The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 21, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Western powers appeared to have abandoned force as an option to break the Berlin blockade. Rumors had circulated that such a plan had been considered during the previous weekend. Both the British and Americans, however, assured that no force, such as sending an armored train from Helmstedt to Berlin as the scuttlebutt had it, was being contemplated, even though the Helmstedt line was in good shape, contrary to Russian contentions regarding the reason for its closure. France and the Benelux countries also agreed that no force would be used.

Israelis and Arabs signed the U.N. truce agreement in Palestine, fixing the boundaries of Jerusalem, both sides agreeing to respect lines established before the truce on July 17. The truce was set to continue until a peace settlement was reached.

Marshal Tito addressed the Yugoslav Communist Party congress in Belgrade, asserting that the party was the "strongest and most successful" in the Communist movement. He was expected to speak to the 2,000 persons gathered for more than eight hours, broken into two-hour segments. People in coffee houses in Belgrade jammed around radios to listen and loudspeakers were placed at various points in the city.

In Paris, it was believed that Radical Socialist Andre Marie, 51, would become the new French Premier, replacing William Schuman who stepped down after a quarrel regarding the Army budget within his coalition Government and the sustaining of the contrary position by the National Assembly.

In New York, John Gates, the editor of the Daily Worker and six others, including Communist Party chairman William Z. Foster, out of twelve top Communists in the country under indictment, were arrested for advocating the violent overthrow of the Government in violation of the Smith Act. The four others indicted remained at large.

The New York World-Telegram reported that a tip from an unnamed blonde to the FBI led to the indictments. She claimed that 50 Government employees, including one man of near Cabinet-level authority, were part of the espionage ring. The FBI said it did not yet have enough evidence to indict others she had implicated, but that the Bureau was busy collecting wiretap evidence. She said that plans had been provided through her to the Russians regarding the B-29 and R-D-X, a plastic explosive. She also obtained for the Russians almost daily figures on American war production. She learned that the Americans were about to break the Russian code and was able to transmit this information to the Russians, prompting a change. A man high in the O.S.S. provided her with information. A personal adviser to FDR, she claimed, also worked for her, along with an Army Air Force officer, an official of the War Production Board, members of the Office of War Information and persons of other Government agencies with strategic information to impart. None received any money, but acted out of loyalty to the Communist Party. The FBI followed the woman informant for a year to corroborate her story after she initially provided the information.

Secretary of State Marshall, contrary to the testimony of two State Department officials the previous week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated at a press conference that he did not know of any entrants to the U.S. from foreign countries who were threats to U.S. security. The two officials had claimed that hundreds of such persons were in the country under cloak of diplomatic immunity, working at the U.N while conducting espionage.

The White House said that the President would deliver personally his message to the Congress on Tuesday regarding inflation control measures. He would also ask that they remove discriminatory measures to Jews and Catholics in the displaced persons bill, provide 300 million dollars annually in Federal grants to state education, and raise the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents per hour.

Senator Owen Brewster of Maine said that the political squabbles which would erupt in the special session of Congress might make dealing with Russia tougher, possibly encouraging Russia to strike somewhere in the world. The Republican Senator said that he believed that the President would regret opening the wounds further within his own party regarding civil rights and the likelihood of filibuster of the legislation which he had proposed in February.

Dixiecrat nominee-designate Strom Thurmond, Governor of South Carolina, withdrew from the DNC.

Senator J. Howard McGrath, DNC chairman, said that he believed that the revolting Dixiecrats would return to the fold when the chips were down. He thought Governor Thurmond had made a good statement after his nomination and that it took a lot of the sting out of the revolt by couching it in terms of states' rights. He said that Governor Thurmond would be welcomed to the White House by the President should he wish to sit down and discuss matters.

Howard Blakeslee of the Associated Press reports that aureomycin, a drug being used in experiments in Texas against polio and in New York against venereal disease, was unveiled this date. The antibiotic was developed by Lederle Laboratories of New Jersey. It was able to penetrate the nerve cell where certain viruses lived and caused damage. They found it better for venereal disease than any other drug used for the purpose in the previous twenty years.

In New York, an elderly spinster, reputed to be wealthy, who had lived alone for 25 years and never left her suite at the Hotel Seymour, died without apparent surviving relatives.

The Charlotte Jaycees passed a resolution to urge the City to purchase more enclosed garbage trucks and other sanitary equipment. They had conducted a survey of the city's sanitation facilities and found them in need of much improvement.

