The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 28, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Government had stated that the U.S., Britain, and France would offer to begin talks with Russia regarding a general settlement of all outstanding issues in Europe as a whole. According to the anonymous source, the six-power arrangement between the Big Three and the Benelux countries, regarding establishment of West Germany, would be frozen if the four-power settlement could be achieved with Russia. The comprehensive settlement would likely include Germany, Austria, and Greece.

Secretary of State Marshall said, however, that such was not his understanding, that the West intended to go forward on their plan to create a West German government.

Newspapers in West Berlin said that the presence of two currencies had caused chaos in the city and that the Russians were trying to lay their own mistakes on the City Government.

Secretary of State Marshall announced the creation of a committee of three persons to determine whether the U.N. was bringing in persons from foreign countries who were dangerous to U.S. security, as charged by two State Department employees testifying before Congress. He said that he had found no confirmation of the contention.

Senate Republicans determined to have committees study the President's proposals for legislation to remedy inflation and the housing shortage, as well to outlaw the poll tax, the first item on the legislative agenda.

The Democrats claimed that the Congress was trying to sabotage the President's program.

Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, as promised, asked for adjournment of the special session of Congress until December 31. The resolution would be heard on Friday. A similar resolution was introduced in the House by a Republican from Ohio, Frederick Smith.

An explosion at the I. G. Farben plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, killed 500 to 600 persons, including police, and injured 1,400. Ludwigshafen was in the French-controlled zone of Germany. The cause of the explosion was not yet known.

An American B-29, part of a complement of three B-29's circling the globe on a training mission, crashed into the sea after takeoff from Aden on the south coast of Arabia. One survivor was picked up by a fisherman. One of the missing from the crew of the ill-fated flight was from Columbia, S.C.

With the new draft, the USO was returning to existence.

In North Carolina, 40 new polio cases were reported, bringing the total for the year, already a record, to 998. Deaths from polio rose to 58 for the year.

In Charlotte, the City Council was to hear a recommendation for expansion of the City Health Department's force of inspectors from 13 to 30 persons, to cope with the sanitation problems exposed by the Jaycees and The News.

Tom Fesperman continues his series of articles on the slum conditions, covering the special session of the Council.

On the editorial page, "Truman's Program All Politics" comments on the legislative agenda laid out the previous day by the President in his message to the special session of Congress, shedding light on his mastery of campaign strategy. All of the items for which he had called upon Congress to take action were consistent with the Republican platform and so reasonable, but none of them were so pressing as to warrant the special session. They were for the purpose of the campaign. The matter at the top of the agenda, inflation, was one on which the President knew that the Congress would not take action, at least not the action he wanted, provision of authority to implement controls. The primary focus therefore was to shift the campaign to the floors of Congress.

The President, through price control and civil rights, was making his bid for the urban masses whose votes had kept the Democrats in power for 16 years.

"Stalin's Party in America" finds that the platform of the Progressive Party was so stamped with the Communist brand that it was not possible to view Henry Wallace in a light other than as a tool of Moscow, regardless of his own personal view of the matter.

The movement was designed to create disharmony regarding the bipartisan foreign policy, desiring abandonment of the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine, giving the Kremlin implicit support in the Berlin crisis. It vowed to support the civil rights of all, including Communists, against more restrictive legislation re subversion. And it spread alarm regarding the Communist challenge by favoring nationalization of industry, indicating it as a program for revolution and not just liberal reform.

Each plank, it finds, was more extreme than counterparts of either major party. Such was a familiar Communist tactic to arouse reaction, tainting honest reform sought by liberals, driving the two major parties further to the right and producing gridlock which the Communists hoped would inure to their benefit.

Elmo Roper, however, had found that at the peak of its popularity in June, the Progressive Party attracted only 6.3 percent of the respondents in a presidential preference poll, down to 4 percent in July, roughly two million voters. The voters seemed to be shying away from the party as its Communist backing became more apparent.

"Putting the Squeeze on Russia" finds that the retaliatory response by the British and Americans to the Soviet blockade of Berlin by halting all rail traffic to and from the Soviet zone to the West would only impact about one 40-car train per day, not causing the Russians very much trouble. Nevertheless, it was good that the West was seeking to cause problems short of war and not merely protesting the blockade.

The alarmists, such as Winston Churchill and General "Wild Bill" Donovan, had encouraged Russia to continue its tactics by causing allies, fearful of the war rhetoric in America, to counsel restraint. The alarmists were communicating to the Russians implicitly that their bluff was working.

A unified show of confidence was needed by the West, with application of squeeze tactics on the Russians.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Compensations of Age", comments on the Department of Labor issuing a report which showed that industrial workers over age 45 stuck to their jobs more consistently and had fewer accidents than those younger. The employer who favored younger workers needed to take into account these statistics, as absenteeism and proneness to accidents would be higher.

