The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 17, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in response to the declaration by the U.N. of an immediate ceasefire in Jerusalem, Arabs and Israelis ceased firing at one another in the city this date following a night of wild fighting. After the Arab league had agreed to the ceasefire, the fighting stopped a second before the 4:00 a.m. deadline set by the U.N. Elsewhere in Palestine, however, the war continued. The U.N. had granted three days for the declared ceasefire to begin in the rest of Palestine before force would be employed to stop it. The deadline would expire at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.

Fighting continued inside Nazareth following the announcement by the Israelis of its capture the previous day and surrender of the Arab contingent still there. An Israeli communique said roads to Lebanon were closed as panic-stricken Arab refugees were attempting to flee.

In an apparent attempt at harassment, the Russians sent aloft their largest contingent of aircraft in recent days within the British and American air corridors through which the West ferried food and supplies to Berliners in the Western sectors of the city. There was, however, no hindrance of the airlift. The Russians had blocked a planned shipment of Czechoslovak potatoes and Polish coal to West Berlin as the Soviet administration of East Germany would not allow the shipments to pass through the Soviet zone to the city.

The 60 B-29's from the U.S. landed in East Anglia in England to join Lt. General Curtis LeMay's command. Most of the 1,200 crew members who came with them had fought in the air war over Japan and Germany. It was the largest American air contingent in Europe since the war.

In result of the 36-hour general strike following the assassination attempt against Italian Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti, Christian Democrat labor leaders in Rome called upon workers to break from the Communist-led Confederation of Labor and form a new union, free of party influence. Violence during the strike and demonstrations resulted in sixteen deaths and 204 wounded before the strike was called off. Communist leaders urged the workers to remain united, saying that disunity had given rise to Fascism in Italy. The Government of Premier Alcide de Gasperi had stated its intent to seek to outlaw politically motivated strikes as the one which had just concluded, were the strike not immediately ended.

Mr. Togliatti was improving, and would survive.

President Truman named General Lewis Hershey, head of the draft during the war, to administer the Selective Service, responsible for implementing the new peacetime draft.

In Birmingham, Ala., the Dixiecrats from sixteen states met to form a ticket of their own in protest of the civil rights plank in the Democratic platform and the nomination of President Truman who had promulgated the civil rights program on February 2. Walter Sillers, the Mississippi House Speaker, was named chairman of the rump convention. It was thought that Governor Ben Laney of Arkansas would be the likely choice of the party for president. The frankly stated intent of the group was to defeat President Truman.

The Mississippi delegation had hoisted state and Confederate flags as they marched into the hall. In addition, delegations of varying sizes appeared from California, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Pickets favoring the third party candidacy of Henry Wallace appeared outside the auditorium as the meeting began, with signs which said, "Down with Lynching". Police Commissioner Bull Connor, who had arrested Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, vice-presidential candidate on the third party ticket, when he sought to enter through the black-only entrance to a church in Birmingham at his scheduled appearance there May 1, ordered the pickets to remain 50 feet away from one another to comply with a city ordinance.

Mr. Connor was a leader of the anti-Truman movement. He liked dogs and hoses.

In North Carolina, for the Dixiecrats as a new party to qualify for the ballot, they would need to present by August 14 a petition bearing 10,000 signatures of registered voters who had not voted in either of the earlier party primaries, thus making it practically impossible that they would be able to do so.

North Carolina Democrats were reminded of the party revolt to Democrat Al Smith's candidacy in 1928, opposition leaders reacting to his stand against Prohibition and his Catholicism. North Carolina had voted for Herbert Hoover and elected two Republican Congressmen that year. The opposition in the state was led by Senator Furnifold Simmons. This year, however, no Democratic leader was planning to attend the Birmingham meeting of Dixiecrats. Several who were contacted said that they would support the President.

Pete McKnight of The News reports that State Senator and DNC national committeeman Joe Blythe of Mecklenburg County stated, on his return from Philadelphia, that the N.C. Democrats would be united behind the national ticket, even if a part of the party would be cool to the President.

The Attorney General of Maryland stated that it would not be possible for the Dixiecrats to qualify for the ballot in that state.

In Cincinnati, a man threw an eight-year old girl from a 60-foot viaduct in view of four observers, was then charged with murder. The man, a transient and World War II veteran, said that he heard voices which called him "yellow". He claimed that radioactivity had caused his actions. He had been a patient previously in a mental hospital.

On the editorial page, "General Pershing and His Boys" laments the passing of the World War I General two days earlier at age 87, finds him the personification of the true soldier of democracy. He did not inspire fear or awe so much as respect, confidence and admiration. He had rejected personal ambition politically, leading President Wilson to select him to lead the American Expeditionary Force in 1917. And he had confirmed the wisdom of that choice.

