The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 12, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Russia had blocked the move of HUAC to subpoena Oksana Kosenkina at the the Soviet consulate in New York City, despite a court order from a New York court for the Soviet Consul, Yakov Lomakin, to produce Ms. Kosenkina at the executive session hearings. Michael Samarin, also a Russian teacher who taught children of the Russian delegation to the U.N., however, was talking to HUAC in executive session this date in New York.

HUAC also announced that "preliminary steps" had been undertaken to see that some witnesses who had testified regarding the spy ring in the Government be prosecuted for perjury. Chairman J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey said that the U.S. Attorney for D.C. had obtained the hearing transcripts and was particularly interested in the "perjury angle".

This date, Charles Kramer, implicated by Elizabeth Bentley as part of the spy ring, and Abraham George Silverman, also implicated, testified before the Committee, both pleading the Fifth Amendment, refusing to say whether they had ever been Communists or knew Ms. Bentley. Both denied being spies. Mr. Kramer worked for the Progressive Party as a researcher and Mr. Silverman was unemployed.

It should not escape notice that during the previous October, in the "Hollywood Ten" cases, HUAC and Congress issued contempt citations to the ten who proclaimed their Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to testify. Eventually, they would each serve time in jail and be blacklisted. On this occasion, HUAC abandoned that strategy and instead decided to send a message to those who testified affirmatively, as Alger Hiss, that he was not a Communist and, ultimately, during the fall, after the charge by Whittaker Chambers extended to a claim of espionage by Mr. Hiss, not made during the HUAC hearings, that he was neither a spy. Thus, before HUAC, the only thing a witness could do was admit that he or she was a spy and a Communist who had reformed so much as to name names of other spies, thus also ruining their lives. HUAC was engaged, in short, in insisting that all who came before it would be ruined, one way or the other, its lasting and damnable insult to history. Its pretense of fairness and due process mocked the American sense of fairness and justice.

It was, as the President charged, nothing more than cheap, tawdry politics in an election year to attempt to distract the public from Republican Congressional inaction and yielding to the special interests for the prior 19 months, with HUAC's Republican members bent on achieving power in a new Republican Administration and John Rankin bent on his usual effort to find in everything with which he disagreed a bogey, be it red or black or the two combined—all, in the end, no more yielding than a dream.

The Big Three ambassadors to Moscow met for the fourth time in recent days with Soviet Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov, again for three hours this date. But no conclusions, according to U.S. Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith, had been reached. An informant stated that until the previous day, there had been no sign of softening of the Western power position, which had insisted that the Berlin blockade be lifted prior to any discussion of settlement or Russian-imposed contingencies, such as withdrawal first of the Western allies' plan to form a separate West German government.

In Berlin, the U.S., British, and French governments froze Eastern marks accounts in Western zone banks, one of the more strict retaliatory moves by the West since the start of the blockade crisis in June. The Russian bank in Berlin had previously frozen accounts of firms in Western Berlin.

At Kreuzberg and on Potsdamer Platz in Western Berlin, American and British military police turned back two attempts by German and Russian military police to enter houses in Western sectors this date, searching, they said, for black marketeers. The Western authorities speculated that they might be looking for Russian deserters or simply engaging in harassing tactics.

In Frankfurt, a trade union rally to protest high costs of living turned angry as the crowd attacked an American soldier after overturning his jeep. It was the largest and loudest rally in the American zone of Germany since the end of the war.

The Berlin newspaper Telegraf, under British license, reported that in Mecklenburg, clothing factories were filling orders for Russian military uniforms for use there in the future.

Surely the Charlotte City Council can do something to stop that. Them Commies are everywhere.

The State Department reported that Voice of America broadcasts to Eastern Europe had been jammed by the Soviets in Russia.

The Greek Army prepared for a final assault on the last major guerrilla supply route from Albania, at Alevitsa. The Army had already cut communications between the guerrillas in the Grammos Mountains and eastern Macedonia.

