The Charlotte News

Friday, June 4, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that conflicting interpretations had arisen between Arabs and Jews regarding the four-week U.N. truce which had supposedly been unconditionally accepted by both sides the day before. Not until the unstated conflicts were ironed out could the date for the inception of the ceasefire be established.

Fighting, meanwhile, continued between Arabs and Israelis. A Jewish armored column reportedly attacked Jenin but was repulsed by an Iraqi force. Israelis contended that the attack placed them in position to threaten Nablus, bombed by the Israelis, the southern point of the triangle menacing Tel Aviv from the east. The western point was Tulkarm, 22 miles northeast of Tel Aviv, which Israeli planes were said to have bombed the previous night. Israeli artillery and planes attacked an Egyptian column at Isdud, to the south of Tel Aviv, throughout the night.

A naval engagement between an Arab ship, believed to be Egyptian, and an Israeli corvette and airplanes took place in Tel Aviv Bay.

Jerusalem had relative peace while the truce date was being discussed. Haganah held all except a small portion of the modern city. There was no attempt by either side to change the status quo. Even snipers were not heard the previous night.

The President began his cross-country train tour, heading first to Chicago, before heading west. He planned to speak extemporaneously from the rear platform of the train at various locations, starting in Fort Wayne and Gary, Indiana. The tour would end in Los Angeles on June 14, a week before the start of the Republican convention in Philadelphia. He would speak formally at Chicago, Omaha, Seattle, and at the U.C.-Berkeley commencement on June 12.

The Senate voted to increase old-age pensions by $5 per month but refused to lower the age of entitlement to 60.

The threat of a phone strike in 42 states ended with negotiation of a new contract.

More dikes collapsed in the Pacific Northwest, on the Fraser River in British Columbia at Barnston near Vancouver, causing the evacuation of 360 persons. The Columbia and Snake Rivers in the U.S. continued to rise.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that 35 mentally deficient boys would, the following week, be transferred from Caswell Training school to the new facility at Camp Butner. Eventually, 300 to 400 children would be transferred. Overcrowding at Caswell, however, would continue. It currently housed 820 children with 700 on a waiting list.

He follows up on the eleven-year old girl whose parents had sought her entry to Caswell for years before Mr. Fesperman's January report had put the spurs to the process. She now lived in a barracks-style unit with 40 other girls. It had a radio and pictures on the walls. They appeared well cared for by the staff who knew each child and addressed them with a smile.

Senator Robert Taft was campaigning in North Carolina for two days, starting in Statesville and Salisbury before coming to Charlotte. He favored having a Republican President to cooperate with the Republican Congress.

That will, indeed, be wonderful, as long as you're a wealthy, greedy corporate pig.

He favored the anti-lynching bill and anti-poll tax bill, but was opposed to the FEPC. Rather, he believed equal employment opportunity ought be voluntary.

The Senator from Ohio would speak at a public meeting at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on this night after a press conference at the Hotel Charlotte. He would then attend the last performance of "Shout Freedom!" at the fairgrounds.

On the editorial page, "A Precaution on Fluorination" tells of a member of the North Carolina Dental Society having made a useful report on fluoridation of municipal water as a means to retard dental decay. The Dental Society had not yet approved the method, simpatico with the caution being exercised by the U.S. Public Health Service. Open questions still remained on the safety of fluoridation but there was hope that it would be soon determined one way or the other based on the outcome of a study at Grand Rapids, Michigan. The evidence favoring fluorination, however, was excellent.

"Important Test on Margarine" reports that among the bills likely to die when Congress recessed soon for the election would be the House-passed margarine bill to eliminate the discriminatory tax versus butter. If so, it would be a good issue for the Democrats to use in the fall. The tax had been in place for more than 60 years and the bill had been removed from committee to the floor by a discharge petition in the House, but had since stalled in the Senate.

