The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 4, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the fight for control of Kashmir had developed into an undeclared war between India and Pakistan. Kashmir had previously been assumed by the leadership in India to be a part of that country, as Kashmir's ruler had so agreed. The trouble had spread beyond the border region with Paksitan.

Secrecy continued to prevail regarding the talks between the Big Three ambassadors to Moscow and Premier Stalin two days earlier.

The Russians indicated a willingness to compromise on the currency issue, whereby one form of Soviet-backed currency was recognized in East Berlin but not the Western currency, leaving the city using two forms. It was the first Russian concession since the start of the blockade in June. The Berlin City Magistrate and the Communist Eastern Economic Commission had requested that Russian currency would be recognized as the only legal tender for taxes in Berlin, in return for Western currency being allowed to circulate in the Eastern zone.

Nathan Silvermaster, accused by Elizabeth Bentley the previous Saturday of being leader of a spy ring in the Government, testified before HUAC this date that he had never been a spy, refusing to say whether he had ever been a Communist. He said that he had remained during the war in both the Navy Department and the Civil Service Commission, though the Government had tried to terminate him. Mr. Silvermaster had prevailed on Lauchlin Currie, aide to FDR, and his boss, C.B. Baldwin, to intervene on his behalf with then Secretary of War Robert Patterson to keep him in his position.

Elizabeth Bentley then was called again to testify before the Committee, stating again that Mr. Silvermaster headed a Communist spy group and operated a laboratory in his basement where secret documents were photographed.

Louis Russell, a Committee investigator and former FBI agent, also testified regarding his investigation of Mr. Silvermaster and the suspicions he had aroused while at the Civil Service Commission.

Representative L. Mendel Rivers of South Carolina said that there would be "bloodshed" unless Federal District Court Judge J. Waties Waring was removed from the bench. Mr. Rivers contended that he was not upset about the Judge's decision permitting blacks to vote in South Carolina primaries, that he believed there were thousands of qualified black voters in the state. Rather, he was concerned that illiterates, regardless of race, would be permitted to vote, wanted an educational requirement for exercise of the franchise. He wanted the law interpreted "with dignity" by Judge Waring.

But that would imply that all of the members of Congress from South Carolina were literate, Mr. Rivers.

He said further that Judge Waring was "exacting a pound of flesh from the white people of South Carolina because, through his own actions, he has been ostracized from their society."

Well, now, listen heya, you've gone too far. You're calling him a Jew?

He went on to say that the Judge was "as cold as a dead Eskimo in an abandoned igloo", that "lemon juice flows in his cold and calculating veins."

Now, he's an Eskimo who likes lemons? Have you been shooting walruses with former Senator Reynolds up in Alaska?

The Judge had "lampooned, lambasted and vilified with unparalleled vituperation the comfort and ease of the outstanding members of the bar of South Carolina."

Which bar? And shouldn't you add "beleaguered" and "vitriol" to your run of phraseology to attain the status of a double-triple alliterator?

Congressman W. J. Bryan Dorn of South Carolina had introduced a resolution to investigate the jurist for his conduct in office.

How's the price of silver doing?

The DNC banned racial segregation in its headquarters staff, to be consistent, said chairman J. Howard McGrath, with the policy favored by the President regarding the Government and the armed forces. Senator McGrath said that he anticipated appointment of a black assistant. The separate black division of the DNC was thus being abolished and its staff members distributed among other units. The Senator predicted that the President would not lose the electoral votes of any Southern state.

The RNC retained its separate division for blacks.

Senate Republicans abandoned their effort to pass the anti-poll tax law after a successful filibuster by the Southern Senators for five days. The Republicans wanted to reach the other legislation pending in the special session. The consensus was, after some discussion, that a substitute measure to send to the states an amendment to the Constitution banning the poll tax should not be introduced during the session. The GOP said that Senate rules ought be changed in January to avoid such filibusters. They now turned their gaze toward two of the President's proposed anti-inflation measures, limiting bank credit and installment buying. The Republicans ruled out any form of price control. According to GOP leaders, there also might be some common ground for action on housing.

The North Carolina Board of Elections had certified the petition of the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace to be on the ballot in November. They had supplied more than the requisite 10,000 signatures of qualified voters. It refused, however, to qualify the Dixiecrats because there was no way to determine whether the signatories of their petition were qualified voters as required by law. The State Board said that the signatories had not been verified by county election boards as required by the law. The Dixiecrats had vowed to go to court to contest the ruling.

Dave Clark, co-chairman of the party in North Carolina, said that the Dixiecrats had presented 18,661 signatures—perhaps a symbolic number, although for maximum effect it should have been limited to 18,461. He claimed that it did not matter whether the voters had voted in the primaries of one of the parties, a requirement under the ballot qualification law.

