The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 13, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. rejected a July 10 Soviet protest regarding a claim of "disorderly flights" to Berlin from the West in the 20-mile wide corridor to provide food and supplies to the blockaded city. The U.S. and Britain meanwhile planned to increase substantially the number of daily flights in the airlift. Nine new C-54 Skymaster transports arrived in Frankfurt, bringing the total to 160 transports. A new runway was being constructed at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, suitable for accepting B-29's.

In Palestine, aerial warfare increased as Egyptian planes again bombed Tel Aviv and the Israeli Air Force attacked the main Egyptian base at Gaza the previous night. Haifa suffered its first air raid of the war, as Egyptian planes dropped two bombs before anti-aircraft fire drove them away.

On the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, Suba, five miles west of Jerusalem, was captured by the Israelis.

Egyptian guns and Arab Legion forces attacked Jewish positions in Jerusalem as Jews responded with artillery fire on the Damascus gate position of the Arabs.

Arabs attacked Lydda, just captured by the Israelis.

An informant close to the Israeli Foreign Office believed a new truce would occur by the end of the week, but Arab spokesmen said no such truce was under consideration, only intensification of the fight.

In Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 50 accused spies and terrorists were on trial before the Croatian Supreme Court. The Vatican was charged with aiding and abetting them, and British and American authorities were charged with harboring them. They had been arrested, along with 45 others, after entering Yugoslavia during the previous year. The indictment said that two priests had organized the group in Rome to engage in sabotage against the Government.

The non-Communist Workers' force in France called a strike of 20,000 civil service workers after the Government refused a raise. About 60,000 Finance Ministry workers were already striking. Other Government workers might join the strike.

In Philadelphia, a protest strike of 6,000 Westinghouse employees took place after two workers were denied security clearance following a letter from the Navy finding that they were members of organizations deemed subversive by the Attorney General.

In Newark, N.J., a judge was arrested in connection with a $630,000 shortage at a trust company for which he acted as president and counsel. The judge admitted responsibility for the shortage, saying he had spent the amount gambling on horses at the rate of $5,000 to $6,000 per week in losses.

An American freighter, the William Carson, in the area of the Azores, was reported by its master to be in a mutinous condition, but was subsequently reported under control.

The President stated that he would be pleased to have Senator Alben Barkley, 70, as his running mate, and the convention delegates appeared to applaud the selection, making it virtually certain that Senator Barkley would be the vice-presidential nominee. The President said that he would leave the selection up to the convention. The delegates had given Mr. Barkley a 28-minute demonstration following his keynote address the previous evening.

At 71 when he would become Vice-President, Mr. Barkley would be two years older than his nearest competitor in age at assuming the office, Charles Curtis, Vice-President under President Hoover. The youngest Vice-President in the history of the country was John C. Breckenridge, 36 when he assumed the office under President James Buchanan in 1857. Current Vice-President Joe Biden will be a year younger than Vice-President Barkley upon leaving the office, both still nearly four and three years younger respectively than President Reagan upon leaving office at 77.

It's all in how you feel.

At the convention this night, House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn would give an address, followed by addresses by Congresswomen Helen Gahagan Douglas of California and Mary Norton of New York.

Eighteen Southern delegates on the platform committee were upset with the strong civil rights plank tentatively approved by the committee and wanted to propose their own plank. The President had pushed for a stronger civil rights plank, adopting his proposals of February 2. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, on the drafting committee, said the plank appeared to be broader in scope than that of 1944 but was actually only claiming credit for past removal of discriminatory conditions and promised more of the same in the future. He believed a floor fight would possibly occur over the plank, but North Carolina's delegation was ready to unite on both the platform and the nomination of Senator Barkley.

The platform also called for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and for an increase in the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents per hour. The platform would go before the full convention for adoption the following day.

And it would all be love and kisses at that time and for years to come.

In Gastonia, N.C., a liquor party accompanied by guitar music beside a quiet creek ended in one 22-year old man being charged with the murder by shotgun blast of a 21-year old man after a 17-year old girl was slapped by Riley Wiley, who was not one of the two men. Another man took offense to Mr. Wiley's behavior and started fighting with him, after which several others, including the deceased, became involved in the affray. At that point, the assailant obtained a shotgun and fired it to try to halt the fight, allegedly hitting the deceased in the stomach. Six were being held for questioning in the homicide.

The legal issue is obviously whether Riley Wiley was really in the right or the left.

Anyway, there is another example of how valuable shotguns and other firearms are to maintenance of an orderly society.

On the editorial page, "Truman and the Party Crisis" tells of the President inheriting the division in the Democratic Party which had become increasingly pronounced in the latter Roosevelt years, and that it would be better for him to be repudiated by the voters than for the Democrats to have substituted some other nominee such as General Eisenhower.

