The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 24, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians had cut electrical power to the Western sectors of Berlin fed by the Soviet sector plants, though later restored, and had also halted all freight and food shipments into the city from the West. Power was expected to be cut again later in the evening. Only hospitals and other medical facilities were spared. Water service was disrupted in the French zone. General Lucius Clay, military governor of the American zone, declared, however, that no action by the Russians short of war would cause the Americans to abandon Berlin. He said that American zone water and power to the Russian sector of the city would not be interrupted. The American plants could furnish about half the necessary power for the American zone.

In response to the Russian move, the British halted shipments of coal and steel into the Russian zone from the Ruhr. The Americans suspended interzonal trade with the Russians.

Berlin saw the return of a warlike atmosphere with steel-helmeted American soldiers in armored cars patrolling the American zone.

In Warsaw, Russia and seven of its satellites had been reported to have concluded a plan to form Eastern Germany, in response to the six-nation plan to form a separate government in Western Germany, albeit inviting the Russians to join in that pact.

Seven candidates had been placed in nomination at the GOP convention in Philadelphia the previous night, over a period of nearly seven hours, as demonstrations for each candidate kept delegates up until 3:00 a.m., when the last of the demonstrations concluded for General MacArthur in a nearly empty hall. By then, it looked like a "semi-nudist convention meeting in the wreckage of a hurricane."

During the morning session this date, the first ballot showed Governor Dewey with 434 votes, 114 short of the 548 majority needed to nominate. His supporters believed that he would win by the fourth ballot at the latest. Most of the favorite son states, as Michigan and California, remained, for the nonce, loyal to their favorite sons. Senator Taft received 234 votes, Governor Stassen, 157, Senator Vandenberg, 62, and Governor Warren, 59.

Several switches to Governor Dewey for the second ballot were expected.

General Eisenhower agreed with reporters that he was better off at Columbia in New York than at the GOP convention, given the late hours they were keeping.

The President had not yet signed the draft legislation passed by Congress on the previous Saturday, but he was expected to do so by the deadline of July 5.

Soft coal operators were said to be ready to sign a new contract with the UMW, providing a dollar per day wage increase and doubling the pension fund assessment paid by the operators per ton of coal mined. The new wage would provide $14.05 for eight hours of work at $1.756 per hour.

You can buy yourself a new dollar Cadillac every day with those additional wages. But that could be sinful.

In Whitefield, Oklahoma, 300 persons were evacuated as flood waters of the Canadian River bore down on them. Nine had been drowned and 3,000 made homeless in other areas of the state. At Hydro, the hardest hit community, nineteen inches of rain had fallen, causing flash flooding.

Guess that's why they called it Hydro.

In York, S.C., the coroner's jury hearing was to take place on the following Monday night to determine how the young businessman, whose body was found in a creek inside a wooden crate with a bullet through his back, met his death and who was responsible for the killing, provided they could determine such responsibility.

In Gaston County, authorities were comparing the handwriting of a purported suicide note of the woman who had been discovered still alive by her husband and his brother in their home, shot six times, lying beside her dead six-year old daughter, shot eight times. The mother was expected to live. The note said that the author did not want the little girl to have to live as the rest of them.

Members of the Charlotte Life Saving and First Aid Crew sought to bring an iron lung to the city from Roanoke, Va., to save an eight-month old baby thought to be suffering from polio.

On the editorial page, "So GOP Makes Everybody Happy" finds bewilderment at the Grand Ole Party platform but nothing as compared to the varied record of the 80th Congress, acting in the Senate contrary to the actions of the House, especially in terms of foreign policy. In the final hours before recess on Saturday, the Senate had to exert a mighty effort to get the House to pass ERP without its previously passed major cuts, and also to pass the draft legislation. But the differences went back to the beginning of the Congress in 1947, with Taft-Hartley, as the Senate had to brake the House from passing a more restrictive measure. Fiscal policy had also been a point of division, along with other areas, such as Federal aid to education.

The House was the center of GOP reaction and the Senate, the leader of progressivism. But the margarine bill to eliminate its discriminatory tax was buried in the Senate after passing the House, which had traditionally pigeonholed it in committee.

The lesson appeared that the Republicans were for everything and against everything at once. The Congress thus made the President appear as an amateur at the game of trying to be all things to all people.

"An American Slight to UN" finds the Swiss hopes to have the U.N. headquarters established in Geneva to have been bolstered by the fact that the Congress adjourned without passing the measure to allow a 65 million dollar loan to build the facility in New York on the land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

The Arabs believed that Zionists were pressing too hard for the headquarters to be in New York. Russia might exploit the broken promise by the U.S.

It was to be hoped that the loan might be approved in a special session following the conventions.

"Youth Watches the Old Heads" tells of the GOP being watched by younger voters, many of whom had served during the war. They did not want another war and were fed up with inflation, but understood that the convention would have little impact on either issue. Nevertheless, they listened with rapt attention and had a healthy skepticism.

The recitation of support for housing, pensions, and the G.I. Bill would not win them over. They were not after gifts, but wanted to make their own way.

They would also pay close attention to the Democrats. Neither party could expect to win their support with conventional promises.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Spiritual Formula for Peace", tells of a speaker before the Carolina Institute of International Relations having indicated that the spiritual peace pattern put forth by the late Mahatma Gandhi had prevailed in India for the previous year following the partition and independence of the previous summer.

Such was not the case, observes the piece, in Europe, where no spiritual considerations were in play, only power politics.

In recent months, spiritual force had been coming to the fore to effect peace, led by the Baptists, Friends, and Methodists, calling for constructive relations with conflicting nations.