It concludes that at best, the Republican Congress had not proved progressive, and the failure of the margarine bill would be yet another sign of Republican inaction contrary to the public weal.

"Where the Devil Is That Cat?" speculates on the whereabouts of Lulu, lost onboard the Queen Elizabeth after arriving in New York with new British Ambassador Sir Oliver Franks, deciding then to remain afloat for the return trip. It says that it had assumed that a British Ambassador would have a better feline than the alley variety.

The New York Times had speculated that a cat might have prevailed on Lulu to remain onboard and return to England to avoid the captious immorality prevailing in the United States.

Whatever the case, the attention in the press devoted to the plight of Lulu demonstrated that the state of the world was not so bad as had been imagined in Washington.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Unity Mitford's Dark Spirit", finds the death of Britain's Unity Freeman-Mitford, who had been smitten with Hitler in 1934, to hearken back to the deaths of other prominent Nazis after the war. She was 18 at the time in 1934 and indited violent editorials in Der Angriff for Julius Streicher. She later joined brother-in-law Sir Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists. She apparently tried to kill herself while in Germany five days after the start of the war in September, 1939, with a bullet to her head.

Her father, Lord Redesdale, a staunch supporter of Hitler and Mussolini prior to the war, had refused $100,000 for her life story with Hitler. She returned to the estate of her parents in the Scottish Highlands but took little part in community life and died of meningitis of the brain from the effects of the 1939 wound.

The piece suggests that the Fascist threat to Britain posed by Unity, her sister Diana, and Sir Oswald Mosley had not passed with her death. Asthall Manor still thrived.

Drew Pearson tells of President Truman changing his arrival time in Chicago the next day from 3:30, when streets would normally be deserted, to 4:30, when people would be headed home, giving the President the appearance of a welcoming crowd. Former Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly had suggested the change.

Four young American citizens in Moscow had either renounced their American citizenship and expatriated to Russia or publicly denounced American policy toward Russia. In Paris, the son of bandleader Meyer Davis had renounced his citizenship over U.S. policy. The daughter of a Commerce Department official was working for Tass. And numerous young people supported the candidacy of Henry Wallace for the presidency.

While Mr. Pearson believes the U.S. policy of firmness and tough defense to be wise, no alternative to the war-like stance had been offered. He thinks that it would be better to hold out an olive branch at the same time the mailed fist was presented.

He urges starting a friendship letter-writing campaign with the Russians, similar to that which was effective in swaying the Italian elections the previous April. There was no mail censorship in place in Russia and so such a campaign could work. He recommends that it also be extended to Russian satellites behind the iron curtain. It would help to refute the contention by Soviet propaganda that the U.S. was a nation of warmongers.

The Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill needed 90 more signatures on a discharge petition sponsored by Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas of California to achieve the 218 majority necessary to get it out of committee. Only a few Southerners had thus far signed the petition despite strong pressure for the bill at home. If they did sign, then only 25 to 30 more signatures would be necessary. But if the drive failed within the ensuing week, there would be no chance, with the election recess coming, for the housing legislation to reach the floor prior to 1949.

A piece without a by-line regarding the American Overseas Aid-United Nations Appeal for Children tells of the campaign to raise 60 million dollars in the U.S. for the effort on behalf of 230 million undernourished children to supplement the International Children's Emergency Fund. The Fund, financed by 18 governments, had managed to reach only four million children in providing 600-calorie supplemental daily meals. The piece provides detail on the intended AOA-UNAC funding allocations, with the purpose of filling the gap between the four million and the 230 million children in need of more nourishment.

Marquis Childs finds the flooding in the Pacific Northwest on the heels of the Oregon presidential primary in which Governor Dewey had defeated Harold Stassen to have communicated in tandem handwriting on the wall regarding political talk without action. Both candidates had spoken of housing and flood control and reclamation, but nothing had been done effectively to prevent the disaster. Meanwhile, the Republican Congress, under influence of the power lobbyists, were chipping away at TVA, despite its proven success in flood control while producing low-cost power.