President Truman made his recess appointment of Maurice Tobin as Secretary of Labor after Mr. Tobin agreed to accept the appointment. Congress had not acted on the appointment made during the special session. Mr. Tobin replaced deceased Lewis Schwellenbach.

The White House released a "boxscore" on the special session, finding that the Congress had, for the most part, not complied with any of the President's requested legislation. It found that the House Ways & Means Committee held no hearings on the urged excess profits tax and permitted no Administration witness to testify. Consumer credit controls were enacted, but for a shorter term than recommended. Bank credit controls were enacted only partially. Administration witnesses were not called to testify on proposed regulation of speculation on commodities, a practice which had fueled inflation, or on rent control or on allocation and inventory controls or on price controls.

Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the Dixiecrat candidate for the presidency, claimed in his Houston speech accepting the party nomination that the Truman civil rights program called for a "police state" in the nation.

That old dog won't even Hunt for Liddy.

In New York, Babe Ruth was in critical condition at age 53 after being ill for two years. Doctors said he suffered from pulmonary complications. Mr. Ruth would die in four days.

In Havana, Cuba, a polite band of robbers the previous day robbed a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, getting away with $562,000 in cash. The peso and the dollar were equivalent at the time. The robbers had pistols and machine guns but did not shoot. None were recognized by the bank employees. They had politely informed the guard that he should not draw his gun or they would fill him "full of holes".

Que pasa? No es pobrecito, Señor. El agua roja se vierta adelante con profusión en el piso en esa instancia y luego sera Rojo.

According to the Hayden Planetarium in New York, the annual Perseid meteor shower was expected to be visible this night and through the ensuing few nights. As many as fifty shooting stars could be seen within an hour.

You can see that in most movies.

In Kevil, Ky., three men robbed a bank of $11,500, firing shots from a car as they drove from the scene. The same three men had robbed the bank on June 30, 1947. They had not been caught.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of a man who reported to the Mecklenburg County Police that as he and a young friend were hitchhiking in Forest City, N.C., on the previous Monday morning, to seek jobs on a State highway gang in Ellenboro, they were picked up by three men in a car. The car kept going, however, at Ellenboro and eventually entered Shelby. The man's companion then tried to jump from the vehicle but was restrained by one of the three men who then conked him on the head. The man telling the story believed that his friend was dead as he lay unmoving in the seat. The car kept going all night through the dawn of Tuesday and through Tuesday also, eventually entering Mecklenburg County, where it stopped, whereupon two of the men took the witness into the woods while the third apparently was disposing of the body of his friend. The man eventually broke away from the men and ran through the woods to the highway, saw that the car was gone, along with the three original occupants and the body of his friend. Police found several details in his story not to "jibe".

Which part?

Police investigation in the area found no one missing.

That is why you need the man with the Buick or Mercury to resolve these situations.

Furman Bisher relates on the sports page of the fortunes of Rodney, locally owned harness-racing champion, competing in Goshen, N.Y., at the annual leading event in harness racing. Mr. Bisher was playing "railbird" in Goshen at Good Time Track.

He was probably past-posting.

On the editorial page, "Truman's Race against Wallace" finds the President running more against the former Vice-President than against Governor Dewey, based on a Roper poll conducted for Fortune—the results of which are listed on the front page. The August results showed the President with the support of 31.5 percent of respondents, Governor Dewey with 46.3 percent, and Henry Wallace with only 3 percent. The remaining 19 percent expressed no opinion. The President had about the same support as during the spring, prior to the conventions. Governor Dewey had gained 2.1 percent, while Mr. Wallace had fallen back from six percent support.

Thus, even if the President received all of the Wallace support, he would remain well behind Mr. Dewey. But the poll results suggested that the President at least had revived the perception of the Democrats as the party of liberal progressivism, which might in time attract more independent voters among those undecided. That increased the importance of the revolt of the Dixiecrats from the Solid South.

Still, the President's chances for success in November were, it finds, no greater than one in a hundred.

