The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 21, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Russian officers had informed American officials that they would keep armed Soviet troops in central Berlin as long as the U.S. maintained its military police presence in the area. The British had erected barbed wire along their sector boundary in Berlin and the British, Americans, and Russians had reinforced their patrols.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers kidnaped four more Western sector German policemen this date, two from the British sector and two plainclothesmen of the American zone, the latter by means of force. The Russians had seized nine such officers in recent weeks, three of whom from the American zone had managed to escape.

Sixteen of the F-80 Shooting Star jet fighters sent to Germany had returned to the United States.

What's wrong with that LeMay guy? Is he a pansy, too? Ain't we gon' have no war? We 'as packed and ready to go to fight them Rooskies in Berlin.

Soviet Consul-General Jacob Lomakin had booked passage from New York for himself and his family on a Swedish-American liner, presumably to return to Moscow after being expelled by the State Department regarding his conduct in the case of Russian school teacher Oksana Kosenkina. The Vice-Consul stated, however, that the trip back to Moscow had been planned for a couple of months. President Truman was expected to revoke the credentials of Mr. Lomakin which had permitted him to stay in the U.S.

Meanwhile, two doctors named by Mr. Lomakin to examine Ms. Kosenkina, recovering in Roosevelt Hospital from her third-story jump from a window at the Russian consulate in New York, were deemed inadequate by doctors at the hospital and not allowed to examine the patient. They were not surgeons. Mr. Lomakin responded by saying that if they were not allowed the examination he would hold Roosevelt responsible—perhaps along with Lenin.

The Danube River would remain under Soviet control regardless of the outcome of the Danubian Conference, dominated by the Soviet-bloc countries. The Western powers had refused to sign the pact voted by the Soviet-bloc nations at the conference, giving the Russians the same control they had enjoyed since the end of the war. Under the agreement, no shipper could navigate the Danube from central Germany to the Black Sea without Soviet permission. Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky had made it clear that Western economic penetration was not desired. The Russians had made the matter one of territorial rights rather than international cooperation. Even if the Western countries had an agreement with one of the states through which the river passed, since policing was in the hands of each state, another country could block navigation through it.

In Greece, the Greek Army formed pincers from two conjoined fighting forces in the Grammos Mountains to cut off the remaining guerrillas from escape across the Albanian border. The guerrillas were reported to be in pell-mell retreat.

Alabama Senator John Sparkman, to become the 1952 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, and South Carolina Senator Olin Johnston backed Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, to become the 1960 Republican vice-presidential nominee, in his effort to abolish the winner-take-all form of the electoral college and hold presidential elections strictly on the basis of popular vote, apportioning the electors by proportion of the vote which a candidate would carry. Senator Lodge proposed a Constitutional amendment to that effect. The Southern Senators believed the effect on the South would be ameliorative, allowing Republicans to make inroads on the Solid South electoral lock and thus cause the South not to be taken for granted by the national Democratic Party.

As we have stated before, in the Twentieth Century and beyond, nothing else makes any sense whatsoever. The electoral college was never meant for an age of mass electronic communication and relatively fast transportation. Its sustained existence in this age only encourages use of those very means of electronic communication and fast transportation for the crafting of electoral victories in cheap political games, ultimately, risking stolen elections. But, just as with the rules on Senate filibusters, a lot of responsible talk gets swept under the rug in Congress by partisan self-interest and quickly forgotten. In the wake of the wake-up call for the country in 2000, there is no excuse for inaction on the matter and not allowing the people to determine it through the process of amendment of the Constitution.

Listen to Senator Lodge.

For the first time in 19 years, Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, known by her wartime radio anti-American propaganda name as "Axis Sally" or "Midge", was returned from Germany to the U.S. to stand trial for treason. She had been arrested two years earlier in the American zone of Germany and released on condition that she report every two weeks to the AMG, as the Justice Department collected evidence for the treason case against her. She had broadcast her messages, intended to diminish American soldier morale, to North Africa and Italy. The program was called "Home, Sweet Home".

The Federal Government obtained a temporary injunction to bar a strike of 45,000 East Coast stevedores set otherwise to have begun at midnight this date. The President had ordered the Justice Department to seek the injunction on the basis that the strike would imperil public health and safety. District Court Judge Harold Medina issued the injunction. Judge Medina would preside over the trial of the American Communist Party leaders recently indicted under the Smith Act for conspiracy to overthrow the Government by force and violence, the trial to result in convictions and prison terms in 1949.

An eleven-month old infant, suffering from glaucoma, was flown from her home in Victoria, B.C., to Los Angeles to undergo surgery to implant a special lens on her eyes to prevent potential permanent blindness from the degenerative disease.

