The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 15, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin told Commons that world Communism was engaged in a plan to foment civil wars and that Britain would do its best to oppose the policy. He said that Communists were bent on taking all of Southeast Asia and driving the West from the region, regarding trade and everything else.

Anthony Eden, acting Conservative leader in Commons, told the House that India had committed an act of aggression in invading the state of Hyderabad. He also said that Communist uprisings in Malaya, Burma, and Siam were part of a general pattern, echoing the remarks of Mr. Bevin who had said that in Malaya, the British would seek to put an end to the terrorist gangs afoot.

In Hyderabad, India deployed paratroopers and captured Homnabad. The second largest city, Aurangabad, surrendered, giving India control of virtually all of the northwest corner of the state. It was believed that Indian troops would reach the capital by Thursday or Friday, virtually ending the fighting. The fighting stemmed from the refusal of the wealthy Moslem Nizam to join the Indian Union.

The Air Force was sending 40 more C-54 transport planes to Germany to reinforce the 105 already present for the airlift.

Britain charged that Russian troops had provoked German anti-Communists to participate in the riots of the previous Thursday which resulted in fighting at the Brandenburg Gate. The Russians had claimed that laxness by the British military police had encouraged "Fascists" to conduct the attack on Russian soldiers and the Soviet war memorial in the city. A Soviet military tribunal had already sentenced five youths to 25 years at hard labor for taking part in the fighting.

The State Department charged Robert Alexander, assistant chief of the visa division, with neglect of duty and misconduct. He, along with two other State Department officials, had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee two months earlier that there was a threat to national security in admitting to the U.S. aliens from Communist-controlled countries as employees of the U.N. Secretary of State Marshall then stated his disagreement that there was any such threat demonstrated, but named a committee to investigate the situation. The committee report presumably was the basis for the disciplinary charges against Mr. Alexander.

HUAC investigators said that they wanted to make a test case out of the contempt citation they had issued against Communist Steve Nelson for refusing to answer questions by pleading the Fifth Amendment when there was no ostensible possibility of criminal liability from the answers to the questions.

Based on subsequent pleading of the Fifth Amendment in a June, 1949 HUAC hearing regarding questions of whether he was a Communist Party official, he was indicted for criminal contempt, premised on the Government claim that he had waived the Fifth Amendment privilege by admitting that he was a member of the Communist Party. The District of Columbia Federal District Court, however, found in 1952 that the waiver regarding membership was not coextensive with whether he was an official, the latter possibly exposing him to criminal liability under the Smith Act whereas mere membership probably would not. The Court thus upheld his assertion of the privilege and dismissed the indictment.

The Government sued to break up the four major meat-packing companies, Swift, Armour, Cudahy, and Wilson, on the ground of antitrust violations for restraint of trade, seeking to form 14 competing companies from the four.

The piggies are going to get lost if you do that and won't be able to find their way home from the market, especially after the HUAC hearings.

In Seoul, Korea, a fast passenger train coming out of a tunnel crashed into another train full of American troops halted on the track, killing 35 homeward bound American soldiers. Two Koreans were killed and 120 persons were injured, including 80 American troops. The train was bound for Seoul from Pusan. One passenger on the troop train likened the accident to Dante's Inferno.

In Greenville, S.C., four new cases of diphtheria were reported, bringing the total to 28 since August 26. One death had resulted.

A man, 26, from Salisbury, N.C., admitted to reporters that he had killed a wealthy Scio, N.Y., widow the previous Friday night by beating her with his fists, but claimed that he did not rape her. He said that he then stole a diamond ring and three checks from the woman's home and fled in a Buick, was then arrested in Yadkinville, N.C. The man had been a veteran of the war but was discharged as "undesirable". He had been employed as a handyman by the deceased. He said that he acted in anger against her after she joked about his friendship with a young woman of Scio. He had gone to New York to seek work with the carnival, with which he had previously been employed.

Martha Azer London of The News tells of a woman, employed at McLellan's five and ten, whose five-room house had been destroyed by fire the previous Saturday night, still believing that it was a good world in which to live. She and her husband, a disabled war veteran, and their children had to move into a chicken coop on the property, keeping a lamp burning each night to keep the rats away. Then, her fellow employees read of her plight and took up a collection, providing her $70. The manager of McLellan's added an extra paycheck. And the workers also brought her canned goods and clothes. The family still needed two other things, a tent and an oil-burning stove. Then the Red Cross gave her a check to enable her to buy those items plus a mattress. The landlady of the house had promised to build two rooms onto the remaining chimney as soon as the insurance proceeds were paid.

Let us hope in the meantime that she uses the stove only outside the tent and away from the mattress, which probably won't fit in the tent anyway.

Tom Schlesinger of The News, son of Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger, tells of having picked ten cents worth of cotton, 450 bolls weighing five pounds, on a 14-acre patch near Pineville, N.C., during a twenty minute period. As a result, he had tired wrists and an aching back, from which he developed a profound respect for the laborers who performed the task daily to harvest Mecklenburg County's most profitable crop. His fellow cottonpickers agreed that he had talent for the vocation.

