The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 24, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American military occupation leaders and Ambassador to Britain Lewis Douglas and Ambassador to Russia Walter Bedell Smith met this date in London with French and British counterparts to discuss strategy in confronting the Berlin blockade crisis. General Lucius Clay, American military occupation governor, reaffirmed his belief that there would not be a war and that the decision whether to use force would be made by the Government from which he took his orders.

In Paris, Andre Marie, a moderate conservative of the Radical Socialist Party, was selected as the new Premier of France by the National Assembly. He would form a coalition Government of all parties except the Communists and Gaullists.

The Progressive Party convention in Philadelphia nominated former Vice-President Henry Wallace and Senator Glen Taylor as its candidates for president and vice-president, respectively, and the two candidates would make their acceptance speeches this night. The keynote address the previous evening by Des Moines attorney and editor Charles Howard said that the choice was "Wallace or war."

General Motors announced a price increase of about eight percent on passenger cars to compensate for its recent wage increase and rising materials cost. Ford and Chrysler had recently announced price increases also. Chevrolets would rise between $80 and $115 and Pontiacs would be priced at between $1,500 for the Torpedo 6 coupe up to $2,490 for the Streamliner 8 Deluxe station wagon.

At least five persons of the Duluth Dukes baseball team of the Northern League were killed in a collision of the team's bus with a heavy truck near St. Paul, Minn. Eleven were injured, four in critical condition.

Cissy Patterson, editor and publisher of the Washington Times-Herald, was found dead in her home at age 64. She was first cousin to Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, previously published by their grandfather.

In Hazlehurst, Miss., a group of blacks and whites confronted one another until daylight arrived. The white men were a posse of 200 formed to search for two black men wanted in the shooting of the local sheriff, which had occurred during the arrest of a black suspect following an altercation with a white storekeeper and his wife. The woman claimed to have been slapped by the man who had drawn a knife. Some 50 to 75 armed blacks then confronted the posse and the groups remained at a standoff until daybreak when the posse divided into three groups to continue its hunt. The black group then scattered through the woods. At least a dozen blacks were taken to jail for questioning and "safekeeping", to keep them away from the mob which had formed twelve miles away. The community had returned to normal by around 8:00 a.m.

Thirty new polio case were reported in North Carolina, bringing the total for the year to 885, breaking the previous record of 878 set in 1944. The rate of attack was 23.8 per 100,000 population. The rate of deaths was 5.8 percent of the 885 cases or 51 deaths, compared to 4.4 percent in 1944.

Tom Fesperman of The News continues his series of articles on the unsanitary conditions in the Sugaw Creek neighborhood in Charlotte, thought to be lending to the relatively high incidence of polio in the city and county. He stresses the community toilets shared by some of the residents, a picture of one of which is placed on the front page. The odor, he says, was atrocious. One woman said that her family had their own privy which they kept locked, but that people knocked it off and used it anyway. One such clogged toilet sat a few feet from the faucet from which some of the neighborhood received their drinking and bathing water. About five feet away there were some chickens scratching in the dirt. One did not look well and was laying on its side.

He concludes that it would be a big surprise if there were not more sickness and death arising from these conditions.

Near Montgomery, Ala., two Eastern Air Lines pilots said that they saw a wingless two-decked plane early this date, shooting red flames and possessing a blue glow underneath its fuselage. The sighting occurred at 2:45 a.m. They said the plane appeared to be 100 feet in length, four times the diameter of a B-29 and was traveling at between 500 and 700 mph, heading toward New Orleans. They could see it in between the intermittent moonshine. Only one of the twenty passengers aboard was awake and also saw the craft. He also apparently saw it in between the moonshine.

If you see the object, call a doctor. It could mean the onset of polio. Get the sugar cubes when they come out.

On the editorial page, "Americans Twice Bomb the U.N." tells of a former turret gunner during the war dropping a homemade bomb on the Lake Success temporary headquarters of the U.N., upset about seeing the world on the verge of another war. He wanted the U.N. to employ more force in establishing the peace, believed the organization was peopled by appeasers.

But a raid by the U.S. Congress and the State Department on the U.N. appeared inspired by the same sentiments. All of the peace plans called for use of force, and fear of appeasement had grown to the point of becoming a phobia, blinding to the purposes of the U.N., being an organization designed for appeasement.

The two State Department officials who charged before the Senate Judiciary Committee that foreign agents with U.N. credentials were operating to gather espionage material had undermined confidence in the U.N. without first checking higher sources in the Department. Secretary of State Marshall subsequently denied the accuracy of their statements.