And so it would be, premonitively accurate to a T, in Chicago.

To achieve that kind of uncanny accuracy, the editors were probably past-posting also.

"Open the Files, Mr. President" finds that the revelations out of the Senate Investigating Committee re Communist spies in the Government were not exclusively just the product of election-year politics, as characterized by the President, to distract from the primary substantive issues the President had placed before the special session, housing, anti-inflation measures, and civil rights.

Just as something good might have come from the special session had the Republicans been willing to achieve it, good might come from the spy hearings were the President to turn over the confidential loyalty investigation files on William Remington and others which the two committees sought.

Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, on the Senate Investigating Committee, agreed with the President that it was a "red herring" to distract and that the President was acting within the Constitution and precedent followed since President Washington by refusing to supply the files on Government employees. The Republican threat to impeach the President had angered Senator Hoey.

The piece agrees with the Senator on these points but also favors opening the files. The country, it argues, had a right to know what was taking place in the Government. If there was nothing to cover up, then, it finds, that the President had no practical basis for denying the access. The voters would assume that the President was hiding something.

Actually, if facts be known, he had … well, that is still classified on national security grounds, hush-hush, Oh So Secret, and on the qui vive. Perhaps, we can reveal it next year when it is Safe. In the meantime, they were hanging Danny Deever in the morning.

"Civil Rights at the Movies" finds itself in sympathy with a 94-year old Chicago woman who had boxed the ears of a pair of juveniles with her purse when they refused to remove their feet from the back of her seat in a movie theater. She was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The piece appreciates peace and quiet in the theater also, but finds that most movies of late did not require much steady concentration. In the rare instance, however, when one did, knees stuck in one's back and the chair caused thus to rock on its squeaking pivots, the proceedings became quickly annoying. Adding to the noisome interruptions were giggles, talking, snoring, loud popcorn consumption and squirming children.

It notes that the elderly woman was released with impunity on the charge and, it suggests, the juveniles would likely not play footsie in the theater in the future.

At least, you did not have to put up with live shootings in the theater.

But, we have not had to put up, so far in 70 years, with another world war, and so it all balances out, we suppose.

In any event, it occurs to us that the column would have been better served by expending as much print in an effort to desegregate theaters rather than on this trifle.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Junior the Realist", tells of the continuing crime-comics debate regarding their effect on youthful readers.

Mademoiselle found them to provide children a sense of "reality", unlike most children's fare, which the magazine declared to be too sweet. It remarked that the atomic bomb, within the space of a few seconds, had ended the lives of tens of thousands of citizens of Hiroshima and everyone above age four was aware of the fact. Over-protection of children, it suggested, supported adult feelings of security.

Agreeing with this general notion, the piece finds that crime dramas and crime comics, however, did not provide the sense of reality which they claimed, but rather were more escapist fabular content, just as fairy tales.

Drew Pearson tells of Speaker of the House Joe Martin exercising inordinate control of the special session, hearkening back to the dictatorial tactics of former Speaker Joe Cannon, by limiting to twenty minutes debate for each side on the issue of the amendment to the anti-inflation bill passed in the House Banking & Currency Committee, which would have, had in not been struck by the Senate, played to the hands of Wall Street by increasing the Federal Reserve Banks' requirement of gold certificates from 25 to 40 percent, allowing Government bonds to be depreciated so that banks and insurance companies could acquire them at lower than par value and cash them in for a killing. After World War I, a similar situation had taken place. Since the end of World War II, the Federal Reserve Board had kept bond prices high by purchasing them as fast as they were offered for sale. Both Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder and Fed chairman Tom McCabe had opposed the amendment.

Mr. Pearson finds it to have been "one of the most shameful sessions of undemocratic debate in the recent history of Congress." Only Senate action had saved it from becoming law.

Former OPA head Paul Porter replied to a friend, when asked whether he had been discharged from his role as adviser on economic controls, that he had been and he had received a "ruptured duck" as a discharge button.

