Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russians
replied to the protest against the Berlin blockade registered by the
U.S., Britain, and France jointly. But Secretary of State Marshall
did not disclose yet the contents of the reply as a translation of
the full text had not yet reached him and publication, he said,
would have to be approved also by Britain and France. But the
official Soviet military newspaper in Berlin stated that the Western
protest was "laughable". It was believed that the reply
In Palestine, Israeli troops appeared to have made major
progress by seizing from Iraqi forces Ras Al Ein, nine miles north
of Tel Aviv, a village at the terminus of the water pipeline to
Jerusalem, thus promising relief from the water shortage besetting
100,000 Jews in the city for several weeks. Capture of the village also removed a
threat to Tel Aviv and halted Arab shelling of Petah Tiqva, a suburb
of Tel Aviv.
The U.N. Security Council was prepared to vote on taking strong
action in Palestine, and with Canada and Great Britain supporting
the U.S. proposal, it appeared assured of passage. It provided for a
cease-fire order to be enforced if necessary and efforts to
demilitarize Jerusalem. It also would freeze immigration and
continue the Middle East arms embargo, aspects opposed by Israel. A
similar proposal had received five votes in May, without Canada and
Britain, seven votes being required for passage. China opposed the
measure but was expected to abstain rather than exercise its veto
In Rome, Palmiro Togliatti, the top Communist in Italy, was
shot and gravely wounded by three of five bullets fired at him as he
emerged from the Chamber of Deputies building. Antonio Pallante, a
25-year old Sicilian nationalist, was arrested for the shooting.
Violence then began to flare throughout Italy as crowds formed,
shouting, "Viva Togliatti". The Communist-led Federation
of Labor called a general strike in Rome. Premier Alcide de Gasperi
condemned the shooting. Attending physicians said that they expected
Mr. Togliatti to live. He had recently signed the Cominform
statement denouncing Yugoslavian Communists and Marshal Tito for
In light of the resolution by UMW and management of the
strike in the captive coal mines of the steel industry, the
Government withdrew its proceedings to obtain an injunction against
In Philadelphia, the Democrats hoped to wrap up the
convention this night with an acceptance speech by the President,
contingent upon the duration of the fight on the civil rights plank by the
Southerners. Senator Alben Barkley had expressed his willingness to
accept the vice-presidential nomination and that was considered
assured. Given the 28-minute demonstration Monday following his
keynote address, some delegates, however, expressed a desire to have
him head the ticket. Texas was considering placing his name in
nomination in that regard, as was Alabama. California was also
interested in his candidacy for the top of the ticket. Former North
Carolina Governor and Senator Cameron Morrison had come to the
convention favoring the Barkley presidential nomination and
maintained his enthusiasm about the prospect.
James Roosevelt and railroad brotherhood president A. F.
Whitney spoke for repeal of Taft-Hartley, both added to the list of
speakers as a show of party unity, despite Mr. Roosevelt having led
an effort to have General Eisenhower as the nominee.
The showdown on the civil rights plank was about to begin as
the 5,000-word platform went to the convention for approval this
date. The civil rights plank was deemed objectionable by some
Southerners, some threatening to walk out of the convention if it
were adopted. Mississippi succeeded in having seated an anti-Truman
delegation led by Governor Fielding Wright—to become the
Dixiecrat vice-presidential nominee to Strom Thurmond later in the
month following the Dixiecrat walkout this date. A minority report
opposing the seating of the Wright delegation was adopted by
California, Michigan, New York, Illinois, and several other states.
Not mentioned on the page, one of the historic moments of the
1948 convention would take place this date, as Mayor Hubert Humphrey
of Minneapolis, candidate for the Senate, would rise to support a
minority civil rights plank, explicitly to state in the platform the
endorsement of the President's ten-point civil rights program
articulated to the Congress on February 2, which included
anti-lynching legislation, anti-poll tax legislation, legislation to
enact the Fair Employment Practices Commission, and elimination of
segregation in interstate transportation facilities and in the armed
forces. The plank was adopted by the convention.
While some historians have suggested that the Dixiecrats walked
out of the convention in direct response to this speech by Mayor
Humphrey and the adoption of the plank, that, strictly speaking, is not accurate. The walk-out had been planned for
weeks in anticipatory response to the civil rights plank and nomination of the
President after he had proposed the civil rights program February 2. The Dixecrat strategy began to be formulated within days thereafter. Save for adoption of the states' rights plank proposed by the Southerners, the passage of which was not ever realistically anticipated, the walkout would have occurred regardless of Mayor Humphrey's
statement to the convention and the adoption of the minority plank, perhaps given more historical weight
for Mr. Humphrey's subsequent prominent role in the Democratic
Party, as Senate Majority Whip, Vice-President under President
Johnson, and presidential nominee in 1968. Regardless of its weight
or effect at the time, the statement was both bold and prophetic in
its setting the course for the future of the Democratic Party and
the society, some aspects of the program he set forth having to
await nearly twenty years, until 1964 and 1965, for enactment in the
form of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
The program, however, was that proposed by the President, the source of a Southern maelstrom since the day of the proposal. The ultimate political bravery also was that of the President, whose support substantially diminished across the country thereafter, further complicated in liberal circles by his withdrawal of support for a time for the U.N. partition plan for Palestine originally proposed by the Administration, nearly, in tandem, costing him the election. Thus, properly, the reason for the Dixiecrat walkout was the President and his program, not Mayor Humphrey and the civil rights plank which endorsed that program.