"Old Gloomy Gus" of the comics section, informs a piece, had nothing on the weather observers of Charlotte's Municipal Airport, who said it was "hot and getting hotter", might be late the following week before any relief was in sight, hotter this date "than Aunt Jemima's frying pan", approaching 100 degrees, with a low in the morning of 76 and 72 in the late afternoon, 95 at 1:30. It was the sixth straight day of 90-degree temperatures. It was hot all over the state, with the mercury reaching in Raleigh to 93, in Greensboro, 92, and in Winston-Salem, 90.

Brother, you have no idea how hot Old Gloomy Gus is about to make things for the whole country very shortly, weather which the weathermen will be discussing for decades to come. Whether it has something to do with that blonde Communist squealer and her animal farm, we shall have to wait and see.

On the editorial page, "War, Appeasement or Peace?" discusses the statement by France, Britain and the Benelux countries that they considered the Berlin crisis grave and advised utmost caution in dealing with the Russians. General Lucius Clay, U.S. military occupation commander in Germany, had been summoned back to Washington along with Robert Murphy, his State Department military adviser, for consultations with the President.

The crisis had been triggered by the decision of the five countries plus the U.S. to go ahead with plans for a West German government, as the Russians would not cooperate in a plan for German unification except on terms unacceptable to the West, establishment of a strong central government which the West feared would enable the Soviets to take over. The Russians asserted that the Western move violated the four-power Potsdam agreement of July, 1945.

The West wanted settlement talks to begin only after termination of the blockade. The other alternative was war. The first alternative would give Russia a diplomatic victory, possibly enabling it to convince the French and British to agree to the Russian plan for German unification, a result, it opines, which would be worse than the Munich Pact of 1938.

Going to war, on the other hand, would place the U.S. as an aggressor without much support from Britain or France. Nobody was prepared for another war.

The West would fail this supreme test only if it failed to stand up to the threat. America would provide the leadership for the other nations to follow.

A third course was also available, to use the U.N. for the purpose for which it was founded and perhaps serve the dual purpose of strengthening the young body.

"Wallace Misses the Big Fight" finds Henry Wallace possibly regretting having departed the Democratic Party to establish his third party, with so much New Dealism returning to the Democratic campaign, as evidenced by the party platform adopted at the convention the previous week. He would have been poised to be the logical candidate, it suggests, as an alternative to Mr. Truman, appealing to labor and the big city bosses.

The piece seems to neglect the fact that the big city bosses were responsible, along with the Southerners, for dumping Mr. Wallace from the ticket in 1944 and would not have likely returned to his side in 1948 under any circumstances.

The special session of Congress, it continues, would serve the dual purpose of driving the Southerners further away from the party, to enable the liberals to have control, and, second, placing Congress on the spot with respect to the liberal social agenda of the Administration, housing, inflation controls, and civil rights. The Americans for Democratic Action and top Presidential adviser Clark Clifford had counseled the President to call the special session. It was unlikely, it predicts, that the Congress would pass the bulk of the social agenda pleasing to ADA, but they might pass some of the civil rights legislation, which would further antagonize the South.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Taft-Hartley Act Here to Stay", comments on the suggestion by John L. Lewis that Congress eliminate both Taft-Hartley and the Wagner Act. Mr. Lewis had not gained great ground as a labor leader until the Wagner Act came to be in 1935. Now that he had a monopoly on UMW as a result, he wanted the Government to step aside.

Mr. Lewis was supporting Governor Dewey despite the Democrats having stated in a platform plank that Taft-Hartley should be repealed and the Republicans having been responsible for it. The piece says that it would not be repealed and the Democrats were being as unrealistic as Mr. Lewis in urging it. It finds the Act, while not perfect, to be an effective way of dealing with monopolistic practices of organized labor.

Drew Pearson writes an open letter to Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington, remarking of the new show of air strength in Germany with the arrival of the 60 B-29's. He suggests using the B-29's as a gesture of "latent friendship" as well as force, to convince the Russian people of America's pacific intent.

Russian propaganda was geared to convincing the Russians that America was planning to invade. Radio sets were too expensive for most Russians and so he proposes using the B-29's to drop messages of friendship, dropping small balloons close to the German border such that they would carry into Russia with the messages attached. The War Assets Administration had the balloons left over from the war, selling them for 37 cents apiece. A printer in Akron had volunteered to print a million of the messages for free. A soap manufacturer in Los Angeles agreed to provide soap, scarce in Russia. Candy was also being donated for the purpose of attachment to the messages.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of an American foreign policy official having remarked that all of the contingency plans he had for dealing with Berlin risked war. The Americans and British had determined that retreat from Berlin in the face of the Soviet blockade would lead inevitably to war. Thus, a showdown during the summer was inevitable. It was hoped that the showdown would lead to a settlement generally which would allow ERP to proceed in Western Europe. No firm decision had been reached on a course of action beyond sticking in Berlin.