Efforts at piecemeal flood control had been made for decades by the Army Corps of Engineers, but their efforts could not prevent regional flooding. Only a comprehensive regional plan, such as TVA, could effectuate a solution.

Mr. Stassen had opposed such regional flood control. Mr. Dewey at first supported it but then contended that it would be "tyranny" for the Columbia, Willamette, and Missouri River basins. The change, said his confidantes, came from a Portland realtor who was one of the Governor's principal backers.

Supporters of a Columbia Valley Authority wanted several dams which would back up excess water and allow its slow release, reducing the chances for another flood of the type which had swept away Vanport, Oregon. Its refugees now were without housing. And the delay in legislation to encourage long-range production of affordable housing was another sore spot in the 80th Congress. The residents of Vanport, primarily veterans, had been living in barracks-style housing originally constructed for wartime shipyard workers.

The House was bent on killing the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill for its provision to construct a small amount of public housing. It was the same small band of members who wanted to hamstring Federal aid to education.

There would be more promises from both parties, he ventures, at the conventions. Someday, he suggests, the people might wonder when performance of the promises would begin.

Stewart Alsop, still in Berlin, finds concern that the present lull in East-West tension would end in another crisis as had the lull of January-February, culminating in the takeover by the Communists in Czechoslovakia. July was thought to be the time when matters would reach climax in Berlin. The Soviets might resort to preventing the supply of food and fuel and cutting power to the Western sectors of Berlin as part of their campaign to oust the West. The option then for the three Western powers would be to leave or to force the Russians to restore services. The worst was feared within the top levels of the American military government, constantly discussing the problem. A particular strategy had not yet been adopted.

The French and British preferred to explore all possibilities short of war. American strategy was influenced by the unpreparedness of Western Europe for war.

If the Western powers were forced to evacuate Berlin, Russia would be forced out of the U.N. for its breach of the four-power accord formed at Potsdam. Diplomatic relations with the U.S. would likely be severed and Russia and its satellites would be denied use of Western ports. Even those who advocated such a course, however, admitted that evacuation would be a terrible defeat for the West. It would give Russia the ground to swallow all of Germany, and with it, eventually, all of Europe.

Others therefore urged a different course, with military intervention to restore interrupted services and blocked access. In advance of such action, an ultimatum could be given to expire on a date certain. But leading with military action would make it hard for the Russians to back down. And an ultimatum which appeared only as bluff might prove ineffective.

A letter writer thanks those who had been responsible for the "Shout Freedom!" pageant, celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the history of Charlotte generally.

A Quote of the Day: "If you don't think two per cent more sugar in the new watermelon developed at the Hope Experiment Station means something, you should be advised that a difference of one half of one per cent can be detected by a discriminating person—and nowhere else are watermelon epicures more discriminating than in Arkansas." —Arkansas Gazette

Another Quote of the Day: "Seeking a campaign slogan, the Democratic National Committee is thinking of offering a prize. 'Don't shoot the piano player.'" —Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press

Jews Have a Fine Fighting Force

Make Up for Lack of Arms with Undying Spirit, Unparalleled Courage—Impress the World

By Robert Kennedy—June 4, 1948, for The Boston Post

The Jewish people in Palestine who believe in and have been working toward this national state have become an immensely proud and determined people. It is already a truly great modern example of the birth of a nation with the primary ingredients of dignity and self-respect.

Malca and her family to me are the personification of that determination. She is a young girl of the age of 23 and her husband and four brothers are members of the Haganah. She herself is with the intelligence corps and worked on the average of 15 hours a day, which evidently was not unusual. She had seen and felt much horror and told me the story of a case she had just handled.

A Jewish girl in her teens was picked up by some members of the Haganah on the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and, as she was injured, she was taken to the Hebrew Hospital in Jerusalem. They believed that she had somehow been separated from a Jewish convoy which had just gone through and which had had a scrap with the Arabs.

