The Charlotte News

Monday, July 19, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President met this date with military and diplomatic advisers, including Secretary of State Marshall, at the White House regarding the Berlin crisis. Everyone remained tight-lipped after the conference but it was thought that plans were being discussed for implementation of various economic sanctions against the Soviets around the world, such as in the Panama and Suez Canals or freezing of Russian shipping in distant ports.

As the U.N. truce went into effect in Palestine the previous morning, Israel charged that Syrian and Iraqi troops were still engaged in widespread violence in defiance of the ceasefire order. They reported that Syrians had attacked the Jewish settlements of Eingeb, Sussita, and Sha'ar Hagolan south of the Sea of Galilee through the morning hours of this date. The Israelis stated that therefore they were not going to cease fighting until the Syrians did so. Also, Iraqis had launched an attack on Jewish-held Zir 'In, near Jenin and on Jewish positions at Lujjun. Israelis, prior to the ceasefire, had captured four Arab villages, and the Arabs had then opened fire on Jewish positions from Tarbikha near the Lebanese border. Arab irregular troops were reported to have attacked the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway from Arab villages around Zirkon Yaakov this date.

Syria claimed that the ceasefire order was given to its troops the previous afternoon at 5:30, to go into effect at 6:00 p.m. EST, eight hours after the U.N. deadline. The other Arab states ordered the ceasefire, as did Israel. The Arab League, however, stated that the truce would not bring a permanent peace but was merely a "gap in an honorable Jihad" which could only end in Arab victory.

Czechoslovakia's top-ranking Army general was reported by the U.S. Government to have fled to the American occupation zone of Germany after escaping Czechoslovakia several weeks earlier following the Communist takeover. His last position had been as military adviser to resigned President Eduard Benes. He likely had information valuable to the American Government. The whereabouts of Minister of War General Ludwig Svoboda remained a mystery. And it was reported that he, too, may have fled to the West.

Retired Rear Admiral Ellis Zacharias, a former Navy intelligence officer, claimed, during a radio program of the Mutual Network the previous night, that a third atomic bomb had been sent into the Pacific theater in the last days of World War II but had disappeared. The Navy destroyer bearing the bomb, he said, never reached its destination, Tinian Island, to which the "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" bombs were delivered before being placed aboard B-29's for delivery to their separate targets on August 6 and 9, 1945.

That bomb was known as "Invisible Boy".

The body of General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing, leader of the World War I American Expeditionary Force, was buried this date at Arlington. He had died the previous Thursday at age 87 after a protracted heart illness.

The President was preparing to give the special session of Congress a ten-point plan for controlling inflation, to be provided through a message possibly to be delivered in person on the following Monday or Tuesday. Press secretary Charles G. Ross stated that other special messages to the session might also follow on different topics.

The UAW executive board approved a Ford walkout for an undetermined date.

Gerald L. K. Smith, director of the Christian Nationalist Crusade, endorsed the Dixiecrat ticket. He had attended the Birmingham meeting on Saturday as a delegate from Oklahoma. His organization, he explained, promoted white supremacy and believed that the "the Negro and the Jew are exerting too much control in American politics."

Not mentioned on the page were the recommendations for nomination by the Dixiecrats of South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for the presidency and Mississippi Governor Fielding Wright for the vice-presidency on Saturday night in Birmingham. Mr. Thurmond was escorted to the platform under the Confederate flag. Governor Ben Laney of Arkansas, the first choice for the presidential nomination, had declined. The whole of the rump convention then adjourned until a date to be determined before October 1, turning out to be August 11 in Houston, to decide on a platform, endorse formally the recommendations for nomination, and hear a formal address by Governor Thurmond.

Two Alabama newspapers, the Florence Times and Sheffield-Tuscumbia Tri-Cities Daily, decried the Dixiecrats in a single editorial appearing in both publications, describing them as "obsolete and repudiated", applauded President Truman.

Also not mentioned on the page, the Progressive Party convention began in Philadelphia, set to nominate former Vice-President Henry Wallace as the presidential candidate and Senator Glen Taylor as the vice-presidential candidate.

In Huntington, W. Va., a couple who had won a $7,300 cash prize in a radio quiz on Mutual's "Three for the Money" on Saturday night turned it down because they were "worn out" by the publicity attendant the prize and did not want the trouble, stated that their health would not take it. The husband was a cable splicer of the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. and did not obviously like dealing with the high-tension wires. But a representative of Mutual, nevertheless, was reported to be on his way from New York with the check, to which the wife said, "Oh my goodness, no more."