The plank as adopted stated:
The Democratic Party is responsible for the great civil rights gains made in recent years in eliminating unfair and illegal discrimination based on race, creed or color.
The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination.
We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
We highly commend President Harry S. Truman for his courageous stand on the issue of civil rights.
We call upon the Congress to support our President in guaranteeing these basic and fundamental American Principles: (1) the right of full and equal political participation; (2) the right to equal opportunity of employment; (3) the right of security of person; (4) and the right of equal treatment in the service and defense of our nation.
Thus, in somewhat roundabout language, it endorsed the anti-poll tax legislation, the FEPC, and the anti-lynching legislation, stopping short of direct endorsement of elimination of segregation, while so advocating in principle.
The platform favored outright repeal of Taft-Hartley, but
also favored some substitute legislation to foster free and
effective collective bargaining and to enable unions to remain free
from Communist influence.
It also supported revision of the U.N. Charter, curtailment
of the Big Five unilateral veto on the Security Council and
establishment of an international armed force to back up U.N.
The platform was more than three times as long as the 1944
Democratic platform, the latter running only 1,366 words, in a
wartime convention pledged first to win the war before engaging in
extensive furtherance of domestic programs.
Hal Boyle reports that California Congresswoman Helen Gahagan
Douglas had been a hit with the convention in her speech of the
previous night, providing an answer to the GOP convention's glamour
entry with former Connecticut Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce. Ms.
Douglas fared better, he reports, than Ms. Luce within the new eye
of television, Ms. Luce reduced to a "pale, gesturing ghost",
while makeup allowed Ms. Douglas, a former actress, to appear as
Ingrid Bergman from a distance to the television audience. Ms.
Douglas was nervous, shook and shouted at the audience, but all to
great effect, calling for an expansion of the New Deal and
continuing concern for the welfare of the individual. She received
an ovation second only to that of Senator Barkley on Monday night,
but she had been placed so late on the schedule that few remained in
the hall by the time she began speaking. Few left, however, once she
Congresswoman Douglas, of course, would be defeated by Congressman Richard Nixon in the 1950 California Senate race—and the rest, as they say, is history.
In Salisbury, N.C., the polio outbreak had forced
cancellation of the planned August 5 annual Nazareth Orphans picnic,
which ordinarily attracted 3,000 to 5,000 persons.
On the editorial page, "Truman, Barkley and Party" approves the selection by the President of Senator Barkley as his
running mate, that he would do as much for the Democrats as anybody
else could in the number two position. But he was more significant
for holding the party together than for achieving victory, as
Senator Barkley could effect reconciliation among disaffected
Democrats and recovery of the party after the election. His advancing age of 70
would be an asset in that effort.
The quick shift to Senator Barkley after the rejection on
Monday by Justice Douglas of the offer of the second spot, suggested
that the President had made the offer to Justice Douglas only as a
gesture to the New Deal left of the party. The selection of Senator
Barkley to deliver the keynote address on Monday suggested that all
of it was carefully stage-managed. It regards it as a criss-cross
play combined with the hidden ball trick, whether carried out with
or without the full assistance of the President, and one which would
give the Democrats a better than anticipated chance in the election.
"When High Prices Get a Laugh" tells of Mrs.
India Edwards, during her Monday night speech to the Democratic
convention, having displayed a basket of groceries tied to a balloon
to represent inflation and said that the poor were getting poorer
and the rich, richer. Everyone, reportedly, enjoyed the skit.
It thinks that such a strategy would be highly effective
during the campaign if the country were in the midst of a
depression. But the problem was that everyone was seemingly
responsible for inflation, as no one knew how to stop it. And to
complain of high prices was to counteract the President's claim of
postwar prosperity under the Democrats. Employment was at 95 percent
and wages were high.
The Republicans would be sure to win if there were
significant unemployment in the country. And the Democrats would
attract few votes on the inflation theme.
"Spots Before Our Eyes" tells of a woman wishing
that she could tan rather than freckle, finding the sentiment
contrary to the aesthetic pleasantries of freckles, citing Myrna Loy
as example. It urges holding onto them, but provides a home recipe
for removal if the freckled person was so determined.
