The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 18, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports further details of the assassination the previous day of Count Folke Bernadotte, U.N. mediator, and French Col. Andre Pierre Serrot in the Katamon section of Jerusalem, taken from the Arabs prior to the departure of the British in mid-May. All sources agreed, including a Jewish U.N. liaison officer with Count Bernadotte at the time of the murders, that the two assailants were Jews of the Stern Gang. The two gunmen, apparently not four as reported originally the previous day, were dressed in military uniforms. The car in which Count Bernadotte was riding was stopped by a jeepful of irregular troops at an abandoned roadblock. Nothing was said and, after some milling around, the two men approached, one with a tommygun, and opened fire. The bullets entered Count Bernadotte's heart. Col. Serrot was hit in the temple and forehead. As the killers ran, the Count was still alive. But he died as he was being taken to the hospital. U.S. Col. Frank Begley, who provided the details, narrowly missed being hit by one of the bullets after he had struggled with one of the two gunmen.

U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie, condemning the killings, placed the Palestine question before the full membership of the U.N. The Security Council approved the appointment of Dr. Ralph Bunche to be the temporary successor to Count Bernadotte as Palestine mediator. Dr. Bunche insisted that Israel take full responsibility for the killings and breaking the truce. The Security Council was reported to be discussing implementation of stricter measures in Palestine.

Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok condemned the killings in strong language and promised that the assassins would be caught, called them "desperadoes and outlaws … execrated by the entire people of Israel and the Jewish community of Jerusalem".

More than 40 persons had been arrested this date in Tel Aviv as part of the Israeli crackdown on terrorists, the Government saying that it was committed to wiping out the "criminal gang" responsible for the assassination. A curfew, the first since Israel had become a state in mid-May, was imposed by the Government on the Jews of Jerusalem, and roadblocks were erected throughout the Jewish section of the city. Sound trucks warned residents to stay at home.

A spokesman for the Irgun organization said that its members had nothing to do with the incident and also said that he doubted that the Stern Gang had anything to do with it.

"The Fatherland Front" sent a note claiming responsibility for the killings. No one in Jerusalem had ever heard of such an organization.

Jerusalem was mostly quiet this date.

Hyderabad formally surrendered to India, following the five-day invasion of the princely state by the Indian Army to bring an end to Moslem rule over the 80 percent Hindu population of the state.

In Ascona, Switzerland, Emil Ludwig, 67, German-born biographer, playwright and political essayist whose books had been burned by the Nazis, died the previous night at his home after suffering for years from a heart ailment. He had resided in the U.S. during the war. He had written biographies of Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Wilhelm Hohenzollern, and Napoleon, among others, the latter having been made into a Hollywood film in 1933. He told a Los Angeles conference in 1944 that the greatest music ever composed was done under tyrants, prompting hisses from the audience. He said that he had met and interviewed three tyrants, Mussolini, Stalin and Kemal Ataturk, and each had been a lover of music.

In Dexter, Iowa, the President kicked off his "give 'em hell" campaign with a nationally radio broadcast speech to a live audience estimated at between 75,000 to 100,000 cheering Iowa farmers, telling them that they had to elect the Democrats to "avoid catastrophe". He said that Wall Street "reactionaries" were putting up "fabulous sums" to elect the Republicans, who had already "stuck a pitchfork in the farmer's back" and intended to let the bottom drop out of farm prices. He charged that the GOP had killed the international wheat agreement which had given wheat growers a large export market in recent years, had started a move to put a "death-tax" on farm cooperatives, had ruled out the grain storage bins which helped to make the granary effective in times of excess production, had invited depression by refusing to curb inflation, and had started attacking the farm price support program. The occasion was a national plowing contest held on ten acres near the community of 800 population.

The President used the term "fair deal" for the first time in the campaign at Dexter, the phrase which would come to characterize his Administration in the second term, an extension of the New Deal, adjusted to the times and changed conditions.

At Rock Island, Ill., a crowd of 3,000 showed up at 5:45 a.m. to hear the President lay into the Congress for being subject to the lobbies. A man in the crowd yelled, "Give it to 'em." The President continued that he thought that the Congress really liked to have "boom and bust". He appeared on the platform with former Senator Guy Gillette, running for the Senate in Iowa, and Professor Paul Douglas, running in Illinois, both of whom, he said, would take back the Government from the special interests. He urged the voters not to stay home again as so many had in the mid-term elections of 1946 when the "do-nothing" 80th Congress was elected.

