The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 27, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President addressed the special session of Congress at 11:30 a.m., asking for an eight-point program of controls to be placed on inflation and for legislation to meet the acute shortage in housing. The President spoke in restrained terms, unlike the condemnation of Congress in which he had engaged for the previous two months, calling it the worst in the history of the nation. He wore a light blue summer suit, black and white shoes, and a blue tie.

Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska said that calling the special session was merely a political maneuver of the President.

The President had also ordered the previous day the gradual elimination of segregation in the armed forces, prompting Southern members of Congress to react negatively. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, as reported by Frank Adams of The News, found the order to be an attempt by the President to woo black voters from Henry Wallace, making it more difficult for Southern leaders to hold already divided Southern support for the President. He said that the Southerners were in favor of equal treatment of the races in the military but not the elimination of segregation. He agreed with Senator Richard Russell of Georgia that the advice of General Eisenhower should be followed, that segregation of the military promoted greater efficiency.

The Russians were reported to be increasing their fighter plane strength near Berlin, in Thuringia.

Berlin's City Government fired Police Chief Paul Marksgraf as undemocratic. The Russians ordered his anti-Communist successor to be dismissed. Herr Marksgraf was accused of firing hundreds of Berlin policemen and cooperating with the Russians in the kidnaping of over 5,000 Germans.

In Paris, the National Assembly voted to allow the new Premier, Andre Marie, to begin work on France's gravest problems immediately.

Selective Service director General Lewis Hershey said that 25-year olds would be drafted first under the new draft law, registration under which was set to begin at the end of August. He estimated that only about 70,000 men in the 22-25 age group would become subject to peacetime service of 21 months. Of the 25-year olds, only about 8,000 could be used. Thousands of 18-year olds were going to recruiting offices to volunteer for one year of service to avoid the draft for 21 months, so many that a ceiling of 161,000 had been placed on such volunteers.

Tom Fesperman of The News continues his series on the sanitation problems besetting several neighborhoods in Charlotte, stressing in this report the slum clearance ordinance in Charlotte, affording the power, in the case of housing deemed unfit for habitation and detrimental to health, to order correction and fines of $50 per day until done, or condemnation if the repairs were not undertaken. The types of housing included were those without running water, an installed kitchen sink, inside bathing facilities, an installed water closet, electric lights, and window and door screening. Yet, many of the houses he saw fit that category in all respects. He talked with one old man who considered his neighbor "rich" because she had electric lights installed in her house. Someone had stretched an extension cord from her house through his window to enable a fan to be plugged in to cool the old man, who had the fever. His shack had not been torn down because the ordinance was suspended.

Mr. Fesperman also tells of the Delta Aquarid, a meteor shower, passing over the Southeast the previous night. Some saw a flying cigar, or flying cup or wingless airplanes. Maximum visibility of the shower would be achieved July 28, but it would be visible for a day or two in advance.

He concludes that if the multi-colored lights, however, turned out to be a two-decked wingless plane and landed in the reader's yard, blame should be directed to the Hayden Planetarium in New York from which the information came, not The News.

On the editorial page, "Act Now for Sanitation" examines the City's neglected Standard Housing ordinance, regarding housing codes, sanitation and waste disposal, urges increased enforcement to aid in eradication of the kind of conditions which Tom Fesperman had found in his series of articles and which the Jaycees had set forth in their report to the City Council. The Jaycees were urging that the housing code, which was being phased in over time because of scarcity of building materials during and since the war, should be placed into full effect forthwith.

It should be noted that in February, 1937, News reporter and book-page editor Cam Shipp, departed subequently in 1939 to be a publicity agent in Hollywood and freelance writer for several national publications, wrote a series of articles on the Charlotte slum problem, prevalent throughout the South. That series eventually led to the first Charlotte Federal housing project, granted in spring, 1939.

"Many Trophies of Dr. W. P. Jacobs" tells of the subject of the piece, from Clinton, S.C., having established a blocking trophy for the outstanding football blocker. He had died the previous Sunday in Washington at age 54. He moved to Charlotte in 1945 and became president of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association. Dr. Jacobs had been president for a decade of Presbyterian College and had founded the Jacobs Press which published several sports publications.

Drew Pearson tells of the head of the National Farmers Union advising the President to do "something dramatic", suggesting a conference with Stalin on the Berlin crisis. The President responded that he was not the dramatic type, but that there were ways to resolve the crisis. He said that he was convinced that the Russians did not want war and that the danger had been overplayed by the press.

He next recaps the changes in prices during the end of OPA price control two years earlier, provided also the previous day by James Marlow, and then provides excerpts from debates on the subject in Congress two years earlier, showing Republican leaders claiming that price control was causing inflation and that removal of it would result in stabilized prices through increased competition.

Meanwhile, profits of the 100 largest corporations had soared, going from 1.875 billion dollars in 1940 to 1.943 billion in 1945, and to 3.73 billion in 1947. GE and GM were making profits equal to about 20 percent of net worth and U.S. Steel, 10 percent. GE made five times the profits in 1947 which it had in 1939. Wage increases had been obliterated by rise in living costs.

A piece without a by-line compares the platform of Henry Wallace's Progressive Party to that of the Republicans and Democrats. Finding the Progressive Party platform indistinguishable in the main from the Communist Party aims, favoring nationalization of industry, termination of the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine, it begins the comparison with foreign policy. Mr. Wallace favored establishment of "joint responsibility" between the U.S. and Russia for ending the prospect of war, starting with negotiation to find common ground for establishing the peace. Aid should come through the U.N. rather than the U.S. Palestine should be partitioned according to the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947. The U.N. should be strengthened into a world legislature with power of enforcement. The Republicans favored an international approach to world peace, supported the U.N. and having an international armed force, believed in foreign aid within "prudent limits". The Democrats believed in the U.N. with curtailment of the veto power on the Security Council and development of an international armed force. They supported the Marshall Plan.

