The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 6, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., Britain, and France had demanded that Russia lift the blockade of Berlin. The statement occurred in the wake of the French discovery of a document confirming the belief that the Russians were seeking to drive the Western powers from Berlin and occupy all four zones with the Red Army. The evidence revealed that the Russians had instructed Communists in Berlin to cause incidents which would provoke intervention by Russian forces in all four zones of the city.

Israel formally and overwhelmingly rejected the proposal offered by Count Folke Bernadotte, U.N. mediator, to effect a peace in Palestine. The Israelis were wounded by the proposal to have Jerusalem placed under Arab administration and opposed any restriction to immigration, which the proposal left to the U.N. The Israelis asked Count Bernadotte to reconsider his approach to the problem. Neither the Arabs nor the Israelis gave a reply to the invitation to extend the four-week truce, set to run out on Friday. It was expected that the Arabs would resume fighting when the truce expired. Count Bernadotte vowed to continue seeking a peace settlement even if the truce were not extended.

A parade in Prague cheered resigned President Eduard Benes while his successor, Klement Gottwald, a Communist, received the silent treatment. The crowd also cheered Yugoslavia and Marshal Tito. The 80,000 marchers in the parade were of the Sokol Congress, a national apolitical cultural and physical training organization, oriented toward anti-Communism.

About 50,000 of the 400,000 bituminous coal miners in the U.S. were on strike this date following the failure of the captive mine owners to meet the demands of UMW members, though the rest of the industry had formed a new contract. The strike affected the steel industry immediately. The miners wanted a union shop provision in the contract, rejected by the captive mine owners.

Goodrich and Goodyear announced an increase in tire prices from five to seven and a half percent, both following the lead of U.S. Rubber.

Kaiser-Frazer raised its car prices from $23 to $169, bringing prices to between $2,091 and $2,321, the latter on Frazers, and up for the deluxe models.

The Democratic platform committee, chaired by Pennsylvania Senator Francis Myers, was considering having a states' rights plank to offset the civil rights plank, probably to be a duplicate of the 1944 plank. Meanwhile, Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis led 50 other Democrats in an effort to write a plank which would include all of the President's program, sure to anger Southerners.

General Eisenhower gave a final negative response to the effort to draft him for the Democratic nomination and refused identification with any political party. Several Democratic backers of the General nevertheless persisted in their draft efforts. Boss Frank Hague of Jersey City wanted the President to ask the General to become the nominee. Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Senator Olin Johnston of that state both supported General Eisenhower for the nomination and believed that he would not refuse a draft.

In Los Angeles, actress Carole Landis, 29, died of an overdose of sleeping pills. She left a suicide note for her mother, expressing her love and sorrow for taking her own life. Actor Rex Harrison found her body after being unsuccessful in reaching her by telephone.

The death toll for the three-day holiday weekend rose to 555 across the nation, nine more than the previous year, including 297 in traffic accidents, the latter being the highest total since 1941. In 1947, 264 had died in traffic mishaps. The toll exceeded the estimate of the National Safety Council which had predicted the loss of 235 lives in traffic accidents.

Remember: Whether there are 60 cents injected to the curb bandit or only 50, it's the fortuitous loose cipher which finds its aim in the blurred pandit swiftly, that kills the Oyster's irritated grain with a ruse riper than that used upon Abel by Cain, a crooked stick shifted, become the Garden's viper.

On the editorial page, "What's Ahead in the 'Cold War?'" finds that the apparent split of Yugoslavia from the Soviet bloc was not necessarily ground for celebration yet, that it was too soon and the split too tentative to view it as a victory.

It finds that the developments in recent years had done more to vindicate the Soviet policy of expansion than the State Department's containment theory. America had been forced to undertake the expense of the Marshall Plan, giving the Russians a freer hand in other spheres and enabling Russia to improve its industry and agriculture while the West was preoccupied with military expansion.

America could take a middle course between force and appeasement of Russia, to engage in diplomatic efforts to formulate a lasting peace. It favors forming a world federation and and atomic peacetime production.

"Why We're Dumb in Politics" elaborates on the University of Virginia commencement address of David Lilienthal, AEC chairman, published in part on the page the previous day. He had said that the reason government often failed to solve problems was that the same type of dedication of mind which characterized science had not been applied to municipal and state affairs in the political and social realms. The piece thinks that he did not go too far in attributing the depression and two world wars, plus the threat of a third, to lack of sufficient public interest in politics and government.

The view held by President Harding that politics and government were simple and could take care of themselves was an extension of the me-first generation which led to isolationism. Albert Einstein had said that politics was more difficult than physics.

It recommends following the course urged by Mr. Lilienthal, to take an active interest in politics and to engage in public service.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, finds the prospects for Russo-German cooperation greater than at any time since war's end. To control Europe, Russia had to control Germany. Russia had been inflexible in its policy while the West had wavered and still had no fixed policy on Germany.

The French opposed any German policy by the West which might hasten war with Russia, and the British were also hesitant to engage in any such program.