In Smithfield, N.C., a jury was deliberating whether to find guilt on a first degree murder charge, invoking the death penalty, in a case involving the wife of a wealthy tobacconist defendant. The defense had argued diminished capacity by intoxication and sought a verdict of manslaughter. The defendant had shot his wife twice with a shotgun, as he had confessed to his father on July 28, immediately after the shooting. His father said that he looked wild and had been drinking.

Pete McKnight of The News tells of State Senator Joe Blythe, DNC treasurer, facing some local party criticism, albeit most of it in good humor, for sticking with President Truman and not following the Southern revolt of the Dixiecrats. He wanted to respond in the local newspapers but could not for the fact that his words would wind up in the national press and could prove embarrassing in other parts of the country.

In Mecklenburg County, county police arrested a man for opening a swimming pool in violation of a regulation of the County Board of Health shutting down pools to curb the spread of polio. The pool owner had denied permission to children to swim there, but the Board had extended the prohibition, formerly applied only to children, to everyone the previous day.

On the editorial page, "Diplomatic Blow to Soviet" finds justified the U.S. reaction to the case of Russian school teacher Oksana Kosenkina, seeking asylum in the country, by demanding that Soviet Consul-General Jacob Lomakin be sent home by the Russians. Mr. Lomakin had defied a court order in New York that Ms. Kosenkina be produced by the Consul at a hearing to determine whether she was being held involuntarily at the consulate. He had also provided false accounts of the incident, suggesting that the U.S., through the anti-Communist Tolstoy Foundation, had kidnaped Ms. Kosenkina and taken her to their farm in New York. Subsequently, after being returned to the consulate by the Russians, Ms. Kosenkina jumped from the third floor, suffering injuries, in her attempt to escape her "cage". A New York Judge, Samuel Dickstein, former member of HUAC when Martin Dies of Texas had been its chairman prior to the war, ruled that her own wishes were paramount and that the Consul had no technical custody of her while recovering in Roosevelt Hospital, a determination consistent with the State Department opinion on the matter.

The piece ventures that the Russians were not seeking to protect the rights of Ms. Kosenkina on foreign soil and had no ground under international law or treaties to act as it had, demanding her return to the custody of the Consul. The American State Department diplomatic note to the Soviets stated that the Government could not permit the exercise of the police power of any foreign government within the United States.

Parenthetically, that would have to include South Carolina and Mississippi in 1948.

The piece concludes that Premier Stalin ought consider that Mr. Lomakin had violated international law and aroused vitriolic reaction internationally and consequently not only order him home but also install a new Foreign Commissar to replace V. M. Molotov.

"In Defense of Our Writers" reports that not since the mid-Twenties to early Thirties, with John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, William Saroyan and William Faulkner, had there been so much concern over who was writing what in American fiction. Life, among other publications, had scolded the new, young writers, led by Norman Mailer and his best-selling The Naked and the Dead, for not having "range, variety, depth and pace." The magazine quoted Samuel Grafton that no one would dream of writing a novel about a Republican or basic American values.

The piece finds Life and the public who supported that opinion to be unduly harsh in their criticism. The writer could not re-create basic American values. Those values had changed markedly since the turn of the century. Mass media had changed the small, remote town or village to a mere suburb of the big city. The people of those hamlets and byways were now completely informed of world events as they took place.

The Forties were a decade of change or "decade of survival", as one social critic had suggested. The piece finds that the turbulent world was not conducive to any writing save journalistic inditement. The world first needed to settle down economically and on the international stage before writers could meet the criteria set by Life. It ventures that Life's criticism was better directed at the politicians rather than the writers, who were performing honestly and effectively in describing things as they were.

A piece from the New York World Telegram, "Billy Rose and the 'Met'", suggests as salutary the many changes in staging for various operas which showmen Billy Rose would incorporate were he allowed to take over the Metropolitan Opera for one season and underwrite it against losses as he promised. The Met was otherwise going to have to close for the 1948-49 season because of inability to meet union demands. The suggestions offered by the piece include an Aquacade in "Siegfried's Journey to the Rhine", a thousand girl violinists accompanying "The Evening Star", ski girls "by the leggy dozen" racing down the slopes of Sun Valley as the setting for "Boheme's" Mimi, and Mrs. Billy Rose and Esther Williams swimming through an iridescent tank between acts while the Rockettes pranced in precision along the edge to the accompaniment of "Lohengrin".

The piece says, "Take it from here, Billy."

Robert Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, discusses Robert Young, head of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, having failed in his bid to take control of the New York Central system, blocked by the Interstate Commerce Commission on grounds of creating a monopoly. In an interview with Mr. Allen, Mr. Young criticized the Association of American Railroads, found fault with both Democrats and Republicans, and denounced putting taxpayer money into China.