General Eisenhower was one of his proteges, as was General Marshall.

One of his most significant decisions was to reject the British and French proposals that American troops be used as replacements in the Allied armies, leaving the Americans independent and with the consequent incentive which proved crucial in winning the war in France.

The prestige which General Pershing had brought to the U.S. was not used properly in 1918, as the premature Armistice was accepted November 11 and the troops rushed home, leaving Europe to its fate while America dismantled its military apparatus. General Pershing had favored continuing the Allied drive until Berlin was occupied, to destroy Prussian militarism. Had his advice been followed, the revival of the German military under Hitler might never have occurred.

General Marshall, like his mentor, rejected politics and, along with the record of General Eisenhower, showed that America still followed the tradition of the soldier of democracy of which General Pershing was a prime exponent.

"U.S. Puts More Spine in UN" finds a clear connection between the Berlin crisis and the Security Council's determination to end the war in Palestine. The U.S. had announced at the same time the delivery of 60 B-29's to Europe under the command of General Curtis LeMay. The Security Council, in issuing its strongest statement to date during its three-year existence, had acted on Palestine at the urging of the U.S.

The events showed that the U.S. and the West were prepared for a showdown, clearing the world stage for a forceful reckoning in Berlin, to show first that the U.N. had teeth in the Palestine crisis, a rehearsal for the Berlin crisis.

While Russia might exercise its Security Council veto in the latter instance, whereas it had abstained on Palestine, it was necessary first to resort to the U.N. before undertaking action outside the body.

The U.S. was moving more boldly and decisively, lending hope that such moves would bring about peace in ways which the prior lack of resolve and confusion had failed to do.

"The States' Rights Challenge" discusses the Birmingham states' rightists' convention. The Democratic convention during the week had demonstrated that states' rights had little or no appeal outside the South. Even a majority of the Southern states were not joining the revolters. The states' rights plank had been solidly rejected by the convention in Philadelphia.

The move toward Federal power had been propelled by the industrial revolution and the development of interstate commerce in the country. The growth of monopoly in business had necessitated the exercise of Federal power since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

The call by the President for the special session to enact housing legislation, inflation control, civil rights, Federal aid to education, a national health program, farm planning, and power development all were in furtherance of Federal power and were also of vital concern to the states and localities.

Only when the states and localities responded more vigorously to these areas could the Federal Government be relieved of the responsibility.

It suggests that if the Birmingham convention took a positive stand for asserting states' responsibilities with an affirmative program, then it could establish itself as a permanent political party. Otherwise, the revolt would serve no purpose than to advance the Republican Party, doing as much damage as the Democrats to the cause of states' rights.

Drew Pearson tells of the sequel to the controversy a year earlier surrounding Assistant Secretary of State William Benton and his expenditure of Federal funds for abstract art, the subject of a Senate investigation which had led the President to ask for his resignation. The art exhibit had been sold at a profit of $23,000. The most controversial work, a portrait of a circus girl by Yasuo Kuniyoshi, sold for $2,000, $1,300 more than the Government had paid for it. Mr. Benton had sought to buy some of the art but was outbid on each attempt.

While the curtailment of the art budget was not so important, the curtailment of the information dissemination budget was. Congress had, however, restored part of the cut.

He next considers whether Moscow may have been behind the attempted assassination of Italian Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti, rather than the anti-Communists, as ostensibly appeared to be the case. There had been a serious dispute within the Kremlin between Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov and Cominform head Andrei Zhdanov, preceding the break with Tito in Yugoslavia. Mr. Molotov wanted to give Tito more time to deal with his opposition from the Yugoslav peasants, but Mr. Zhdanov's position was sustained to oppose him. But given the bad reaction to the move, Mr. Molotov's position had been strengthened inside the Kremlin. Mr. Molotov was reported to have argued that Tito should have been quietly assassinated in a manner which could not have led back to the Soviet Union or that a rival Communist Party built up in Yugoslavia.

So, it was possible that Moscow was now following Mr. Molotov's advice in the way Italy's Communist leader was being treated. Mr. Togliatti was friendly to Tito and had received arms from him. Mr. Togliatti, Tito, and the Bulgarian chief Communist always voted together in Cominform meetings. After the Italian elections of April 18, which went against the Communists, Mr. Togliatti had gone on record in support of the Marshall Plan.

There was also good reason to suspect that the Kremlin aided the assassination of Liberal Colombian leader Jorge Elecer Kaitan to arouse Bogota mobs during the Pan-American Conference.

The British Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Sir Charles Peake, had recommended that the British and Americans congratulate Tito for his break with Moscow, but the two Governments overruled him and decided to wait for Tito to come to them. He had also criticized the Yugoslav Government for its lack of manners in not allowing the American, British, and French Ambassadors to meet the Red chief of Bulgaria, Georgi Dimitrov, at a reception.

