The Charlotte News

Monday, August 23, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that HUAC investigators stated that Elizabeth Bentley, confessed Communist espionage agent for the Soviet Union, was ready to tell of another Soviet spy ring, to be the third which she had identified, which had pursued America's wartime industrial secrets. The Committee had asked the Defense Department to appoint a liaison officer for this phase of the spy hunt. An unidentified member of HUAC said that he believed that the Communists might have been highly successful in the operation.

Which, after all, would have been a good thing, so that several hundreds of thousands of Americans did not have to die fighting a bloodier European war, Mr. Rankin—with white or black blood transfusions in play.

No hearings were held before HUAC this date, but would resume the following day.

Soviet Consul-General in New York Jacob Lomakin was reported by a Swedish-American shipping company official to have booked passage on one of their ships back to Moscow via Gothenburg six weeks earlier, prior to the expulsion from the country by the State Department in response to his handling of the Oksana Kosenkina case, accusing the U.S. of complicity in kidnaping her and fellow Russian teacher Mikhail Samarin and his wife.

Workmen, meanwhile, were packing crates of belongings at the consulate. An attache, however, said that none of the belongings were of Mr. Lomakin. He did not inform to whom they did belong.

Ms. Kosenkina had been removed from the critical list at Roosevelt Hospital on Saturday in her recovery from injuries from her jump from the third floor of the Soviet consulate in New York to effect escape, and was said to be improving, but would have to remain hospitalized for three months.

In Berlin, the Russians released three AMG officials who had been seized by Russian and East German police in Berlin and in southern Germany. The British, in response, released the head of the criminal division of the East Berlin police, whom they had seized Sunday at a boxing match for his having abducted West Berlin police. He remained accused formally of "assumption of authority" or acting outside his jurisdiction. One of the released AMG officials had admittedly crossed by mistake into the Soviet zone of Germany at Mellrichstadt. Another said that he and his family had driven to Potsdamer Platz to take pictures when he was seized. He was uncertain whether he had crossed from the British to the Russian sector, had been careful to remain behind the white line demarking the British sector, but said that he could have accidentally stepped back a foot or two into the Russian sector while distracted with his photography. He was accused by the Russians of photographing Soviet troops, verboten. He said that he was not mistreated, but interrogated.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers crossed into the American sector of Berlin this date to arrest a German photographer.

In Greece, the Greek Army routed guerrillas moving toward the Vitsi area, in the triangle between the borders of Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania, seeking a new home for the "Free Greece" movement, having been driven from their stronghold in the Grammos Mountains. Guerrillas had entered Greece from Albania at Kastoria. The Greek Army had killed 2,000 and captured another thousand prisoners in the fighting in the Grammos Mountains. The General Staff proclaimed that the rebels had been thoroughly routed and that the Free Greece movement was no more.

Jews asserted that two wounded Israeli soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated while prisoners of the Arabs in Jerusalem's International Red Cross zone. A third prisoner died or was killed.

The Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Hewlett Johnson, a defender of Soviet life, stated that he had been denied a U.S. visa to enter the country for the purpose of holding lectures. He was a member of the editorial board of The Daily Worker. The American-Soviet Friendship Society was sponsoring his tour and he claimed that the denial was based on the fact. The State Department confirmed that, while it had no objection to Dr. Johnson per se, a tour under the auspices of that organization would not be in the best interests of the country at the time, that he would probably obtain a visa if he wished to come to the country on his own.

Defense Secretary James Forrestal stated that weekend meetings in Newport, R.I., with the Joint Chiefs had produced the opinion that the Army, Navy, and Air Force had to work cooperatively to promote economy of operations. The meeting continued discussions begun at Key West, Fla., the previous March.

The World Council of Churches, meeting in Amsterdam, expressed regret that the Eastern Orthodox Church of Russia had sent no representatives, believed it was a misunderstanding regarding the goals of the Council, that it was apolitical and devoted to spread of peace in Christ's name. Also absent were the communions of the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Church and the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.

In Columbia, S.C., the police had arrested two youths from Fernandina, Fla., in the murders of a couple and the rape of the woman at Ormund, Fla., on the previous August 14. Ballistics tests were being performed on a .22 rifle found in the car in which the boys were riding.

