The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 3, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that before HUAC, Whittaker Chambers, admitted Communist between 1924 and 1937 and presently a senior editor for Time Magazine, accused Alger Hiss, formerly of the State Department, and Nathan Witt, attorney for the NLRB, among others, of being Communists. Mr. Chambers stated that Mr. Witt was head of the underground group to which he belonged, later headed by attorney John Abt, present counsel to the Progressive Party. According to Mr. Chambers, Lee Pressman, active also in the Progressive Party, was in the group, as was Mr. Hiss. He said that the group consisted of seven or so top level Government men, from among whom Elizabeth Bentley's group was "apparently" recruited.

Mr. Hiss had organized the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in 1944, preliminary to the U.N. Charter Conference in San Francisco in spring, 1945, which he also organized and of which he was secretary-general. Mr. Hiss had been an aide at the Yalta Conference between President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin in February, 1945. He was photographed for Life after carrying the safe from San Francisco to Washington bearing the U.S. duplicate of the U.N. Charter following the conference. He currently headed the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Hiss told reporters that he denied the truth of the Chambers allegations, did not know Mr. Chambers and as far as he knew, had never met him. He would shortly change that statement after meeting face to face with Mr. Chambers, examining his teeth and listening to him speak, concluding that he was a man whom he knew under another name in 1935 and 1936 while Mr. Chambers sublet an apartment from Mr. Hiss and his family.

Mr. Chambers did not accuse Mr. Hiss at this juncture of espionage. That would come later, in November, during a civil suit Mr. Hiss would file in late September accusing Mr. Chambers of defamation. That would lead to the December revelation by Mr. Chambers of his alleged receipt of transcribed State Department documents from Mr. Hiss which Mr. Chambers claimed to hide, in the form of microfilm, inside a pumpkin on his Maryland farm, a hidey-hole, he would claim, from Communists who might visit him. Mr. Hiss's denial before the grand jury on December 15, 1948 that neither he nor his wife, in his presence, had ever turned Government documents over to Mr. Chambers or that he had ever met Mr. Chambers after the beginning of 1937 would form the basis for the perjury charges of which Mr. Hiss would be convicted in 1950 and sent to prison.

Congressman Richard Nixon would make his name as a tough anti-Communist from his persistent chase of Mr. Hiss, personally urging his prosecution for perjury before the grand jury which indicted Mr. Hiss—and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Senate Investigating Subcommittee also continued to hear testimony on Communist infiltration of the Government. The subcommittee chairman, Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, protested the failure so far to receive from the Commerce Department requested information on William Remington, implicated by Elizabeth Bentley as a Communist spy within the Government, allegedly providing through her reports to the Soviets on American plane production during the war.

The Atomic Energy Commission announced that two unidentified atomic scientists suspended in May during a loyalty check had been cleared.

The Republican Policy Committee, headed by Senator Taft, called a conference this date to determine what to do about the civil rights legislation, as well as anti-inflation and housing legislation. The Committee intended to meet until 9:00 p.m. Senator Taft stressed that the meeting did not mean that an attempt was afoot to break the continuing Southern filibuster on the anti-poll tax measure, which he viewed as impossible under current Senate rules. The Republican conference would be polled the following day to determine whether it would back a proposal to submit to the states a Constitutional amendment banning the poll tax, a move which the Southerners had indicated they would not seek to block by filibuster. The amendment proposal would require two-thirds approval in both chambers.

The Republicans were in agreement on tightening bank credit but not on installment credit curbs, already approved by the Senate and pending in the House Banking Committee. The House had approved a housing bill which would authorize Federal mortgage insurance to 1.6 billion dollars and increase allowable depreciation on rental properties to afford 2.5 percent return on investment. The Senate policy committee was considering their position on the legislation, which constituted the only anti-inflation measures presently on the skillet.

Senator Taft continued to assert that the session would end by Saturday night.

Representative John Dingell of Michigan said that he would introduce the following day a bill urged by the President, to return to the excess profits tax of the war, to put a brake on inflation. The tax would be lower and the exemptions greater than that during the war. Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, Ways & Means chairman, said that there would be no tax legislation during the special session.

Three states, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia, held primaries this date. President Truman voted in Independence, then flew back to Washington. Republicans in the Virginia Eighth District chose a candidate for the House race, believed to be the first GOP primary in state history.

Governor Dewey's press secretary, James C. Hagerty, later press secretary to President Eisenhower, denied that the Governor had attacked the teachers' lobby as had been reported. Governor Ernest Gruening of Alaska stated the previous night that Governor Dewey had urged the Governors' Conference to launch a campaign against the lobby, which he had described as the worst of the lot. Governor Herbert Maw of Utah confirmed the statement.

Life is unfair.

The results of the two-hour conference between the Big Three ambassadors to Moscow and Premier Stalin the previous evening were being maintained in strictest secrecy.

In Athens, Greece, the Greek Army, having been restructured in its command, announced capture of Kerossovon, the southern anchor of Communist guerrilla forces in northern Greece. The Army had also captured the Kamenic heights at the north end of the guerrilla defense line, on the Albanian border. It was forecast that the entire Communist Western front in the Grammos Mountains was on the verge of collapse.