He intended to take over the Virginian Railway, the block for taking over the New York Central, because of competition with the C & O. The Virginian was owned by Mellon and they seemed willing to part with it to escape charges of forming a monopoly.

He blamed the AAR for a shortage in railway cars and for the Government claim of hundreds of millions of dollars for wartime freight rate overcharges in relation to war contracts. He said that the AAR did not want to modernize, that it could get steel for new railroad cars if it wanted to do so.

He saw the President as being very different from when he was a Senator and a harsh critic of Wall Street. As President, he had appointed to his Cabinet several Wall Street men, James Forrestal, Averell Harriman and others.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that the headline hunts of J. Parnell Thomas and HUAC could not solve the real problem of national security in the country.

Guilt by association was the worst danger to civil liberties. Recently, an employee of the State Department was charged with associating with ten suspected Communists. He had never heard of five of them and had only casual contact with four. He had known one of the ten closely for several years. That person was a banker with high standing in the banking community. Neither the State Department employee nor the banker knew why he was suspect. But it finally came out that he had lived briefly in Albuquerque several years earlier at which time an anonymous landlady had reported to the FBI that the man kept Communist literature in his basement. It turned out that the literature in question was The New Republic. It was a typical scenario.

The hearings had inquired of the parentage of witnesses and even their grandparentage. The Alsops wonder why such questions were relevant. Furthermore, there was rarely allowed confrontation of adverse witnesses because reports were maintained in secret. The FBI believed that to allow the accused to know the identity of reliable informants would compromise their sources.

The Alsops posit that accused witnesses ought be able to confront and question their accusers. Such was fundamental fairness under the Constitution.

They conclude that there was no easy solution to maintaining national security. "But a Government of drones and boneheads and toadies hardly contributes to national security." If the type thing which they outline continued, then, they assure, it would be the type of government the country would get.

Marquis Childs, still in McCall, Idaho, gives praise to the U.S. Forest Service for their effort in preserving the Western lands. Forest supervisors and rangers had a lot of autonomy to make decisions locally on what was best for forest and stream. There was also, however, typical bureaucratic red tape such that lumbermen and stock growers accused the service of arbitrary and dictatorial decisions.

But without the water from the watersheds protected by the service, the West would disappear. The Bureau of Reclamation built reservoirs to catch the spring runoff from winter snow melt. During the growing season, this water was released to farmers in the valleys through an elaborate irrigation system, transforming the land from basically desert into rich farm and grazing land.

Fire was the worst enemy. The smoke jumpers of the Forest Service were the front line troops who fought it. In Payette National Forest, where Mr. Childs was visiting, the supervisor had 60 smoke jumpers from 483 young summer applicants.

The other prime enemy was overgrazing the land. In this regard, politics entered the picture. The Forest Service had considerable cooperation in Idaho from stockmen and ranchers, unlike Wyoming and Nevada where a move was afoot which appeared to have as a goal removal of public forests from the protection of the Forest Service and turning the lands over to the states, then to private interests for exploitation. That move, however, had backfired. Farmers, sportsmen, and conservationists supported the Forest Service protection and politicians quickly fell into line.

He concludes that Congressional economy and inflationary prices had seriously hampered the work of the Forest Service but their dedication remained to build on America's future.

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, examines the bill passed by Congress and signed into law reluctantly by the President as inadequate to curb inflation, curbing bank and installment buying credit. Most editors approved the bill but opinion was divided as to whether it was enough.

The Roundtable looks at opinion from the Des Moines Tribune, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Atlanta Constitution, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Herald Tribune, and the Kansas City Star. Because this issue was transitory and not of particularly significant interest historically, except to note the inflationary trend after the removal of price controls in mid-1946 and the failure of the 80th Congress to address the issue of control of prices, and its impact on the election of 1948, we shall let the reader this time peruse those arcane opinions without providing a summary of each.

A letter writer favors regular rebuke by Christians of those who trampled the Sabbath, that it would put a stop to such trampling in trades of death, purveying whisky.

But what about the wine, mister? Jesus drank the party wine.

We note that this date's edition would be the last time that William Reddig's name appeared on the masthead of the editorial page as Editor. Exactly what that subsequent omission meant, we cannot ascertain. He remained, at least nominally, the Editor through at least the following December at the time of the Sixtieth Anniversary Edition of the newspaper. Mr. Reddig, who had worked for over twenty years at the Kansas City Star, had become Editor in late July, 1947, at the time of the departure of Harry Ashmore for the Arkansas Gazette, shortly thereafter becoming its Editor.

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.