The Charlotte News

Monday, July 26, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. and Britain retaliated against the Russian blockade of Berlin by banning trains from moving from Western Europe into the Russian zone of Germany or from the Russian zone into the West. The economic sanction was effective immediately. The rail commerce did not amount to much, most of the commerce headed to Scandinavia from Russia. International mail trains would be allowed to pass.

Also in Frankfurt, the military and political leaders of the U.S., Britain, and France agreed to final plans for a West German government, leaving the door open for participation of East Germany in the future. A constituent assembly would be elected by September 1 and a referendum on its proposed charter would be later submitted to the voters. The German leaders objected to the referendum on the basis that it would allow Nazis and Communists to stir dissent.

The 16 American jets, Lockheed Shooting Stars, arrived in Germany, with 75 more to follow.

Russia unveiled several new jet planes at the annual Soviet air show in Moscow.

The Congress began its special session called by the President, meeting only briefly. House Republicans and Democrats engaged in mutual recrimination for inflation and the housing shortage. The President was scheduled to address the Congress in person the following day at 11:30 a.m. He invited ranking Democratic leaders to the White House to review the message in advance.

The Southern Democrats decided to withhold their opinion on civil rights until after the President set forth his agenda for the session. Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina still planned to introduce a resolution for immediate adjournment. Senator Richard Russell said that the Southern Democrats would caucus the following day to renew their determination to fight the civil rights measures. Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi, saying that the civil rights program of the President was "Communistic", challenged the President and Governor Dewey to a debate on the subject.

The Progressive Party, after the acceptance speeches of former Vice-President Henry Wallace and Senator Glen Taylor on Saturday night, developed its platform the previous night, and the candidates then got right onto the campaign trail which Mr. Wallace promised to follow to every state.

In St. Paul, Minn., a sixth member of the Duluth baseball team died following a bus-truck collision on Saturday.

Tom Fesperman of The News continues his series of articles on the deplorable conditions of sanitation in several Charlotte neighborhoods, contributing, it was believed, to the spread of polio and other diseases. Human excrement was in evidence on the ground in numerous places. The City Code said that no more than six persons could utilize a privy, but that was obviously being exceeded—we trust not at one time. A dozen families were using a broken down privy within a stone's throw of the County Courthouse. Garbage was dumped in vacant lots. Flies abounded by the millions, attracted by these conditions. He finds that the Jaycees' recent report on the conditions had been an understatement of that which actually existed.

A group of civic leaders, including the Jaycees, gathered to form a plan to improve the conditions.

The problem was likely, as the Communist scare and the Dixiecrat revolt, the result of the Martian activity in the upper atmosphere.

From Atlanta, a report said that during the weekend, the flying saucer or whatever "it" was had returned, variously described as a wingless craft spewing flames or an aluminum covered balloon, an unusually bright light, a ball of fire, a flash of cherry red fire or a meteor. The two Eastern Air Lines pilots and a passenger aboard their flight first espied it in the misty moonshine, heading for New Orleans. An Atlanta hunter in North Georgia reported a bright light at about the same time—probably a bear with a lampshade on his head. In Yakima, Wash., the balloon sighting was made by several people. At Montgomery, Ala., two housewives reported red and blue flames speeding across the sky, bursting in mid-air. A housewife in Indianapolis saw a ball of fire. Goodness gracious. That was Thursday night, but she did not report it until after the EAL incident appeared in the newspapers. Two employers of the Civil Aeronautics Administration saw "it", described it as neither a weather balloon nor a blimp. The Army claimed no responsibility.

Whether Hal Boyle was taken on a ride in the thing, as he had been the previous July, is not reported. That was probably top secret, hush-hush, and on the q.t.

On the editorial page, "Wallace Fans War Hysteria" finds Henry Wallace to be as disquieting as any warmonger on the scene. In his Progressive Party acceptance speech Saturday night, he had not offered a word of hope for the American people and the roar of the crowd of 30,000 when he finished gave pause to consider that it was the voice of doom coming from the radio. They had cheered loudly at every negative mention of the President, John Foster Dulles, imperialists, Southern reactionaries and the rest of the litany of bogeys. Brotherly love lost out.

