The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 10, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that before HUAC, Duncan Lee, former OSS employee and legal counsel to General "Wild Bill" Donovan during the war, denied that he was ever a Communist or that he ever gave secret information to Elizabeth Bentley as she had charged, claiming that she then gave it to the Soviets. He said that he knew Ms. Bentley by the name of Helen Grant, had met her at the home of Mary Price, originally of North Carolina, and that he and his wife had tried to break off their purely social connection with Ms. Bentley because she became a pest. He said that it was hard for him to believe that her accusations were those of a "rational person".

Ms. Bentley was then re-called to testify and reiterated her accusations against Mr. Lee, saying that, among other information, he informed her about something "super-secret" going on at Oak Ridge, though, she said, he was not aware of what it was.

HUAC served subpoenas on Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ivanovich Samarin relative to their desire to seek the protection of the American Government and not return to the Soviet Union, as desired by the Soviet Embassy. Mr. Samarin was a school teacher who taught the children of the members of the Soviet delegation to the U.N. He had volunteered information to the FBI, the exact nature of which was not known. A demand by the Soviet Ambassador that the American Government turn over the couple to the Russian Embassy was rejected by the State Department. The presumed object of the HUAC inquiry was to see if the couple had information regarding the alleged espionage ring within the Government before and during the war.

Another Russian teacher, Oksana Kosenkina, was also being sought for service of a subpoena, but she was apparently at the Russian consulate and could not be served as long as she remained there.

In Tokyo, an official in General MacArthur's headquarters had been suspended without pay pending a loyalty check. The man was head of the price and distribution division which directed rationing and price controls on Japanese food and other essential commodities. The man said that he was not and never had been a Communist and was loyal in all respects. An investigation of him by the FBI pertained to his prior service in the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Office of Price Administration. A hearing would be held on the matter in Washington.

Rumors circulating in Berlin were discounted regarding the Russians being about to lift the blockade insofar as rail traffic.

President Truman signed the housing bill into law passed during the special session of Congress which had ended the previous Saturday. He criticized the measure as "far short" of what should have been passed. But he said that it would be "some help" and so he signed it. He said that the GOP members had blocked the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill which would have provided public housing and slum clearance.

The New York Star published a report that Secretary of State Marshall had threatened to resign as a result of the President's proposal regarding Palestine. Press secretary Charles G. Ross said that he was not aware of any such situation.

Secretary Marshall would resign, effective at the beginning of 1949.

DNC chairman Senator J. Howard McGrath said that the President might make a Labor Day speech in Detroit. He did not say whether the President might begin his campaign prior to that point. The President, he said, would be making whistle-stops around the country and maybe traveling by "Mississippi boat".

The Democrats were treading water financially, with only a $5,000 balance, while the Republicans were flush. The Democrats had received virtually no contributions from the South, usually quite helpful to the campaign war chest.

Friends of Governor Dewey said that he was so confident of victory that he might make fewer than ten campaign speeches. They said he might take one long tour by train.

Why take risks when the election is in the bag? Stick to fewer than ten speeches. That ought to do it.

The Dixiecrats met in Houston this date for planning campaign strategy and for the formal acceptance speech of presidential nominee Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. The speech would take place the following day.

Governor Thurmond was greeted by H. R. Cullen, multi-millionaire oilman and philanthropist—to demonstrate that the Dixiecrats were on the side of the common man.

The Texas Democratic executive committee had just certified the Truman-Barkley ticket for inclusion on the November ballot after the Dixiecrats had sought to prevent it.

In the Canadian Rockies, in the Bugaboo Range near Spillamachean, B.C., two mountain climbers of the San Francisco Bay Area died after being struck by a bolt of lightning during a sudden snow storm. Two others in the party were seriously injured. The four were huddling in a cave to escape the snow when the lightning struck them. All were knocked unconscious. One of the two who had died fell over a 1,000-foot cliff after being struck and the other was paralyzed and had to be left behind while the two injured persons sought help. The rescue party then could not reach him in time.

In Gainesville, Fla., the author of Cross Creek, Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings, was found liable in a civil suit for invasion of privacy in the nominal sum of one dollar and court costs. Ms. Rawlings was sued by her former researcher, claiming that the author had used her as a model for a character in the novel. An earlier trial had wound up in a verdict for Ms. Rawlings, but the Florida Supreme Court reversed the case and allowed the award of nominal damages.

In the News amateur photographic contest, an Army sergeant won the week's $5 prize for a photograph, printed on the page. Second place pocketed $2.50.

You could buy a thimble with that.

In September, the grand prize would be awarded of $25 and the winning snapshot submitted to the national contest which awarded prizes totaling $10,000.

On the editorial page, "Modifying the Housing Law" agrees with the City Manager that modification of the Standard Housing Ordinance in Charlotte should occur so that quick enforcement could take place under the newly implemented ordinance, to remedy the worst of the slum conditions. It was wise to defer enforcement of parts of the ordinance in deference to the parts which would effect better sanitation forthwith.

"Communists Are Not Idealists" finds those Americans from the middle class who had been attracted to Communism not to be idealists but rather opportunists who merely wanted to be on the winning side. Whittaker Chambers, testifying before HUAC, had said that such was the grip of the party on adherents to Communism that one could not say that one surely was on the winning side when a member left the party. Indeed, it was more likely, he indicated, to say that one was leaving for the losing side, but it was better to be on the losing side than to live under Communism.

The Washington Post had replied to this statement of Mr. Chambers by asserting it to be explanation of how the party held mesmeric power over youth drawn to it.