A piece from the Washington Post, titled "UN
Charter Revision", tells of the "Little Assembly"
at the U.N. voting 19 to 7 for revision of the Charter, suggesting
the need for a revision conference. The primary objection was to the
Russian use of the veto on the Security Council.
The piece believes that the matter had to be considered in
the light of whether curtailment of the veto would weaken collective
action of the democratic states. Joseph E. Johnson, U.S.
representative, believed it would weaken the work of the Little
Assembly to dilute the veto power.
A conference could be called by a two-thirds vote of the
General Assembly and concurrence of at least seven members of the
Security Council. But to amend the Charter would require a
two-thirds majority of the conference and approval then by
two-thirds of the U.N., plus all of the Big Five on the Security
Council. Russia or any other of the powers could thus veto the
Drew Pearson, in Philadelphia, tells of the group at the
convention, among whom was Senator Claude Pepper, who had sought to
derail the nomination of President Truman. They had sought Justice
Douglas for the nomination, failing which, then trumpeted Senator
Pepper as sure to take several of the five million votes probably to
go otherwise to Henry Wallace and his third party. They predicted
that if the President were unchallenged for the nomination, the
Democrats would be out of power for at least twenty years. Leonard
Finder, who had been the chief force behind trying to get General
Eisenhower to run, said that the nomination of the President would
mean forfeiture of all independent Republican votes.
The late Josephus Daniels of North Carolina had said in 1944
that the Democrats were a party of minorities, none of whom could be
President, neither Catholics, nor Jews, nor blacks. He concluded,
"Thank God for Franklin D. Roosevelt." Mr. Pearson
believes the statement explained the confusion in 1948, with FDR
gone from the scene.
The South Carolina Democrats had removed all pictures of
Harry Truman adorning their hotel and erected instead the South
Carolina state flag. (At least, it wasn't the Confederate flag.
Thanks for finally taking it down, South Carolina. Better late than
never, but it is also at very least 52 years too late.) Senator Olin
Johnston of South Carolina described the confusion following the
disintegration of the draft-Eisenhower movement as "organized
The convention was so dull that one reporter asked his
newspaper not to subtract the time he spent covering it from his
The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel had offered an inflated donkey
to complement the inflated elephant they provided for the GOP the previous month. The
Democrats, remembering how the elephant had been consistently
deflated by smoldering cigarette butts, declined, opting for a
papier mache donkey with flashing electric eyes—which appeared
on the front page Saturday with Senator Howard McGrath, DNC
Mary Harnaday, in a piece from the Christian Science
Monitor, comments on Jonathan Daniels of the Raleigh News &
Observer having asked for comments on the progress of the South
in the decade since FDR declared it "the nation's no. 1
economic problem", that in response to the study published by
UNC sociology professor Howard Odum, Southern Regions.
Senator Lister Hill of Alabama had trumpeted the success of
the South in rural electrification through the REA, greater
educational opportunities, and increase in farm income by four-fold
in the intervening decade. But income, he noted, for businessmen and
farmers in the South remained below the national average and the
region still suffered from freight rate discrimination and exploitation
by absentee owners of industry.
Mr. Daniels said that the South had made great progress in the
area in which it received the least credit, race relations, with
friction generally now expressed only in talk rather than in
violence as in the past. Blacks had better pay and better work and
were now seeking entrance to the white universities of the South.
Between 1933 and 1938, there had been 74 lynchings, whereas in the
five years after that, 21, and in 1947, only one, that of Willie
Earle near Greenville, S.C., with none in the previous twelve
Ms. Harnaday adds to Mr. Daniels's statement that a black man
in Alabama, Roosevelt Boyd, had been acquitted of murder by a white
jury for killing a white man. Two local white lawyers had defended
Mr. Boyd and obtained the acquittal on the ground of self-defense.
Mr. Boyd had shot a white neighbor who was drunk and entered Mr.
Boyd's property with a shotgun, upset over the planting of some corn
over the property line.
The NAACP reported that there was no great rush by blacks or
Jews to enter neighborhoods with restrictive covenants after the
Supreme Court had ruled earlier in the year that the covenants were
legal by contract but unenforceable in the courts, as barred by the
Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause when state action is
sought to be invoked. There were too many other problems, such as
integrating schools, to be concerned with moving into restricted
Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, had told of
being apprised by a white man of a planned Klan rally in Gwinnett
County, Georgia, to frighten blacks the night before the election.
He alerted the FBI and broadcast over an Atlanta radio station that
the FBI would be observing. Suddenly, the Klan members decided that
they had business elsewhere.