The slogan "Wallace or War" had the same ominous ring that Mr. Wallace's peace talk had. It suggests that as many as five million people would be impressed by the Wallace rhetoric, to believe that appeasement was the only way to avoid war. His only real contribution to the campaign, it opines, had been to make a bad situation look worse than it was.

"Berlin Air Lift Delivers" tells of the Government reporting that soon the British and American airlift to Berlin of food and supplies would be nearly doubled, from 2,500 tons daily to 4,500 tons. General Lucius Clay had departed Washington for return to Frankfurt saying that he was confident war would not come as a result of the blockade, echoing statements of the President and Secretary of State Marshall.

General Clay believed that the airlift would convince the Russians that the Western allies meant to stand their ground. It was also showing all of Europe that the West would remain in Berlin, as well as the capacity to meet emergencies.

The airlift now was shifting to a semi-permanent status rather than merely the stopgap means of supply it first appeared to be. The Russian threat to starve the German people in the Western zones was rallying them to the side of the West. As the Western position improved, the Soviet position declined in both Western Europe and behind the Iron Curtain.

"Shakespeare for Charlotte" finds the Raleigh News & Observer indulging in a degree of mockery of the fact that Charlotte was getting a Shakespeare Society with $10 memberships, when, it suggested, the community needed many thousands of things more than a Shakespeare Society.

The piece cautions The News & Observer with words from Othello:

O, beware my lord of jealousy,
It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on...

In another week, the news would be such that to be entirely providential in scope, it might apply the same script to HUAC, with special attention addressed to a certain graduate of the Duke Law School.

A lot of the plays actually work pretty well in that regard, including, of course, The Comedy of Errors.

Emmet Hughes, in an excerpt, at page 80, from a piece appearing in Life, here titled "Trial of America's Spirit", comments that only two years had passed since the Germans had held their first free election after the war, but the American-licensed press in Berlin now felt it necessary to re-assure that the British and Americans were not leaving Berlin. Eighty percent of Berliners had voted against Communism, and only a few had been caught and punished by the Russians.

He wonders what would become of the German sense of justice should the West, having adjudged Nazism evil and dealt it a mortal blow both in the war and in its aftermath in the war crimes trials, then turn and leave. Surrender would not only be to allow to fall that for which the Western allies had fought during the war but also imply that in July, 1945 at Potsdam, the West did not have the moral purpose of which it boasted, that it only then had a gun.

"We had more than that. We carried with us the integrity of the West. We may have to prove it again, in Berlin."

James Marlow tells of the dollar being worth only 57 percent of what it had been in 1939, underlying the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the cost of living had reached an all-time high, 74 percent above that of August, 1939. Food was the biggest gainer at 129 percent, with meat the fastest rising food cost at 187.5 percent. He provides a chart of the other major areas contributing to the cost of living. Rents were the smallest of the group, rising 12 percent, while clothing was second highest at 97 percent.

The President was asking the special session of Congress for authorization of controls on inflation. The argument of business that with OPA gone, competition would work to keep prices down had not proved true. During the tenure of OPA, from May, 1942 until June, 1946, prices had risen only 35.2 percent over those of August, 1939, compared to 17.6 percent during the period August, 1939 to May, 1942, 33 months. Since OPA's demise, prices had risen by 74.1 percent more than in August, 1939.

Drew Pearson looks at the record of the Republican Congress to distinguish it from the Republican candidates, Governors Dewey and Warren, suggesting that the special session getting underway this date could educate the voters to the positions of the Congress so as to enable them to vote some of the "misfits and diehards" out in November.