In Asheville, N.C., a judge addressed the grand jury investigating gambling, lotteries and the like in the community, by telling them that the overlord of the local gambling syndicate was worth over a million dollars and was walking around as a king because the citizenry had allowed the scourge to gain a foothold—until you had Trouble with a capital "T".

A little girl of Statesville, N.C., pictured, lost her doggie as her mean old father, who wanted to raise chickens to combat the high cost of living, sent two of the three family dogs "to the country"—which we know to be a euphemism for the sake of making the child feel better about the dog becoming another form, eternally. The little girl had considered running away but, in the end, decided that the chickens were fun to be with, too—until the mean old father cuts their heads off so's you can fry them up and eat them.

On the editorial page, "Prelude to Russia's Retreat" finds that the Soviets appeared to want an early end to the cold war, despite the bitter relations of late between the West and Russia, in Berlin, in Belgrade, the confrontation with the Soviet Consul regarding the Russian teachers in New York, and at the Danubian Conference in which the Russian-bloc nations ran roughshod over the rights of the West insofar as navigation on the Danube. In recent weeks, the Russians had been placed plainly on the defensive. The fact that the Russians had responded with the Berlin blockade demonstrated their recognition of this fact and that their expansion in Eastern Europe had run its course, could not easily be extended to the West.

It asserts that the Russians would attempt to keep the West off balance and under tension in a game of bluff which would end only when the West convinced the Russians that it did not serve to intimidate with the threat of war. The advantage in the game was clearly with the U.S. and the Western allies, so much so that it expects Stalin soon to call a halt to the contest.

"Dewey Runs from the GOP" tells of pollster Elmo Roper contending that Mr. Dewey was not only running against the President but also away from the Republican Congress, an effort to prevent the electorate from holding him responsible for the do-nothing record, save for Taft-Hartley and the tax cut largely beneficial to the corporations.

The piece thinks it a difficult task but that Mr. Dewey could perform it if anyone could. He was proposing some changes to Taft-Hartley and would support continued farm subsidies, a product of the New Deal. Senator Taft had championed not only the bill which bore his name but reduction and ultimate abandonment of farm price supports, setting the stage for a contest with President Dewey.

It is reminded that the Governor's chief claim to his reputation as an efficient clean-government Governor was based largely on maintaining and even extending the New Deal philosophy in New York, as pioneered by former Democratic Governors Al Smith, FDR, and Herbert Lehman, prior to Mr. Dewey coming to the office in 1943. Earlier in the campaign, Mr. Truman had said that vice-presidential nominee Governor Earl Warren of California was actually a "good Democrat"—who had won re-election as Governor in 1946 by winning both the Republican and Democratic primaries pursuant to the cross-over law then extant in California, permitting a candidate to run on both party ballots. Mr. Warren also had a New Deal-type program. Before the campaign was over, it ventures, the President might include Governor Dewey in his assessment of nominal Republicans as "good Democrats".

We have no real choice. It's unconstitutional. We want Strom and Fielding.

"North Carolina's Mountaineers" tells of Holiday Magazine presenting a piece in its issue of this month regarding the hardy mountain folk of North Carolina, who gave birth to some of the pioneers of the eighteenth century and beyond, who ventured westward past the Appalachians. They remained proud of their British, Dutch and German heritage, some still using dialect heard in Britain during the mid-eighteenth century.

Their songs also celebrated that past in ballads of unrequited love and tragic endings. The magazine story had suggested that tourists flocked to these hills as much for the folk tradition of the people who inhabited them as for the scenery they afforded. The piece believes that there was much truth in the statement.

Robert Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of Dan Tobin, president of the Teamsters, squaring off with Dave Beck, the West Coast Teamsters boss. The feud had developed from Mr. Beck's desire for Mr. Tobin's job. The previous year, Mr. Beck was appointed executive vice-president by Mr. Tobin, a position created to placate Mr. Beck, and it sent the signal that Mr. Beck was in line to become president. But Mr. Beck was still itching to become president sooner than the retirement of Mr. Tobin. Mr. Beck, a friend to Governor Earl Warren, sought therefore to build his own West Coast labor empire, a move to which Mr. Tobin had recoiled, making it clear that he was the boss of the union.

Mr. Beck, meanwhile, had encountered troubles with the rank and file.