The Defense Department report which advocated bringing the Army and Navy Reserves into parity to end the Navy's receipt of greater benefits, had been delayed until after the convention so it would not interfere with the Democratic platform.

Ben Price of the Associated Press looks at the history of the states' rights issue since the Founding. The South believed that the civil rights program proposed by the President and endorsed by the platform at the convention went beyond the proper power of the Federal Government and intruded on the police powers of the states to govern their internal affairs.

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were the original antagonists in this debate between broad interpretation of Federal power and reservation of states' rights under the Tenth Amendment. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall repeatedly ruled that the Constitution held many implied powers of the Federal Government, thus establishing the broad interpretation.

In 1832, during the Administration of Andrew Jackson, South Carolina objected to the broad interpretation of Federal tariff laws and sought to disobey them, whereupon President Jackson sent Federal troops to Charleston to enforce the laws.

Southern secession in 1860 and 1861 was the result essentially of the states' rights rebellion, this time regarding slavery and whether new territories of the nation would have free choice to determine whether they would allow slavery. South Carolina had determined in 1852 that a state could secede from the union. When the Republican platform failed to incorporate the pro-slavery view regarding the territories, South Carolina chose to secede following the election.

He asserts that the way things were going with the Birmingham revolt, it was likely that the states' rightists would continue for some time to come to assert such rights.

Marquis Childs tells of the President having to be persuaded to call the special session of Congress, with his political managers convincing him that since the Democratic campaign fund was practically nil, he would gain an advantage by keeping the Republican Congress in session, allowing him free campaign publicity and radio airtime, even if the Congress passed inadequate legislation which he would have to veto.

The GOP, on the other hand, had more political capital to risk than the President. But they could also make Governor Dewey's attempt to appeal to a broad base of voters appear silly. Republicans would likely push the civil rights program supported by both party platforms, creating problems with Southern Democrats in the Senate and the inevitability of filibuster. But a filibuster could also help the President by putting off for a month legislative action on inflation and housing, until the fall when the campaign season would begin in earnest. While the GOP would attempt to blame the Democrats for a failure of the civil rights program, it could not pin the failure on the President as the Southerners had plainly bolted from the party.

He predicts that the net result in terms of legislative advancement during the special session would be zero. It could prove advantageous to the President or it could backfire and be more costly than the typical campaign financed by lobbyists and special interest groups.

The Editors' Roundtable, edited by James Galloway of Asheville, examines Britain's new "cradle to the grave" social security program, with a large minority of editorial opinion expressing opposition to the scope of the plan as venturing into extreme socialism.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informed that the program would cost Britain 3.4 billion dollars in the first year, two billion of which would come from the taxpayers, the rest from the weekly payments by those insured and their employers.

The Boston Globe reported that 15,000 of 17,000 British doctors were participating in the plan and if it were successful, it would affect the entire human race.

The Chicago Sun-Times advocated learning of the bad parts and workable parts of the British program before seeking to adopt it in America.

The Dallas Morning News found that the experiment in Britain would answer a lot of questions about socialized medicine and whether it could work.

The Rochester Times-Union believed that the U.S. would be called on for more aid for Britain should the plan prove too heavy a burden for the British Government to bear. It wondered how far the U.S. was prepared to go to prop up increasingly socialistic governments in Europe.

The Asheville Times noted that the plan was not entirely the work of the Labor Government but had parts put in place by the Coalition Government of Prime Minister Churchill, starting in 1942 with the Beveridge report. It found it significant that traditionally conservative Britain had taken such a long stride into socialism through popular will expressed in the ballot rather than violent revolution.

The Phoenix Gazette found the plan to reflect national decadence, making the individual the ward of the state and forsaking the British past geared toward bold action to civilize far-flung lands—replacing, in other words, concern for expansion of empire interests, the competition for which had led to World War II, with concern anent domestic public welfare.

The Oklahoma City Times found Britons emigrating to British dominions along with their capital, in keeping with British tradition to forsake undesirable political and economic conditions in favor of developing industry in less well developed lands.

A letter writer responds to the editorial of two days earlier on St. Swithin's rain of July 15 and the tradition that if it rained on that date, 40 days of rain would follow. He had found many years earlier, between 1888 and 1893, when Wade Hampton Harris was editor of The News, and had so remarked at the time that St. Swithin was so enraged about the moving of his body in the rain on July 15 that he predicted it would rain for forty days. He imparts that he had found from Funk & Wagnalls the following verse:
St. Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain.
St. Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.

And if the case on July 15 it should snow,
You know that bound for Hell, you're to go.

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