1947, one percent for new cars. Yet, demand still exceeded the supply available for both housing and new cars. Houses were expected to cost $7,430, $340 more than the average a year earlier and $1,120 more than people expected to pay at the start of 1947. Those with incomes less than $2,000 were priced out of the housing market. All Americans were spending heavily, veterans more than others, along with those earning $2,000 to $4,000 per year as against those earning $4,000 to $5,000. More than half of consumers were using installment credit, twice that of 1946. Consumer incomes rose ten percent.

In Washington, Paul Robeson, testifying against the Mundt-Nixon bill, refused this date to inform the Senate Judiciary Committee whether or not he was a Communist and said that he would be willing to go to jail rather than so confide, prompting loud applause along with some hissing in the chamber. He said that members of the Communist Party in the country had done a magnificent job and that he would not abide by the law if it passed, that he regarded it as a fascist law. Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan said that Committee members would determine subsequently whether to cite Mr. Robeson for contempt. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, Committee chairman, said that he doubted that they would do so. Senator Edward Moore of Oklahoma, however, favored such a citation.

The previous day had been Memorial Day and the President placed the annual wreath at Arlington before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He also gave a radio address, stating that to have peace, the country had to have the means to enforce it. The President also honored the memory of President Roosevelt in a separate ceremony, placing a rose in a floral anchor which was then dropped into the Potomac. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas spoke at ceremonies honoring the late President at Hyde Park, N.Y.

Traffic and other accidental deaths exceeded the estimate of the National Safety Council for the holiday weekend, as 269 fatalities were recorded by noon this date against an estimated 225, of which 159 had occurred on the highways and 42 by drowning. It provides the deaths by state. North Carolina suffered no traffic fatalities and two by means other than drowning.

Assistant Army Secretary Gordon Gray, part owner of The News since early 1947, provided a commencement address at Salem College in his hometown of Winston-Salem, saying that the Army belonged to the people who could, if they wished, disband it or make it strong or weak. The people had the power through Congress to appropriate money for it or not. He eschewed charges that militarism was running through the leadership of the country, saying that having men of military background in high government positions was normal after a major war, but that men of business were now returning to the Government. He also denied that the Army was taking over the society.

The latest figures from the North Carolina primary held on Saturday are provided on the page.

On the editorial page, "The Primary Was Sensible and Sound" finds voter turnout in Saturday's North Carolina primary to have been lighter than expected but with results not surprising. Former Governor J. Melville Broughton had won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat over incumbent William B. Umstead by a decisive majority. That result was a rebuff to Governor Gregg Cherry who had solidly backed Senator Umstead, whom he had appointed to the seat in December, 1946 to succeed deceased Senator Josiah W. Bailey.

The gubernatorial race triggered a runoff for June 26, with eventual winner Kerr Scott running second to State Treasurer Charles Johnson, the favorite, by 8,000 votes with about 91 percent of the precincts counted. The alternative candidate of the veterans, R. Mayne Albright, had polled third. Both of the leading candidates would court the Albright vote for the runoff. Mr. Scott stated on the front page that he expected to receive that support and had already garnered commitments from Albright supporters in at least two counties.

Races for Congress and county offices produced few surprises.

"Russian Propaganda Is Juvenile" discusses Secretary of State Marshall's rejection of the Soviet interpretation of Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith's early May diplomatic note to Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov which was interpreted as an offer to hold a bilateral meeting, to which the Russian press had expressed favor before the President, the State Department and Secretary Marshall provided clarification. Secretary Marshall had stated that all discussions of other nations would have to be held before the U.N., that no bilateral discussions would be appropriate. He also reiterated the nation's policy of taking a firm stance against Soviet expansion.

It finds Secretary Marshall both candid and shrewd in his response but also finds American information dissemination, as evidenced by the recent Voice of America scandal, to be inept, while Russian information was premised on the fact that half the world was illiterate and hungry, a more realistic approach. The American concern was regarding the recently exposed, relatively innocuous statements aimed at Latin America while the Russians examined American decadence and promoted its own dubious glorification of the common man. It urges a stronger and better funded VOA to compete with the Russian propaganda.

"Management Comes of Age" quotes from a statement by the president of Proctor & Gamble, warning that economic downturns and unemployment made the working man prey to various "isms". It finds it a good example of a company head voicing social responsibility which more in business needed to follow, to recognize the interest of business in the welfare of the country and its citizens and not to place profits too far ahead of human concerns.

A piece from the Los Angeles Times, titled "The Swelling Pay Roll", finds Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia to have done a public service by calling attention to the recent reversal in the downward trend in Government employment, with increases having been recorded three months in a row. It finds the trend keeping taxes high and people out of other productive employment in the private sector.

The Government had countered that increases were necessary because of ERP and rearmament, but the piece finds that process only beginning and that the Government was hiring more people so that it could fire more.