The party could no longer delay its day of reckoning between its disparate elements, Southern conservatives and Northern liberals and labor. The party organization rather than the charismatic candidate sooner or later had to carry the load.

From the reckoning would come either a new conception of national party responsibility or a long period of party decline.

Senator Barkley, in his keynote address the previous evening, had lifted the convention for a time to remembrance of the common ground on which in the past the party had united and might be able to do so again. Whether the lively demonstrations which had followed would hearken a revival of the Wilsonian and Rooseveltian spirit in the name of Truman or whether it represented the final glimmers of a dying party would be determined in the coming days.

"'Shout Freedom' Earns Encore" hopes that the "Shout Freedom" pageant, celebrating the history of Mecklenburg County and especially its claim to the Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775, would be repeated in subsequent years, as it had improved with each performance when initially presented during the previous May and June.

"Man Is Not So Dumb, Just Lazy" comments on the piece on the page by R. F. Beasley of the Monroe Journal, focusing on the News editorial "Why We're Dumb in Politics", taking to task the editorial for unfavorably comparing man's scientific achievements with those in politics and human relations, advocating application of the mind more keenly to politics and government.

The piece accepts the reproof, but also finds no fundamental disagreement with Mr. Beasley in his conclusion that more progress could be made in politics were more people to pay attention to and participate in government. But Mr. Beasley believed that there would always be a crisis unresolved in local government, disagreeing with the notion of the editorial that eventually application of scientific principles to governance could effect solutions. It continues to adhere to that optimistic premise.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Double or Nothing", comments on the Jaycees of High Point putting up the money for two juvenile delinquents to attend boarding schools, an effort to show that a formal education was far superior to any training which they might have obtained at the State reform school. They had essentially been picked by lottery.

While a good deed deserving of praise, it views the action as giving implicitly a black eye to the State for not having adequate education facilities, inspiring of civic confidence, in the reform schools or prisons.

R. F. Beasley, editor of the Monroe Journal, as indicated above, comments on the July 6 editorial in The News, taking issue with it, starting with notation of the routine letters from P. C. Burkholder to The News, consistently attacking the New Deal, finding that example of the fact that man would always find fault with government and that it was unfair to compare politics and government therefore to scientific advancement or assert that the human mind had not been adequately applied to government.

He found the argument posed at the University of Virginia commencement by Atomic Energy Commission chairman David Lilienthal, from which the News editorial had sprung, to refute itself by the fact that while science had developed atomic energy, it was up to government to administer and control it. Scientists in government would disagree, he believes, on matters of policy as much as politicians.

He concludes that Karl Marx was probably "as hard a student" in his field as Thomas Edison was in his. The fields were simply different.

Apparently, in short, what Mr. Beasley means to suggest is that science is a rational, objectified system of exploration of nature while politics operates amid the vagaries of less exacting human interaction, not subject to objectified rationality in its collective pursuits, fraught inevitably with dispute.

That whole particular dialogue we find generally to be uninformative. For how in the world would one truly apply scientific method and thought to democratic governance? Science, by its nature, is ultimately more autocratic than democratic, the objective results of experiment being determinative of conclusions. One therefore could only hope for such application of scientific principles to government in a totalitarian state. The argument, premised as it is on generalities, thus devolves to the irrational when getting down to cases. Mr. Lilienthal, The News, and Mr. Beasley are all out to lunch with Dagwood on this one, Mr. Beasley coming closest to making a lucid argument. If what Mr. Lilienthal was simply saying, however, was that greater interest should be taken by the public in politics and government for the betterment of it, then it is an obvious truism beyond dispute. Perhaps Mr. Beasley has merely unduly complicated the matter by injecting Burkkhimer, and the assumption that Mr Lilienthal meant literal application of scientific method to government rather than simply the energy of thought normally reserved to the scientific method, to the mix. But we agree that Burkkhimer pretty much always misses the boat.

Drew Pearson, in Philadelphia, tells of Justice Douglas having been in the same law school class at Columbia with Thomas Dewey, Justice Douglas finishing at the top and Mr. Dewey not so near the top. Both had been rivals in debates, a reason FDR gave for keeping Justice Douglas around him during the 1944 campaign against Mr. Dewey.

Justice Douglas had been appointed in 1939 as part of the new Court fashioned by FDR, starting with Justice Hugo Black in 1937, to keep his programs under the New Deal alive, having run into tough sledding prior to 1937 with the old Court led by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, dubbed the "nine old men".

