The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 23, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Tel Aviv, Israeli troops blasted the munitions ship, an LST laden with 600 tons of munitions, beached by Irgun troops as civil strife between Jews erupted. When the ship burst into flames, confusion in the four-hour battle developed and residents of Tel Aviv fled the waterfront area. Eventually, both sides fled the beach area out of fear of explosions and the fighting ceased.

Irgun moved a truck through Tel Aviv broadcasting the sarcastic notion that Haganah had achieved a great victory by blowing up the ship and that Menachem Begin, the Irgun leader, later Prime Minister of Israel who would sign the 1979 peace accord with Egypt, had a "narrow escape" from the ship.

The Israeli troops were ordered to stop the ship, carrying munitions for Jerusalem, as it was a violation of the four-week truce.

In Berlin, the U.S., Britain, and France rejected an order by the Russians for issuance of only Russian-controlled currency in Berlin and said their own new marks would be used in the Western sectors. Thus, two currencies would be in use in the city, splitting it down the middle economically. A demonstration formed by the Communist-led Socialist Unity Party prevented legislators from entering Berlin's city hall.

The Soviets called a meeting of Eastern European allies in Warsaw to formulate strategy to counteract the six-nation Western plan for a West German state, agreed to at the London conference and subsequently ratified. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Hungary, in addition to the Russians, were represented. They were considering formation of an Eastern state in Germany.

It appeared that UMW might reach an agreement with the bituminous coal operators to form a new contract to avert a July 6 coal strike.

At the Republican convention in Philadelphia, Governor Dewey was said to have around 400 votes secured for the first ballot, with at least 80 more for the second ballot, with 548 needed to nominate. Senator Taft would have around 210 first ballot votes, would pick up a net of 60 more on the second ballot. Harold Stassen would have about 150, with a net loss of 13 on the second ballot. Hundreds remained uncommitted. Senator Vandenberg would have 55 first ballot votes, 41 of which were from his native Michigan.

Senator Taft met at midnight with Mr. Stassen in a hotel room, trying to avoid the press, planning strategy to stop Governor Dewey, seeking support from Senator Vandenberg, Governor Warren, and Governor Kim Sigler of Michigan, the latter supporting Senator Vandenberg.

Governor Dewey picked up the backing of Governor Alfred Driscoll of New Jersey, a favorite-son candidate and formerly a Vandenberg supporter, giving him 35 additional delegates.

Governor Dwight Green of Illinois said that all 56 votes from his delegation would go to Senator Taft on the second ballot.

Senator Edward Martin, Pennsylvania's favorite son, said that he would withdraw and support Governor Dewey. Some 40 Pennsylvania votes were said to have passed to Governor Dewey, causing a panic, as they tipped the balance slightly toward him. That had initially prompted the midnight stop-Dewey meeting between Senator Taft and Mr. Stassen.

North Carolina's delegation was split, 15 for Governor Dewey, four or six votes for Senator Taft, two or three each for Speaker Joe Martin and Mr. Stassen, and one for Senator Vandenberg. The South Carolina delegates pledged all of their six votes to Senator Taft on the first ballot.

This night, the nominating speeches would take place. Thursday morning, the voting would occur on the nominees.

In Winchester, Va., a basement explosion in a three-story department store building in the heart of the business area injured 19 persons. No one was killed. No cause for the blast had yet been ascertained.

On the editorial page, "A Confused GOP Foreign Policy" finds the Republican platform plank on foreign policy to be flexible enough to allow the party to go forward, or backward toward isolationism. The nomination would be more settling of the issue, whether it would go to the Taft wing or the Vandenberg and Dewey wing of the party.

The platform supported reciprocal tariffs but conditioned it on safeguarding of industry and agriculture at home, consistent with the one-year extension of the Act recently passed by Congress instead of the three-year extension favored by the Administration to encourage foreign trust in continuity of open trade.

Thus it was questionable whether the Republicans, if they achieved the White House, would continue the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in its present form or severely limit it or eliminate it in favor of a return to protectionism.

The platform favored regional alliances of the type made in the Western Hemispheric Defense Pact, but that could be useful in furthering nationalism on an hemispheric basis, dividing the world into such alliances. The impotence of the U.N. made it clear that the country had only moved slightly away from isolationism.

The platform also urged elimination of the unilateral veto of the Big Five on the Security Council when peaceful settlements were at issue and creation of an international police force to quell local disturbances to world peace. But the veto power would remain in matters involving "forceful settlement" of international disputes.

It concludes that the march toward international peace had thus far foundered on the means by which the war-making ability of the major powers could be attenuated.

"Conspiracy Against Liberalism" suggests that the Republicans were having such a good time criticizing Communism at their convention that they must appreciate the efforts of the Russians, giving them so much fodder for discussion. Some believed that Russia hoped the GOP would win the elections as it would provide a much easier time for them in the cold war, as it would be so economically destructive for the U.S. to continue to try to build up arms while providing foreign aid as to lead to a crash.