The House Small Business Committee had protested to the Commerce Department regarding excessive shipments of steel to Sweden because it had a surplus of steel which it was shipping to Iron Curtain countries. The SBC wanted it to come back to steel producers in the U.S.

Senate pages had played a prank on Senator Scott Lucas of Illinois by fabricating a tinfoil quarter and placing it on the floor of the Senate. Senator Lucas tried to scoop it up, appeared chagrined at his find.

Two Americans had been murdered recently in Cairo along with 150 Jews and 250 non-Jews. Stefan Haas of Philadelphia, a tourist in Cairo, had his ears severed and his body mutilated beyond recognition.

The Post Office Department had canceled a 25 percent increase in mail rates to the railroads which the Postmaster General had provided them after they demanded a 70 percent increase and refused to back it up with a rationale as the Postmaster General had directed.

James Marlow suggests that the Russians had been clumsy or unlucky in their espionage efforts, as the situation in Canada two years earlier and the present revelations in the U.S. showed, along with the apparent disintegration of relations with Yugoslavia.

He tells of Igor Gouzenko's role in revealing the Canadian spy ring, after two years as a cipher clerk at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa. Mr. Gouzenko had determined that a spy ring operated through some important members of the Canadian Government, one an M.P. He decided to remain in Canada in 1945 and not return to the Soviet Union as directed by the Soviets, revealing instead the secret documents he had improperly accumulated. At least eleven Canadians pleaded guilty or were convicted of the allegations of espionage.

In Yugoslavia, it was revealed that the Russians had sought to entice Yugoslavs to be spies for Russia against the Tito Government, one such person being a cipher clerk.

During the war, Elizabeth Bentley, per her claims, had been a courier for two Communist spy rings in the U.S. Government before going to the FBI in 1944. Some named by her had called her a liar; some who heard her testimony found it without credit. No one yet had been indicted whom she had implicated.

Michael Samarin, the Russian teacher who wanted to defect to the U.S., had reported to the FBI as yet unknown information and was of interest to HUAC.

The facts did not suggest, he concludes, that the Russians had performed their spy work unsuccessfully, but rather that they had been sloppy or unlucky at it.

Randolph Churchill, son of the former and future Prime Minister of Britain, writing from London, discusses the fact of Prime Minister Clement Attlee's decision to spend his summer on the west coast of Southern Ireland having provoked speculation as to what he would discuss with the Irish Government while there. The Minister of Labor, Alfred Isaacs, was visiting Ulster. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, was spending a few days with Northern Ireland's Prime Minister, Sir Basil Brooke. The implication was that efforts were underway to unite Ireland.

The Labor Party had always favored the South against the North but had never bolstered Northern intransigence against a settlement, as had the Conservatives. The climate of opinion was more favorable to unity than at any time since the partition treaty of 1922. Lord Craigavon, deceased, had been an opposing force to unification in the North; former Prime Minister Eamon de Valera had been so in the South. Along the border, realization of the economic interdependence of North and South had come to be. In Parliament in London, unification would be supported by both parties. The Conservatives were no longer so adamant as in the past regarding maintenance of Eire within the U.K.

Eire would likely not remain neutral, as during the war, in the event of another war with Communist nations, also encouraging of the move toward unification.

A letter writer comments on an article appearing in The New York Times Magazine by William Clayton, economic adviser to Secretary of State Marshall, titled "Reciprocity or Retaliation?" in which he had stated that the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act only took away profits from the largest businesses making huge profits. Sam Pettengill of Indiana, in a radio broadcast, titled "Your Family Tax Bill", had taken a contrary stance, finding it inconsistent for the President to favor an excess profits tax while asking business to produce more to keep inflation down, that the two conditions were incompatible.

The writer concludes that if the free enterprise system could be made to work properly, it was fine.

The problem is simply a function of the great disconnect between pedagogical theory and actual practice amid human relations and, relative to the economy, the inevitability of human greed.

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