Ms. Harnaday cautions that the Federal civil rights program
proposed in Congress, as urged by the President, would only be
passed if the states neglected or refused to perform their duties to
insure equal rights under the Constitution.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, discuss the fact
that in 1944, Justice William O. Douglas had been the favored
vice-presidential candidate by FDR. He had left the choice up to the
convention, and the big city bosses and the Southerners wanted Harry
Truman as a "safe" organization man. DNC chairman Robert
Hannegan also favored Senator Truman. Secretary of Interior Harold
Ickes and White House adviser Tommy Corcoran had been the champions
of Justice Douglas but stood as relative amateurs politically to the
opposition advocating Mr. Truman. The President was on his way to
the Pacific to visit with General MacArthur during that convention
and did not even appear at the convention except by radio broadcast
from the West Coast. (They leave aside the other primary candidate
for the vice-presidential nomination in 1944, James Byrnes, who was
disappointed by having been passed over for it, but supposedly
having been promised by FDR the position of Secretary of State when
Cordell Hull would soon retire, that having occurred the following
November but the President promptly then appointing instead
Undersecretary Edward Stettinius, disappointing Mr. Byrnes, this
time bitterly, for the second time in a matter of a few months.)
Justice Douglas would have accepted the nomination, they
indicate, in 1944 but did not want it this time. But in delaying his
announcement for two days, he revealed how bankrupt the Democratic
Party was. It had been decided three months earlier that Justice
Douglas was the choice candidate, and the Northern leaders and the
President's advisers, led by Clark Clifford, relayed the message to
the Justice. But the President did not make up his mind until the
previous Friday. Justice Douglas had already made up his mind but
unfortunately allowed the President to talk him into waiting two
days to mull the matter. When he finally refused on Monday morning,
the President was bitterly disappointed and angry.
The Northern organization men who championed Justice Douglas
this time were the same men who had picked Mr. Truman in 1944, a
decision they now regretted. They understood now that progressive
thinking was needed to appeal to the voters in their precincts, not
The recognition provided a basis for building a progressive
Democratic Party in the future, one which would not any longer
appear as the "zombie" which the present structure
resembled at the 1948 convention.
Marquis Childs, in Philadelphia, asserts that the campaign
would wind up as one of the most lopsided in history with the
Democrats on the losing end. The Democrats would be virtually
without funds during the campaign and the newspapers would be
overwhelmingly for the Republican ticket—though that latter
fact had also been the case throughout FDR's tenure.
A viable two-party system was good for the country and for
government and so it was bad that such was taking place. Competition
in the field of ideas was conducive to democracy. The contest was
falsely being characterized as being between individual freedom and
the state, suggesting that a Republican victory for the individual
would open the way to exploitation by interests more powerful than
Lending credence to that assumption, the Republicans had a
plank in their platform which advocated in effect repeal of the
Federal inheritance taxes and turning them over to the states. That
would produce a rivalry among the states to attract the more wealthy
to their borders with low inheritance taxes. Already, the new tax
bill allowed splitting inheritance and gift taxes between spouses,
as with the income tax. When the President had vetoed the
legislation, he had said that nearly all of the 250 million dollar
tax reduction would go to 12,000 of the country's wealthiest
The result of such a scheme would be to pass the tax burden
to the lower income groups to substitute for the lost revenue at the
The Republicans also wanted to turn public lands over to the
states for use by private owners. The GOP was attacking the Forest
Service, which protected lands from overgrazing by leased interests.
An effort was forecast to break down barriers even of the national
parks, a repudiation of the effort of President Theodore Roosevelt
to preserve them for public use. In public power, an effort would be
made to turn over power to the private utilities, potentially
reversing the regional benefits accruing from such worthy projects
So, Mr. Childs concludes, a Republican victory won on the
basis of individual freedom versus control could give license to the
special interests, which they were already planning to exploit.
Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, finds
in the disunity which had beset the Democratic Party a mirror of the
nation's disunity, even if that mirror was distorted, "like a
shiny wheel hub". The Democrats were a cross-section of the
country, unlike the more homogeneous Republicans.
So to those who were bemused at the spectacle, the desire was
to impart that it was only an image of themselves at which they were
laughing. Some people were opposed to civil rights in the country;
some were indifferent to the struggle for independence in the Middle
East; others wished to curb labor by law. All of these elements were
present both in the convention and in the country at large.
He ventures that perhaps the convention showed that the era
of locally and geographically based parties was over, that instead
the new parties would be built on a common sharing of principles,
whether left or right in orientation.
But to discuss going back to the old way of compromise and
conciliation would be to assume a community of interests, something
beyond the power of those assembled to acknowledge any longer.
The comedy of the convention, he concludes, would likely
persist after it was over and would extend long into the future.
A Quote of the Day: "In case the Dixiecrats need a
party symbol, there is always the man who painted himself into the
corner of his living room." —Arkansas Gazette