She was particularly noticed because of the strange people who were her visitors and by the fact that she insisted on being moved to the English hospital. Malca was sent to question her. She was turned away gruffly by the girl after the girl admitted that she had in reality been in a British tank with a boyfriend and wanted nothing to do with the Jews.

The Jewish Agency offered to send the girl out on a farm in order to let her regain her health and give her a new start, but she just demanded her release which they were forced to give her. She continued consorting with the British police despite warnings from the Stern gang.

Brother Shoots Sister

One night the Stern gang followed the tactics of the underground forces in the last war. They shaved all the hair off the girl’s head. Two days after Malca told me the story the sequel took place. The girl’s brother returned for leave from duty with the Haganah up in Galilee and, finding her in such a state, shot her.

Malca’s youngest brother is only 13, but every night he takes up his post as a sentry with the Haganah at a small place outside of Jerusalem.

His mother and father wait up every night until midnight for him and his older brother, 15, to return home. The other two brothers, both younger than Malca, give full time duty with combat troops.

An understanding of the institutions it contains, and of the persons that run these institutions, is most important if one would make up one’s mind as to the worth of this “de facto” Jewish state.

I visited and inspected a community farm through the kindness of a Jew who 40 years ago was in Boston making speeches for my grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, when he was a candidate for congress. A third of the agricultural population live in such community farms which were set up originally to help newly-arrived refugees who had no money or prospects.

They are in reality self-sustaining States within a State and all the people in common undergo arduous toil and labor and make great sacrifices in order that their children might become heir to a home. An example of this is that when a child is one year old he is placed in a common nursery, with the result that all but the sick and infirm are able to devote their talents to the common cause. They get paid nothing for they need no money. Everything is financed by a group of elected overseers who get their money by selling what the farms produce. In our country we shrink from such tactics but in that country their very lives depend upon them.

The whole thing is done on a volunteer basis and one may leave the farm with this proportionate share of wealth at any time he chooses.

The one we visited was at Givat Brenner and, although no one paid attention to the firing going on in the plain below, one could see all around preparations being undertaken for the coming fight.

I talked to members of the underground organization Irgun. They were responsible for the King David Hotel disaster and told me proudly that they were responsible for blowing up the Cairo-Haifa train which had just taken place with the loss of 50 British soldiers.


They believed the time had long since passed for the Jewish people to expect anything but treachery and broken promises from the outside world. If they wanted an independent state they would have to fight for it, and before they could even do that, they had to rid the country of foreign troops. They believe unquestionably that if it weren’t for their so-called terrorist activities the British would have remained on in their country. Bevin’s recent speeches in the House of Commons, they argue, have been ample proof of that. The question, though, in other Jews’ minds is whether this compensated for what they have lost in good will by such tactics.

I went to the training camp at Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, where for three weeks and with very little equipment, Jewish youths, trained mostly by former British officers, were attempting to learn the basic tenets of army life. We watch a first-week group attempt an obstacle course, and while maybe the flesh was weak, it emphasized all the more what can be accomplished when the spirit is willing. We watched a graduation class make its final round and they gave the appearance that they might well be whipped into a fighting force before much time has passed.

The security forces and Haganah are far more experienced. After landing at Lydda Airport, I was immediately taken to be questioned and my credentials examined by the Haganah. After being released and going to my hotel in Tel Aviv, I went for a walk around this city of 200,000 inhabitants. I wasn’t out for 10 minutes before I was recognized as a foreigner and picked up by the Haganah, blindfolded and once again brought to headquarters for questioning.

I talked to a Haganah soldier who fled from Prague as the Germans were taking over the city and he and his brother, who was killed, fought with the British throughout the war. He received news that his mother and two sisters who he had left in Prague were killed by the Germans and that his home had been completely destroyed.

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