The local farmers expected around 1.5 million dollars worth of yield from their fields during the current year, spread over 2,300 farms, about half of which depended on cotton as the staple.

Tenant farmers typically split their profits 50-50 with the owner who supplied the land, the livestock and seed, while they shared in fertilizer cost. The tract on which Mr. Schlesinger picked was a tenant farm which expected to produce twenty bales during the year, an above average yield.

It took 1,400 pounds of cotton to produce 500 pounds for a bale, as 900 pounds would be seeds. The tenant farmer with whom he picked could pick 300 pounds in eight hours, but averaged 200, equating to $4 to $5 per day. A child of five could pick about 50 pounds per day.

The most popular method of picking was to get down on one's knees, to prevent backache. But, reports Mr. Schlesinger, it was hard on the knees and the back.

A heat wave with temperatures headed for 100 degrees gripped Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and the Dakotas.

On the editorial page, "A Dismaying Renaissance" tells of Arthur Krock of The New York Times having hit one significant point in the civil rights controversy, that the attempt to reform civil rights in the South played directly into the hands of Southern extremists. Georgia was exhibit number 1 proving the theory, with the election of Herman Talmadge based on his exploiting the civil rights issue among his wool-hat boys from the rural counties in a campaign based on white supremacy.

As the South had entered the Twentieth Century, the fire-breathing politicians had lost much of their appeal as support for new progress in race relations gained wider acceptance. But then the proposal for Federal civil rights reform fanned old defensive sentiments, causing resistance to arise once more in the form of a new generation of race-haters.

It finds it to be the tragedy of the current controversy, that political opportunists had reawakened these moribund strains of hatred. The attackers of the South's slow racial progress had done the region a disservice. It recommends that the reformers turn elsewhere, to some other endeavor of human service.

The problem with this generalized analysis is that it conveniently blinks the fact of the postwar outbreak of violent racism in the South in the form of lynchings conducted with impunity, in Monroe, Georgia, where two black couples were lynched in broad daylight with no one caught, near Greenville, S.C., where an arrested defendant accused of killing a cab driver was lynched by a mob of 31 men, an attempted lynching of Buddy Bush in Jackson, North Carolina, and the blinding by a police chief of Sgt. Isaac Woodard, on the way home from his stint in the Army, in Batesburg, S.C., among other notorious incidents of the previous three years.

The civil rights program promoted by the President did not suddenly come to be out of thin air for "political opportunism", as the piece suggests. It was instead a necessary response to repeated injustices in the South and wanton murder not punished by juries bent on nullification. The South, in a mealy-mouthed manner, had not done that much in eighty years since the Civil War, self-congratulations to the contrary notwithstanding, even if many individuals both in and out of government had effected a truly aggressive and progressive policy. The picture as a whole remained rather pathetic and dismal, even if increasingly better than in the past. Lynching or systematic deprivation of rights enjoyed by all citizens was not something and is not something which any citizen should ever have to endure.

The states, left to their own devices and the will of mercurial and gerrymandered electorates, were given to white-washing the fence at the expense of those for whose benefit the claimed progress was being fostered, to make a gleaming show for the sake of appealing to Northern business interests and satisfying the occasional intruding Eye of Federal oversight that things were indeed okay down South, enough to pass muster with those who were not too scrutinizing beneath the shiny surface to find the rot being covered, without going to the Communist extreme of social integration. In short, "separate-but-equal" was more likely in practice to be akin to "y'all stay over theya 'til we say diff'rent—ouwa way or the highway".

The reaction to Henry Wallace in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama demonstrated the still terrible state of things, which would only grow worse into the 1950's and 1960's. It was not the fault of "outside agitators" or "Northern liberals" or other usual suspects. It was the result of old traits dying hard, traits most readily visible in the South at the time but not exclusive to it.

"The Legion Chooses Well" tells of two men of Charlotte, Joseph Grier and Robin Kirby, being elected to the highest offices of the North Carolina Department of the American Legion.

As indicated, Fayetteville attorney and future Governor, Senator, and president of Duke University, Terry Sanford, was elected to be the Department's judge advocate.

"It Is a Gentle Thing" remarks on sleep, that some viewed it as death, to which it yawns, "Nonsense." It only knitted up the ravelled sleeve of care. And in 1948, it finds, there was much care and many ravelled sleeves.

It was good on a fall afternoon to lie down on the wide bed and listen to the birds sing a lullaby amid the breeze "rubbing gently on moonbeams".

Awakening from a sleep was also pleasant, catching the glow of morning streaming through the window. "Ah! Another day to end with sleep!"

