The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 1, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the four military governors of Berlin opened their second conference this date, apparently exchanging experts' views on how to end the blockade. It was reported in a German newspaper that the Russians had said that the reasons for blocking the only rail line from Berlin to West Germany had been resolved. Western allied transportation officials, however, said that the newspaper was guessing when it speculated that supply trains might be running by the following Sunday.

Winston Churchill, in a telegram to the second annual Congress of the European Parliamentary Union, said that several European Governments had approved a proposal to convene a constitutional assembly for a European federal union.

In Stuttgart, Germany, former Third Reich financial wizard Hjalmer Schacht was ordered freed by an appeals court from his eight-year prison term following conviction the previous year by a German de-Nazification court. He had been acquitted by the war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.

In Prague, Eduard Benes, 65, appeared near death as he lapsed into unconsciousness following a stroke a year earlier. He had resigned the presidency of Czechoslovakia the previous June.

In Louisiana, Russell Long, 29-year old son of the late Governor and Senator Huey Long, was 1,500 votes ahead of his opponent in the Senatorial election after the primary the previous day. His uncle, Earl Long, had been elected Governor in 1948.

In New York, a trucking strike began regarding a dispute over pay increases, possibly causing serious curtailment of transport of food and other vital supplies into the city.

The CIO-PAC had decided to support President Truman in the election, calling Governor Dewey "the candidate of big business".

In Decatur, Ala., Henry Wallace, speaking at the Morgan County Courthouse where the Scottsboro rape trials had taken place between 1931 and 1936, appeared before a peaceful crowd who even cheered him when he said that he had not entered the South to preach disunity. He said that he favored an end to the cold war so that hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Fascist regimes in Greece, Turkey, and China could be halted. The money could then be spent to build other TVA's across the country. He wanted to double Alabama's income so that it equaled that of New York, mutually beneficial. Only a few black citizens were present. Only a few boos were heard from the crowd.

An Alabama mayor had written to Mr. Wallace that his presence was not wanted in the state. Other city officials warned him that they would strictly enforce segregation. Mr. Wallace had vowed not to speak to a segregated audience.

In Shelby, N.C., the wife of one of the two men charged in the slaying of a fifteen-year old unwed mother recanted her previous confession to the shooting and testified that her husband had told her that if she did not so confess, she would be sorry.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that the Allied Church League was making plans to hold a referendum to outlaw sale in the county of beer and wine. They had just won an election in Cumberland County, location of Fayetteville. The previous year's approval of ABC-controlled liquor sales had nothing to do with sale of wine and beer. Another ABC referendum was barred until mid-1950, three years after the previous referendum.

In Charlotte, three men charged with throwing eggs and tomatoes the previous day at Henry Wallace, though in each case missing their mark and hitting others, primarily newspapermen, were found guilty in police court and ordered to pay $25 in fines plus costs. One of the defense counsel argued that Mr. Wallace ought be charged for disturbing the peace. He wanted to hear what "the fool" had to say and thought that the hecklers were the ones who prevented him from being heard, not his client.

The judge said that he disagreed with Mr. Wallace at least as much as the egg throwers testified that they did but that was no reason to engage in such protest. One of the men, after his arrest, said that he did not believe Mr. Wallace had the right to stand on the Courthouse steps and say that stuff. He had gone to the speech out of curiosity and had thrown a tomato when he saw a bag of them on the ground.

Well, you would, too, if you heard that stuff.

One of the four persons who had thrown the missiles escaped arrest.

Well, you just wait. Somebody'll get him with a tomato before it's over. What goes around comes around.

The hurricane in the Atlantic had moved harmlessly to sea off Nova Scotia, but another tropical storm was brewing in the Caribbean, 1,950 miles from Miami.

Wake us when it gets there.

In Hollywood, actor Robert Mitchum had been arrested with three other persons on felony narcotics charges after a raid of a Hollywood home. Mr. Mitchum and an arrested real estate agent were said to be marijuana smokers, smoking at the time of the raid. Mr. Mitchum surrendered a pack of 13 other marijuana cigarettes. Actress Lila Leeds gave up several more. One of the four, not in possession, was charged with being in a place where narcotics were being used.

His career is probably over. He might have to go to the joint. At least he wasn't a Commie.

On the editorial page, "The Eggs and Henry Wallace" finds that the nation was not deprived of historic words when the crowd in Charlotte shouted the Progressive Party presidential candidate down. Everyone already knew what Mr. Wallace was going to say. Yet, it finds, it was still a disturbing and foolish demonstration as it deprived the candidate the right of freedom of speech and his followers free assembly.

