The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 20, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Russia announced it was prepared to feed the Western sections of Berlin with 100,000 tons of Soviet grain. Germans were skeptical of the offer. State Department officials viewed it as a propaganda measure. The British believed likewise.

Meanwhile, a record of 1,601 tons of food and supplies had been delivered to Berlin in one day by 262 American transport planes, including 16 tons of steel matting for a new runway at Tempelhof Airport. The British transports were delivering only slightly smaller amounts.

Representatives of Britain, France, and the Benelux countries agreed on a policy of caution with respect to Berlin, viewing the matter as "extremely grave".

The 75 American jets bound for Europe were set to be delivered aboard an aircraft carrier to Glasgow, Scotland, on August 4. They would be stationed in Germany on a permanent basis. An additional 16 jets were en route by air. Sixty B-29's had been recently delivered as well.

Israeli sources stated that fighting was still ongoing in Northern Palestine, despite the U.N. truce deadline having passed Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. A main Cairo thoroughfare had been blasted the previous night by a single unidentified plane which dropped an aerial mine. The Egyptian Premier vowed retaliation if it turned out to be an Israeli plane. Israel denied that it was, saying that none had been in the vicinity of Cairo since the previous Thursday. The bomb hit a theater and was said to have killed two and injured seventeen others. Israeli planes raided Syrian troop concentrations in the Baniyas area of Syria and Syrian troops tried to cross the Jordan River near the Sea of Galilee but were repulsed.

The previous Sunday in Cairo, an American citizen, Stephen Haas of Philadelphia, had been stoned to death by an angry mob. Mr. Haas, 53, was visiting as a tourist along with his wife, who apparently escaped injury.

The new draft registration was set to begin August 30 for those males born after August 30, 1922. Be sure and register if you qualify. The earliest induction could not occur before September 22, but there was no indication in the President's proclamation when it would start. It was likely that the first inductees would be 25-year olds. The eighteen-year olds would not be eligible for induction until age 19.

A representative of the State Department told the Senate Judiciary Committee that several hundred known or suspected subversive foreign agents had entered the country as employees of the U.N. and similar organizations, could not be excluded under U.S. immigration laws because of diplomatic immunity. Many were traveling freely, collecting intelligence data. The official had not conferred with the FBI but assumed that they were investigating.

Communists in Paris suggested that their leader, Maurice Thorez, be designated the head of a coalition government of Socialists and Communists, following the end of the moderate Robert Schuman Government the previous night in the wake of a dispute over the Army's budget. The Schuman Government had taken office November 22, 1947. The Socialists and radical Socialists had wanted to cut 40 million dollars of the billion-dollar Army budget but Premier Schuman had been willing to allow only 23 million of the cut. Schuman's Cabinet then resigned after the Assembly voted in favor of the Socialist position, though not taking a no-confidence vote. The resignation avoided the necessity of an election at which it was believed the Gaullists or possibly the Communists would triumph. The Communists were not represented in the previous Cabinet though they held 186 of the 618 seats in the National Assembly, the largest representation. It was unlikely that they would be permitted into the new Government to be formed after a new premier was found by President Vincent Auriol. It was expected that he would name someone who could unite the force of Popular Republicans, Socialists and Radical Socialists, who had opposed the Communists and General De Gaulle's People's Party.

Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska hinted that the civil rights bills might be placed on the agenda for the special session of Congress shortly after it convened the following Monday. He said that they were the only bills ready. Others still faced committee hearings. He had no prediction as to how long the session would last.

Elmer Irey, the Treasury Department official who nabbed Al Capone for income tax evasion, died from a heart attack at age 60 in Washington.

In Greensboro, Dr. Charles F. Myers, retired Presbyterian minister, died at 72 after a six-week illness. He had provided religious programs on WBT radio in Charlotte for two years and was the former pastor at Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church from 1916 to 1945.

In Hickory, the search of Lake Hickory for the body of a man who had been missing was abruptly terminated when the man's father told authorities that the he knew his son's whereabouts.

Emery Wister of The News reports on the heat and humidity besetting Charlotte during the month, one of the hottest on record recently for July. He explains how the meteorologists calculate relative humidity and why it makes one sweat.

That is the time to get out of the house and run for your life.

On the editorial page, "Russia's Last Stand in Berlin" finds the crisis in Berlin to be climactic in the cold war, that if the Russians failed to force the West from the city, they would lose their last strong point from which to wage a campaign to prevent Western European recovery under ERP. Many observers believed Russia might even be willing to provoke a war to try to win the struggle.

America's stake was equally large. If the West were forced to leave, not only Germany but the fate of Europe would be compromised. General "Wild Bill" Donovan had advanced the view that the West should use force to make it clear to Russia that the West would not be moved. Proponents of force believed that Russia would back down rather than risk a nuclear war and that the efforts were primarily for delay so that the Russians could shore up other fronts and keep the West off balance in the meantime. Their hope was for a Western blunder which could restore the advantage to the Russians.

