The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 11, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that confessed Communist courier of espionage for the Soviets during the war, Elizabeth Bentley, testified before HUAC this date that she had been paid $2,000 by Anatol Gromov, first secretary of the Russian Embassy, in October, 1945 and told by him that the Soviet Supreme Council had awarded to her a medal for her efforts.

Ms. Bentley appeared this date in rejoinder to Henry Collins, former officer of the American Military Government in Europe, who testified that he was not and never had been a spy, but refused, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, to say whether he had been a Communist. In testimony the previous week, Whittaker Chambers, admitted former Communist, had implicated Mr. Collins as being part of the "Communist underground" in the country prior to the war. Mr. Chambers had said that while Mr. Collins had worked in the Department of Agriculture, all of the meetings of the Communist underground group were held in his apartment during the mid-thirties.

HUAC intended to take the testimony in executive session in New York the following day from Russian school teacher Mikhail Samarin, teacher of children of the Soviet delegates to the U.N., who had sought the protection of the American Government and said that he did not wish to return to the Soviet Union. The Committee also intended to send one person to Canada to take the statement of Igor Gouzenko—whose book, The Iron Curtain, was appearing in installments in The News. Mr. Gouzenko was responsible for breaking the Canadian spy ring two years earlier.

According to Representative John McDowell, because many members of the Committee had to leave town to campaign, they intended to stand in recess for the following week.

The Republicans had said that they planned to keep the hearings before HUAC and the Senate Investigating Committee going throughout September. Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, hearing the report, said that it was a part of a "smear campaign", to discredit FDR, President Truman and the Democratic Party.

Arkansas Democratic Senator John McClellan, on the Senate Investigating Committee, said that the President's statement that the hearings were a "red herring" to distract the nation from more substantive matters such as inflation, was "almost indefensible". He said that regardless of whether Ms. Bentley's story was true or not, the American people had suspicions which ought to be cleared up.

Secretary of State Marshall said in a press conference that the State Department would not tolerate pressures being placed on any of the witnesses appearing before HUAC, in apparent reference to the Soviet attempt to prevent the testimony of Mr. Samarin and his wife. He said also that the Government would not tolerate American officials breaking into foreign embassies and violating diplomatic immunity, in reference to the other teacher, Oksana Kosenkina, reported to be in the confines of the Soviet consulate and thus not subject to subpoena by the Committee as long as she was there, considered foreign soil.

The Secretary also said, in the context of the Danubian Conference ongoing in Belgrade regarding riparian rights along the Danube, that the U.S. should not make any agreement with the Russians for merely the sake of agreement. The statement was interpreted as also applying to the Moscow talks anent Berlin and Germany, though he specifically refrained from comment on those talks. He said that the Soviet proposal anent the Danube was designed to give control of navigation rights solely to the Russians and that the U.S. would continue to champion free navigation for the welfare of Europe.

At the Danubian Conference, the Communist bloc voted against the second American effort to guarantee free navigation on the river, registering a 7 to 3 vote. The Conference accepted a Russian proposal, by a vote of 7 to 1, which would provide the Soviet bloc control of navigation. Only France voted against it.

In Berlin, Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington said that the Berlin airlift could operate during the winter, if necessary. He said that it was becoming a larger job than the supply of the Chinese and American troops defending China against the Japanese during the war, via The Hump over the Himalayas after the Japanese conquest of Burma. He said that no plans had been made to fly fighter planes over Berlin. He also informed that the American Air Force had 100 C-54 transports in service of the airlift at the time.

The meat industry said that a bumper corn crop in the nation would help meat prices, but not for a year. Meanwhile, housewives continued their meat boycott and butchers reported slumping sales. In Louisville, more than 300 restaurants agreed to cooperate in the boycott by having a meatless Tuesday, as during the war.

The President met with organizers of Truman-Barkley clubs in eleven states, which would operate separately from the DNC and raise their own campaign funds.

In Houston, the Dixiecrats arrived to hear the acceptance speech of party presidential candidate Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and to shape their strategy for the campaign.

The Progressive Party supporters of Henry Wallace, meeting in Dallas, said that they would picket the Dixiecrat rally of this night.

In South Carolina, the primary election showed Senator Burnet Maybank well in the lead and headed for victory. The primary was the first such election in the state in 72 years in which blacks could legally participate. About 30,000 black citizens had gone to the polls. No race friction was reported.

