The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 12, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians had blocked freight shipments into and out of Berlin throughout the night but had lifted the blockade and agreed to discuss the issue of Berlin freight at a four-power meeting on Monday. General Lucius Clay, military governor of the U.S. occupation zone, said that he would, if necessary, restore the air ferry of supplies from Frankfurt to Berlin to reach Americans in the city, as had been done in April. There were two million Germans and 25,000 Westerners in the Western sectors affected by cessation of the supply trains. The airlift was not capable of supplying the German population.

Arabs in Palestine complained of Israeli breaches of the terms of the four-week truce, just begun at 1:00 a.m. Friday, and threatened that they would retaliate. Israelis countered that they would retaliate against any firing by Arabs.

This thing appears to be going well so far.

The London Daily Mail reported that the Russians had developed an experimental plane which had flown at 760 mph, 3 mph below Mach I at standard conditions, beyond the sound barrier at high altitudes and lower temperatures. The piece had speculated that the sale to Russia by Britain a year earlier of 50 Rolls-Royce aircraft engines had enabled the Soviets to copy the technology.

President Truman reviewed the devastated areas near Portland, beset by flooding since Memorial Day from the rain-swollen Columbia and Fraser Rivers. Dikes continued to sag.

The President, following a tour of Northern California, would give the commencement address at UC-Berkeley this date and was said to be preparing to give a major foreign policy statement.

The President vetoed for the second time the Bulwinkle bill, exempting ICC-approved railroad rate agreements from the antitrust laws. He had vetoed a similar bill a year earlier.

Congress was in session on Saturday, trying to clear out remaining legislation before recessing a week hence for the conventions and elections.

A spokesman for railroad management told the Senate-House Committee on Labor-Management Relations that Congress ought outlaw major railroad strikes.

GM announced a price increase of $10 to $110 on its trucks. Nash-Kelvinator had announced a price increase of $74 to $90 on its Nash cars.

Firestone and the CIO United Rubber Workers signed a contract for an 11-cent per hour pay raise. The union had sought 30 cents per hour.

New York marked the beginning of its Golden Jubilee Celebration with a Fifth Avenue parade, including horse-drawn fire engines accompanying their modern counterparts and policemen in Gay Nineties attire walking alongside those in latter day garb.

In Charlotte, the County Health officer urged parents to keep children under 16 at home to avoid spread of polio. A county-wide quarantine was being considered after eight cases had developed in Mecklenburg County in the previous 17 days.

A two-year old child stricken with tubercular meningitis and not expected to live was brought to Mercy Hospital in Charlotte by a stranger. The mother of the child, who answered to the same name as the stranger, was located in Fayetteville and was being rushed by bus to Charlotte.

"The Secret Land", a documentary film produced by MGM on the December, 1946-March, 1947 expedition headed by Admiral Richard E. Byrd to the South Pole, was being narrated by Robert Taylor, Robert Montgomery, and Van Heflin.

You won't wish to miss it. Wear something warm and bring your own penguin.

On the editorial page, "'Pouring It On' Too Much" regards neither of the back and forth insults between the President, labeling the 80th Congress the worst in U.S. history, and the Congress, labeling the President the worst in U.S. history, as accurate. Rather, the President was conducting the worst presidential campaign and the Republicans the worst rebuttal in the 1948 campaign.

The President had laid down the gauntlet in what he had described as the "brawl" of words and was going to persist in the face of empty chairs in the halls where he spoke. The Republicans were content to fight the campaign on this pugilistic canvas. The Republican mistakes in Congress were matched only by the Administration mistakes, and so the Republicans believed that they could win the stone-throwing contest.

The piece thinks the President had misjudged public opinion, that the apathy of the American people was not from being sleepily unaware but from lack of leadership from Washington. He had the opportunity to demonstrate a new-found ability for that leadership but was squandering it on the present tour with the tit-for-tat word battle with Congress. He was right to take on the poor record of Congress, but he was going about it in the wrong manner, with invective rather than enlightenment.

It thinks he ought instead adopt a more statesmanlike approach and champion the worthy programs he had put forward. Otherwise, it suggests, the tour might prove to be his "political funeral".

He didn't know what he was doing. The Chicago Tribune obviously did when it labeled him a "political crook".

"Republican Aid to Stalin" finds that some observers believed that the "peace offensive" by Russia during the previous month had caused some Republicans in Congress to think that not so much ERP aid was needed after all as the cold war was on the decline, leading to the reduction by the House in foreign aid appropriations by a quarter from that recommended by the Administration as a bare minimum. It disagrees, believes that the reduction was the product of Republican reaction and not just gullibility. For the revolt against ERP by the isolationist wing of the GOP had been brewing throughout 1948. The effort to weaken the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act also had already begun before the Soviet peace initiative of May.

The Congress obviously preferred defense build-up to reconstruction as shown by the allocation of more than the Administration requested for the Air Force to expand it to 70 groups, as favored by Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington but not by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal or the President. The extra amount so appropriated, 822 million, was then recouped from the reduction of foreign aid by a billion dollars.

While the Senate was trying to remedy the problem on trade and foreign aid, damage had already occurred from loss of confidence of foreign nations in there being a steady hand at the tiller in Washington. Mr. Stalin, it concludes, had nothing to do with the House actions, but was the beneficiary of them.