And, of course, most of them were dead, if not in fact, at least by definition.

It may have been the case that Governor Thurmond made a mistake in kicking off his presidential campaign at the Watermelon Festival in Cherryville, N.C., the previous weekend.

A movement was afoot by housewives across the country to boycott meat for its high prices, starting in Dallas, Texas, and spreading across that state. Miami had also joined in the campaign, communication being performed by chain telephone calls.

Kerr Scott, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina, reiterated his campaign promise that he would seek from the General Assembly substantially higher pay for teachers at the start of the year.

Dick Young of The News tells of recommendations in a traffic survey report by the traffic engineer to the City Manager for 4th and 6th Streets in Charlotte to become one-way westbound and 5th and 3rd Streets one-way eastbound. The report found that 333 accidents had been recorded in the sixteen affected blocks, between the beginning of 1943 and June, 1947, 324 of them at intersections, usually involving turns. The changes would alter that course.

Well, it's about time.

In the sports section, details are provided of the annual contest to determine the young sports writer of the year, who would receive a road trip with the Charlotte Hornets baseball team. You had better get to work on your entries, starting with the election.

On the editorial page, "For a Healthier, Happier City" congratulates the Mayor and City Council for reacting to public pressure to implement the Standard Housing ordinance, suspended since it was enacted in 1943 because of the dearth of available building materials. The resulting inspections and orders to comply with the ordinance would help to eradicate the worst of the slum conditions in the city, improving health and safety for everyone.

"Does Stalin Want Real Peace?" finds pessimistic voices contending that the only thing which could come from the current entreaties by the Big Three ambassadors to Moscow speaking with Premier Stalin was a truce during which the powers would continue to maneuver to the brink of crisis. The theory was based on the notion that the Russians would never abandon the Marx-Lenin party line to promote worldwide revolution.

DeWitt MacKenzie had voiced such pessimism in one of his pieces, that the Russians would not stop until they succeeded or their revolution blew up in their faces through anti-Communist revolt or world war.

The piece adopts a more hopeful position, finds John Foster Dulles, apparently to become President Dewey's Secretary of State in January, to have stated the matter correctly in finding that the Russian policy was one which was "not war, not peace". Communism thrived on crisis, but the Soviets could not afford a war with the U.S.

It opines that the settlement discussions were prompted by the fact that the Berlin crisis had moved the world too close to war for the comfort of the Kremlin. Mr. Dulles believed that the Russians could be cajoled to settle down when they saw the rest of the world recovering economically to the degree that further Soviet expansion would be deemed futile.

While the tide appeared to have turned in many countries against the Soviets, it was not yet clear whether this trend would continue. It was possible that the Politburo and Premier Stalin would not see that the cold war game was played out, but it was also possible that they were more concerned than was apparent regarding the demise of revolutionary ardor in Eastern Europe.

It concludes that the rally against Communism during the year gave hope that the diplomatic negotiations might achieve positive results.

"Bureaucrats Grow and Grow" tells of the Republican Congress, after having won the elections of 1946 on the basis of cutting Government bureaucracy and cost, having increased the size of Government by 70,000 employees since the previous December. Based on new appropriations, the figure might rise by another 190,000, to a peak of 2.25 million Government employees, by June 30, 1949. The present peak represented 80,000 more workers than the peak reached during the war.

Both the Administration and the Congress were responsible for the increase, at a time when both were seeking control of inflation. The Government payroll had swollen to seven billion dollars. One out of every 30 jobs in the country was that of a Federal employee.

A bureaucrat, it concludes, was neither necessarily a Democrat nor Republican, but rather a creation of the people who could not understand that the country could not have more government service without paying for it.

"Higher Than Mt. Mitchell" corrects the earlier editorial on the highest point in North Carolina and in the Appalachians possibly to be exceeded by Clingman's Dome in Tennessee, should a man there get his way in adding stones equivalent to 42 more feet in height. It had incorrectly stated that Mt. Mitchell was the highest mountain east of the Rockies. But a reader had pointed out that Horneg's Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota was higher by several hundred feet, limiting the geographic superiority of Mt. Mitchell to the region east of the Mississippi.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, chairman of HUAC, hiring personnel and then receiving kickbacks of their entire salaries to his own pocket. He suggests that there ought to be grounds for income tax evasion and ethical inquiries anent the practice. He paid taxes based on the lower income bracket of his employee. He had hired a stenographer for four years at $1,200 per year and received the entire salary. She did no work save stuffing envelopes, for which she was paid $2 per hundred.

He then hired another employee on the same basis, at $1,800 per year, for one and a half months, until he hired yet someone else for $2,900 per year, increased to over $3,400. All the employment was bogus.

Eventually, based on this information, a grand jury would indict Mr. Thomas and he would go to jail.