"Wallace and the Communists" posits that the Republicans had as much reason as the Democrats to be concerned about the Progressive Party and the Communists backing it. Many Communists believed that electing Governor Dewey would lead to a Hoover-type depression, with economic instability playing into their hands. Their desire therefore was actually to purge liberals to the extent possible from elective office. They would eventually take over the Progressive Party and purge Mr. Wallace as well. Their hope was to destroy the Democratic Party and supplant it. It was the way fifth columns developed.

"Six Points Daily for Health" provides six points for polio prevention, as given by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. You can read them if you think you might be coming down with polio. Get your sugar cubes early.

A piece from the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican, titled "Dewey to Invade South", contemplates the report that Governor Dewey would make a bid for the support of North Carolina, which had only gone Republican one time since the Civil War, that being in 1928 when Al Smith was the candidate against Herbert Hoover. The idea that Governor Dewey would consider such an effort stood as an affront to North Carolinians.

But Governor Dewey realized that the political landscape in the South had changed and that there was at least a possibility of turning North Carolina to the Republican column. The state had given increasing minority support to the Republicans in recent elections.

Drew Pearson tells of certain developments behind the Iron Curtain which suggested that Russia might be ready for war after all, in alteration of contrary speculation for the previous three years. The Russians were said to be preparing to move troops into Western Czechoslovakia, next to the American zone of Germany. The Russians had ordered thousands of bilingual signposts erected along the Soviet border to the German border for use by the Red Army divisions, pointing to Berlin and Paris. Russia had just occupied 15 new air bases in Eastern Germany, west of the Soviet border, some stocked with the Russian copy of the B-29. It had summoned to Moscow some of its most trusted diplomats. And word had gone forth to purge the dissident and weak elements of the European Communist Party, suggesting preparation, with the approval of Premier Stalin, for a final showdown with the West.

Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington was reported to be giving serious consideration of dropping leaflets for the Russian people from B-29's along the German border, as Mr. Pearson had recently suggested, designed to show American pacific intent. He explains the feasibility of such a plan, utilizing weather balloons, as indicated by the National Weather Bureau and the Air Force.

Actor Gene Raymond was learning firsthand about the new supersonic jet aircraft of the Air Force, as he was slated to appear in a movie about it.

Secretary of State Marshall wanted to resign for health reasons, but would remain for awhile out of loyalty to the President. The Secretary had spent part of three straight weeks in Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Some of the military brasshats were concerned that Governor Dewey, if he were to be elected, would appoint his adviser General Hugh Drum as his military adviser. General Drum was not liked.

General MacArthur showed no signs of returning to Washington for a visit. He had not been stateside since before Pearl Harbor.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop wonder what would be the prize for which the Kremlin would bring the world to the brink of war, an unanswerable question, they posit.

By 1962, we would know.

Many experts believed that Russia intended to bring all of Eastern Europe into the USSR. For that, they needed all of Berlin. Otto Grotewohl, Communist leader of the Soviet zone of Germany, had recently given a speech, apparently written by Moscow, in which he stated that the path to high production was by removal of hunger and the way to eliminate hunger was to transform the Soviet zone of Germany into a replica of the U.S.S.R., politically and economically. "Bourgeois" and "diversionist" political elements therefore had to be eliminated. Such a purge had reportedly already begun in Saxony. He also stated that the Communists in the Soviet zone were no longer to have contact with the West. He hinted that the plan for German unity, trumpeted by Soviet propaganda to be the Russian desire against Western partition, was to be abandoned.

It appeared that a pattern had developed in the wake of increasing Western recovery in Europe, drawing away from the pull of the Soviets, such that absolute control of the Eastern sphere was being sought, to prevent a repetition of the nationalist defiance shown by Tito and Yugoslavia.

But the plan could not be undertaken as long as the West remained in Berlin, which was why, according to the theory, the Soviets were willing to risk war to get the West out.

Marquis Childs, in Philadelphia, discusses the Progressive Party convention, finds that a conflict might develop out of the resentment of the non-Communists over increasing Communist control of the party. Henry Wallace would likely welcome such conflict. But otherwise, the convention would move smoothly to the nominations and speeches by Mr. Wallace and his running mate, Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho. The convention was a propaganda show, as much for the future as the present, as the stage managers were aiming at 1952.

These forces hoped for an economic depression in the ensuing four years out of the current inflationary trend, wanted to be ready when it occurred. The stage managers, with only a couple of exceptions, had never held political office. But nevertheless, they had held an inordinate sway over labor until Philip Murray, head of CIO, forced a showdown to exclude them. Only the United Electrical Workers supported Mr. Wallace by this point. The most conspicuous manager was C. B. Baldwin, an associate of Mr. Wallace in the New Deal, along with his wife, Lillian Traugott, in Europe for the OSS during part of the war. Lewis Frank, Jr., an intellectual, had been invaluable to Mr. Wallace personally. Playwright Lillian Hellman gave prestige to the party and also presumably provided financial backing. Representative Vito Marcantonio of New York was one of the few officeholders backing the Progressives and one of four or five top managers. He had developed a rivalry with Lee Pressman, former counsel for CIO, running for Congress on the Progressive ticket. Paul Robeson was a member of the executive committee of the party and was high on the list of managers. Clark Foreman, formerly active in the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, had a similar role. Attorney John Abt, a former executive of CIO, was also taking a leading role in the Wallace movement and was general counsel for the party.