The reply to the Soviet refusal to end the blockade would come soon and would be firm, but would probably leave open the door for negotiations after the lifting of the blockade. If the Soviets did not lift it, then the matter would be referred to the Security Council of the U.N. which, short of a Soviet veto, would order the lifting of the blockade. If the veto were used to block its lifting, an emergency meeting of the General Assembly would take place to consider how to supply Berlin from the West by an armored train or truck convoy, if need be, forcing its way through the Soviet blockade. The latter step remained contingent upon all else failing and might be changed. Such a course could lead to war if pursued.

Negotiations involved convincing the Russians that the West would not leave short of force and war, and to allow Russia a graceful retreat from such a potential confrontation. Most of the experts believed that Russia would not go to war, bolstered by the fact that no evident preparations had been made for war. It was the only hopeful sign in otherwise darkness.

Marquis Childs remarks on the extraordinary courage of the Germans in Berlin, especially the Social-Democratic leaders who refused to surrender to Nazism and were now defying the Soviets. One of the failures of U.S. policy was not adequately working with these Germans.

The Soviets appeared to be planning to get Communists in the Eastern sector to seize power from the non-Communists in the Western sectors of Germany. The Western powers would then be left to interfere in what ostensibly would appear as a German civil war.

The German police administration had been set up by the Communists in all four sectors and they had permitted, in several recent episodes, Communists to surround non-Communists attending political meetings. In one such instance, it took pressure from American military authorities to convince the police to disperse an angry crowd surrounding a hall where Social-Democrats were meeting, to enable them to exit without injury from the mob.

The American military occupation force, however, could not adequately understand the intangibles involved in the undercurrent of politics flowing through the daily life of Germany.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, finds the States' Rights Dixiecrats claiming both major parties to be liberal beyond redemption while the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace regarded the two parties as reactionary beyond redemption.

In the special session of Congress called by the President, to start the following Monday, the Republicans and Northern Democrats might be working together for the first time in awhile. That would pit Democrats against Democrats and Republicans against their most friendly Democrats, the Southerners. If the civil rights legislation was going to be filibustered by the Southerners, then the Republicans might claim that they could not stop it, at which point the President would have to reiterate his statement made at the convention that they had the requisite 64 Senate votes to do so.

The New Republic had found that 88 Democrats voted with the Republicans on the housing legislation, to remove the slum clearance and public housing provisions from the bill before sending it to the President. The same publication found that 101 Democrats voted with Republicans on not extending Social Security benefits, as urged by the President.

The Republicans might have to go along with the President to show that they were fit to govern in his stead.

Everyone, including the President, had begun to wonder whether the determination that liberalism had died with FDR had not been a premature judgment. No one was planning to pass another anti-labor law to try to appeal to the American voters.

So the Dixiecrats and Progressives might both be right, he finds, in perceiving the parties as going both right and left. They did appear to be moving in both directions at once.

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, examines the editorial comment on the Supreme Court's recent decision finding the cement industry's basing-point pricing system a violation of anti-trust laws, and its effect on other industries, notably steel, which had decided in the wake of the decision to abandon the system.

The Philadelphia Bulletin finds U.S. Steel's decision likely to spawn steel mills in unprofitable locales to reduce freight rates to customers, the basing-point price system having absorbed most of the freight charge for the customer.

The Washington Post believes U.S. Steel's move was temporary, only meant to motivate Congress to legalize the system.

The Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator finds that it could cause the building of an unprofitable steel mill in New York City, and the prospect ought prompt Congress to take action to make the system legal again.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes that steel could be produced more cheaply in New York City, and the situation thus showed the advantages of competition and flexibility.

The Columbus (Ohio) Evening Dispatch finds that the system was fair, enabling the steel company to quote a price equal to that of a competitor more proximal to the business, absorbing the freight cost differential. Making it illegal reduced competition by forcing the local business to get its product from the closest manufacturer. The ruling would thus cause a rise in costs and prices.

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot finds that the rise in steel prices would have a steady ripple effect through the economy. Some of the increased costs might be offset by decentralization of the plants and new industries in areas formerly not considered economically suitable to sustain them.

A letter writer finds an omission in an article in the newspaper on peach orchards, regarding the Van Lindlay orchard in Niagara, N.C., existing around 1870 or 1875, situated on land subsequently called the Nat Hurd Place between the eventual towns of Pinehurst and Southern Pines.

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