The President was traveling on the cross-country tour by train with his daughter, Margaret.

In New York, an officer of the abandoned British freighter, which an Atlantic hurricane had caused to list to 70 to 80 degrees, told of four crewmen being swept overboard while others clung to deck rails as they sang to maintain their courage. He and 38 others had been rescued after leaving the ship to the gales and whorling wiles of the Atlantic hurricane. Six were lost.

John Daly of The News tells of proposals for formal intervention by Charlotte before the Federal Power Commission on September 26 to support the Piedmont Natural Gas Corp. and its 75 million dollar project to build a 990-mile pipeline for natural gas from Texas into the Carolinas, being scheduled for consideration before the City Council on Wednesday.

We hope, for the sake of that family living in a tent, that they get it completed by winter.

On the editorial page, "Count Bernadotte's Death" tells of unrest in Israel preceding the assassination the previous day of Count Folke Bernadotte, U.N. mediator for Palestine. Egyptian troops on a mountaintop near Bethlehem had lobbed shells into Jerusalem during the week and Jews were being killed, despite the truce, effective since June. Many Jews blamed Count Bernadotte for the continuing violence and attrition of the Jews during the truce period. The Jews had soured on what they termed the "patient mediation" of the Count.

Israelis primarily objected to his position that Jerusalem be turned over to Arab control.

The assassination, it posits, would not bring peace to the Holy Land; instead, it would only fan the flames of war and possibly lead to a conflict which could produce world war.

It finds Folke Bernadotte to have been a good man who sought peace, but lacking power from the U.N. It was no wonder that he had failed at his task and been killed.

It hopes that the tragedy would cause the nations of the U.N. to wake up to the fact that without an international police force, the organization had no real power. Perhaps in that, his death might find meaning, in saving the U.N. from being relegated to a role of impotence.

"'Shout Freedom' Again in 1949" tells of the outdoor drama, celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, supposedly signed May 20, 1775, which had been presented for the first time the previous May and would come again the following May. It says that the pageant was well worth seeing and urges those who had not attended in 1948 to see it the following year.

Next year, they might devote a special section of the program to freedom of speech and portray egg and tomato throwing as not equivalent to tea dumping, especially when the object of the hurl had nothing to do with the relatively high cost of eggs and tomatoes.

"'Air Power Is Peace Power'" marks the first Air Force Day after the Air Force had been made a separate branch of the military, apart from the Army and Navy. During that year, the Air Force had grown from 55 groups to its newly authorized 70 groups, though not yet realized. That increase had come about from the trouble with Russia, causing the air wing's largest peacetime expansion. Presently, it was consumed with the airlift for Berlin.

As the Air Force was a modern creation, it was not hemmed in by the traditions of the other services, relied more on science and technology as well as paying attention to psychology.

Millions of Americans were hoping that the slogan forming the title of the piece constituted more than idle words.

A piece from the Hickory Daily Record, titled "Old North 'Border State'", tells of GOP leaders recognizing North Carolina as a "border state" in the election and preparing to campaign accordingly in the hope of carrying the state. But the Democrats were also becoming more optimistic and the President was scheduled to speak in the state along with vice-presidential candidate Alben Barkley.

News that Texas Democrats had committed the state's electoral votes to the President was cold water for the Dixiecrats and tonic for North Carolina Democrats.

Also, several local meetings of Democrats in the state had been enthusiastic, as one held at Danbury, where the courthouse square was packed at a rally.

So it remained to be seen whether the GOP hope would prove valid.

Drew Pearson tells of the DNC having been drifting rudderless, perilously close to bankruptcy. Mismanagement was evident as, for instance, the maintenance of 50 rooms at the Biltmore Hotel in New York, despite remaining empty except for desks and stenographers.

The previous week, however, the DNC had come to life finally with a money-raising campaign at the White House. The President had invited 30 top Democrats to tea and then made a little speech from atop a chair, in which he made a direct appeal for financial assistance. He told of having to cut an important portion of his Labor Day speech in Detroit because the party did not have the money to pay for the extra radio air time. The President appeared pathetic and alone. A special committee then met and obtained pledges for a half million dollars, with one man pledging $100,000.

The DNC finance chairman, Louis Johnson, began cleaning house, lecturing the son-in-law of deceased North Carolina Senator Josiah W. Bailey, telling him to get some work done or get out. Others received similar tongue-lashings. Mr. Johnson raised the fund-raising goal to 2.5 million from the 1.5 million set by DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath.

