The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 5, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman called the HUAC hearings and those before the Senate Investigating Committee regarding Communists in the Government a "red herring" intended to divert attention from lack of Congressional action on anti-inflation measures. The committees, he said, were doing irreparable damage to the morale of Government workers and shaking the confidence of the people in their Government. He reiterated his refusal to release to the committees the confidential loyalty reports conducted within the Executive Branch.

Meanwhile, Alger Hiss, accused on Tuesday by admitted former Communist Whittaker Chambers of being a Communist, appeared before HUAC and said that he was not and never had been a Communist. He did not believe that he had ever met Mr. Chambers. Subsequently, on August 16, Mr. Hiss, formerly of the State Department, presently head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, would suggest that Mr. Chambers might have been a man operating under the alias George Crosley when the latter, generally fitting Mr. Chambers's description, sublet the Hiss family apartment during the period between fall, 1935 and spring or summer, 1936. That was the only explanation, he would surmise, for Mr. Chambers having such a detailed understanding of his family life and the layout of his home at the time. Mr. Hiss would indicate that the man he knew during this period was remarkable for his bad teeth and wished to meet Mr. Chambers in person so that he could better ascertain the resemblance. The Committee would then agree to arrange such a meeting, held August 17—when it was safe.

Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi proposed calling former Vice-President Henry Wallace to testify regarding how Communists obtained key positions within the Commerce Department while he was Secretary.

Pennsylvania Congressman John McDowell of the Committee revealed that 1,300 pounds of uranium had been sent to Russia in 1943 in two shipments.

Samuel Klaus, a lawyer with the State Department, told the Senate Investigating Committee that Commerce Department officials knew that William Remington, implicated as an espionage agent by Elizabeth Bentley, was the subject of an active investigation for espionage. Mr. Remington's job required in part that he approve of the goods to be shipped to Russia.

In Berlin, the Russians relaxed their financial constrictions on the city regarding the two currencies in effect because of the Russian refusal to allow circulation of Western currency in the Soviet sector. The currency situation was cited as a reason for the land blockade. The anti-Communist Berlin City Government reached a compromise which allowed for the nonce release of enough previously blocked Russian-mark accounts to meet weekend payments by the City. A similar arrangement was reached with Western sector firms. It was the first modification of the currency policy since the beginning of the Berlin crisis in June and appeared to be a retreat from the Soviet goal of obtaining an economic monopoly on Berlin.

The Russians, however, placed new roadblocks near Lueneberg on the border between the Soviet and British zones.

The youth section of the Communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party condemned the blockade as a "crime against humanity", the first open revolt regarding the blockade. They also condemned the German Communists supporting the blockade as a "a criminal group".

The President accused the Congress of shirking its duty by failing to pass a comprehensive anti-inflation bill as urged by Mr. Truman at the start of the special session. The Republicans blocked consideration of wage and price controls and rationing, substituting only control of bank credit and installment credit. Republican leaders accused the President of contributing to inflation by adding 100 million bushels of wheat to the export quota despite a huge European crop.

The Senate Banking Committee approved housing legislation calling for some slum clearance and public housing. The bill was a modified version of the original Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill, substituting for a housing bill proposed by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Attorney General Tom Clark invited 21 district attorneys and housing expediters from the nation's seven most populous areas to formulate a new strategy for prosecuting chiselers both criminally and civilly for violations of laws regulating veterans' housing under FHA. Numerous complaints had been registered that side payments had been demanded. One contractor had omitted a full room from each house he had built, while another altered the width of each house to enable more houses to be squeezed into the same row. Scores of cases had already been initiated and indictments had been returned in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Several cases had already resulted in convictions.

Ford announced a $75 increase in price on all of its models, save one.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Waties Waring responded to the diatribe launched against him by Representative L. Mendel Rivers of South Carolina, urging removal of the Judge from the bench and warning that there would be "bloodshed" if he were not removed, as his decision to allow illiterates, white and black, to vote in the South Carolina primaries had been an affront to the people of the state and the bar—Sloppy Joe's down 'ere in Pickens. The Judge said, "It should be unnecessary to comment on these silly, childish ravings."

The Dixiecrats of North Carolina contemplated a write-in campaign after they had failed to qualify for the ballot. North Carolina Secretary of State Thad Eure, however, said that he was not certain that he would accept the electors if the write-in succeeded.

A group of 200 UNC students, most from the veterans' Victory Village and trailer courts gathered in protest of the University administration ruling that dogs would not be permitted in the two housing units, starting September 15 at the inception of the fall semester.

One woman carried a sign, pictured, which read "Dogs Don't Hurt Nobody! Save Our Dogs!" Okay, but please take some English while in attendance at the University. Otherwise, first thing you know, Mr. Rivers won't allow you to vote in the primaries, at least not in South Carolina.

