The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 8, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. announced that 21 U.S. military officers were departing for Palestine to act as truce observers. The Russians offered observers and the U.N. was set to consider the request on Thursday. The departure of the U.S. group signaled probable final acceptance of the four-week truce.

Neutral observers in Cairo said that there was a 50-50 chance of acceptance of the truce by both sides, with continued immigration by Jews into Palestine during the truce and the unblocking by the Arabs of the supply road to Jerusalem being the issues.

Reply by the Arab nations to the proposal by Count Folke Bernadotte was expected by the following day.

Fighting in Palestine continued with Arab troops moving into Wilhelma, eight miles east of Tel Aviv. Israelis acknowledged loss of the town. Egyptian planes bombed Tel Aviv and its outskirts. Fighting continued at Isdud, south of Tel Aviv, with Jews appearing to have taken the initiative against a thousand Egyptians, part of a 5,000-troop force, who had claimed encirclement of the Jewish positions. Egyptian naval ships had landed reinforcements to relieve the thousand trapped troops. Egyptians claimed to have killed or wounded 220 Jews and taken 110 prisoner at a position three miles southwest of Isdud.

The French Cabinet approved the six-power agreement on Western Germany. It had been believed that the agreement would face its toughest opposition in France as General De Gaulle opposed it.

The Senate voted to allow the Army to enlist 43,000 aliens as part of the two-year draft bill. The provision, sponsored by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts, permitted eligibility for citizenship after five years of service and was intended to attract anti-Communists of Europe.

Another provision to outlaw the poll tax in Federal elections for members of the armed forces narrowly passed. A Southern attempt at filibuster had failed. The remaining amendments to the draft bill regarding civil rights, each put forward by Senator William Langer of North Dakota, were either tabled or defeated.

The Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines to extend the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act by one year with less drastic restrictions than those approved by the House. It would require the President to notify the Congress if he ignored the recommendations of the Tariff Commission. The House bill allowed for veto of the President under such circumstances.

GE offered an eight percent pay raise to employees, nine to fifteen cents per hour. The offer was being considered. Take home pay on average in 1947 was $55.83 per week for GE workers.

The President visited Sun Valley, Idaho, and then moved on to Idaho Falls where he would board his special train to Butte, Montana. Idaho's Democratic chairman promised the state's 12 delegates to the President. He rode a 1,200-foot ski lift up Dollar Mountain.

That must have been exciting.

In Los Angeles, an explosion in the locker room area of the Hillcrest Country Club injured five persons. Source of the explosion had not been ascertained.

Shriners met in Atlantic City for their annual convention.

In Chapel Hill, Secretary of State Marshall spoke to a graduating class of 1,300 at commencement proceedings at UNC, urging avoidance of snap judgments on foreign problems, to decide positions based on facts rather than emotions. He advised getting the facts from a number of sources.

UNC president Frank Porter Graham criticized the Mundt-Nixon bill, saying that the answer to a difference of opinion was not denunciation, a concentration camp, or the House-passed bill pending before the Senate. He favored standing by the Bill of Rights.

Governor Gregg Cherry also spoke.

The ceremony was held in Memorial Hall after rain caused cancellation of a planned outdoor ceremony in Kenan Stadium.

On the editorial page, "Wealth in the Carolinas" examines a brochure published by the Carolinas' Advertising Executives Association regarding the buying power of the two states, populated by six million people. In 1947, annual retail sales reached 3.266 billion dollars, with wholesale trade exceeding that total. It found industrial and agricultural diversification to be the key to success. Tourists had spent 260 million dollars in the the two states in 1947.

"Benes Still in the Fight" finds the resignation of Eduard Benes as President of Czechoslovakia in protest of the Communist constitution to be a weak response, indicative of his poor health, too weak to wage a concerted effort against it.

But it might also be a new strategy within the Czech resistance, to signal to the people that the time was not ripe for civil war. By remaining in the country, he could exert a restraining influence on the Communists, saving many democrats for open fighting at a more promising time. His protest was not so strong as to cause the Communists to move to suppress the democrats. In his resignation statement, he had issued a subtle challenge to the Communists by uttering hope to preserve the future of the republic, an expression of democratic faith for peoples everywhere to follow.

"W. S. Creighton's Fine Service" laments the passing of Mr. Creighton of Charlotte, a recognized freight rate economist who sought economic justice and progress for the South. He often clashed with the railroads but they nevertheless regarded him as fair. He had helped to move the South into a more favorable position on freight rates vis-à-vis the North. The I.C.C. had adopted his recommendation to lower Southern rates and raise those of the North to reduce the inequities prevailing for decades.