He had better get out his blue suede shoes.

Race car driver Ted Horn escaped serious injury in a traffic accident when his 1949 Lincoln was struck and demolished by a car without headlights 25 miles south of Washington at 3:30 a.m. His passenger, another race car driver, who had an accident at the Southern States Fairgrounds race near Charlotte two days earlier, suffered a broken leg. After the Southern Fairgrounds race, Mr. Horn had told The News that his hardest driving was on the highway, not the race track.

Nancy Brame Dumbell of The News tells of construction getting underway at a site between Chapel Hill and Durham for the state's first hospital for physically disabled children, expected to be ready for operation in early 1949. The ten-acre tract was provided by Duke Hospital and was a mile away from it. It would train about 150 such children, with 50 receiving inpatient care. There were about 1,200 such children in the state. It would be the first state-owned facility for the purpose in the nation.

In Gastonia, N.C., an abandoned baby girl weighing a pound and a half, 30 minutes old, found the previous day in a paper bag, was reported to be doing well in a local hospital.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that an eighteen-year old girl from Shelby was selected in Wrightsville Beach to be Miss North Carolina, after nearly arguing the Shelby Jaycees out of selecting her as their choice. She was a singer but preferred to be a concert pianist. A Charlotte girl had placed third, playing on the piano "The Sea" by Selim Palmgren and "The Eagle" by Edward MacDowell. They are both pictured. Where's the Runner-Up?

A new serialized novel was beginning in the newspaper, "A Date with Danger" by Rob Eden, on page 5-A.

On the editorial page, "Dogpatch in National Politics" analogizes to the Li'l Abner comic strip's Sadie Hawkins Day the Turnip Day special session of Congress being called by the President, except that the President would not be as Li'l Abner, the favorite of the ladies saved at the last minute by a miracle. The President would have to do as much dodging as the Republicans during the session as he would be pursued by both Republicans and Southern Democrats, the latter likely to engage in filibuster of the civil rights legislation, serving to revive and intensify the party divide evident at the convention and since. They would also likely balk at the public housing bill, price control and extension of social security benefits.

If the President got anything, it would likely be in the form of bills he could not sign.

The primary question remained why the President had made the call, convinced of the matter by his advisers as providing an inexpensive form of campaigning to substitute for depleted party coffers. The piece regards it as the last gamble of a desperate Administration which had already lost everything except its shirt, showing about as much judgment as "Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat of Dogpatch mixing up a vat of Kickapoo Joy Juice."

"Italian 'Bogota' in Reverse" finds the Italian Government's breaking of the Communist-led strikes and revolutionary disturbances in the wake of the assassination attempt on Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti to remind again that the Communist world could make mistakes as in the April 18 elections in Italy. To that point, it had appeared that all the mistakes were being made by the West.

While there was speculation that the Communists may have been behind the assassination attempt in Italy as they had been the assassination of the liberal leader in Bogota earlier in the year during the Pan-American Conference, it appeared unlikely to be the case for the fact of the inept handling of the aftermath, showing lack of Soviet preparation for the event.

Prime Minister Stalin in fact had chastised the Communists in Italy for not giving better security for Mr. Togliatti and lack of discipline. He did not try to blame the Government as had many of the Italian Communists.

That the De Gasperi Government had been able to handle the situation gave hope that the Berlin crisis could also be brought to a successful conclusion. The Soviets had neither the power nor the intention to push the latter matter to a war to force the evacuation of the West from Berlin.

"Substitute Caution for Fear" remarks of fear being contagious and giving rise to caution which could become panic, potentially a problem in itself. The notion applied to the present polio outbreak in the state. Fear would not prevent it. But prudent caution would help. Flu and heart disease and tuberculosis took more lives than polio. It counsels believing only that which was stated by authoritative medical sources and not scuttlebutt regarding the disease.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Alben Barkley being likely the best-loved man in the Senate among his colleagues. It was not always the case as he once had a sharp tongue, calling, for instance, his now good friend Senator Tom Connally "that boob Senator from Texas". He had denounced FDR in early 1944 for his veto of the tax bill and caustic message to the Congress for passing it. Had it not been for that tirade, the President might have picked him as his vice-presidential running mate later that year and history might have been very different.

He had no outside income to supplement his Senate salary and had to economize personally, forgoing a car and going on the lecture circuit to pay hospital bills for his invalid wife. He stood by while others received plum appointments, even recommended James Byrnes in 1941 for the Supreme Court, when he, himself, had hope for the laurel. But his disappointments had not made him bitter and he retained his sense of humor. He had replied to Chip Robert's question of how the ladies liked his new mustache by saying, "Like a rabbit does a briar patch."