All of his statements favoring racial equality had served to stir Southern resentment against him and those he professed to champion. But he had the right to speak. "When mob rule replaces constitutional rights, our whole democracy is jeopardized."

Those who hated Mr. Wallace the most and were out demonstrating were playing right to his hands. He was not in North Carolina seeking votes, knowing that few could be had. He was making a point to the North by having eggs tossed at him in the South, hoping thereby to capture thousands of votes in other states. It suggests that his pointed cancellation of hotel reservations to stay at the homes of blacks was calculated to anger Southern whites to the same end.

It hopes that next time he came to the county, the citizens would give him the silent treatment he had earned.

You don't know Southern dumbbells too well, do you? It's inbred. They are incapable of keeping silent when some outsider starts into agitation of those old white-supremacist genes. They know they are members of the supremes because they know.

"Continue the War on Polio" tells of Raleigh News correspondent Lynn Nisbet reporting that North Carolina had lost forty million dollars in tourist trade during the summer because of the polio outbreak. It suggests that pouring forty million into research of polio would be better than losing it in the reduced tourist trade. It recommends contributing to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis during its donation campaign.

"A Change In Our Electoral System" tells of Senator John Sparkman of Alabama favoring a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had also favored the move. Both men would become vice-presidential nominees, Senator Sparkman for the Democrats in 1952 and Senator Lodge for the Republicans in 1960. Both wanted the electors apportioned in each state based on the proportion of the popular vote carried rather than on a winner-take-all basis.

Senator Sparkman argued that the change would take away the balance of power enjoyed by small minorities in states where the parties were about evenly divided. It would place emphasis on finding candidates with national appeal rather than appeal only in certain key states. It would also encourage both major party candidates to go into every part of the nation, not just concentrating on the electoral-rich states up for grabs while ignoring largely the others in the bag for one party or the other.

It suggests that President Roosevelt had made popular the concept of grossly distorted influence of minorities in such close states, and that President Truman, with his civil rights program, had carried on that tradition for political benefit more than caring genuinely for civil rights.

Which is a back-handed way of saying that the editors did not much cotton to civil rights for minorities or anyone in power who did.

Governor Dewey, in an apparent bid for the Italian vote, had urged giving back to Italy its North African colonies.

The Dixiecrat movement was a reaction to Democrats having taken for granted the South. In 1944, the South cast over 4.5 million votes, 3.4 million of which were for the Democrats. In 1940, when FDR beat Wendell Willkie by 3.6 million votes, the South had cast 4.4 million votes.

Doing away with the electoral college, it counsels, would cause the parties to pay more attention to the South and court the region accordingly. But, it says, conceivably, if electoral votes were parsed precisely, a national election might be settled by three ten-thousandths of an electoral vote.

After 2000, we heartily agree. But will it ever come to pass? Not unless the public clamors for it with all the ardor which ought be brought to the subject. It is at the very heart of modern democracy. So don't sit complaining about stolen elections and corruption of the process if you are not regularly trying to thump this pleasant little 18th Century convention which has been outmoded for 100 years, since the end of the horse and buggy era. If you like being manipulated and targeted with stupid campaign ads and the like, continue it.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Headed Toward Suicide", tells of the Department of Agriculture finding that cotton exports had reached a 76-year peacetime low in the 1947-48 fiscal year. Decreased shipments were blamed on dollar shortages abroad, large cotton stocks in foreign ports, and delay of the start of ERP. The president of the CIO Textile Workers Union of America had said that major New England producers of fine cotton goods had decreased their output in response, lowering consumption, to maintain higher prices. There was a large surplus of cotton. The higher prices had worked to lower demand.

Even if it meant going without underwear, as they did "over the river", (at least we reckon that's what their recondite language meant), the people were not going to pay the higher prices. The cotton industry needed to be aware of the facts rather than continuing operation out of their unawares.

Robert Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, discusses the uncertainty in the outcome of the election, with independent voters still a wildcard. Memphis Boss Ed Crump's candidate had been upset in Tennessee by Congressman Estes Kefauver and it portended more surprises in the general election. The public was clamoring for fresher-sounding voices.

In Colorado, crusading Eugene Cervi was giving incumbent Democrat Ed Johnson, late entrant to the race, a run for his money, charging the conservative with following old guard politics, challenging his voting record. Polls showed the race to be close. Two years earlier, Colorado had given majorities to liberal Democrats, bucking the national trend.