Drew Pearson tells of the Food & Drug Administration having lost part of its authority to seize contaminated food, with the consequence that more than 20 tons of unfit food reached the public daily. The same was true of contaminated drugs. The loss of power resulted from a 1946 decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, ruling in favor of Phelps-Dodge Co. on its challenge to the Government's authority to seize spoiled macaroni after it had left the company's warehouses. The Court ruled that when spoliation was discovered after food reached its destination, the Government lost its power under the Commerce Clause to intervene, as the enabling statute provided that the authority extended only over food "introduced into or while in interstate commerce". The Court did not reach the issue of whether the statute could pass constitutional muster by amendment to provide the FDA with further authority over spoiled food remaining in its original packaging, having been in the stream of interstate commerce. The Supreme Court denied review.

When a Republican Congressman introduced a bill to restore the FDA authority, a protest arose from Morrison Milling Co. of Denton, Texas. The measure had passed the House without opposition. Mr. Morrison and other millers then appeared before the Senate to protest, favoring a bill requiring proof of willful intent or gross negligence before criminal charges could be brought for selling spoiled food. He claimed that "infinitesimal" contamination had led to seizures, to which Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut protested that he did not wish even infinitesimal amounts of rat droppings in his food. But, through the efforts of Senators Pappy P. the B. O'Daniel of Texas, about to retire, and Edward Moore of Oklahoma, the bill had been blocked in committee. The bill might not arise again before the end of the session.

He notes that Senator O'Daniel was going to take a $100,000 dollar per year job with a flour mill upon his leaving the Senate at the end of the year. He further notes that all three of the complaining flour lobbyists had been convicted of selling contaminated food.

Bon appetit.

A Gallup poll had found that a majority of the country favored Federal aid to education and higher taxes to pay for it.

Senator William Knowland of California and Congresswoman Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had introduced a measure to equalize death and disability benefits for reservists in the Army and Navy with the benefits of those on active duty.

Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont had sent a stern letter to Benjamin Fairless, head of U.S. Steel, asking that the company stop discriminating against the pre-fab housing industry by refusing to allocate to it steel for cheap housing.

During his Western tour, the President would engage in publicity for his reclamation and irrigation program by pulling the switch on the new Columbia Basin water project in the State of Washington. The appearance had been suggested by the President's old friend, Washington Senator Warren Magnuson.

Marquis Childs tells of an editorial appearing in the Mobile (Ala.) Press which had stirred his thoughts on the threat to freedom in the country posed by recent efforts to curb thought and free flow of information, creating, said the piece, the "shadow of a police state". It found the threat not only, however, in the Mundt-Nixon bill and the loyalty tests within the Government but also in the President's civil rights program. It thought it especially of concern with respect to the FEPC bill which it believed would dictate who employers could hire, allowing employers to dictate to unions who they could have as members. It also thought that it would permit the creation by the Government of an "army of spies" to act as complainant, judge and jury on such matters.

This profound fear of coercion, asserts Mr. Childs, was at the root of the Southern revolt, shattering a pattern "cherished with blood and tears". Even such a Southern New Deal liberal as Hodding Carter of Greenville, Miss., was opposed to the Federal intervention.

Southerners bragged of positive changes, such as integrated Northern football teams coming to the South to play against white teams. To the Northerner, however, such examples seemed ephemeral, hearkening only slow progress, suggesting the positive need of the President's program. The South, after all, had held conventions to negate the President's program, not to determine how equal opportunity might be advanced by the states themselves.

Some Southern interests appeared determined to maintain lower wages based mainly on blacks for economic gain. Southern members of Congress appeared always to vote for the repressive measures against those they did not like. He concludes: "You cannot claim rights and freedoms for yourself that you constantly seek to deny to others."

Joseph Alsop, in Sacramento, discusses Governor Earl Warren, finds him one of the most impressive Republicans on the scene though one of the least known to the country. He did not abide in dreams of becoming President but was nevertheless a serious candidate for the office.

Presently, his supporters were explaining to Republican leaders the merit of the second term Governor in the event of a deadlocked convention, though the Governor understood that such a situation would more likely run to the advantage of Senator Vandenberg. But he controlled the powerful California delegation until he wished to release it and so possessed power heading into the Philadelphia convention three weeks hence.

His parents were both Scandinavian immigrants. Mr. Alsop views him as appearing as a Norwegian sea captain striding through the halls of the California Capitol.

He tells of a recent radio broadcast in which Mr. Warren had set forth his views, receiving, he thinks, too little attention in the country. While Governor Warren did not provide specific stands on issues, he did show himself to be a progressive, outlining strong general positions for housing, health, education, management of resources, and a sound foreign policy, a program which no other Republican had put forth. Mr. Alsop thinks that the speech ought be reduced to text and disseminated among the people.

A letter from A. W. Black again condemns the United Word Federalists for their desire for world government. He finds it advantageous only to Communism and that it would render the U.S. a vassal state. He thinks the organization rife with Communists and Socialists.

A letter from the executive secretary of the Mecklenburg County Tuberculosis & Health Association thanks the newspaper for its effort in explaining the program to the public and says that because of the report, the group's X-ray service to the black community had been more successful, doubling the number of those examined the previous year.

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