Justice Douglas had begun his career in Washington as chairman of the SEC, cleaning up Wall Street at the depths of the Depression. He was mentored in the law by the late Chief Justice Harlan Stone, who had been dean of the Columbia Law School during his time as a student.

He had arrived in New York City from Yakima, Washington, for law school aboard a freight train with 36 cents in his pocket and sold papers on the streets of Manhattan to supplement his student loan. He was Scotch by heritage and, after joining the Court, walked from the end of the D.C. rail line to his home a few blocks away to save 20 cents in cab fare.

He was a prodigious worker on the Court, usually turning out the most opinions of any other Justice in a given term. He had been a friend and close adviser to FDR until the end, working behind the scenes on national defense matters, especially development of electric power, greatly aiding that development in sufficient quantity to create the production necessary to win the war, including the development of the atomic bomb at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, tell of the President clutching at Justice Douglas as his first choice for a running mate as a drowning man would clutch for a straw in a whirlpool. Justice Douglas had sought and received two days to make up his mind before announcing on Monday that he would not be a vice-presidential candidate, having already taken himself out of the running as a presidential candidate.

After the announcement of the President's choice, the Southern delegations had vowed to fight hard against Justice Douglas's nomination to the vice-presidency. Other delegations began to join them.

The only uniting sentiment in the convention was resentment against the President. The Northern liberals and labor groups were at the throats of the Southern conservatives and vice versa. Many would have wished to vent their resentment by turning down his choice for the vice-presidency, should Justice Douglas have accepted.

The Alsops think it unfair that the situation should be so as the President had not been wicked, only weak, unable to coalesce the disparate elements of the party.

But the party also desired its patronage and to lose the White House meant a loss of those positions, postmasters, collectors of internal revenue and the like. That was the central reason they hated Mr. Truman, as they believed loss was inevitable.

If the President had played the role of the fighting New Deal leader, after the form of FDR, he would have had some degree of following. By trying to be too many things to too many people, he had wound up friendless within his own party.

He had developed the habit of sending long messages to Congress favoring the things which FDR had championed and then doing nothing to see that they were enacted. Such was the result of conflicting influence from within his coterie of advisers. The liberal programs developed out of Clark Clifford and the inaction came from such persons as General Harry Vaughan, John Steelman and John W. Snyder. He was now cut off from the Northern Democratic leaders, although Mr. Clifford was still a key adviser. The fact that Justice Douglas had been his first choice probably implied the preeminent role presently occupied by Mr. Clifford.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, finds the story of the Democratic convention to be the disintegration of one of the major parties. The support as well as the opposition to the President was revelatory of this disintegration, the support being triggered by the fear of that result.

There was such a dearth of leadership in the party that the President was deemed acceptable by most delegates. The President was not bossing the convention. There was simply no other symbol of the party present.

The liberals who arrived wanting to nominate Justice Douglas found themselves appalled in the presence of the anti-Truman Southerners who decried his civil rights program, causing the liberals suddenly to find the President acceptable.

There was a shortage of any decisive action, an exception being the declared candidacy of Senator Claude Pepper. He had generated some excitement and support in an otherwise dull, even morose convention.

Many delegates were aiming only to keep the nomination of the President from being unanimous. The party was amorphous in form, saved only by the tepid drive to nominate the President. A more unified convention, he offers, might be selected at random from the general population. Dolefulness ran deep, with conservatives openly accepting the inevitability of defeat of the party in November.

One got the feeling that the disintegration was part of an evolutionary cycle, splitting the party into smaller, more cohesive units of the irreconcilable elements, which for decades had constituted the party.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, finds Yugoslavia to be an exponent of the notion that Soviet discipline of its satellites could not be imposed at will as Moscow had thought. Finland was another example. Both countries had long nationalistic histories. Tito had chosen fealty to nationalism, strong among the Serbs, before fealty to far away Moscow. He would have faced revolt at home had he imposed collectivism on the peasants.

The Finnish elections, which saw defeat of the Communists, had borne out the history of the country's nationalistic devotion and adherence to liberty. The Soviet remission of a large part of the reparations originally demanded from Finland had little or no effect on the balloting.

The Politburo had formulated its policy on the assumption that by the end of the year, the U.S. would be economically crippled by its aid commitments. Now that production was at an all time high, belying that notion, Communist leaders were saying that the depression had been only delayed by a year by Wall Street. Thus, the Politburo objectives would not be altered.

The Soviets could ruin the economy of Yugoslavia and easily take over Rumania, would also not relent in Finland.

The contest between Soviet imperialism and Western democracy would not be decided anytime soon. It would only be decided in favor of the West when the Soviets were convinced that the American people were solidly committed behind a policy backed firmly by military and economic strength.

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