Mr. Pearson next reports that the anti-Communist movement may have spread to the Red Army. Discipline had apparently sunk to a new low.

A bloc of German Communists had sought from the Soviet occupation forces the end of the blockade of Berlin. As a result, the Russians had ordered a purge of the Russian-sponsored Socialist Unity Party, one of whose members castigated co-workers at a recent conference for being anti-Russian, suggesting that they had crossed the line into being an agent for U.S. imperialism.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop look at the campaign strategy of Thomas Dewey, find him planning to play it safe as long as he remained ahead of the President in the polls and as long as the domestic situation remained stable insofar as inflation. He would stick to foreign affairs and stress a general cleaning of house in the Government, to avoid too many commitments. If prices rose sharply, however, the President could lay the blame on the inaction of Congress in the special session and at that point, Governor Dewey would have to wage a fighting campaign. The Dewey advisers believed that the special session would do no other harm to the Republican cause.

If inflation remained stable, the Governor would take to the road only in late September and mainly work for a short period to get out the vote, which he believed was his for the asking.

They venture that if the election turned out as predicted, however, the GOP electorate might find in their moment of jubilation, ironically, that they did not know very well the candidate they had elected.

James Marlow tells of Alabama Senator Lister Hill stating that education in the country was a matter of lottery, a view shared by the majority of Senators. The Senate had thus voted 58 to 22 in April to provide Government funding of 300 million dollars per year to the states for education. The House, however, had ignored the bill. It would not be taken up in the special session, as the President had urged.

Federal funding to education had been around as an idea for 30 years. Poorer states, especially in the South, would receive more under the program, as those states had a smaller tax base on which to draw their funding. Payments would range from $5 per student per year in the richer states to $28.50 in the poorer ones. The bill was designed to provide for a total expenditure of $50 per student per year in each state. The average expenditure was $125 per student, ranging in 1945 from $44.80 in Mississippi and $56.93 in Alabama to $198.33 in New Jersey and $194.47 in New York.

One argument against Federal funding was that the richer states had to pay for education in the poorer states, when the richer states received the least Federal money under the program. The Senators determined, however, that all children were Americans and entitled to equal education, important to the future welfare of the country.

But the principal argument against the program was that the Government would be able to interfere with state education, saying what could and could not be taught. The Senate bill thus expressly provided for no interference.

Some Senators argued that the money would be used to fund private and religious schools as well as public schools. The Senate bill thus specifically limited spending to public schools, except in the instance where a state spent some of its money on private and religious schools.

He concludes that given all of the spending approved by the House, the only reason it had not approved the bill was that it did not wish to spend the relatively small amount on education.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, admits that he had not made up his mind as to who of the three candidates for President he supported, the President, Governor Dewey, or former Vice-President Wallace. Each party was better at being critical of the opposition than solving problems.

The notion that merit, however, lacking in one party would then transfer automatically to another, a sort of Indestructibility of Merit Rule, did not obtain. Merit was not as basketball, where one team losing the ball meant that the other had it.

The President had a point in his suspicions of Russia. The Republicans were justified in their view that the entire world could change adversely. And Mr. Wallace made his points in believing that too much suspicion of Russia could lead to war. None of them, however, promised a sure road to peace and prosperity. None proved merit by proving lack of merit of the opposition.

Merit was scattered among the parties. He would await another day, therefore, to make a decision on who would have his support come November.

A letter writer finds the trend in the world to be that giving up some form of liberty to the Government was a way to have security, but that such notions, to which he ascribes liberality, amounted to a form of tyranny.

He would be good on most of the radio talk shows these days as another of their shills for the big corporations, pretending to be a friend to the common idiot, stupid enough to listen to him.

A letter writer from Wrightsville Beach finds the series of articles by Tom Fesperman on the Charlotte slums to have been a public service. He hopes to read of results of the campaign to clean up the city within about 90 days.

A letter from the director of public relations of the Charlotte Jaycees thanks the newspaper for its support in the Jaycees' drive to clean up the city.

A letter from "M.B. Query", perhaps a real name, probably not, objects to the ordinance which proscribed a chicken coop within 200 feet of a street or residence, thinks that if it was a menace at 30 or 40 feet, it remained so at 200. He thinks it was designed to end the businesses which handled day-old chickens. He thinks that there was no need for any new law on chickens beyond assurance of clean coops.

No, it is a proven scientific fact that you cannot hear chickens from 200 feet, known in the scientific literature as the Limitator Gallus Domesticus Doodle-dooinator, with the single exception of the Dixiecrat variety of rooster which extends their noise range much further by working in relays at various wavelengths until the phenomenon known as Ad Nauseam Anti-Liberalis works to eliminate the bar to the Barrier.


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