As expected, the Hungarian Parliament elected Arpad Szakasits as President, replacing Zoltan Tildy who had resigned after his son-in-law was accused of treason.

Draftees to the Mexican Army were learning how to plow to make them better farmers.

At the opening of the Carolinas flue-cured tobacco market, growers received about $55 per hundred pounds, a bit less than that in the Georgia-Florida markets. The range ran from $5 to $70 depending on the quality of the leaf. Better quality lugs and cutters were in "best demand", with the good and fine cutters bringing between $64 and $68, while choice and fine lugs fetched $59 to $65. The sales supervisor at Lumberton said that the range there was between $56 and $58, probably to exceed the all-time high of $56.71 in 1946. Other warehouses reported even higher prices. The early average at Dillon, S.C., was $60. Whether that was for a cutter or lug, however, you'd have to consult with Chester to find out. The average the previous year was $41.84 in the Carolinas.

In Charlotte, enforcement began of the City's Standard Housing ordinance, with inspections to provide owners 90 days to comply or face condemnation for want of indoor plumbing, electrical wiring, running water and other such basic deficiencies. The ordinance had been passed in 1943 but not implemented because of scarcity of building materials during and after the war.

Ray Howe of The News tells on the sports page of Charlotte's Chunk Simmons when he first obtained track and field notice locally in 1940. Now, he was a U.S. decathlon athlete in the Summer Olympics in London, the first held since 1936 in Berlin. Bob Mathias of the United States, just 17, would win the decathlon and Chunk Simmons would finish third.

On the editorial page, "Rays of Hope for World Peace" contemplates the idea that the country and the world had become so accustomed to war that it would take some time to realize that the danger of war and revolutionary upheaval was past, even after there was no longer any danger. The thought had arisen many times during the cold war period of the previous two years. It recurred in connection with the diplomatic exchanges regarding the Berlin crisis.

Even as the diplomatic talks were taking place to find a resolution of the German situation, the Berlin blockade continued and Congress heard testimony anent a Communist spy ring in the Government during and prior to the war. The divide between East and West had grown so wide that the citizenry could not envision agreement for many years into the future.

But both sides had suffered setbacks causing re-evaluation of policy and plans. Both sides had been forced to realize that a shooting war could not be won and that neither was prepared for such a war. The blockade had stopped the West in proceeding with plans to form a separate West German government as long as Russia refused to cooperate in German unification except on Soviet terms. If settlement was not forthcoming, then force would likely be the only resort left open to the West. And Russia could not press the West in Berlin without causing war, which it could ill afford. Russia, also, was experiencing difficulties, as resistance to Communist movements increased within their Eastern European satellites.

These circumstances provided assurance that the diplomats would undertake every possible means to effect a settlement without resort to war.

"Late Afternoon Tea Party" finds that ordinarily reactionary Dave Clark, editor and publisher of the Textile Bulletin, was apparently exercised over the failure of the liberal Progressive Party to make the North Carolina ballot. He railed against the Board of Elections for totalitarian tactics resemblant to those of Hitler in disqualifying the party for not obtaining the requisite 10,000 qualified signatures of registered voters who had not voted in the party primaries. He invoked the Boston Tea Party as having been staged to end such despotic governmental action.

The piece then checks itself and realizes that Mr. Clark was actually inveighing against the disqualification of the Dixiecrats from the ballot. It finds, however, that what was good for one party was good for another and it should have made no difference to Mr. Clark whether the Progressives or the Dixiecrats were disqualified. It finds that his tea party reference thus had come late in the afternoon.

"Chumps for the Communists" comments on the testimony of Louis Budenz the previous day to a Senate committee that Hollywood had contributed large sums to the American Communists. He said that he had left the American Communist Party after realizing that it was a fifth column for Russia.

The persons who had been named by Elizabeth Bentley before the Senate Investigating Subcommittee, the HUAC hearings of Saturday not yet having hit the news, violated, it opines, the constitutional rights of the "defendants" on trial, as they had not been heard or had the opportunity to confront their accusers. It was likely that a good many people who were not Communists and others who were merely idealistic dupes who had been roped in by the propaganda would be hurt by the exposure.

The justification of Congress was the belief in the presence of an active Communist fifth column in the country, and the evidence adduced thus far, it concludes, would convince most in the country that the Congress had a good case.

Drew Pearson provides business predictions from summer, 1946, regarding what would occur when OPA was ended, suggesting that increased competition would benefit consumers, especially with respect to food prices, rents, and automobile prices, the converse of that which had transpired in the previous two years.

Young Thomas Dewey, as a college student at the University of Michigan, was black-balled for membership in the Chi Phi fraternity. Two members recounted that the reason for the sole negative veto of membership was that he was considered poor material who would not develop. That individual now sold real estate in Florida, his name not even remembered by his fellow students recounting the story.

Mr. Dewey, he notes, started out to be a concert singer before settling on the law as a profession. Presumably, he could have had a lucrative career singing at weddings.