The third place candidate in the race for the Senate seat, Neville Bennett, charged the Maybank campaign with "political trickery" for labeling Mr. Bennett the "Negro's choice". He said that the reason Senator Maybank carried the black vote was because he had been responsible for the appointment of Judge J. Waties Waring to the Federal District Court. Judge Waring had handed down the decision a year earlier which found unconstitutional the South Carolina Democratic Party's attempt to make the Democratic primary a private club into which voters could exercise the franchise only by permitted invitation, the decision having thus opened the primary to all citizens under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The Judge had also found that the Legislature's stripping from the statute books all references to primaries had done nothing to relieve the State of its Constitutional obligations and was state action in derogation of protected rights. He had relied on the 1944 Allwright Supreme Court decision out of Texas, opening the primaries in that state to all citizens.

During the first week of enforcement of Charlotte's Uniform Housing Ordinance, 164 houses were inspected. Very few were deemed unfit for habitation such that they had to be condemned, but most were cited for various code violations such as lack of running water, screens, indoor toilets, baths and electric lights. The houses were inhabited by both whites and blacks.

Ray Stallings and Tom Fesperman of The News tell of the story of a professional gambler and a magician, billed as "Irresponsible Irvin", having been nabbed in Charlotte, accused of robbing and murdering an Illinois industrialist early the previous Monday. Both were from Newport, Ky. They gave conflicting accounts. The gambler said that a girl accomplice shooting at him as he fled the scene must have shot the robbery victim. The gambler admitted having planned the robbery, planting the girl, "Red" Knight, with the industrialist, to provide the gambler the best time to commit the robbery. He said that the girl had the victim's gun during the robbery and that he had struck the victim on the head with the "knucks" when the victim resisted. He obtained $17 and then fled from the car in which the robbery occurred. He then heard shots and inferred that the girl was shooting at him for running out on her, instead presumably striking the victim who was in the line of fire.

The gambler, however, had admitted the previous night that he had shot the victim. A few hours later, both he and the irresponsible magician said that they did not know who did the shooting. Then, the gambler gave to reporters his new story about the girl. They apparently gave yet another version while being fingerprinted, but that one is on page 16-A.

Showman Billy Rose offered for one season to take over the financially strained Metropolitan Opera, saying that he would personally guarantee it against a deficit. He said that he would streamline the productions while preserving the traditions of the opera. The Met had just announced that it would not operate for the current season because it could not afford to meet union demands. The Opera Association was trying to work out a way to avoid the shutdown.

Reports from Boston had it that the Saco-Lowell Shops, textile machinery company, was negotiating to purchase the Edwards Co. of Sanford, N.C., a subsidiary of Indian Motorcycle.

Don't be slow. It relates.

Freck Sproles of The News tells of the fall fashions for women in the Woman's Section of the newspaper.

Why is there not a Man's Section?

On the editorial page, "Mecklenburg's Gains Under ABC" tells of consumption of alcohol having dropped nationally during the previous year, a function of heavy Federal taxes and inflation. But the trend had not affected drinking in Mecklenburg, according to figures released by the ABC Board, showing that 8.8 million dollars worth of liquor had been sold in the county since the inception of ABC controlled sales ten months earlier. The profit on the expected ten million dollars of sales for the first year, the goal set for the second year, would be 1.4 million, $665,000 of which would come back to the City and County and $70,000 for the public library.

That way, in between drunks, you can go down and check out a new book to read.

It suggests that the county might join the trend of the nation in time, but that in the first year after the end of prohibition in the county, it was not surprising to see huge sales. The consumption would cut taxes, however, by 30.64 cents per thousand in the City and 29.41 cents per thousand in the County. The bootlegger had all but been eliminated from the scene as well.

It congratulates the ABC police and Board chairman Frank Sims for a job well done.

"Revolt of the Neutrals" comments on the statement by the A.P.'s foreign affairs analyst DeWitt MacKenzie that Scandinavia would not remain neutral in any war between the Communist bloc and the Western democracies. He found it also true of most nations of Europe and the rest of the world.

Yet, France and the Benelux countries had made it clear that they would not join the U.S. and Britain in any show of force against Russia regarding the Berlin blockade. There was a strong pacifist movement in Italy, and Sweden had recently declared that it intended to maintain armed neutrality in a third world war, was seeking to convince Norway of the same stand.