The header over the photograph reads, "Love Me, Love My Dog".

Dick Young of The News reports that the City Council and the Mayor were moving forward with plans to clean up the city's creeks by requiring industrial operations to eliminate waste dumping by the first of the year.

In the London Summer Olympics, first to be held since those in Berlin in 1936, Charlotte's Floyd "Chunk" Simmons was in second place in the decathlon, after completion of four of this date's five events, against 34 other participants. Ignace Heinrich of France was leading by 22 points, 3,095 to 3,073. Bob Mathias, 17, of Tulare, California, was in third place with 3,068 points. The concluding five events would take place the following day.

Each of the three leaders would reshuffle positions but would wind up as the three medal winners. Chunk Simmons would take the bronze.

On the editorial page, "Get Tougher or Smarter?" tells of Elmo Roper finding in a poll that the public had increasingly come to disapprove of the U.S. policy toward Russia, voted inadequate by 31.6 percent of the respondents of July, 1947, rising to 52 percent disapproval the previous April. Of those, 42.7 percent wanted Washington to get tougher, while only 7.5 percent favored a milder policy.

Still, however, less than one percent of the respondents favored war with Russia. The piece posits that the disparity might account for the reason that the tougher foreign policy had made little impact on the Russians. To be effective, a tough policy needed the people behind it, favoring, if necessary, war to enforce it. The desire for a tougher policy appeared thus to come from the notion that Russia could be bluffed, developing out of an overestimate of U.S. strength and insufficient understanding of the obstacles ahead, deficiencies potentially leading unintentionally to war. Such was already threatened in Germany with the Berlin crisis following from the U.S.-British plan to form a separate government for Western Germany.

It suggests that the respondents ought be favoring instead a smarter policy.

"Don't Mistreat the Butcher" comments on the housewives of Texas, having the previous year revolted against the lower hem-line, now undertaking a meat boycott. While there had been some sense in conserving material in dresses in the former instance, there was none, it suggests, in the latest move. The butchers had nothing to do with meat prices. Moreover, some butchers would suffer greatly while others remained unaffected.

The boycott would also lead to a rush on meat after it was over, causing meat prices to rise. The boycott would only punish the butchers who had stood fast during the war on prices and result in no ameliorative effect on inflation.

"Brother, Can You Spare 7 Cents?" discusses the bill introduced by Representative and future House Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts to mint a seven-cent coin, to make it easier to pay bus fares. It would take the place of the nickel. It would also help in the fight against inflation as manufacturers could not afford to make items for a nickel as the vending machines were designed to accept, and so they raised the nickel candy or soft drinks to a dime, when they could limit the price to seven cents.

The piece thinks that Mr. McCormack had a point, as the editors were tired of hearing about wooden nickels and bumming a nickel for a cup of coffee.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Housing Frills", discusses the latest cost-saving method in housing, eliminating gadgets, such as circular windows, fancy railings, widow's walks, screened-in porches, hardwood floors, built-in appliances and the like.

The status-conscious Joneses might object, but, suggests the piece, they could go ahead with their plans to add on their mirrored Hollywood bathroom.

Drew Pearson tells of Speaker Joe Martin having again blocked the Taft-Ellender-Wagner long-term housing bill, passed previously by the Senate, by a parliamentary maneuver within the Rules Committee after it had passed the Banking and Currency Committee. Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas had been circulating a discharge petition to get the bill to the floor, requiring a majority vote in the House. Mr. Martin, however, declared that the petition could only be signed while the House was in sessio. Then, the previous Friday, he promptly recessed for a long weekend. Since the petition had to rest on the Speaker's desk for seven days before going to the floor, it probably made it impossible to have the bill reach the floor during the special session. So far, Ms. Douglas had 163 signatures and needed 27 more to reach 190, at which point Sam Rayburn had promised to supply the remaining 25 signatures.

The Library of Congress was displaying gifts from the people of France in appreciation for the Friendship Train of the previous November-December. Italy had also provided a special resolution in appreciation for the train which went to that country.

Champ Pickens, founder of the Blue and Gray college football game each season between Northern and Southern all-stars, had once resolved for the President whether Missouri was considered part of the North or the South. A star player from the University of Missouri was named Jefferson Davis, but, notwithstanding, he was assigned to the Northern team because the University lies north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Mr. Pickens was also planning to build a stadium in Montgomery, Ala., to be the permanent home of the game, played since 1938.

HUAC was secretly investigating Communism within the black community and several prominent black leaders would be called to testify on the subject.

Governor Earl Warren would open his vice-presidential campaign in the Northwest on September 7, and then proceed to Texas and the border states.