It offers that Russia was doomed to lose the standoff as long as the West did not overplay its hand in retaliation to Soviet moves.

"One More Week for the Bolters" discusses the Dixiecrats and the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace, the latter meeting in convention in Philadelphia during the week. The two were meeting for opposite reasons and one had to be wrong. But, it ventures, both were.

Mr. Wallace had resigned from his post as editor of the New Republic, saying that there was no difference between the Democrats and Republicans, that both were war parties, imperialist, and hated labor. He said that they were resisting economic and political changes with the times. The statement was nonsensical given that the Republicans had just made strong concessions to the trends of the time economically and politically and the Democrats had rent themselves asunder by standing for principles determined by the times.

Both parties were in the midst of great change, promising a long life for the two-party system, and forecasting a short career for the Dixiecrats and Progressives.

"Rededication in the Alps" tells of the centennial of the Swiss Constitution approaching on August 1, their independence day, marking 657 years of freedom. Democracy in Switzerland was a matter of fierce pride, hard won in the 13th century against the Hapsburgs and invaders in the the age of feudalism.

The U.S., it offers, was not too large and powerful to learn from the Swiss, that freedom once won had to be nourished and never taken for granted.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "A Time for Thanksgiving", reports of the New York Times stating that the Polish harvest would be one of the most fecund in the country's history, enabling it to be sufficient in food and even have exports. The uncooperative weather of the previous year, with the long, harsh winter in Europe, had turned to allow breaks this year both for the West and the satellites of Russia. The weather did not obey boundaries or respect morals. Rather, it offers, all should be gladdened by the satiation coming to any peoples, including Russians.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, suggests that a danger of which to be wary in the attempted resolution of the Berlin crisis was that the West might agree to evacuation as a quid pro quo for evacuation of Soviet troops from Germany. One observer believed that Russia could no longer hope to defeat ERP except by getting Germany on its side and so it was going to attempt such rapprochement. The time was propitious for the effort because of the presidential campaign in the U.S. and the need to appeal to the electorate's whims.

He takes the contrary view to those who believed that such a negotiation would be key to peace, that Russia had first to renounce its expansionist goals and follow through with action before there would be any withdrawal by the U.S. It also had to liquidate the Cominform and enter into U.N. control of atomic energy with inspections. Otherwise, it would mean abandonment of Europe to Soviet domination, essentially suicide.

German nationalists and Europeans would greet withdrawal of Soviet troops under such conditions as an advance in security and so would urge such negotiations. Many in America wanted the troops brought home.

But once an all-German government would be established in Berlin, the Russians would seek to cajole it to their side. Propaganda abounded in Germany that Russia would bring about reunification and even restore Southwestern Pomerania and Lower Silesia, occupied by Poland. The Russians were busy convincing the East Germans that they would be made partners in the Soviet bloc.

Whatever proposals the Kremlin had in mind, it could only control Europe by first getting control of Germany and that remained the goal.

Drew Pearson tells of General MacArthur refusing to apologize to a Russian General stopped without a required pass outside Tokyo by American M.P.'s. When the message was relayed to the Russian General by the war crimes prosecutor, the former said to the latter: "What a man! Let's have tea."

He next informs of the anti-Semitic provisions of the Displaced Persons bill which had passed the Senate in the late going of the regular session, preventing persons who entered Germany after December 22, 1945 from being eligible for entry to the U.S. under its provisions, allowing immigration of 200,000 displaced persons. Most Jews who were displaced persons had entered Germany from Poland after that date. Senator Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia was behind the measure. The bill also gave 50 percent of the quota to the Baltic States for no apparent reason other than that they were predominantly Protestant. Despite protests from Ambassador to London Lewis Douglas and the State Department, Senator Revercomb had refused to change the bill.

It was likely that in the special session it would be revised.

Cy Ching, former head of U.S. Rubber, went fishing but could not get away from John L. Lewis, as even his fishing guide had the name of Lewis as the author.

Congressman Albert Thomas of Texas, who had a good record on most things, had tried at the close of the regular session to hamstring the authority of the Housing Expediter to investigate veterans' housing. He had a friend in Houston who was a home builder under investigation for defrauding veterans, being pressed by the Houston housing expediter. He had warned a journalist to be careful as to what he printed about his friend.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that the Soviet Union had fear of its structure cracking and so was applying pressure wherever it could, such as in Czechoslovakia. There, General Svoboda, Minister of Defense, who had transformed the Czechoslovak Army into a Soviet instrument during the war, was the first victim of an impending purge, sent into a protracted leave of absence.