James Marlow discusses the displaced persons of Europe, still numbering about 1.3 million three years after V-E Day, and the effort in Congress to allow 200,000 into the U.S. over the ensuing two years. The Senate had approved the bill, but it was still pending in the House. The 200,000 would be in addition to the regular immigration quotas and would have to have been brought into Germany as forced laborer by the Nazis or fled the Russian armies into the Western zones or those who fled from Germany or Austria during the Nazi reign but had not yet resettled. Some 95 percent of Jews preferred to go to Israel. There were also other strictures which he explains, including good moral character and possession of a skill or trade, with half being in farming. A three-man commission appointed by the President would establish rules for admission, to be implemented by the I.N.S.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman Jesse Wolcott of Michigan, bottling up the Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill in committee, having invited two VFW witnesses to speak before the committee to show that he was not anti-veteran. But the two persons invited had been specifically disapproved by the VFW commander in Michigan in a telegram sent to Mr. Wolcott. He ignored the advice and the two spoke out against low-cost housing for veterans. Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana had, however, elicited the response from one of them that the national VFW was for public housing, to the consternation of Mr. Wolcott.

The Senate bill to admit 200,000 displaced persons included a provision whereby 50 percent of the admittees had to come from countries annexed by a foreign power, referring to the three Baltic States. The hidden purpose was to keep out Jews and Catholics, as there were none in Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia. The amendment had been championed by West Virginia Senator Chapman Revercomb and had been severely criticized by DNC chairman Senator J. Howard McGrath and Senator Carl Hatch. Mr. Pearson notes that Senator William Langer of North Dakota had pushed through an amendment to admit 27,000 persons of German heritage to the country annually, inevitably the Sudeten Germans of Czechoslovakia.

A North Carolina realtor had responded to the radio plea for veterans housing of Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts by saying he appreciated her New England diction and hoped that she would speak again to the rebels soon.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia had consulted with Herman Talmadge regarding whether he should back Senator Walter George of Georgia for the presidency as an alternative to President Truman. Mr. Talmadge, running for Governor, approved the choice, but then led the Georgia convention delegation to proceed uninstructed, leaving Senator Russell without an alternative candidate.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, discusses the rift between the U.S. and Britain regarding Palestine. Both countries, he believes, were reverting to nationalism while only giving lip service to the U.N. Both countries and Russia were following the example of the major powers following World War I.

ERP aid to Britain was being used to influence policy to suit American prejudices. And the House had emasculated the renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin believed that restoration of a balance of power was better than building a world order to guarantee collective security. For that reason, Britain had blocked the close-knit sixteen nation federation under ERP. Britain wanted Cyprus kept from Greece and the former North African colonies of Italy retained under British control to assure British domination in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Similarly, justice to the Jews and the welfare of Palestine had not carried weight with Mr. Bevin.

He finds that Britain and the U.S. needed to come together to assure the success of the U.N. As it was, both countries, by pursuing policies of self-interest, were undermining its foundations and creating conflicts of interest which would soon make impossible any enlightened form of cooperation.

Stewart Alsop, in London, tells of British policy having suddenly changed toward Palestine, to try to effect a resolution between Israel and King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan, with Abdullah assuming authority over the Arab portions of Palestine while recognizing Israel based on the U.N. boundaries determined in the partition plan of November 29, 1947. The change would not only make a resolution in Palestine realistic but heal the rift between the U.S. and Britain. Until the decision was made, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin controlled British policy toward Palestine. But even his supporters had admitted that he had made a mess of the situation.

Mr. Alsop thinks it also a fit description for the way President Truman had handled American policy toward Palestine, with his reversal on support of partition and then early recognition of Israel right after the creation of the provisional government May 15, coincident with the end of the British mandate, and without letting London know of the decision, with the purpose of beating the Russians to the draw.

Now, the entire British Cabinet made the policy, with the influence of Sir Stafford Crips, cognizant of the danger of the Anglo-American rift, paramount.

British influence had been brought to bear on King Abdullah to effect the change, telling him that if the British-trained Arab Legion troops crossed the U.N. line demarking the boundaries of Israel, Britain would withdraw its subsidies on which he was wholly dependent. But if Abdullah agreed, the other Arab States, especially Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, would protest with an attempt possible by the henchmen of the Mufti of Jerusalem to assassinate Abdullah. King Farouk of Egypt might dispatch his army to the Negeb, awarded to Israel by the U.N.

If Abdullah could screw his courage to the sticking place, and if the settlement were to be backed wholeheartedly by both Britain and the U.S., the plan could prove successful, especially as the Arab Legion was the only effective Arab fighting force in the Middle East. The question was whether U.S. support would be forthcoming. The policy could not be publicly announced as it would play into the hands of Abdullah's Arab enemies and endanger the Western position in the other Arab states. It was also feared in Britain that anti-British attitude in the U.S. on Palestine was so great as to preclude such an agreement.

If the new policy were to fail, then inexorably the U.S. would be faced one day with sending troops to the Middle East or see Soviet power expanded into the region. Mr. Alsop suggests that making a mess of the situation was a luxury which neither Britain nor the U.S. could afford.

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