Before taking its leave to the wide bed, it endorses the words of a poet: "God bless the man who first invented sleep!"
So Sancho Panza said, and so say I.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Charlotte's Example", remarks favorably on the campaign in Charlotte to educate the public regarding alcoholism. It finds that this program would seek to lift people up rather than pushing them further down, as did incarceration and punitive measures.

Drew Pearson tells of some advice being given to Governor Dewey to think twice before appointing his foreign policy adviser, John Foster Dulles, to be Secretary of State. The opposition was based on his being one of Wall Street's most prominent lawyers and partly on his having had a major role in selling the American public in 1938 regarding the purchase of the now-defaulted German bonds. Senator Styles Bridges raised an additional objection that Mr. Dulles had recommended Alger Hiss to be chairman of the Carnegie Foundation, Mr. Hiss's position in 1948. He said that the nation could not afford a man who made so many mistakes as Mr. Dulles. Furthermore, he predicted that Mr. Dulles might have difficulty being confirmed in the new Senate in 1949. Governor Dewey countered that Mr. Dulles was the only man who could get along with Soviet Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov. Senator Bridges quipped that he supposed then that Mr. Molotov was a good Republican and wished them well in the election.

He next relates of a band of polygamists from Utah who had moved to Arizona and formed a commune. The commune, however, had run into problems when some of the community refused to work but still wanted an equal share of the rations. They were not Mormons. The Mormon Church had helped the Government prepare its case against the polygamists.

They were truckers.

The President was not discouraged by the poll of Elmo Roper who gave the President no chance to win, had resigned from any further polling on the presidential campaign short of a major event. Mr. Truman said that he was going to rub shoulders with the ordinary people of the country and get out the vote, the sine qua non for victory. He told of the absentee votes of Government workers in D.C. having made the difference in the election of 1884 when Grover Cleveland defeated James G. Blaine.

He's crazy. This ain't 1884.

During a very hot Rose Garden ceremony, a State Department representative remarked that they had picked a hot day, to which the President said that it was always hot at the White House, even in January.

See? He's always saying stuff like 'at. He don't know what day it is. Strom's gon' be President come January. You wait and see.

Marquis Childs tells of a sense of optimism among even professional Democrats based on the hope that Governor Dewey might throw away his seemingly certain victory. The sense was fed by Harold Stassen's answer in Detroit to President Truman's Labor Day speeches across Michigan. The DNC was preparing to distribute thousands of copies of the speech in Iowa and other predominantly agricultural areas, to convince farmers that the GOP opposed farm price supports. The President intended to stress the farm program of the Roosevelt-Truman era when he began campaigning in Iowa.

Democratic strategists also were analyzing the section of the Stassen speech dealing with Taft-Hartley, which had stressed wage increases of labor since it became law. He made no mention of any intent to amend the legislation. It spelled lack of support from any major sector of labor.

By contrast, the Truman camp had the support of labor, a major factor in the optimism. Labor leaders viewed Governor Dewey as offering them little or nothing and so they had nothing to lose by supporting President Truman.

Mr. Stassen had made a point that the rank-and-file workers had been threatened with fines if they did not attend the Truman speeches. In Wayne County, Teamsters leader James Hoffa made such a threat in a letter to the 55,000 members in his jurisdiction.

And that threat was concrete. If you did not attend, Mr. Hoffa might send over a house-painting crew.

All of the Democratic optimism preceded the formal campaign and it might be that Governor Dewey could end the hopes for a Democratic rural appeal by giving one powerful speech.

We shall be waiting.

James Marlow comments that it had taken the 16 recipient nations under ERP from the previous April until the previous week to determine among themselves the allocation to each nation from the five billion dollars in total aid for the first year. A reason for the sloth was jealousy, each country wanting as much as it could get.

Another sticking point was the aid for Western Germany, which General Lucius Clay indicated ought be 465 million dollars. The other nations disagreed, France believing that if Germany became too strong, it might again become a menace to Europe. They finally agreed to allot 414 million to Western Germany, a compromise between General Clay's figure and the 365 million which some of the countries wanted to allocate.

ERP administrator Paul Hoffman would have final say on what each of the countries received, but he would likely follow the nations' recommendations. The nations had been given 1.5 billion in temporary allocations since April until they could determine their plan. The remaining amount therefore was about 3.5 billion in aid through the following June. At that point, Congress was expected to vote to appropriate more aid.

L.P. Boulware, vice-president of G.E., tells of that which Communism stood for, a religion demanding absolute obedience and allowing no freedom of will. Humans were regimented as bees. Communism made room for no other system of government or any true religion. Everything else had to be destroyed for Communism to survive. It pledged itself to the overthrow of every other form of government.

He goes on a bit and concludes that America should strive to make its way of life better while insuring that it remained as good as it was.

Another Pome from the Atlanta Journal, this one "Reflecting feeling of travelers who return home after an extended journey:
"You can take this as a fact:
The best of all is getting back."

Unless you happen to live on the wrong side of the tracks,
In which case the best is listening for the whistle; that's a fact.

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