The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 18, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, according to an authoritative source, the four-power diplomatic talks in Moscow were reaching an end. There would be at least one more meeting between the diplomats, on Friday.

In Belgrade, the Communist bloc countries in the Danubian Conference voted this date to give themselves exclusive control of the Danube River. The Western powers stated that they would not heed the decision. The U.S. opposed the move while France and Britain abstained.

In Washington, HUAC stated that it had not been able to find any trace of a freelance writer named George Crosley, as identified the previous day in executive session in New York by Alger Hiss to have been Whittaker Chambers acting under a pseudonym, when Mr. Hiss knew him between fall, 1935 and spring or summer, 1936. (Mr. Hiss stated the previous day that the time frame was 1934 through 1935, but later corrected the mistake after refreshing his recollection of his employment history which set the short time frame during which he knew Mr. Chambers.)

Committee members appeared pleased that Mr. Hiss at least had admitted knowing Mr. Chambers, if under a different name. They said it kept the investigation from heading down the wrong track.

Lead investigator for the Committee Robert Stripling stated that Congressman Richard Nixon had remained in New York to question more witnesses in executive session this date, including the wife of Mr. Hiss.

Secretary of State Marshall stated that investigation of Russian diplomatic charges regarding the two Russian school teachers who were seeking asylum in the U.S. had shown that the charges of U.S. kidnaping of the teachers were not sustained. The teachers themselves, Oksana Kosenkina and Mikhail Samarin and his wife, denied the charges and said they wanted to stay in the U.S.

A court case was pending in New York to determine whether Ms. Kosenkina remained in the technical custody of the Soviet Consul-General while recuperating in Roosevelt Hospital after jumping from the third-floor window of the consulate to escape her "cage".

It was believed that the Russians were about to begin to close the schools they had operated in foreign countries to teach the children of Russian diplomats, as Mr. Samarin and Ms. Kosenkina were employed.

General Eisenhower, according to the New York Star, denied that Columbia University, of which he was president, had any taint of Communism within its staff or textbooks. The General said that he was shocked by a report in the Star the previous day which stated that HUAC, starting in the fall, would seek to determine the extent to which Communist influence had impacted college campuses. Columbia was mentioned in the story. The General said that he would resign immediately if he thought Columbia was so infiltrated or associated with any form of ideology other than a democratic one. He spoke generally, saying that he would like to see anyone seek to prove that college campuses were anything but democratic-minded.

The American commander in Berlin, Col. Frank Howley, declared that the Russian blockade of the city had failed to bring Berlin into submission. He said that 57,100 tons of the offered 60,000 tons of coal from Russia necessarily would go to the Russian zone of Berlin.

In Athens, Greece, five persons were arrested in connection with the murder of CBS correspondent George Polk the previous May. His bullet-riddled body had been discovered in Salonika Bay on May 16, several days after being last seen heading to interview guerrilla leader Markos Vafiades. The five were the mother of Greek newspaperman Gregory Stathopoulos, and four employees of the hotel where Mr. Polk had been staying in Salonika when he disappeared.

Russia vetoed admission of Ceylon to the U.N., the 27th time the Russians had played the role of naysayer.

Secretary of State Marshall said that the U.S., France and Britain would send 300 men to Palestine to act as truce observers.

New Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin said that Taft-Hartley was a "blow at unionism". He specifically criticized the provisions outlawing the closed shop and banning union expenditures in political campaigns.

A threatened strike of CIO seamen was averted when 42 shipping companies agreed to retain hiring halls and provide increases in pay.

Near Macomb, Ill., a mystery had to developed as to the cause of a fire which destroyed a farmhouse and barn after 100 to 200 small fires erupted in the structures over a period of ten days. Fire investigators theorized that it came from use of a highly flammable fly spray on the farm. The first fires started in the wallpaper and spread to inside the walls. The family had moved into the garage.

In Kings Mountain, N.C., a young woman, 15, was found shot to death in a bedroom of her home in the Shady Rest community. A man who was slightly wounded and the owner of the house were being held for questioning. The wounded man said that his wife had entered the bedroom while he and the girl were in bed together and began firing a gun at the girl, wounding him in the process. But a Sheriff's deputy said that much of his story was inconsistent.

On the editorial page, "Babe Ruth and His America" provides a contrast between the front page stories regarding the Communist spy ring extant in the country before and during the war, as told by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers to HUAC and the Senate Investigating Committee, and the last days of Babe Ruth spent enduring the final stages of throat cancer until he had finally succumbed two days earlier.