At the recent Warsaw conference of the Russians and the Eastern European satellites, the Soviets had directed Communist parties to undertake disruptive activities in Western Europe to decrease the likelihood of Western European government backing of American action.

America could not continue to feed two million Germans by air, but yet it could not allow them to starve. The Russians would not end the blockade for fear of German resentment. The Soviets maintained that the German problem was caused by the West's refusal to allow unity of Germany.

The question arose why the Government had allowed a situation to occur which could only be resolved by force or submission to Russia's demands to withdraw from Berlin. America could not retreat as too much was at stake. The recent problems in Soviet-bloc unity, however, provided hope that the Kremlin would not press the matter to the point of war.

Drew Pearson tells of Robert Hannegan, former DNC chairman, having come to the White House to speak with the President recently, prepared to tell him that he had no chance to win the election. But he never got to say anything for the intervention of "court jester" George Allen, who carried the conversation at the luncheon, echoing the confidence in victory expressed by the President, who viewed Governor Dewey as a "pushover".

He next provides a cross-section of opinion of key Democrats as they approached the July 12 convention. Ed Kelly, boss of Chicago, wanted either General Eisenhower or Justice Douglas as the nominee. Senator Alben Barkley, to be the vice-presidential nominee, was unenthusiastically loyal to the President. Former Speaker Sam Rayburn was worried about the Congressional elections with the President heading the ticket. Bronx Boss Ed Flynn would sit out the election. James Roosevelt expressed the belief that a majority of California delegates should not be bound to a losing candidate. Paul Fitzpatrick of New York was standing by the President, though most of the delegation was not. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas believed it was a matter of saving the nation and the world, not just the party. Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina believed that the President ought realize that no man was bigger than his own party.

Democratic leaders said that they wished the President would take a leaf from former Mayor Kelly when he stepped aside for re-election after it was imparted to him that his strength had faltered in Chicago. Martin Kennelly was elected in his stead and was doing a fine job.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop question what the U.S. should do about the break between Tito in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, the first major break in the Soviet bloc. Despite the break and its suggestion of success of the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, Tito was still a dictator of a revolutionary police state. Recently, a chief lieutenant of Tito had approached a member of the British Parliament indicating that Yugoslavia would like aid from the West, one incident which likely prompted the Cominform criticism. Another incident involved the impoundment in the U.S. of 50 million dollars worth of Yugoslav gold, which Yugoslavia demanded, less six million dollars for seized U.S. property in Yugoslavia. The U.S. wanted 17 million. Suddenly, a couple of weeks earlier, Yugoslavia had offered 20 million, accepted by the U.S.

The Soviets had failed to provide Yugoslavia with badly needed economic aid and the U.S. had come to the rescue with a mutually beneficial deal. Tito could not remain free from the Soviets without U.S. aid.

But Tito had long opposed the U.S. and had recently reasserted faith in Communism. It was likely that to avoid the dilemma thus posed, the U.S. would engage in low-level diplomatic talks with the Yugoslavs through an intermediary, probably the French or British. The U.S. emissary would likely state that the U.S. would not hold a grudge against Tito's past statements, provided he continued his break with the Soviets, in return for which the U.S. would reach mutually profitable agreements. The approach was in pursuance of a continuing policy that the internal affairs of other nations were not the concern of the U.S. as long as they posed no threat in conjunction externally with other powers, boiling down to a question of whether they were for the U.S. or against it.

DeWitt MacKenzie finds the Cominform's castigation of Tito to have backfired in a way which could produce an upheaval in the Soviet hierarchy and impact the succession of the Russian dictatorship. Yugoslavia had appealed directly to Prime Minister Stalin to reverse the Cominform charges.

The man on the spot was Col. General Andrei Zhdanov, hero of Leningrad, the right-hand man to Stalin and head of the Cominform. The Cominform's criticism of Tito was thus attributed to him. The problem placed Stalin on the spot, either to repudiate the Cominform and thereby create a Communist internal scandal or to avoid doing so and allow thereby the rift with Tito to fester.

It also left the question of who placed Stalin in this position, such that they had to be purged. If it was Zhdanov, was Stalin willing to purge his right-hand man? He was considered in line for succession to Stalin, along with V. M. Molotov.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, looks at Berlin, finds the crisis stemming mutually from the U.S. and Russia, from the background of schoolyard insults being hurled back and forth since the war. Now, while the Soviets blocked the railroads, the West was flying in supplies as if to say, “Never touched us.” The decision by the Western allies to form a West German government, irrespective of the Soviets in the East, had prompted the reaction by the Soviets in the form of the blockade and discussions with the Soviet bloc nations anent formation of an East German state. The necessity of such a government in West Germany, he suggests, had not been a pressing problem and could have awaited more subtle negotiation with the Russians.

If discussions aimed at peace could not take place, then the nearly comical situation in Berlin could turn tragic, devolving to war.

Indeed, by October, 1962, it nearly led, in the tit-for-tat struggle, to destruction of civilization.

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.