Russia was encountering resistance in the Soviet bloc from Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, extending increasingly to the rest of the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

The resistance on both sides to bellicosity had made diplomatic bluffing difficult in the struggle between the Soviet Union and the West. It explained why the diplomats were now engaged in the Moscow talks. The situation had brought a lull in the cold war if not an end to the big-power struggle. It underscored the statement by U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie in his annual report, that the world would never submit to the rule of any ideology, whether that of Communism or extreme capitalism.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Jane Doe for President", tells of Dorothy Thompson, writing in honor of the centennial of the women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y., in the August edition of the Ladies' Home Journal, finding that women had reached their pinnacle of performance in statecraft rather than in arts and letters. She cited Joan of Arc, Blanche of Castile, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Queens Elizabeth I, Victoria, Maria Theresa, and Catherine as examples.

The New York Herald Tribune had suggested that Lucretia Mott, the leader at Seneca Falls in 1848, would have made a better President than some of the recent occupants of the White House.

In 1881, a Congressional committee had recommended that Anna Carroll, the woman who devised the strategy which brought success to General Grant on the Tennessee, was an "unrecognized member of Lincoln's Cabinet" and deserving of an emolument for her service equal to that of the major generals.

It concludes that the qualities of which Ms. Thompson had written, "common sense, human judgment, prudence, and consciousness of the race", should lead more and more women into public service "and why not the White House?"

Why not the White House?

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "The Precursors", tells of Dr. Robert Millikan stating that Benjamin Franklin, 200 years earlier, had been the initial discoverer of electrons. He set forth his particle theory of electricity in a letter to Peter Collison.

Dr. Millikan said that the real inventor of jet propulsion was James Rumsay of Maryland in the eighteenth century. Roger Bacon had developed the idea of mechanically propelled boats and circumnavigating the globe in them sometime in the thirteenth century. He also conceived the telescope 300 years before Galileo and flying machines 600 years before Samuel Langley and the Wright Brothers.

The piece is reminded of the fact that Mme. Ferrara-Lombroso had written some years earlier that all of the ideas for modern inventions had been developed by the ancients, but with the foresight in tow regarding the evil they might inflict, and thus had chosen consciously not to develop them. "The present seems hardly an appropriate moment for saying that they were wrong."

Drew Pearson tells of the real estate lobby, during the special session of Congress, having written free radio speeches for Senate Majority Leader Kenneth Wherry. One speech they wrote, however, was so bad, telling of the Republicans standing for bubblegum for little girls and a thousand bananas whereas the Democrats only stood for one, considered two bananas a monopoly, that he threw it in the trash, said that the DNC could have been its authors.

Mr. Pearson notes that Senator Harry Cain of Washington was the biggest subscriber to the real estate lobby's writing and research effort.

The veterans called on the President to urge him to get House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn to sign the discharge petition of Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas to bring the Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill out of committee to the floor for a vote. Mr. Rayburn controlled a block of 25 votes necessary to form the required majority of the House. The President informed that Mr. Rayburn already had done so. The representative of the AMVETS told the President that TEW would, with its provisions for eradication of slums and public housing, help reduce juvenile delinquency in the urban areas. The President agreed, said that was one reason he had given the bill so much priority in the session.

Mr. Pearson notes that after Senator Taft withdrew his support of the bill of which he had been co-sponsor, slum clearance and public housing were removed from the final bill which passed.

DNC chairman, Senator J. Howard McGrath, held a "harmony party" for the Democratic Senators, designed to bring the South back onboard with the party. But the party was set for the same day that he announced the end of segregation at DNC headquarters, causing Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina and others to stay away. Some Southerners, such as Senators Spessard Holland and Claude Pepper of Florida and John Sparkman of Alabama, future vice-presidential running mate in 1952 with Governor Adlai Stevenson, attended the party. When they toasted the President, Senator James Eastland of Mississippi remained seated until urged to join, which he finally did.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas, at the urging of Senator Pepper, told of "Ol' Blue Nose", regarding the hired hand returned to Texas after 15 years to face a murder charge. None of the witnesses to the murder could positively identify him after the passage of 15 years. One man, however, who had hunted with the hired hand, said that he was still not sure the man was not the murderer because they used to hunt with his dog, Ol' Blue Nose. When the defense lawyer asked him why he could not be sure, he said that as he was leaving the jail after the show-up of the suspect, the latter had asked the witness, "How is Ol' Blue Nose?"