Ms. Bentley had been educated at Vassar and yet knew little of American history, symptomatic of college students of the time, as found by New York Times survey a few years earlier. The piece finds the deficiency to have provided the ripe ground for gullibility to Communist indoctrination to which Ms. Bentley fell victim.

Babe Ruth had grown up in mean circumstances, educated in a training school for boys in Baltimore, then finding baseball. He had never wavered in patriotism, showing that higher education did not necessarily guarantee better citizenship. To Mr. Ruth and his followers, faith in America was something absorbed, not learned from books.

It suggests that the baseball immortals had instructed the American citizenry on citizenship more than had the politicians. And among those immortals, Babe Ruth had no peer.

It concludes, "When we turn to the story of the Bambino, we learn more about the real America than we get from the Washington dispatches."

"Court Closes a Loophole" remarks on Superior Court Solicitor Basil Whitener having established an outstanding record for efficiency and energy since taking office in 1947. He had started a campaign to clear up past non-payment of fines, not so easy as it might at first appear. Defendants had to be located and arrested when they were in arrears. Capiases had just been issued in 93 such cases, some delinquent for ten years in their accounts to the courts. A total of $8,000 in fines was involved. The piece congratulates the effort of Superior Court officials in trying to put an end to the practice of delinquency in such payments.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "A Welcome 'Demmy-Tassy'", tells of the Association of American Railroads having undertaken a campaign to have railroad personnel be more friendly and courteous to passengers. A friend of the writer was surprised to find on one Southern Railway line that he received a free cup of coffee. The waiter had said, "Demmy-tassy with the compliments of the railroad, sir."

England's railroads were likewise stressing politeness to patrons. Criticism on the account spanned back to 1843, according to the Manchester Guardian. It remarked that clerks and porters aboard England's trains thought of themselves apparently as "very great men". They scoffed at passenger questions and generally were rude.

The American railroads, it ventures, would be most appreciative of the public reaction to increased courtesy. The public, no matter from which country they came, enjoyed courtesy.

Robert S. Allen, former writing partner of Drew Pearson before the war, takes over for him as he goes on a three-week vacation. Mr. Allen looks at the character of Russia, focusing on the distinction between the Russian people, amiable, emotional, and the Russian bureaucrats, alike whether operating under the former czars or under the Kremlin, ruthless and unscrupulous. The key to Russian foreign policy was to get information on the West to the Russian people to counteract the propaganda from Moscow regularly fed them. The Russian people were the soft spot in Russia's armor and the Kremlin knew it. The State Department behaved as if they did not understand the fact.

When Mr. Pearson had sought in the previous few weeks to float the idea of sending weather balloons with messages of goodwill and small gifts over Russia, the U.S. military responded favorably while the State Department nixed the idea because they were concerned that the Russians might become offended.

He offers that the best tactics to use with Russian diplomats was to offend them, as it was the only language they understood. Mr. Allen therefore proposes that the 100 ships loaned to Russia during the war outside of lend-lease be seized in U.S. ports until the cost of the ships was repaid. The U.S. had sold hydroelectric equipment for the Dneiper River Dam, for which no payment had been made. The U.S. was losing 1.5 million dollars per day in the Berlin airlift. He suggests increasing the tolls by a hundred-fold through the Panama Canal for every Russian ship until these debts were paid. The British could do likewise at the Suez Canal. The U.S. also should demand distribution of American media in Russia in the same quantity as Russian propaganda was being distributed in the U.S.

He also proposes getting the truth out to the Russian people. The U.S. could provide such things as comic books to the Germans and Austrians so that they could distribute it among the people of Berlin and Vienna. Western seamen could take propaganda ashore into the Eastern bloc countries and the material could then be transported easily inside Russia by pro-Western citizens of the satellite countries. Finally, just as American pilots, some for loyalty and others for the high rate of pay, were flying munitions for Israel from Czechoslovakia to Palestine, pilots could be found to carry propaganda into Russia.

Marquis Childs, in McCall, Idaho, looks at election year politics in the first of a series of articles. He finds the people quarreling over strictly parochial issues having no relation to the needs of the country.

The West Coast had the greatest growth in population in recent years, California and Oregon gaining over 40 percent in population since 1940, compared to 5 percent in New York. Such growth was limited in the Mountain States. In Idaho, demand was at the peak for everything the state produced and the prices paid to the producer consequently were also at the peak.