Ed Pauley, former DNC treasurer, giving an example of incompetence, told of walking into the DNC headquarters and telling a worker that he wished to contribute "five", at which point the worker wrote out a check for $5. He had intended $5,000.

The President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan, was prone to political boners, costing the Democrats support. Recently, he had sent black aviator "Colonel" Hubert Fauntleroy Julian, who had been Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie's one-man air corps during the war, to Europe on a good will mission, insuring that he got VIP treatment wherever he went. But it soon became apparent that Col. Julian wanted to arrange a cigarette deal whereby he would replace all of the Army's eleven million dollars worth of "stale cigarettes" with fresh packs, at the rate of one fresh for every two stale, netting him about five million dollars. General Clay heard about the scheme and promptly sent Col. Julian packing.

GOP leaders were said to pray every night that the President did not transfer General Vaughan to other duty prior to the election.

Marquis Childs tells of the united front of the Big Three in dealing with the Berlin crisis having shown some frayed edges in the speech to Commons earlier in the week by British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, echoed by acting Conservative leader Anthony Eden. Mr. Bevin had said, in effect, that Britain needed to become the nucleus of a balancing force between the powers of the U.S. and Russia. Britain had been irritated with the U.S. determination on the next step regarding Berlin, the U.S. suggesting the British position to be appeasement.

Whereas the U.S. saw the danger of war over the crisis, the British counseled more patience and caution. Bertrand Russell a year earlier had asserted that the only way to avoid the end of civilization was to attack Russia in the ensuing 18 months before it achieved development of an atomic bomb. Most Britons did not view things that way, believed in compromise.

In recent days, American policymakers also had suggested caution and patience. U.S. military occupation governor in Germany, General Lucius Clay, had said during the week that he did not believe war was imminent.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop foresee that Russia would forcibly incorporate the Eastern European satellites into the USSR within the ensuing year or so. Throughout negotiations on Berlin, the Russians had sought to upset the Big Three plans to make a separate Western German government and to join in control of the industrial Ruhr. They also sought to expel the Big Three from Berlin, the overriding goal.

One interpretation of the crisis had it that the presence of the West in Berlin represented a threatening wedge to Russian consolidation of its Eastern empire. Similarly, Yugoslavia, insisting on independence, presented such an issue. Such was confirmed by intelligence reports showing that Andrei Vishinsky had gone to Rumania to transform the Balkan country into a Soviet republic. Other similar reports emanated from Poland, Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Until recently, Washington had paid little attention to such reports. But with the Berlin crisis and the pattern of duality set in the negotiations, blowing hot and cold, these reports suddenly fit the pattern.

A high official in the Czech Foreign Office who had fled the country said that he had seen a contingency plan for holding a rigged plebiscite, to make Czechoslovakia a virtual satrapy of the Soviet Union. Premier Gottwald had ordered the elimination of 5,000 to 6,000 officers of the Czech Army. Purges of a similar type were also reportedly taking place in other Eastern European countries.

As Kremlin policies forced down the living standards in Eastern Europe, rebellion was increasing. Thus, the need existed for the Soviets to put down this rebellion by assuming direct control of the satellite armies and police.

A letter from a member of the Central High School Booster Club takes umbrage at the letter of the previous Thursday from the Southern Railway Freight Station fans who found it opprobrious that they were being charged $1.25 for Central football games while the other high schools, Harding and Tech, stuck to $1 admission prices, especially given the lopsided loss of Central to Fayetteville. The author thinks that the fans were getting their money's worth, especially as Central had won on September 3 against New Hanover. He further states that football was a game of ups and downs and sometimes losses, even lopsided ones, could occur on an off night.

We demand perfection for $1.25 and we shall have it or else do away with the program. If they can't win every game, what's the point of paying out good money? Might as well catch the freight with that $1.25 to some other place, where they know how to play.

A letter writer says that Central was living off its past prowess and the fans who had written from the Railway Station should attend games of Harding or Tech to obtain their money's worth.

A letter writer comments on the woman's letter re the Northern reaction to the South always having been positive in her experience when she had lived in the North. This writer thinks the woman was out to lunch, finds other writers who had injected the race issue in comment on the letter to have found something which the original writer had not even mentioned. One of the comments had suggested that the writer's black maid did not have a bath and hot water and so was embarrassed to invite her Northern friends to visit her. This writer thinks that writer ought raise the pay of her maid.

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