The President had not been enthusiastic about Senator Barkley as his running mate because of his advancing age and the fact that Kentucky added nothing regionally to the ticket. He had preferred either Justice Douglas or Senator Joseph O'Mahoney, the latter having been nixed by aides for the fact of his Catholicism. The President ultimately left the matter up to the convention to determine. Senate secretary Leslie Biffle, believing that Senator Barkley could exert a healing influence on the party, led the floor campaign for him.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop predict that Washington would be hot during the special session of Congress in more ways than one, as the Republicans would be outraged by being called back to complete the legislative agenda to which their party platform pledged support. While some Democrats were feeling sadistic pleasure at the notion, others believed it would backfire against the President. Both sides were apt to get hurt in the ensuing fight, with the real beneficiaries being Democrats in local races, such as Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York or Chicago's Jacob Arvey.

Senator Curly Brooks of Illinois was being contested by Paul Douglas with the backing of the Arvey machine, with Professor Douglas only being given an outside chance of winning until the special session call, which could place Senator Brooks in an uncomfortable light on such matters as public housing and inflation, as well as civil rights. Professor Douglas would also get the jump in the campaign. The same dynamic was extant in the race between Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis and Senator Joseph Ball, albeit with Mayor Humphrey already showing an eight-point lead in that race.

It could also place the national GOP ticket in the awkward position of campaigning on the very issues which the GOP Congress was being asked by the President to pass. Neither Governor Dewey nor Governor Warren could entirely escape from party responsibility for what the Congress would do or, more likely, would not do. Governor Dewey would need to consult with the Republican leaders, Senator Taft and House Speaker Joe Martin. Since their views were not always simpatico with that of the Governor, the result could be damaging to the party.

Yet, while Governor Dewey could remain somewhat aloof from the battle, the President could not. The fight sure to follow could further detract from the President's stature.

James Marlow reminds that the special session could pick up where it left off on June 19 when it recessed for the conventions, thinking its business was done, whereas the 81st Congress, to take office in early January, would have to start the legislative process anew. Many bills were left dangling in June and would ordinarily have died, many after going through lengthy hearings in both chambers. In the new Congress, one of these bills would have to start the entire process over again from scratch. Thus, the special session could get a lot done quickly in a small amount of time, 15 days by the President's schedule.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, suggests that by calling a special session of Congress, the President had divided the election problem into two parts, whether the voter would support him in November and whether the voter would support him against the Republicans in the special session. He had at least made it difficult to mobilize liberal forces against him until the conclusion of the session, a good political play.

All of the issues placed by the President before the special session, from housing and inflation to civil rights, were vital to the country. It left the liberal voter opposing the President on foreign policy in a quandary, perhaps supporting the President during the session with advance knowledge that the support would vanish by November. But it would be difficult to switch positions in that manner, and so it was a shrewd move by the President. He had removed personality from the campaign and replaced it with his program, putting it front and center before the nation. It was hard to hate him for it as a liberal. He might in the process cast Governor Dewey in the role of a sideline observer.

None of it would likely have taken place were it not for the presence of Henry Wallace in the campaign.

The problem was ultimately to be judged on the basis of what it would do for the country rather than any one of the three candidates—soon to become four with the Dixiecrat addition of Governor Strom Thurmond.

It was rare that any party could be made to stand and deliver on election promises prior to election day. Divided government made that in this instance possible. He suggests withholding judgments and trying to shape the election to the good uses of the nation. There was nothing to lose.

A letter writer, addressing his letter to Mayor Herbert Baxter, complains of a creek running through his backyard along Romany Road in Charlotte, being a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies of which he was concerned as potential carriers of polio. He wants the City Council to investigate.

A letter writer advocates that the Southern Democrats pull out of the national Democratic Party to teach it a lesson that the Democrats could not elect a President without the solid South. He had voted Democratic for 52 years but he would not vote for Mr. Truman in 1948. He believes there were many thousands who felt as he did.

Don't worry. You won't get your wish now, but wait 20 years and your dream will come entirely true, though you may live to rue that desire and realize it as a nightmare.

A letter writer objects to Dr. Konstanty Najder of Poland as being pro-Communist, corrects a previous article in the newspaper which had stated he had been ordained a Catholic priest before becoming a Methodist minister. She says her research showed that he never became an ordained priest, and further opines that the Catholic Church would not support his rhetoric, that he could not have escaped Poland to come to America to make speeches except through the offices of the Communists.

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