Mr. Childs relates that he was staying in a fancy new resort hotel overlooking Payette Lakes, which would become part of a resort with one of the world's longest ski lifts, all built with local capital.

Because of the delicate balance between land and water, the West had to be maintained in part by the Government and not left entirely to private exploitation. Water power could be produced cheaply in the West to enable it to compete with the East financially. Industrial expansion was necessary to keep the burgeoning population employed. Only the Government could expand and initiate the great power projects necessary to provide low-cost power for new industry.

The Government had to protect the watersheds as well. Capital had been drained off from the West in the form of forests, soil, and water during the great period of expansion. The Government had to apply restraints to sustain the development.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop relate of a certain Ann Smith, not her real name, who was employed as a Navy clerk-stenographer in the Panama Canal Zone since 1945. She taught, with the Navy's permission, English classes at night, most of her students being people of color. She had expressed mild interest in race relations.

In 1947, after she met Petty Officer Robert Brown, they became engaged and he sought Naval permission to marry Ms. Smith. A long period of investigation of her loyalty then followed, during which she was asked 21 questions regarding whether she read The New Republic, whether she new four particular individuals, whether she had books on the Soviet Union, etc. She answered the questions fully, with no answers which should have reflected on her loyalty.

In early 1948, however, the Navy found her to be disloyal and having given false answers to the 21 questions. Permission to marry Petty Officer Brown was denied.

They remark that in other times or if it were an isolated case, it might not be so remarkable. But since it was becoming the norm to find such cases in which liberties were threatened and unfairness prevailed, it was noteworthy. They promise to explore in another column Ms. Smith's subsequent experience.

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, looks at editorial opinion on the Moscow diplomatic conferences among the Big Four representatives, most finding it unlikely to lead to a basic settlement but some also believing that Russia, with its economic difficulties, might be inclined to more favorable negotiations. The majority believed that Russian cooperation would only lull the West until a more opportune time for the Russians. Lifting of the Berlin blockade as a condition for further negotiations was deemed likely.

The Indianapolis Star finds the most likely outcome to be an agreement to confer further on the German question, accompanied by an easing of the blockade. It advises avoiding appeasement which would only lead to more appeasement and eventually war.

The Kansas City Star finds that a unified Germany would not likely become Communist unless the cards were stacked in advance by a minority power clique. Such was why the West had opposed Russian demands for a highly centralized German government, more susceptible to a coup than with police authority retained by the individual states.

The Binghamton (N.Y.) Press predicts that Russia might be given a role in the Ruhr, controlled by the six-power agreement thus far excluding Russia. Russia wanted inter-allied control of the industrial region of Germany, a necessary factor for control of the economic life of Western Europe. France especially opposed the Russian plan.

The Shreveport Times finds that while it was conceivable that Russia might be given a role in the management of the Ruhr's resources, it was unthinkable that it would be given any form of control of the region.

The Phoenix Gazette ventures that because the Russians desired to share in the Ruhr, many concessions could be extracted from Russia for the benefit of the West.

The New York Times suggests that the Yugoslav defection from the Soviet sphere and Tito's angling for trade with the West were warnings to Russia which might induce the Soviets to allow participation by some of the satellites in the Marshall Plan, at least to the extent of increasing trade with the West. The best hope for recovery and peace in Europe appeared to lie in the fact of recognition of such economic realities.

The Syracuse Herald Journal finds talk, in itself, insufficient as a cure for clash of vital interests. A temporary peace might appear clever, it offers, but many issues would remain unresolved.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram finds that Russia might soften its foreign policy to gain economic relief from the West. Or it might resort to a tougher attitude, even turning to war in desperation. The U.S. ought be receptive to an alleviation of Soviet policy despite its motives but also should be fully alert to the opposite which was indicated by material developments thus far. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, it posits, was the most prudent attitude for America to have toward Russia.

A letter writer again argues that the Civil War ended all states' rights and since that time, no states had any inherent rights, only those granted by the Federal Government. Every President since Abraham Lincoln had distorted or ignored the Constitution.

He finds that disfranchising blacks was wrong, but that equally wrong was the attempt to end the right to be exclusive, presumably in reference to segregation imposed by state laws.

He concludes: "States' rights are 'rights' only when they are right. If they are right their constitutionality is of secondary importance."

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