Sam Dawson of the Associated Press tells of business getting most of what it wanted out of the Congress but not all. Taft-Hartley was their greatest gain, but many believed industry-wide collective bargaining should have been imposed as part of it. Income taxes were cut, wartime controls were eliminated, and the minimum wage was not raised.

Governmental intrusion to business, as subsidies for slum clearance and public housing, was blocked for the most part, but the Congress had rejected subsidies for non-ferrous mines and the margarine tax was not repealed.

Despite favoring economy, the Congress passed the highest budget in history, nearly what the President had sought. Yet, much of it would benefit business, as ERP, the 70-group expanded Air Force, and the rearmament program generally.

Congress had hiked the postal rates but froze Social Security taxes at one percent and refused the President's request to expand coverage.

Mr. Dawson cites several other items passed or blocked which benefited business or of which, in some cases, was difficult yet to determine the effect, such as the one-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act.

Drew Pearson, in Philadelphia, tells the story of how longtime National Committeewoman Mrs. Dudley Hay got the boot from her position through finagling by Michigan's leaders in the party, reflecting adversely on Senator Vandenberg.

Two Michigan gamblers, Danny Sullivan and Lincoln Fitzgerald, had been indicted and then skipped out to Reno where they established the Nevada Club. Efforts to extradite them failed, until Mrs. Hay appealed to Senator Malone of Nevada, who prevailed on Senator Vail Pittman, and the two were finally extradited. But it had ended Mrs. Hay's continued position as a National Committeewoman, the effort at which had been led by a former president of the Detroit Automobile Dealers and a major supporter of Senator Vandenberg. The supporter had collected funds from the dealers for the GOP campaign chest while it was claimed that they were not paying sales taxes to Michigan. The Michigan Attorney General claimed that not having their books audited was pursuant to a political deal in exchange for the contributions.

Another backer of Senator Vandenberg was a big-shot Grand Rapids gambler, who had been indicted but never convicted. The gambler had traveled with the Senator to the convention on the train and was snug as a joiner with him.

All the pickpockets and loiterers in Philadelphia had been rounded up by the police in advance of the convention and thrown in the pokey for 90 days.

Governor Warren's supporters plied delegates with orange juice. Senator Taft's people gave away free neckties. Mr. Stassen's supporters also gave away free neckties, but added to them Wisconsin cheese, notwithstanding that he was from Minnesota. When the cheese ran out, they switched to iced tea, with California lemons afloat to woo Governor Warren. Senator Vandenberg's supporters gave away red and gold ribbons, inscribed, "The bells tolls two," in cryptic reference to the Lloyds of London convention of tolling its bell twice whenever one of their underwritten ships completed a voyage safely—better than being overwritten. Several of the delegates complained of the obscure nature of the reference.

Maybe he was insured by Lloyds.

Marquis Childs, in Philadelphia, finds that the problem with the process of selecting presidential nominees was not the circus atmosphere pervading the convention floor but rather smoke-filled rooms where deals were made in the shade, thus hogtying the presidential candidate before he even got out of the gate, giving him a "crippling handicap" in the horse race fate.

He takes an actual case, with the names changed to protect the wealthy from the need to file suit, in which a rich couple had, during the Elephant's lean years, helped to finance the party, going to local meetings and state and national conventions to grease the skids. Now, that the party was poised to achieve victory, the rich couple wanted their share of the spoils, a desire to be Ambassador to Britain being held fondly by the husband, failing which would cause his wife to cry out "from Nome to Miami". As the husband controlled the state delegation from which he derived, the candidate's manager reached him first and promised him his prize upon delivering the delegate vote before the candidate's eyes. He would be bound for the Court of St. James.

That was true in the old days but in postwar times, the Ambassador to Britain had to be skilled, not just wealthy. Nevertheless, in an open convention of the type the GOP was having in 1948, such deals were proceeding apace. While it might not wind up hurting the nation in its diplomatic representation in London, other such deals might compromise grace through hastily made deals without securing promises on policy in good taste.

Senator Vandenberg had persistently refused to have floor managers brokering such deals for him and it had hampered his chances, while strengthening his potential White House, which he did not fancy. "But that fact is not likely to impress the dealers in this frenetic Philadelphia game."

Doris Fleeson, in Philadelphia, tells of a publisher pointing to a photograph of Senator and Mrs. Vandenberg sitting on a park bench, in the vein of Bernard Baruch, and saying that you could sit in a park and the squirrels would gather but not the delegates—suggesting, perhaps, an equation somewhere along the line with nuts. Senator Vandenberg had just come from delivering several delegates from Michigan to Governor Dewey after they believed they had spotted the bandwagon on which to jump.

Governor Dewey's opponents were grasping for straws at this point, even while still proclaiming their theoretical chance to win. But Harold Stassen, for the first time, looked tired, while Senator Taft continued to exhibit his normal mien. Governor Warren was waiting for the convention to decide the issue before committing the California delegation. He had arranged for suspending the rules so that actress Irene Dunne could second his nomination.

The Dewey people continued with pad and pencils tabulating the delegate count in his corner. Governor Dwight Green, eager to join the card in second place, had promised support from Illinois, but it turned out that, with the objection of Robert McCormick, he could not deliver many delegates and so was cut adrift by the Dewey camp. Mr. Dewey was courting the Indiana delegation, led by House Majority Leader Charles Halleck, who welcomed the attention. He promised the Cabinet post of Secretary of Defense to Senator Edward Martin, Pennsylvania's favorite son candidate, and in consequence had secured that state's delegates. Massachusetts, behind Speaker Joe Martin, was laying claim to the post of Attorney General.

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