Friends of Henry Wallace said that he was quietly concerned over the way in which the Communists had taken control of the Progressive Party, but would not do anything about it.

Mr. Pearson thanks the Senate Small Business Committee for protecting the small oil companies from the big ones.

Senator Zales Ecton of Montana and Congressman John Sanborn of Utah were using their franking privileges to send out silver-lobby propaganda over the West.

House Speaker Martin was considering calling a special session of Congress after the election—on the assumption that the Republicans would win.

Barnet Nover reports of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization statement on Europe's future food production, set to stand in the way of recovery for years to come. The agricultural prospectus for the 16 Marshall Plan countries was bad, despite good harvests during the previous year and substantial importation of food eliminating the immediate threat of starvation, which had prevailed even as late as a year earlier. Britain was abolishing its bread ration, imposed in 1946. The rule, however, was small rations. FAO predicted that by 1951, the bread grains and coarse grains would not be restored to prewar levels. Plus, there were ten million more people in Europe than in 1938. Under current plans, by 1951, Europe's net import of these grains would be a quarter to one-third higher than prior to the war.

While the U.S. had enjoyed bountiful harvests, there was no guarantee that they would continue. And the countries of Europe still would not have the dollars for purchasing imports beyond the aid provided under the Marshall Plan, those dollars needed for import of machinery to enable the rebuilding of industry.

FAO stressed the need for the European countries to coordinate production to achieve greater and more efficient output, especially in agriculture. Paul Hoffman, director of ERP, had recently stressed this point.

James Marlow tells of the Communist ring inside the Government having been known for some time by the FBI, other Government officials and Congressional committees. The FBI had already investigated most of the persons named before HUAC and the Senate Investigating Committee. HUAC had already questioned many of them in executive session. Several had appeared before a grand jury. But the public had only just become aware of the matter when Elizabeth Bentley began testifying publicly the previous Friday before the Senate and on Saturday before HUAC.

Only one of the persons she had named was still employed by the Government.

He recounts the story of Ms. Bentley's espionage gathering work during the war for the Soviets and her ending her membership in the Communist Party in mid-1944, then going to the FBI a year later, after which she had no further association with the Communists. A year earlier, a New York grand jury had begun investigating her allegations. No one had yet been indicted beyond the 12 leading American Communist Party members on July 21, a distinct matter from the year-long investigation into the alleged Government spy ring.

HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas, not satisfied with the work of the New York grand jury, wanted a special grand jury in Washington set up to examine the matter and was planning within a week to request that the Attorney General convene such a grand jury.

The Senate Investigating Committee, chaired by Senator Homer Ferguson, also was not satisfied with the New York grand jury effort and so decided to perform its own investigation.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, tells of Ed running into his old friend Martin on the evening train, asking who was being helped more by the special session, the Republicans or Democrats, to which Ed said he felt no one was gaining.

Martin was concerned over the animosity to be directed at Republicans for not passing the housing bill. Ed suggested that they pass it, to which Martin responded that if they passed such socialistic measures, there would be no security in the country, as free enterprise would be harmed.

Martin also wondered whether people would be upset with the Republicans for not breaking the Senate filibuster of the Southern Democrats on the anti-poll tax measure. Ed said that they could have stood their ground and threatened to continue the session, if necessary, until Christmas. But Martin thought that passing the bill violated states' rights and then anything could happen in the resulting shake-up. It would not be safe.

But Ed said that people would be sore at them and if that was safe, then the Republicans would be safe.

Martin thought the Berlin crisis was scary. Ed agreed, said that the world ought to make peace rather than living through such chapters again. But Martin questioned how peace could be had with the Russians. It would not be safe. Ed gave in and said to skip it. Martin persisted, however, that things would not be safe in making peace with the Russians. Ed again gave up, agreed that there had to be security.

Martin then reached into his pocket and realized that he had left his key at the house and his family was away, that he would be locked out. Ed wondered why he locked his doors as no one else on the street did. Martin said that you could never be too sure.

A letter from an "Industrialist", (a leading Charlotte businessman, inform the editors), says that Charlotte would suffer in the eyes of potential manufacturers deciding whether to move a plant to the city, in light of the epidemic of polio and the slum problems. The city had to eliminate those conditions, he urges, to thrive economically.

A letter writer praises the newspaper for having the guts to expose the slum problem of the city on the front pages.

A letter writer finds the decision by the City to conduct a study of the problems causing polio to have come late, that spraying of DDT should have been undertaken before the disease got a grip on the community.

A letter from the head of the department of animal industry at N. C. State thanks the newspaper for its section on the progressive program in Iredell County regarding livestock development.

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