The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 17, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the French National Assembly approved the six-nation plan to set up a semi-independent government of Western Germany, to internationalize the Ruhr industrial region, and provide for occupation of Germany until peace was deemed secure by the signatories. During debate on the measure, both the far right and the Communists in France accused the Government of Premier Robert Schuman of not protecting French interests. The other five nations, the U.S., Britain, and the Benelux countries, had already approved the plan, formulated at the recent London conference. The Russians had been invited to place Eastern Germany under the same plan but had thus far rejected the notion.

The reconciliation committee of the House and Senate began debate on the cuts to foreign aid. The Senate bill had restored the bulk of the billion dollars cut by the House appropriations measure.

The very fate of the world hangs in the balance on the outcome, with adjournment for the conventions set for Saturday. We hope they find common ground by then.

Where's the Gipper when we need him? Oh, that's right. He's for Truman and that civil rights guy Humphrey of Minneapolis.

The House voted to place the draft on standby until 1949, by delaying registration until January 31. The House also refused to provide a blanket exemption to World War II veterans, but did exempt those with a year or more of service and allowed those with more than 90 days of service to be exempt by joining a National Guard reserve unit.

The Congress, for the third time in three days, overrode the veto of the President, the latest being on the Bulwinkle bill, which allowed railroad rate agreements to be outside the purview of the antitrust laws. Earlier in the week, the Congress overrode vetoes on social security and the bill transferring the U.S. Employment Service from the Labor Department to the Federal Security Agency. It marked the first time in history that a Congress had overridden three vetoes in such short order.

A United Air Lines plane, bound from San Diego to New York, crashed into high tension wires near Mt. Carmel, Pa., reportedly killing all 41 persons aboard.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports from Rock Hill, S.C., that the investigation into the shooting murder of a local businessman had focused on a 34-year old suspect, a truck driver and salesman employee of the victim's fuel oil business. It was believed that the murder had taken place in the victim's warehouse during the weekend of June 6. Arrested at 8:00 p.m. the previous night, the suspect was grilled non-stop by detectives until 3:30 a.m., and at one point was confronted with the wooden crate in which the deceased's decomposed body was discovered in a creek bed, with the smell of the corpse still emanating from it. No confession, however, had been signed, despite the plain coercion.

Near Spencer Mountain, N.C., Sheriff's deputies were summoned to a home the previous midnight to find a six-year old girl shot to death, with eight bullet wounds, and her mother unconscious from six gunshot wounds. The bodies were discovered by the husband-father and his brother. No charges had been filed, pending investigation by the coroner.

Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen conceded that he would be in third place on the first ballot at the GOP convention set to start Monday at Philadelphia, but predicted again that he would win on the ninth ballot.

President Truman began his return trip by special train from his home in Independence, Mo., to Washington, continuing to take to task the 80th Congress. At Sedalia, Mo., he said that the Congress had "done a grand job to the people, not for them." He would again pass through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio as he returned. Margaret Truman, who had made the cross-country trip with her father, stayed in Independence with her mother Bess. She declined comment when asked whether she had been the "number one" attraction with the crowds, at every supermarket parking lot.

A recent poll by Fortune Magazine, as explained by pollster Elmo Roper, showed President Truman nearly at the nadir of his popularity, receiving only 33.7 percent support in the election, above only an April poll, in which he had received 32.1 percent support. Based on the poll results, he would be beaten by Thomas Dewey, Harold Stassen or General Eisenhower, would have a close race with Senator Arthur Vandenberg and would probably beat Senator Robert Taft. General Eisenhower would also likely beat any Republican candidate were he to be nominated by the Democrats.

Mr. Roper points out that the sample was taken before the President's cross-country tour.

On the editorial page, "America's Test in the Draft" agrees with former House Ways & Means Chairman Robert Doughton of North Carolina that the peacetime draft was "undemocratic and un-American" but disagrees that it was, as a temporary two-year measure, "unnecessary". The present international situation was a continuation of the two world wars and so it was not peacetime in the true sense of the term.

Congress had faced the dual tasks of establishing ERP and military preparedness as means to establish stability in Europe and thereby convince Soviet Russia not to engage in expansionist tactics. A third element of U.S. foreign policy was the strengthening of the U.N., as it was necessary to keep America strong as the U.N. matured.

While not enough had been done by the Administration and Congress to effect peace, the policy being pursued had the support of most of the people and nothing better would come along anytime soon. The draft was a vital part of that policy to maintain military preparedness.

"GOP Never Forgets or Changes" finds no justification in the North Carolina Republicans' contention that their fight against Judge Wilson Warlick's nomination as the Federal District Court Judge for the Western District was no more partisan than had been his predecessor's efforts in 1919. They recalled, in elephantine fashion, that Judge E. Yates Webb, who had retired recently, had been chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time, which passed a bill to allow the appointment by President Wilson of an Assistant Judge to then sitting Western District Judge James Boyd, to become Judge upon the latter's retirement. Judge Boyd was in poor health and needed an assistant and Representative Webb subsequently became that Assistant, eventually becoming Judge on his retirement. It points out that he was confirmed by a Republican Senate.

The piece finds both political parties guilty of partisan maneuvering in such matters but believes that did not excuse the shameless effort to sidetrack the nomination of an able and estimable jurist for purely partisan reasons, so that the next President, expected to be a Republican, could appoint the successor.