Mr. Abt had acted as counsel for Senator Taylor following his arrest at the behest of Birmingham Police Commissioner Bull Connor on May 1, 1948 for using the black-only entrance to a church at which Senator Taylor was scheduled to speak, a meeting originally scheduled for the 16th Street Baptist Church.

We note again that Mr. Abt was the attorney who Lee Oswald initially requested as his counsel after his arrest on November 22, 1963 for the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. Mr. Abt, however, later told the Warren Commission that he never had previously heard of Oswald and that not long after he learned that Oswald was interested in hiring him, the shooting of Oswald took place, on Sunday morning, November 24.

On August 20, 1948, Mr. Abt would be called to testify before a subcommittee of HUAC. Congressman Richard Nixon was acting as chair of the subcommittee, then investigating the testimonial conflict between Whittaker Chambers's accusations that he had known Alger Hiss from 1932 or 1934 to 1938, that both had been members of the Communist Party, and that Mr. Hiss had led a Communist cell during the time after he joined the State Department in fall, 1936, and the denial by Mr. Hiss that he had ever been a Communist or that he ever knew Mr. Chambers save in passing for a few months in 1935 and under a different name, George Crosley, a freelance writer. Parenthetically, the accusations of espionage involving Mr. Hiss providing transcriptions of secret Government documents to Mr. Chambers would not come until later in the fall of 1948, during a civil trial in which Mr. Hiss sued Mr. Chambers for defamation. It is noteworthy in weighing the veracity of Mr. Chambers that he never once accused Mr. Hiss directly of espionage during his several sessions of testimony before HUAC in August, 1948, despite being given the opportunity in questioning to do so. Indeed, he said that Mr. Hiss and the other Government employees he had named were not desired as sources of information for the Communist cell but rather, by rising through the Government, would be "of very much more service" to the Communist Party subsequently.

Mr. Abt was questioned as to whether he was a member of the Communist Party, whether he knew either Mr. Chambers or Mr. Hiss, and whether, as claimed by Mr. Chambers, he had ever been the head, during the mid-1930's, of an underground group of Communists operating within the Government. He was also asked whether he knew the several individuals claimed by Elizabeth Bentley to be her suppliers of Government information which she transmitted to the Soviet Union, including the alleged ringleaders of two espionage groups she identified within the Government, Nathan Silvermaster and Victor Perlo. To all of these questions, Mr. Abt pleaded the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, refusing to answer. He also claimed that the Committee itself was unconstitutional for the presence of Congressman John Rankin, not duly elected to Congress because of the exclusion of black voters in Mississippi primaries, and in any event operating outside its proper scope, intruding on the judicial function of the courts under Article III of the Constitution.

Mr. Hiss, incidentally, testified that he did know Mr. Abt in the context of their mutual roles as part of the legal staff of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, looks at editorial opinion on the probable impact of the Dixiecrats, with the prevailing opinion being that they would acquire too few electoral votes to prevent a majority for either major party candidate and throw the election into the House. The majority believed that the long-term effect would be to increase support for the Republican Party in the South, to give the South a bargaining position between the two major parties.

The Syracuse Herald-Journal finds it difficult to predict whether the Solid South would vote for Governor Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrat ticket.

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot believes that the Dixiecrats would amount to practically nothing. Absent from the Birmingham Dixiecrat meet the previous Saturday had been the top Southern leaders, including Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who attracted the bulk of the Southern delegate vote at the Democratic convention the previous week.

The Washington Post predicts that the Dixiecrats would make themselves felt in the years ahead, perhaps a blessing in disguise to the South by promoting two distinct parties.

The Columbia Record finds the Dixiecrat movement futile, as with any splinter party. To make its voice heard, the South would have to shift to the Republicans.

The Austin American thinks that the Dixiecrats should join the Republican Party.

The Atlanta Constitution says that several Southern and border states had already shown signs, before the revolt, of shifting to the GOP, to escape the one-party system.

A letter from twice-failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder says that the Democrats under President Truman had brought the country as much war as peace since the end of the war. The country was on the brink of Armageddon and liberty and democracy were threatened. The Republicans, by contrast, never had the "dictator itch" of the New Dealers. He admires the courage of the Dixiecrats for walking out of the Democratic convention.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.