"Get Rid of the Ragweed" tells of ragweed pollen at this time of year being most responsible for hay fever. One could escape by going to the desert or to the Northern regions or to southern and eastern Florida, each of which claimed no ragweed.

It recommends no particular remedy. For the present, sufferers would have to bear the scourge and the sneezing.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Faith in North Carolina", says that the Gloomy Guses who never tired of gloomy predictions were not taking their cues from North Carolina agricultural experts, economists or businessmen.

The director of the farm extension program at N.C. State had said that farmers of the state had a rosy future, with prosperous years ahead. Industries which relied on tobacco and textiles were also optimistic and many plants had their products sold in advance for months to come. Plant expansion was ongoing everywhere.

Drew Pearson provides his third column anent the corruption of HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey. After having covered his kickback scheme whereby Mr. Thomas employed bogus staff and received their salaries to boost his own Congressional pay and his favors to an Army private to keep him out of combat by asserting falsely to the man's Army superior that he was an investigator for HUAC and essential to maintaining security, Mr. Pearson in this piece cites another example of favors for an Army private deemed fit for combat, that his father might contribute, as he had, to Mr. Thomas's re-election campaigns in 1944 and 1946. It was not clear, as in the other case of favoritism, precisely what Mr. Thomas said to get this soldier off the hook, but he did wind up with the break he sought and avoided combat, remaining stateside.

The soldier also then sought entry to Officers' Candidate School, which because of a negative recommendation from one of his two superiors, never materialized despite Congressman Thomas's help. He also sought a transfer, also helped along by the Congressman, which never came to be. But on both occasions, Mr. Thomas had written to the soldier encouraging words on the subject. Eventually, the private had to go to the Pacific with his unit. Yet, because he was a clerk, he never was placed near the front lines.

The private wrote to Mr. Thomas that he had been able to save $500 and send it home to his father. Eventually, his father gave exactly $500 to Mr. Thomas's campaigns.

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, reflects on the interview which General Lucius Clay, U.S. military governor in Germany, had given to New York Times correspondent Drew Middleton in response to an editorial by Walter Lippmann criticizing the General. General Clay stated that there was no truth to the rumor that he, rather than the State Department, was conducting foreign policy in Germany, but that the recommendations he and his staff had made had played a principal role in determining policy.

But Mr. Lippmann's primary criticism remained unanswered, as General Clay appeared not capable of understanding that policy in Germany determined policy for Europe and, consequently, the future of the world. General Clay had taken action on occasion which shaped policy. The State Department had allowed General Clay and his staff to initiate policy. Yet they were career military men who showed little or no understanding of European history. They had not undertaken policy to avoid the re-emergence of German nationalism or to convince the Germans of the benefits of the Western European Union, safeguard German youth from Nazism and militarism, or to convert the German spirit to individual freedom and democracy. No land reforms had been undertaken and no dispersion of concentrated industrial power had occurred. In short, there was no program in place to prevent the Germans from joining with the Soviet Union to try to gain world domination.

The two goals of the AMG had been to make the Western zones of Germany self-supporting and provide a military buffer to the Soviet Union.

General Clay had formulated the policy regarding internationalization of the Ruhr and creation of a separate Western German government, policy which provoked the blockade of Berlin. The policy also had undermined U.S. relations with France.

The Soviet Union would only be contained if it were led to respect the military strength of the West. The more rapidly could be effected the economic and military reconstruction of Western Europe, of which France was the key, the more likely war could be averted. But if France believed that its security was endangered by the type of programs formulated by General Clay, then they would not have the confidence necessary for economic reconstruction nor the willingness to cooperate with the U.S., indispensable to military security. The policy in Germany for which General Clay was principally responsible, he concludes, had endangered achievement of the basic objectives of U.S. foreign policy.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop posit that the blockade of Berlin would soon be lifted by the Soviets, followed by a four-power conference on the future of Germany and perhaps all of Europe. Thus, another war appeared for the nonce to have been averted.

The expected power of Russia in Europe and the Middle East had not materialized. Instead, Russian expansion had been halted dead in its tracks. The Communists of Western Europe could not take power by legal or illegal means, and the West, with the help of ERP, was showing signs of recovery. In Iran and Greece, where the Soviet effort to expand had been most direct, there had also been Russian failure.

In Eastern Europe, Tito's defiance of the Kremlin was only one manifestation of a growing trend. The youth section of the Socialist Unity Party in Berlin had condemned the Soviet blockade as a "crime against humanity". In Czechoslovakia, Premier Gottwald and Foreign Minister Klementis had demonstrated signs of independence, probably making them ripe for being purged. Hungary also appeared on the verge of revolt but for the presence of the Red Army.

Nationalism in the people was weakening the grip of the Kremlin. Even the Chinese Communists, strongest of the parties outside the Soviet Union, had shown signs of independence.

A letter writer distinguishes states' rights from local rights. He attempts to give a somewhat long-winded explanation of what he believes states' rights to be, without ever mentioning what it actually is. It is embodied in the Tenth Amendment and is the residual power to the states and the people which is not provided to the Federal Government. Generally, the power of the states and localities, the so-called "police powers", is the right to regulate the health, morals, safety and welfare of the people of a given state or locality, as long as that regulation, both substantively and procedurally, does not offend the Constitution, principally the Amendments and the Supremacy Clause. There is some Federal police power, but not co-extensive with that of the states, circumscribed by the delineated powers such as the power to regulate matters in and substantially impacting interstate commerce.

In any event, he concludes correctly that the Dixiecrats, in championing states' rights, were "spitting in the wind".

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