If correct, then the Russians must have gone out of their way to cause Communism to be unpopular in the U.S. It was familiar Russian strategy to provoke reaction. Such a strategy was not designed to revive the power of the conservative Republicans but to destroy the liberal Democratic movement in the country, to destroy the Roosevelt-Truman progressive movement. The Republicans had been useful agents in that effort.

So it was uncertain whether the Republicans or the Communists stood to gain more in the consistent Republican attack on Communism, associating it with liberal Democrats and "appeasement" of the Russians by FDR at Yalta and Tehran.

"Misguided Protest on Draft" discusses the protest letter from 200 Protestant clergymen against the draft, just passed by Congress, the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. The fight, it suggests, had been lost when the Administration and Congress determined to take a hard line against Russia, abandoning the wartime policy of FDR. The protest would taint the more honorable fight being waged against the draft and the policy on political grounds, not advocating breaking of the draft law. It advocates starting a movement for peace rather than draft resistance. The churchmen should inveigh against the stirring up of false fears and exhort the Government to cause the foreign policy to work better, to end the need for the military aspects of it.

A short piece from the Washington Post, titled "The Power of Noise", finds that, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, the society was to continue to be bombarded with sound trucks blasting political messages and store advertising. Store broadcasting was also in vogue, advertising specials over loudspeakers as shoppers coursed through the aisles.

It concludes that the advice of Alexander Pope would have to be followed and that the people would have to learn "the wondrous power of Noise."

Or, as more fully stated:
Now turn to different sports, the goddess cries,
And learn, my sons, the wondrous power of noise.
To move, to raise, to ravish every heart,
With Shakspeare's nature, or with Jonson's art,
Let others aim: 'Tis yours to shake the soul
With thunder rumbling from the mustard-bowl,
With horns and trumpets now to madness swell,
Now sink in sorrows with a tolling bell:
Such happy arts attention can command,
When fancy flags, and sense is at a stand.
Improve we these. Three cat-calls be the bribe
Of him whose chattering shames the monkey tribe:
And his this drum whose hoarse heroic bass
Drowns the loud clarion of the braying ass.

Actually, with a ford 'cross the river's manse,
They could craft another ordinance,
With sufficient incidents of discretion
To blot municipal authority's misprision,
Thereby to pass the law's muster
And stop in its gewgaw, hee-haw tracks
Any claptrap, gimcrack, noisome bluster.

Drew Pearson, in Philadelphia, tells of the Republicans looking forward to a November victory, bringing excitement to the city, with the liveliest GOP convention in 28 years. They were anxiously awaiting the start of balloting the following morning, following all the nominating speeches of this night, which would last until 4:00 a.m.

Never before had the Republicans re-nominated a defeated nominee, but the supporters of Governor Dewey were determined to set a precedent. His close assistant, Paul Lockwood, a former newspaperman, was to Mr. Dewey what Louis Howe had been to FDR. His campaign manager was Herbert Brownell, future Attorney General in the Eisenhower Administration. Mr. Brownell, as a member of the New York Legislature, had helped put through the racket-busting crime bills for Governor Dewey. J. Russell Sprague was the backstage operator, to line up support of delegates.

In 1940, Senator Vandenberg had criticized FDR's program of giving military supplies to France and Britain, lend-lease, to become law in March, 1941, but already in limited operation. The following day, Mr. Dewey had criticized FDR's speech against Mussolini after he had joined the German invasion of France. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., was head of the 1948 platform committee. Though he did not think at all as his grandfather, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the latter had led the fight in 1920 against joinder of the U.S. to the League of Nations, ultimately defeated through the leadership of newly elected President Warren G. Harding, favoring "back to normalcy" after the war.

Two conservatives, John Putnam and Nat Howard, both of Cleveland, proposed to the platform committee that the GOP adopt a plank favoring world government. They had a petition with 300,000 signatures favoring the proposal. Signifying a sea change in the GOP, Senator Lodge did not appear to consider the proposal at all revolutionary.

In 1944, the atmosphere was one of unreality, as the D-Day invasion had just taken place 21 days earlier on June 6. The Navy was closing in on Japan, having delivered the first of the new B-29 bombing raids. Some even believed that FDR would not allow elections to be held in wartime.

Now, the somber mood of that earlier convention was displaced by the old gaiety. The promise of homes for veterans made during the war had been set aside by one wing of the party. Postwar profits of big business were soaring, as was inflation. Income for white-collar and lower-income groups not members of unions was down. He concludes that a lot of wartime promises had been forgotten, amid the folderol of the convention, fully expecting victory come November.

Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, tells of 1944 nominee Thomas Dewey wanting the presidency now so bad that he could taste it. It was rumored that in an effort to garner support, he had promised the commissionership of the IRB to at least three individuals. The leaders whose dislike for him threatened his chances were Governor Earl Warren, former Governor Harold Stassen, and Governor James Duff of Pennsylvania. If they combined with Governor Driscoll of New Jersey to back Senator Vandenberg, his chances for the nomination would be diminished. The same would be true if Governor Stassen threw his support to Senator Taft in return for the second spot on the ticket.

Senator Taft had made a Taft-Stassen ticket his secret objective, overcoming previous dislike of Mr. Stassen.

The maneuvering cast an unfavorable light on the convention and Mr. Dewey's problem, which was to attract a large state delegation, probably that of Illinois, to his corner. Governor Dwight Green might be so persuaded to take the delegation to him from Senator Taft, the favorite of Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick. Such a deal would entail promising a significant position to Governor Green, such as that of Secretary of Defense.

Mr. Stassen, since his defeat in the Oregon primary by Mr. Dewey, appeared eager to defeat him at the convention, had told Mr. McCormick that Mr. Dewey was plotting with Mr. Green behind his back to entice the delegates to Mr. Dewey. The endorsement by Mr. McCormick of the Taft-Stassen ticket, despite Mr. Stassen being regarded as a liberal, suggested that Mr. Dewey would not be able to obtain the support of the Illinois delegation.

The question remained whether Mr. Stassen would accept the McCormick deal. Mr. Stassen had never been unprincipled in his stands and to accept such a compromise and join a ticket with Mr. Taft, whose views were polar opposite to his own, would be inconsistent with his past.

Marquis Childs, in Philadelphia, tells of the same men being in positions of power in the GOP as had been in 1940, holding many of the same ideas. The principal candidates, Governor Dewey and Senators Taft and Vandenberg, were the same, with the omission of the deceased Wendell Willkie and addition of Governor Stassen. Also missing was the presence of FDR on the other side, as a spur to nominate a progressive candidate, as Mr. Willkie, who had been, until recently, a Democrat in 1940. With the absence from the scene of FDR, the chance for victory now seemed greater than at anytime in the recent past.

As in 1940, two hostile wings, isolationists and internationalists, confronted one another on foreign policy. The internationalists had grown greatly, however, since 1940, led by Senator Vandenberg. But the latter had not led that wing of the party into the convention as he had in Congress, had refused to become an active candidate. Instead, he had only stated that he was "available" for a draft in a deadlocked convention.

Thus the convention was transpiring in an atmosphere of compromise, just as the last of the session of Congress had concluded on Saturday night. Governor Green had given an isolationist keynote address while the platform took the internationalist stance.

The only possible compromise in terms of candidates was Governor Dewey. While an internationalist, he had not engaged in active combat with the fiscal conservatives, as Congressman John Taber of New York and Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska. He was thus acceptable to all of the delegates ultimately, if with reluctance by some.

Such a compromise, however, was fraught with the danger of splitting the party after the election, as the fiscal conservatives would continue their ways in Congress.

While the similarities to 1940 were striking, the internationalists had made great strides in the party in the intervening years and so the time was not spent necessarily in vain.

Two letters to a doctor in Charlotte from his Jewish friend in Palestine are reprinted, giving an appraisal of conditions there. The first, dated April 20, tells of descriptions and photos of two British policemen, alleged to have committed the crime on Ben Jehuda Street, having immediately been circulated and warrants of arrest issued by the Jerusalem provisional government. The British responded that there were several hundred British defectors who had joined the Arabs and for whom the Government was not responsible.

He then provides examples of British interference with the Jewish struggle by helping the Arabs. The Jewish Agency consistently protested the misstatements and lies of the British as broadcast on London radio.

The second letter, dated June 6, says that much of the news regarding the new State of Israel coming via Reuters out of London was untrue. King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan, he asserts, was beholden to Britain for his power in the Middle East, leading the Arab Legion. Britain was also supplying arms to other Arab states. He asserts therefore that the Jews were fighting an empire, as 2,000 years earlier.

The Jews had conquered only that portion of Palestine given them by the partition plan of November 29.

The air raids over Tel Aviv by the Arabs, primarily Egyptian, had spared residential sections for the most part. The airmen had accurate maps of Jewish industrial plants and vital facilities, apparently left from the war. He finds it "grotesque that [British Foreign Secretary Ernest] Bevin now puts the former Hitler worshippers to his war chariot."

The Jewish airmen were performing admirably, recently having conducted an air raid on Amman, Trans-Jordan, prompting a British warning against further attacks because of British airfields and military installations in that city.

He adds that when the Israeli provisional government took over administration from the British on May 15, several examples of corruption under the British came to light. He does not, however, elaborate.

He thinks that Count Folke Bernadotte, the U.N. mediator who was seeking a permanent peace during the four-week truce period, not yet fixed at the time of his writing, might achieve "some sort of 'agreement'". But it was doubtful that any part of Palestine which had been taken by the Israelis in the fighting would be surrendered, as they had not gone beyond the partition line.

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