Governor Dewey had extended minimum wages in New York to 500,000 additional retail workers. He passed a bill to prevent discrimination in employment opportunity, similar to the President's proposal for an FEPC. Governor Dewey also insisted on admissions to state higher educational facilities proportional to the incidence of racial and religious minorities in the general population. Governor Warren had also urged to the California Legislature a fair employment bill but could not get it passed. Governor Dewey had urged the State to contribute to local public health and launched a program under which free X-rays were provided to detect tuberculosis. Governor Warren had urged unsuccessfully state-wide health insurance, a program endorsed by the President at the national level. Governor Dewey, opposing the real estate lobby consistently, had a strong public housing program, as had Governor Warren on both counts. Governor Dewey's adviser had said that lack of public housing encouraged Communism. Governor Dewey obtained rent control when OPA was shut down at the Federal level; Governor Warren tried and again failed in this regard. Governor Dewey believed that the teachers' lobby was being unreasonable in its salary hike demands. He helped teachers get one raise and urged localities to do more. Governor Warren had obtained minimum salaries of $2,400 for teachers and increased education aid to local districts. He had also obtained 20 million dollars in aid for schools in impoverished areas in 1947. The President had also asked Congress repeatedly for Federal aid to education.

Generally, Governors Dewey and Warren were the same on these issues as the President, differing only in the details. The Congress, however, had accepted very little of it so far.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, discuss the Progressive Party convention, which they indicate was not really a convention but rather an American Communist Party stage-managed "spectacle". Even Henry Wallace was disturbed by the influence exerted by the Communists. But he remained convinced that non-Communist labor and liberals would eventually come to his point of view. Thus far, however, nothing of the sort was in evidence. Among labor, only the Communist-influenced Electrical Workers, Longshoremen, Fur Workers, and Tobacco Workers were supporting him.

Not a single New Deal leader of stature was backing him. Even his old associate Rexford Guy Tugwell, head of the platform committee, was said to be wavering because of his personal support for the Marshall Plan, at variance with the party platform which was opposed to it.

They find that Mr. Wallace and the liberals within the movement were no longer in control, that a small group of leaders, prime among whom were C. B. Baldwin, Lee Pressman and John Abt, exerted power. Mr. Baldwin was not a Communist but had joined several front organizations with ties to the Communists, such as the Civil Rights Congress.

Mr. Pressman, until recently counsel for CIO, was friendly to the Communists and had been the author of the party platform. He had not denied the reports that he was a member of the Communist Party.

Mr. Abt, former counsel for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, shared Mr. Pressman's views and associations.

They find it difficult to understand what former Vice-President Wallace saw in this movement at this point. Even the convention was without excitement. The party was controlled by forces completely beyond Mr. Wallace, leading the movement to a "bitter, undignified end."

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of a former German foreign office executive, Dr. Erich Kordt, part of the plan to overthrow Hitler in 1938, imparting that the best way to negotiate with the Russians in the Berlin crisis was to give them a face-saving excuse for a change of attitude. He said that the West should not retreat from their stand of not evacuating Berlin and of ending first the blockade prior to negotiations, as firmness was also essential. But he believed that providing a logical way out for the Russians was of equal importance.

At Munich in 1938, Dr. Kordt explained, Hitler had evidenced evil ambition, convincing Dr. Kordt and his associates that it was necessary to overthrow him. He advised the British Foreign Office to deal firmly with Hitler in light of this pending revolt. Hitler did not want a major war at that time, only a little one which would enhance his prestige. So he planned an attack on Czechoslovakia. But the people showed that they were not yet with him in September, 1938 and so he proposed the Munich conference. This apparent compromise killed Dr. Kordt's revolt. The Munich Pact gave Hitler what he wanted and raised his prestige with the people and the German military.

A letter from A. W. Black again attacks the United World Federalists, favoring world government, finding the organization issuing false propaganda regarding the acceptance of the idea.

He says that the book Peace or Anarchy by UWF president Cord Meyer, Jr.,—whom Watergate burglar and former CIA operative E. Howard Hunt, toward the end of his life, accused of being instrumental in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy—stated, "No attempt should be made to extend the protection of a Bill of Rights to the world's inhabitants." Mr. Black thinks such to be a recipe for totalitarianism.

Today, of course, Mr. Black, the double-talk artist, would not be relegated to the lonely spaces in the "People's Platform" of The News but would have his own internationally broadcast radio talk show heard by "millions" daily—the bulk of whom would be tuning in only to hear the freak show, the outrageous things of which he was trying to convince listeners. About twelve people would be so credulous as to believe anything he said—even if on this one topic among several others on which he regularly expounded, his basic point, that world government was unworkable, was sound.

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.