A piece from the Detroit Westward, titled "Don't Talk War", advises against war talk as only encouraging the peril of war, as in any scenario in which a foreboding ill is discussed too much. It favors training the young men of the nation in self-defense while also allowing them to pursue their normal daily activities, unconcerned with the idea of being slapped down by a foreign power, secure in the knowledge that they could take care of themselves. Such should be the course, it posits, for the nation.

James Marlow discusses the GOP reduction of foreign aid by the House after they had approved the Administration's proposed budget two months earlier. They had authorized ERP spending sought by the Administration, 5.3 billion during the first year. But authorization was different from voting to appropriate the money for spending, which is what the House had finally just curtailed by a billion dollars, following the recommendations of the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by John Taber of New York. Now, the matter was before the Senate. Top Republicans, Governor Dewey, Harold Stassen, Governor Earl Warren, and Senator Vandenberg, had stated that the GOP cuts were unwise and should be restored. So had the New York Herald Tribune, normally a Republican organ.

It was likely, he concludes, that the cut would be restored by the Senate and that the House, in the end, would agree.

Drew Pearson tells of the tidelands oil lobbyists in the Western U.S. hoping to convince the President to veto a bill in Congress regarding continued Federal control of the tidelands oil. One of their chieftains was Dr. Edward Rumely, who had been a German agent in the U.S. during World War I and was sentenced to a one-year prison term for it but was pardoned by President Coolidge in 1925 after a sentence commutation to a month in 1924. He had also paid the infamous Gaston Means to spy on British shipping. Despite the corrupt past, Frank Gannett, owner of the New York newspaper chain, had heavily backed Dr. Rumely for years. So had Harvey Fruehauf of tractor-trailer fame, and a partner and attorney of the Anderson-Clayton cotton exchange, along with others, including Senator Ed Moore of Oklahoma.

Dr. Rumely had been cited twice for contempt of Congress for refusing to provide names of multimillionaires who financed his lobbying activities, but, in contrast to the Hollywood Ten of October, 1947, had never faced fines or jail from the citations. He also had been a friend of D. C. Stephenson, former Klan Grand Dragon, serving a sentence in Indiana for murder.

Thus was the character of a key representative of the tidelands oil lobby.

Marquis Childs discusses the tenuous situation in Greece, with the rightist politicians finding the time near when the coalition Government of elderly Themistokles Sophoulis, installed as Prime Minister with the efforts of Truman Doctrine aid administrator Dwight Griswold, could be replaced by a rightist regime. As it was, the liberal Prime Minister Sophoulis was surrounded by royalist Popular Party members and had little power of his own.

The result of such a dissolution of the coalition Government would be a dictatorship of the right, being sold as a necessity to ward off Communism.

After the murder of CBS correspondent George Polk the previous month, blamed by the Government police on Communists but believed committed by the right because of his journalistic exposure of Government corruption, the rightist press had begun to attack Constantine Argyris of The Christian Science Monitor, one of the few remaining correspondents in Greece willing to criticize the Government. He had reported that the Government, alarmed at U.S. reaction to Mr. Polk's murder, was investigating terrorist activities by the extreme right.

But there were signs that American policy makers were willing to accept almost any form of government to avoid a Communist takeover as had occurred in Czechoslovakia the previous February. Should the U.S. wind up having to support a right wing dictatorship, the tendency could extend to other nations operating under ERP, allowing isolationists in Congress the following year to use the fact to try to end the European reconstruction program.

Thus Mr. Griswold and newly appointed Ambassador to Greece Henry Grady would need to make it clear to the Government that they could not do as they pleased and expect continued U.S. aid.

Stewart Alsop, in London, reports that ERP would not be enough to keep England going unless there were a sharp drop in world food prices soon. The British Exchequer had only a little more than two billion dollars remaining in gold and if it fell much lower, without U.S. assistance, the resulting financial collapse would spread to the entire sterling bloc. Half a billion was expected to be spent in the ensuing year and some experts believed it would be closer to a billion, causing imminent financial collapse in Britain.

Thus, ERP administrator Paul Hoffman had requested a larger allocation of aid to Britain and the sterling bloc, at an unpropitious time when anti-British feeling in America was running high over its policy with respect to Palestine. The request had been shelved for future consideration. Regardless of what might occur, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Crips was going to set an absolute basement on gold reserves below which spending could not occur, probably at 1.5 billion, requiring severe tightening of British belts beyond the already tight situation extant. The only thing which would forestall the problem was reduction of world food prices and recovery of the British economy, the latter already in progress, with exports increased by 25 percent over 1946 and above the prewar average, while production output was the highest in history.

If the gold limit were enforced by Mr. Cripps, however, then production would likely fall and exports reduced, as rations for workers would be severely cut. The U.S. could not allow the British collapse with its inevitable repercussions across Europe and the world, making Western Europe ripe for Soviet takeover.

A letter writer from New York wonders why Southern members of Congress were so opposed to the Fair Employment Practices Commission, charged with responsibility for providing equal employment opportunity and wages between the races, in companies of 50 or more employees. Many of these businesses were owned by Northern manufacturers seeking cheap Southern labor and if forced to pay equal wages to blacks, the difference would come out of Northern pockets, not Southern. The increased wages, however, would be spent in the South by the employees. And, he asserts, the FEPC would have no effect on racial segregation in the South.

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