He would only be the first, as Moscow had reportedly ordered a full purge of Communist leaders in Czechoslovakia, all the way up to President Klement Gottwald, the Foreign Minister and the Premier. They were considered too nationalistic and moderate. Rudolf Slanski and Zdenek Fierlinger would inherit most of their power.

The purge was motivated by the fear that the rebellion of Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia would spread. It had threatened the collapse of the guerrilla movement in Greece where guerrilla leader Markos had approached the Government with a truce proposal. A similar split had taken place in Trieste between pro-Tito and anti-Tito forces.

The fear in Moscow, however, was no ground for complacency in the West as fear could lead to desperate moves, such as in the Berlin crisis.

Marquis Childs tells of the span of General Pershing's career from the Indian wars in the West to leader of the AEF in World War I and the transformation of warfare into the modern era. As General Omar Bradley, chief of staff of the Army, attended General Pershing's funeral, he had to be preoccupied with the thought of these vast changes as they had fallen on General Pershing in the wake of World War I. The changes which General Bradley faced were much greater, with the advent of the weapons developed in the late war, the jet, the rocket, the atomic bomb.

But the weapons of mass extermination would not come into play until the latter stages of a modern war. In the meantime, armies had to be raised, trained, and equipped. And doing so was more difficult than in the past because of the high cost of living outpacing raises in soldier and officer pay. Also, there was no ongoing war of survival to urge the populace to participate. General Bradley therefore had a tremendous weight of responsibility, more so than that of his predecessors.

A letter writer says that the New Science of Mental Electronics prognosticated victory for President Truman, irrespective of the contrary assertions of all the pundits and columnists. He advocates that the South stick with the Democratic Party lest the Commies take over.

We need one of those machines, whatever he had. Our troubles would be over. Polls and finger-waving in the wind to accommodate them would become an extinct practice, giving way to the Mental Electronics.

Here's an example we ran across just this morning which could make good use of the Mental Electronics to take out the trash. A Real Clear Politics report on a recently conducted Quinnipiac University poll—the least accurate of the polls, incidentally, in elections of the last 15 years or so—has found that in three "key swing states", Virginia, Iowa, and Colorado, former Secretary of State Clinton is losing ground and trailing three potential Republican opponents. Sounds bad. Good news for the GOP.

But the facts are that in two of the last four successful Democratic elections, the winning candidate won no more than two of the three states mentioned, and in 1996, only one. None of the three states has been consistent. Combined, the states represent only 28 electoral votes, not enough even to come close to having changed the outcome of any of those four elections.

Vice-President Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000 and missed the electoral majority in the end by four votes, lost two of the three states in question. So, perhaps in that unique election, determined by the Florida dispute, the "key swing states" in question could have made a difference. But that result is unlikely of repetition anytime soon.

It is true that a switch of a combination of two of those states' electoral votes, all three carried by President Bush in 2004, would have changed the outcome. But so would have any states with at least a combination of 17 electoral votes carried by the President in that election.

Having a potential impact on the two closest of the past six presidential elections since 1992 does not make those three states "key". Mental Electronics help to dispel stupid, nonsensical headlines and stories written by people who obviously left their brains at home with the breakfast of champions, a breakfast perhaps imbibed the night before. We make mention of it because, increasingly, we see such idiotic and misleading headlines and stories—not to mention a plethora of irrelevant stories promoted to the rabble as important on a given day or days, amounting to no more than cheap gossip—, written by people who obviously think history began less than ten years ago, dependent as they are on an harried, uninformed readership, having not the gumption to do 10 minutes worth of independent thinking and research before they write.

Even though you may have been 15 years old ten years ago and therefore think it a long time ago, it has not really been that long in the perceptions of those a bit older. It feels to a lot of us as only yesterday. Perhaps, parenthetically, we do you, whoever you are, a disservice in the days of the internet. Perhaps you are 15. Some of the stories we read, indeed, convey not only that mental age in the chosen subject matter and its treatment but also in the colloquial style in which they are indited. (Oh, who kissed who today and who gave who whatever to induce the kiss...? Whose lives tomorrow can we destroy with rumors dusted off from 25 years ago? Enquiring minds want to know ... ad nauseam.) Then again, maybe we do you, as "journalists", another disservice for expecting you to be able to read and write in an age of electronic media bombarding your taxed Mental Electronics every waking minute of every day until your fuses are blown. To be fair to the mentally deficient, we also have to make room for the fact than even older "journalists" and commentators who have a close connection with conservative "think tanks", such as the Heritage Foundation, have an apparent average mental age of 15 at any age—which is not to say that they "think young".

Think and research before you write just to fill space. We promise you that you will look back on such nonsense 15 or 20 years from now and realize how embarrassingly callow it appears in print.

And by the way, the most significant fact of all was omitted from the strained little story, that Secretary Clinton leads each and every potential Republican opponent in every major poll, even the Fox skew, and, for the most part, handily. But, it's still early.

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