"Sergeant Gardner on Duty" recognizes, upon his untimely death, Charlotte Police Sergeant R. C. Gardner for his 40 years of service without a blemish. He had always been faithful to duty and had been stricken while on duty the previous week, had been known to his fellow officers simply as "the Sergeant" during his long tenure since 1908.

A piece without a by-line, based on figures supplied by the Institute of Life Insurance in its bulletin Money Matters, looks at the increased agricultural efficiency, with production having increased 29 percent between 1939 and 1945, in large part the result of increased mechanization and development of better farming methods through science.

Drew Pearson looks at Senator Arthur Vandenberg as a candidate for the GOP nomination. In 1936, Col. Robert McCormick had sought him out for the vice-presidential spot on the Alf Landon ticket, but Senator Vandenberg, then an isolationist, abruptly asked Col. McCormick how he would like to be vice-president of anything. Eventual Secretary of the Navy under FDR, Chicago publisher Frank Knox, became the GOP vice-presidential nominee in that landslide FDR election.

Senator Vandenberg had been a dark horse candidate in each of 1936, 1940 and 1944, had wanted the presidency in earlier days. He could probably have the nomination in 1948 and be President if he would let his friends work for him. But he would not.

He had been pompous earlier in his career, nearly losing re-election to the Senate in 1934, and had learned wisdom from his many mistakes during the course of his political maturation. He had once courted the support of reactionary Gerald L. K. Smith, and as late as 1943 at the Mackinac Island GOP strategy conference had favored a strong isolationist platform and General MacArthur for the 1944 nomination. In 1939, he had downplayed the reality of the war at its start after Germany invaded Poland. He had favored as much as V. M. Molotov the unilateral veto at the U.N. Charter Conference in 1945.

Senator Vandenberg in his present incarnation as the chief battler for a bipartisan foreign policy had been a product of the atomic age. He had become the most influential leader of the Republicans and the most influential spokesman in the nation on foreign policy.

On domestic matters, he took his cues usually from the GM clique dominant in Michigan or Arthur Summerfield, GOP national committeeman and president of the Detroit Auto Dealers.

The primary concern of the GOP leaders insofar as the Senator being the nominee were twofold, first, his age of 64 and his health, and, second, whether he could be controlled. On the latter point, he would be controllable on domestic matters but would be his own person on foreign policy. His health had slowed him down but he remained vital and was the same age as the President.

Mr. Pearson says that he was convinced that the Senator did not wish to be President at this point but that he would serve if nominated. He concludes that, regardless of the outcome of the convention, he was one of the great statesmen of the times and the most important contemporary influence on foreign policy.

Marquis Childs finds that in the scramble at the last minute by the Republican Congress to accomplish business, Senator Taft was leading the charge for housing, education, and health, not unmindful of his political fortunes in the coming Republican convention. Yet, he was proving powerless to have his way, despite being the ostensible Republican leader in the Senate.

The aid to education bill was an example, which had been bottled up in the House, despite Senator Taft's campaign manager, Representative Clarence Brown of Ohio, being a member of the Rules Committee holding it up. It raised suspicions of Mr. Taft playing politics. He was able to place blame for the impasse on Speaker Joe Martin, eager to show his independence from Senator Taft and his opposition to "socialistic measures", education and health, opposed by his own wealthy backers for the nomination.

Yet, Senator Taft had moved in the Senate to cut a billion dollars from ERP, pleasing to Col. Robert McCormick, isolationist publisher of the Chicago Tribune.

Richard H. Rovere, in Harper's, had said, in a sympathetic overall appraisal, that Senator Taft would not likely supply the international leadership necessary to heal the rift between East and West.

But Senator Taft probably knew more about government than any President since Woodrow Wilson, and likely in more detail and practical terms than the professorial Mr. Wilson.

The Senator had been too blunt in his career to win the popular acclaim which Harold Stassen had garnered in the campaign. Taft-Hartley had earned him few friends among labor.

He was, however, a man of integrity and, he concludes, the Republicans could do worse as a nominee.

Samuel Grafton finds the 1948 campaign returning to the days of old when Republicans were perennially the shoo-in to win the White House without having to campaign on argument, without having to face a Roosevelt or make ideological concessions to the popularity of the New Deal.

Yet, this return to "the age of innocence" was peculiar in that the GOP intended to win, in part, on the basis of the business boom, which, according to the New York Journal of Commerce was the result of the Treasury's easy credit policy, the Federal armaments and foreign aid programs, and the "wholesale use of government credit to finance new construction", all Government programs.

So, the Republicans would be claiming that they had brought the country back to traditional conservatism without resort to New Deal-type measures, when the Government in 1948 would be spending 40 billion dollars against the highest FDR budget during the Depression of 9 billion.

The GOP had pretended that liberalism no longer existed and that it never had been a vital force in the country. And it had done so under the cover of this remarkable 40-billion dollar budget. He concludes that the cost of getting rid of liberalism, therefore, was roughly five times the cost of maintaining it under FDR.

The Republicans would argue that the difference was that the budget was now balanced. Yet, it would be an embarrassing argument to make, as the New Dealers had maintained that the way to a balanced budget was to spend enough to stimulate growth and income in the country. The GOP had never accepted that precept during the Roosevelt era.

Mr. Grafton concludes that this was one of the most expensive returns to simplicity in all history.

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