In Wisconsin, Ralph Immel, a veteran of both world wars, was making life difficult for the GOP bosses, calling them reactionaries and advocating a list of detailed reforms. Mr. Immel's principal problem was overconfidence among his supporters who might take victory for granted and not turn out sufficiently at the polls.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg, meeting Rotterdam's Burgomeister, corrected the latter on his omission of one prominent Dutch American, after the Burgomeister had named not only Mr. Vandenberg but also former President Hoover and two Congressmen. The omission, reminded Senator Vandenberg, was FDR.

Defense Secretary James Forrestal had contributed monetarily to the DNC and to campaigns of Southern Senators in close primary fights. But not placing all of his eggs in one basket, he had also contributed to some Republican New England Congressional candidates.

Democrats were not holding out much hope for Congressman Virgil Chapman to defeat incumbent Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky. In fact, Congressman Chapman would win but would die two years into his term. Mr. Cooper would then defeat the appointed successor in 1952.

When Governor Strom Thurmond carried his third party presidential campaign to Arkansas, all of the important state leaders had ignored him.

Marquis Childs, in Oakland, discusses Henry Kaiser, "the jumpingest jumping frog in the West". He informed, among other things, that Kaiser presently produced more cement than the pre-war cement trust combined, more aluminum ingot than the total production in the country in 1937, and that Kaiser-Frazer automobiles was making a thousand cars per day and had 3.5 million dollars in the bank.

He had been criticized by those who claimed that he grabbed Government subsidies by wooing politicians, to finance private ventures.

He decided to build a retreat at Lake Tahoe and shortly thereafter guest houses began appearing. He even entered his own boats and crews in races on the Lake.

His company was involved in at least 28 industries, known accurately only by Mr. Kaiser. His chief adversary at present was Republic Steel after Mr. Kaiser successfully bid for a war surplus blast furnace which Republic had sought, causing consternation in the industry.

He recently raised his prices on steel to nearly the gray market level, from $4.30 to $5.80 per hundred weight for plate, and structural steel from $4.25 to $5.75. The fabricators protested that they could not compete with Eastern manufacturers at those prices, but Mr. Kaiser did not relent.

He owed the RFC 100 million dollars for his Fontana steel plant which was built during the war. He had located an iron ore deposit and built a railroad to it. The result was that Western steel was going East to compete in Kansas City with the Eastern manufacturers. He had been chiefly responsible for breaking the aluminum monopoly.

Mr. Kaiser's drive, Mr. Childs concludes, was the stuff which had made American production records the miracle of the world.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the early evacuation of the American zone of Korea having been decided by the National Security Council about a month earlier. Technically, it was time for the evacuation, as both Soviet and American occupation troops were scheduled to evacuate 90 days after working governments had been established in both zones. But effectively, the evacuation was leaving the whole of Korea to Soviet domination. The decision came as a result of debate whether Korea was worth holding, the decision that it was not having been based on three grounds: the 200-300 million dollar per year occupation costs; the need for 24,000 American troops needed elsewhere; and the fact that Okinawa and Japan were of equal or greater strategic importance.

Some policymakers speciously argued that the fledgling regime of Dr. Syngman Rhee might effect a measure of independence.

Prior to the evacuation, the American garrison would train a South Korean constabulary of 40,000 or more men. The Americans would leave behind their arms, with perhaps an American military mission.

But the Government in South Korea was weak and infiltrated by Communists. In the North, the Soviets had set up an efficient regime, with a well-trained Army of 60,000 to 250,000 men. South Korea was not economically self-sustaining, could not hope to supply its own food, the North controlling the food supply. The entire power supply, save one small plant, came from the North. Thus, after the evacuation of the Americans, South Korea would be ripe for the picking.

The Republicans, almost sure to win in the fall, wanted to try to do something about Asia and the policy of abdication being followed by the Administration. It appears to the Alsops outrageous to make the decision to evacuate presently when such decisions were "quite likely to prejudice any future attempt to turn the tide in Asia."

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, examines the issue of farm subsidies, with a majority of editors favoring flexible supports rather than the 90 percent of parity support extended until 1950 by the 80th Congress in the special session.

Again, because this issue is of a transitory rather than long-term historically significant impact, we refrain from providing the individual editorial summaries.

Example: "The parity scheme as it exists today does not take into consideration advancement in farming techniques. The parity price of eggs, for example, is based upon an average annual production of 88 eggs per hen. But poultrymen have boosted this average to 118. With this 30-egg margin egg producers are able to make a profit even at 90 per cent of parity prices... The House vote to continue this support price system is evidence that the House is willing to spend taxpayers' money for farm votes." —Akron Beacon Journal

A Quote of the Day: "A lot of children see undesirable movies because they cannot be left at home." —Tallahassee Democrat

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