The President was mad at Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, Army chief of staff General Omar Bradley, and Undersecretary of the Army William Draper for sabotaging Administration policies, especially Undersecretary Draper's rebuilding Germany at the expense of its neighbors and Secretary Royall's and General Bradley's inept handling of racial discrimination in the Army. Just a day after the President issued an executive order curbing Army segregation, General Bradley had reaffirmed the segregation policy. The President was genuinely hurt by the apparent disobedience, until he discovered that General Bradley had not learned of the President's order until after he had made a remark at a press conference asserting that segregation would continue. His remark was taken out of context, however, as the conference dealt with improving relations between black and white soldiers in the 3rd Armored Division at Fort Knox, where General Bradley was visiting.

General Lewis Hershey, head of Selective Service, said that the first draft call would likely occur by October 15 but that the second call would likely not take place before the beginning of the year. The 24 and 25-year olds would be first up. Out of the nine million available for the draft, only 1.386 million were likely to be deemed fit and eligible, most under 22, comprising over 1.3 million.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that bipartisanship in foreign policy was, notwithstanding the partisan politics domestically, going "from strength to strength". When one crypto-isolationist Republican leader at a caucus suggested that they make an issue of the Berlin crisis, Senator Vandenberg said that it would be treason. Governor Dewey supported the Senator in that view. The previous Friday, John Foster Dulles, Mr. Dewey's foreign policy adviser, visited Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett and agreed to a bipartisan foreign policy through the campaign. And that had been the rule even during the two national conventions.

Governor Dewey had already enunciated his negative attitude toward the crypto-isolationist plans to make the special session more of a Walpurgis Night than it already was. The meeting between Mr. Dulles and Undersecretary Lovett was simply to make everything "perfectly clear".

At the wish of Senator Vandenberg, Mr. Dulles would assume the role of spokesman for the GOP on foreign policy regarding matters of urgency.

Those who were monstrous enough to believe that the President would start a war to win the election were thus proved wrong in the premises. Secretary of State Marshall, Mr. Lovett, and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal were provided full control of foreign policy by the President. He had consistently accepted their recommendations. If the President had dealt on occasion with Palestine with politics in mind, so had the Republicans.

Governor Dewey, Mr. Dulles, and Senator Vandenberg had agreed, moreover, that bipartisanship on foreign policy would continue after the election should, as appeared probably the case 90 days from election day, Governor Dewey win.

James Marlow remarks on the approaching third anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The worry then persisted that the door had opened to place the secret in other hands, perhaps not so responsible as the U.S.

The people feared an atomic war which might be the doom of civilization. They also were buoyed with optimism regarding the beneficial uses of atomic energy, in science, medicine, and power production.

Now, the bombs were still being produced and relations with Russia had deteriorated to a nadir. People spoke of a crisis at hand. While Russia had the big land force, the U.S. had the bomb and hopefully sole possession of it, such that it could, if necessary, bring Russia to surrender quickly in the case of a military confrontation in Europe. Yet, if this crisis passed, and the Russians obtained the bomb and another crisis occurred...


The U.N. appeared unable thus far to bridge the gap and effect control of weapons of war. The Atomic Energy Commission at home was busy exerting control of atomic energy to harness it to useful purposes.

While the future of plenty opened by the beneficial uses of atomic energy lay ahead, the "ugly figure of tragedy" was there as well, "hiding behind the door with an ax in his hand." Unless the country "could find a way to skip past him, he'll split us from head to toe."

Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August, 1943, finds it impossible to ignore that the American Communist Party had taken control of the platform and machinery of the Progressive Party. It was alarming that so many people believed that peace and freedom could be won by policies set forth from Moscow, proving that Soviet indoctrination had reached far into the social fabric of the United States.

Outside the black community, the results of Soviet indoctrination could be seen mainly among the "soggy-minded" peace-seekers and those groups of liberals who concentrated exclusively on materialistic objectives. They were so indoctrinated that they minimized the worth of the Bill of Rights.

An advance copy of a book by a professor who had written of his experiences in Eastern Europe served as example. The professor had relished propaganda questioning why America had intervened in Greece with force and why the U.S. at the same time did not oppose the Fascists in Argentina. He did not go on to explain that without U.S. aid, Greece would be overrun by the Communist guerrillas. Nor did he explain that the Argentine Government of Juan Peron was freely elected and that, under the Inter-American treaty, the U.S. could not interfere with the government of a nation unless it endangered hemispheric peace.

A second example was supplied by a correspondent who wrote that he was a member of an honest group of citizens in Los Angeles and was upset by Mr. Welles having disapproved of the dictatorship established in Costa Rica. He gave approbation to the various dictatorial policies imposed in that country, found that they would root out its problems and replace them eventually with democracy. It was similar to the thesis advanced by the Communists as rationale for the takeover earlier in the year in Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Welles concludes that when those he had referenced and those supporting the Progressive Party gave so little heed to the safeguards of individual freedom, there was reason to wonder whether democracy was being properly taught regarding the value of human liberties.

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.