Drew Pearson comments on the revolt of the Dixiecrats, suggests that Josef Stalin and his Kremlin associates would find the spectacle satisfying. Nevertheless, the country had made a lot of progress since the period of 1919-20 when there were race riots in East St. Louis and Washington, when President Hoover a decade later invited black Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House and encountered so much flak from his fellow Republicans that Mr. DePriest stayed away.

On the same night the Dixiecrats had met in Birmingham, Satchell Paige pitched for the Cleveland Indians against the Washington Senators in Washington and a white batter who sought to unnerve him was booed. There was no protest when two current black members of Congress, William Dawson of Chicago and Adam Clayton Powell of New York, were invited to the White House. In Georgia, a black candidate was running against Senator Richard Russell and had encountered no problem with campaigning. Thus, progress had been made.

Even Governor Strom Thurmond, the Dixiecrat presidential nominee, had angered many whites in South Carolina the previous year when he insisted on prosecution of the 31 defendants who had lynched Willie Earle near Greenville—all of the defendants eventually having been acquitted in that trial despite several having confessed to the FBI and implicated the triggermen.

There were many reformers in the South who did not like change rammed down their throats by outsiders. Governor Ellis Arnall had no trouble getting the Georgia Legislature to abolish the poll tax a few years earlier, but now many would resist. The Talmadges, Rankins and Bilbos were not typical of the South.

He urges more effort in the North and the South at mutual understanding.

Champ Pickens of Montgomery, Ala., sponsored the annual Blue and Gray football game between the college all-stars of the North and those of the South, played at Montgomery, to encourage better mutual understanding. Mr. Pearson thinks that it would be good to stage many such events. He suggests a national day to memorialize the Civil War dead on both sides and that civic organizations seek to promote such efforts by inviting members from other regions of the country to their clubs.

He concludes that presentation of a united front to the world was important, especially with regard to the Russians.

Marquis Childs finds that the strategy of the Republicans in the special session would be to show the Democrats hopelessly divided, expectant of a valuable ally in this regard in the form of the Southerners. Civil rights legislation, first on the agenda, would likely trigger a filibuster which would take 64 Senators or two-thirds of those present to stop. It would likely not be stopped until the Senate and the country were sick of the spectacle, probably after three or four weeks. Then the Republicans, with the aid of some Northern Democrats, would vote cloture and pass one of the less radical civil rights measures.

That would take the session into September, at which point the Republicans would adjourn, declaring the Democrats to have been obstructionists to any constructive legislation.

Many Southern Democrats were as opposed to price control and public housing as the conservative Republicans and would say so. While the President could distance himself from the Southerners, the public would not necessarily make the distinction.

The President would not call the Congress back into session a second time.

The effect on the campaign was not yet discernible. The Republicans, however, were not concerned, expecting victory irrespective of the outcome of the session.

Governor Dewey would remain aloof from the proceedings, with the attitude that the session involved old business having nothing to do with the future. His campaign manager, Herbert Brownell, future Attorney General under President Eisenhower, had termed the session a "rump session" called for political purposes, remained so confident of victory that he and his family had leased a Virginia estate and established themselves as the advance guard of the coming administration.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find the President and Congress angry. The President wanted a fight with Congress over inflation. His advisers had given some thought to a more drastic program than recommended in his message of the previous day. They had considered freezing prices and wages at current levels, but discarded the idea on the notion that it could be perceived as preparation for war and was unrealistic. The idea of eliminating all reference to wage controls, in deference to labor, was also discarded.

The controls program he had recommended the previous fall fell on deaf ears in Congress, was not liked by some in the Cabinet, as former Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder. But this time, he gave his Cabinet a chance in advance to voice criticism, heard none.

Some members of Congress had favored immediate adjournment on Monday, but most of the Senators disagreed, believed something had to be done about runaway inflation.

The Alsops conclude that no matter the political motivations for calling the session, it was hard to disagree with that sentiment.

A letter writer compliments the series by Tom Fesperman regarding the slums of Charlotte. He had lived near one of the areas mentioned and found it clean, thinks that Mr. Fesperman had sold the families short in that area, that the families were not entirely to blame for the conditions, that ignorance and superstition were partly responsible.

Another letter writer comments on the series on slum conditions, finds the slums not confined to the black sections of the city but also prevalent in the white sections. Other cities in which he had traveled, North and South, also had slums. He wonders why, therefore, The News wanted to publicize the problem.

He thinks the newspaper just wanted to have the people in these neighborhoods forced to pay higher prices for garbage cans, that they were evidently fat enough, were getting adequate nutrition, and so the real issue was not their health. Too many restrictive laws already abounded, such as on the farmer bringing fresh buttermilk to town for sale.

The New Deal was on the way out and if people wanted to help these individuals in the slum sections, they should vote for Governor Dewey. There was no way of getting the Communists out of Government with a Democrat in the White House.

The letter writer was not P. C. Burkholder, though echoing perfectly his sentiments, including that on buttermilk, evidencing also the same trenchant reasoning.


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