Mr. Tobin had been cool to President Truman. It was still not clear what would happen in the battle between Mr. Tobin and Mr. Beck.

He next tells of the air demonstration to celebrate the opening of New York's Idlewild Airport having turned too real when an L-5 Cub crashed. The pilot was unconscious but when he heard himself referred to as a sergeant, he suddenly regained his consciousness, corrected that he was a staff sergeant, not just a sergeant, promptly lost consciousness again.

Marquis Childs, still in McCall, Idaho, discusses conservation and the need for it to continue through a strong Forest Service. It was essentially a Republican ideal, as Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt had been the founding fathers of conservation at the start of the Twentieth Century.

A tension had developed through time in the boom years of late whereby the stockmen and big ranchers wanted to have more grazing rights while the Government wanted to preserve the land for future generations and prevent overgrazing, in consequence ultimately returning the Western lands to their natural desert state.

He reminds that no watershed system of irrigation had ever long sustained fertile land. It was historically the case that every such system eventually was exhausted.

Governor Dewey would soon visit the West. He could, in the Republican tradition, endorse vital conservation. Or he could merely give it lip service while giving to the stockmen and ranchers the hope that he would reduce regulation and Government bureaucracy to their advantage. If he evaded the issue, he would leave a feeling of confusion among those who hoped he would provide leadership. As President, he would have to provide leadership to overcome the forces in Congress who wanted to do the bidding of the big stock raisers.

DeWitt MacKenzie discusses the State Department's reply to the Soviet claim that Oksana Kosenkina and Mikhail Samarin, both Russian teachers of the children of Soviet diplomats to the U.N., were kidnaped with the connivance of the Government. The reply had given the lie to the claim, as Ms. Kosenkina said she wanted to escape the Russian consulate in New York and so jumped from its third-story window, and Mr. Samarin had also stated that he wanted to stay in the U.S. and not return to Russia. The note rendered Soviet Consul General Jacob Lomakin persona non grata in the United States.

But the State Department had also adroitly provided the Soviets with a face-saving device by allowing that the misstatements had resulted from "misinformation", making Mr. Lomakin the responsible party for it. Such a position would allow Foreign Commissar Molotov to blame the Consul for the problem and simply call him home, to face an uncertain future for having embarrassed the Soviet Government.

The diplomatic talks among the Big Four in Moscow to try to resolve the Berlin crisis hinged on enabling the Russians to save face while the West made no significant concession. The German situation could not be resolved until the Berlin blockade was lifted. And that would not be done until Russia was provided a graceful way to back down.

Mr. MacKenzie guesses that the negotiations in Moscow were concerned primarily with that point, if not officially, then tacitly.

A letter writer takes issue with the letter writer, about whom another letter writer had written positively, who complained of the Highway Patrol riding around in new Buicks (or stalling Dodges at the climax) with their girlfriends, asserts that those who took the least part in civic affairs were most likely to criticize their government and its functionaries. While the Highway Patrol was not perfect, it did, says the author, have the best men available at the rate of pay under the extant working conditions, dangerous as they were. He congratulates the Highway Patrol, thinks the letter writer, whose name was not in the Charlotte directory, was likely a lawbreaker caught by the Patrol—out on Highway 51.

A letter writer thinks that Drew Pearson of late sounded more as T. D. Kemp than Drew Pearson, citing his recent column in which he had recommended treating Russians offensively, as that was the only thing they understood, to that end, urged increasing Panama Canal tolls charged Russian ships by 100 fold and freezing the ships in American ports until lend-lease bills were paid in full. Mr. Pearson had advocated that Britain do likewise in the Suez Canal.

Parenthetically, the letter writer actually refers to a column by Robert Allen, substituting for Mr. Pearson, not his alter-ego.

The writer thinks that Mr. Pearson was offended by Josef Stalin not responding to his letter as he had to former Vice-President Henry Wallace. He finds that the British were in no greater prospect of using to advantage their control of the Suez Canal than they had been against Italian ships in 1936 when Ethiopia was being raped, and so would not do so against Russian ships. He urges that if Mr. Pearson believed that America could survive a nuclear war, then it should get on with it, but not make a "sucker out of England" which could not survive such a nuclear holocaust.

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