Regarding Communists, the Progressive Party believed in assuring the civil liberties of all Americans, including Communists. The Republicans wanted to expose the treasonable activities of Communists and enact legislation necessary to effect those ends. The Democrats condemned Communism and other forms of totalitarianism and pledged to expose and prosecute treasonable activity in the U.S. They would continue to enforce the laws against subversion while observing Constitutional rights protecting genuine political activity.

On civil rights, the Progressives demanded full equality for all minorities, a Federal anti-lynching law, anti-poll tax law, anti-segregation legislation, and a fair employment practices commission. The Democrats claimed credit for recent civil rights gains, favored elimination of all racial and religious discrimination, and endorsed the President's civil rights program which included anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation, establishment of an FEPC, and elimination of segregation in public transportation and the armed forces. The Republicans favored an anti-lynching law, an anti-poll tax law, an FEPC, and elimination of segregation in the armed forces.

Regarding inflation, the Progressives favored controls to hold down prices on the necessities of life, identical to that of the Democrats. The Republican solution was to cut Governmment spending and encourage production.

On labor legislation, the Progressives and Democrats favored repeal of Taft-Hartley and a minimum wage hike, the Progressives favoring a dollar per hour minimum and the Democrats 75 cents. The Progressives opposed seizure of industries to break or prevent strikes and vowed to get the right to strike for railroad workers by amendment of the Railway Labor Act. The Democrats also favored legislation to enable unions to prevent Communists from joining. The Republicans favored Taft-Hartley with some amendments and the concept that the right to strike was superseded only by public health and safety.

Regarding agriculture, the Progressives favored assistance to tenant farmers to become owners, establishment of a goal of a $3,000 annual farm income, and a five-year program of price supports for all major crops at no less than 90 percent of parity with dairy products higher. The Democrats pledged support of farmers and efforts to maintain the small family farm, permanent flexible price supports, expansion of soil conservation and encouragement of farm co-ops. The Republicans wanted sounder soil conservation, protection of reasonable market prices through flexible price supports, supported farm co-ops.

On business, the Progressives favored nationalization of the largest banks, the railroads, the Merchant Marine and the power and war industries. They also favored provision of adequate working capital to business and development of loans at low interest rates. The Democrats pledged intensive enforcement of anti-trust laws, promotion of competitive business, and the support of free enterprise. The Republicans vowed to encourage small business through anti-trust enforcement, elimination of unnecessary controls, protection against discrimination, correction of tax abuses and limitation of Government competition.

Regarding education, the Progressives vowed to end segregation in the public schools and make the right to a good education an inalienable right of all. The Republicans favored equality of educational opportunity. The Democrats favored Federal aid to education administered by the states, and charged that the Republican Congress had ignored education.

On housing, the Progressives promised Federal emergency aid to build four million low-rent, low-cost units in two years. The Democrats pledged a comprehensive housing program, with slum clearance and low-rent public housing initiated by local agencies. The Republicans favored Federal aid to the states for slum clearance and low-rent housing only where there was need which could not be met by private enterprise or by the states and local government.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Philadelphia, tell of the Progressive Party convention having left a more unpleasant memory behind than most such affairs. They find Henry Wallace's press conference to have been akin to a "baiting of the village idiot", a painful spectacle to watch. Yet, a good deal of genuine idealism was on display. Most of the followers lacked the political sophistication to be even fellow travelers of the Communists. Some wanted equality, others wanted a better shake in life than corporate capitalism had provided, while many simply wanted "peace", as an ex-Marine they encountered.

Those who talked of peace revealed a large amount of naivete, such as the belief that Russia was disarming while America was building atom bombs, that no one had tried to get along with the Russians, that Wall Street was behind the Marshall Plan, or that the people of Eastern Europe wanted their countries to be satellites of Russia.

The Communists in the party would likely succeed in their goal of defeating a number of liberals, in Illinois, California, and Minnesota, electing right wing isolationists in their stead. But it was unlikely that they would have any real effect on the political balance of power in the country.

At the point the postwar economic boom would end, however, the left would again come into vogue and with that group under Communist control, it could provide the ground for a movement not unlike that which Europe had come to know. Such, they find, was the real meaning of the Wallace movement.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, finds the warnings of a Russian showdown by the fall, of which he had been informed and related in his piece of May 18, to have been realized. The Russians had deliberately provoked the Berlin crisis. They did not want war but probably believed that they could coerce acquiescence to Soviet will to avoid its prospect. Russia had superior manpower to the West but not nearly the air or naval power of the U.S., or the long-range industrial support for manufacture of armaments. Russia lacked the capacity to build atom bombs in the numbers which the U.S. had in its arsenal and was capable of building.

The danger lay in the belief that Russia could not expand if the Marshall Plan succeeded. Since support was flagging at home for the Soviet regime, they might turn to stimulation of a foreign war as a distraction to encourage nationalism. Rivalries within the Politburo between the Molotov and Zhdanov factions had deepened and were impairing discipline. Thus far, only the Ukraine had shown open hostility, but the rebellion could spread. Yugoslavia's rebellion had weakened the grip of Moscow in Eastern Europe.

In a war with Russia, the U.S. would have to depend on itself, as Western Europe remained largely a shell. It was unlikely that Russia would provoke a war with the likelihood of success so slight. It was more probable that Russia hoped to force the U.S. into negotiations out of which might be achieved Soviet control of Germany. That strategy would fail if the American people united behind a policy of prevention of Russian expansion.

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