The party, he notes, wound up serenading Senator Alben Barkley, the vice-presidential nominee, with "My Old Kentucky Home" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". Tom Connally heard "Deep in the Heart of Texas".

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Russians having entered a tough phase in negotiations in Moscow with the Big Three ambassadors, diminishing expectations for imminent lifting of the Berlin blockade. The first phase of negotiations had been the meeting with Premier Stalin and Foreign Commissar Molotov, during which Stalin had been affable and reasonable. The three ambassadors left with the belief that the blockade would soon be lifted, and without demands of advance concessions by the Russians.

Starting with the meeting with Mr. Molotov alone on August 6, the second phase, the tough phase, had begun. Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith refused comment afterward, saying only that it was three hours with Molotov without Stalin. Mr. Molotov had told the ambassadors that their view of the previous meeting was wrong, that Premier Stalin had not suggested that the blockade might be lifted without concessions in advance, namely abandonment of the plans to establish a separate Western German government by calling off the scheduled meeting in September which was designed to set up the provisional government.

There would be advantage to the Americans and British of the postponement if the blockade were then lifted, as it would enable building up supplies again in the Western sections of Berlin. It would, however, appear to the Germans as Western weakness. The Americans had also stated firmly that, while willing to negotiate, they would not grant concessions prior to lifting of the blockade.

Barnet Nover discusses the annual report on the U.N. by Secretary-General Trygve Lie, making a powerful case for the utility of the organization. Many had come to believe that it was a well-meaning but largely futile body. But the choice was between the U.N. and no world organization. Thus, the Congress in the special session had authorized the expenditure of 65 million dollars to build a permanent home on the site in Manhattan which had been donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

The U.N. was not the organization for which many had hoped at its founding. It was handicapped by the unilateral veto of the Big Five on the Security Council. But the most serious handicap was a function of the extant world, lending amazement to any accomplishment at all by the body.

Russia had done very little to make the organization work effectively. But the U.N. was the only organ which brought the West and Russia together on a regular basis.

According to Mr. Lie, the East-West conflict had been the basis for many setbacks during the previous year, but the U.N. had operated as a restraining device more than had been appreciated. Yet, with the exception of Palestine, Russia and the U.S. had differed on important issues within the U.N. as much as they had outside the body.

Mr. Lie, concludes Mr. Nover, was correct in asserting that resolution of the German issue, the most serious dispute between the West and Russia, was the key to the effectiveness of the U.N.

A letter writer, commenting on the August 6 editorial on the difference between genuine hillbilly music and the jukebox variant version, wants included in the company of Lamar Stringfield and Aaron Copland, as composers utilizing folk themes in their compositions, Kurt Weill, citing his new opera, "Down in the Valley" as example. It incorporated "Sourwood Mountain", "Hop Up, My Lady", "The Lonesome Dove", and "Little Black Train". He believes that it was comparable to "Rodeo" by Mr. Copland, choreographed by Agnes DeMille. It took less time to sing than Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The opera had been greeted enthusiastically at its opening in July at the University of Indiana. Several persons from the Carolinas had leading roles in the production. Designed for small groups, the opera, he thinks, ought be performed by the Carolina Playmakers in Chapel Hill.

A letter writer compliments another writer of August 5 regarding the polio epidemic and the need for higher local taxes to pay for such things as DDT spraying prior to the outbreak. He then tells a story about sales tax, and then relates that a person driving from Manteo to Murphy, the breadth of the state, failed to see a single Highway Patrolman, all of them having taken to the country roads in their Buicks with their girlfriends.

We don't know what he means either or how it all relates.

A letter writer from Gaffney, S.C., birthplace of W. J. Cash, says that he is disgusted with the Dixiecrats. He was born in Grant's time in the 1870's and had never voted for anyone except Democrats, President Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation having killed states' rights, the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

He wants all of the Democrats to stop fooling around and vote for President Truman. Poor whites, blacks, and labor, he predicts, could elect him. It was the country's only hope.

A Quote of the Day: "The new Ford which looks, from behind, like a Nash, from the front like an Olds, from the side like a Frazier, looks on the price tag like a Packard." —Louisville Times

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.