The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 7, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, in the wake of the violent protests of the previous day by Communist-led demonstrators, the three Western military governors were considering joint protests to Russia regarding riots which had disrupted Berlin's city government. The three then entered their seventh conference with the Russian counterpart trying to effect an end to the blockade of the city. General Lucius Clay, AMG commander, said at the noon hour that the subject of the Berlin riots had not been broached.

A French liaison officer protecting 27 German police officers of the Western zone inside City Hall was threatened with death by an unidentified telephone caller.

Members of the Socialist Unity Party said that they would boycott any further assembly meetings held in West Berlin, appearing as preliminary to setting up a separate Communist government in the Soviet sector of the city.

In Germany, some 20,000 American soldiers took part in the largest mock battle since the end of the war. The exercises were to last two weeks. The Army abandoned the usual practice of declaring one side "red" and the other "blue" so as not to confuse the Russians. The "aggressors" were the U.S. constabulary and the "defenders" were the U.S. First Infantry. The design was to see whether the latter could function as a unit to hold back an attacker from the hills of Franconia to a bulwark such as the Rhine River.

The Russians were planning air maneuvers over Berlin the following week.

In Jerusalem, the first firing in the city in five days was heard at dawn. Israelis said the Arabs started it and the Israelis returned the fire. The firing lasted about three hours and then ceased.

Harold Stassen was scheduled to provide the GOP reply to the President's Labor Day tour of Michigan. The speech had the blessing of Governor Dewey. The President had told workers the previous day, among other snappy things, that "the boom is for them and the bust is for you."

In Chicago, the CIO Association of Communication Equipment Workers set September 17 as a strike deadline, which, if it were to occur, would cripple the nation's telephone service.

Communication = Communism. The root word is the same.

In New York, the trucking strike continued into its seventh day, with a shortage of cardboard containers threatening shortages generally of other goods. The first real effects of the strike were felt this date. There was no end to the strike in sight.

In Washington, the International Typographical Union denied a Government charge that it violated a Federal injunction by attempting to negotiate union security contracts with newspaper publishers. The injunction had forbade the union from insisting on closed shop conditions, violative of Taft-Hartley. NLRB general counsel Robert Denham argued that the union should be found in contempt for violation of the injunction.

In Galvez, La., 65 miles north of New Orleans, two armed men surrendered to police after being sought through the night for the killing of a New Orleans detective and abduction of the assistant chief of detectives. The men were sitting on the steps of a small store munching cake and sipping soft drinks when caught. They calmly raised their hands. They had shot the detective and effected escape as they were being brought to New Orleans from Gulfport, Miss., in connection with a robbery. The assistant chief of detectives was subsequently abducted by the two men and forced to drive them in his own car along Highway 61 toward Baton Rouge. They had released him the previous night at Hobart, three miles from Gonzales.

In Toronto, a man who was angered when his 1927 car, bought a few weeks earlier, broke down, smashed his fist through the rear plate glass window, then died of his injuries after severing several arteries in his forearm. He had lost significant blood by the time a cab got him to the hospital. The taxi driver had demanded from the man that he give him $12 in addition to the fare for cleaning up the blood in his cab.

It's a good thing that it was not a 1929 Model A which the man was driving or it would lead to more HUAC hearings to determine if the deceased was a member of the Communist Party.

In Fayetteville, N.C., a Baptist minister had been removed as president of the Baptist ministers' conference because, he said, of his expressed belief that temperance could best be obtained through ABC legal control of sale of beer and wine. He had declined to resign as urged by the conference, and so was removed. The county surrounding Fayetteville, Cumberland, had voted August 31 to outlaw sale of beer and wine. The minister had expressed his views on the subject a couple of months earlier at a meeting of Army Reserve officers and then was asked to participate in a radio program in which he restated the views. He said that he was completely abstinent regarding alcohol.

In Greenville, S.C., a deadly moccasin snake remained embraced by a spider's web after trying to extricate itself for two days inside a man's basement. The spider sat waiting for the snake to die. The owner said that he would probably let them fight it out, but had given the snake some bugs to eat to keep the battle more even.

Wonder if the spider was going to charge the snake rent as it died.

On the editorial page, "Truman Makes His First Play" finds it difficult for any President, no matter how humble when coming to the office, to remain humble in the face of his surroundings and those who were eager to please. When Mr. Truman had come to the office on April 12, 1945 under the worst of circumstances, the country knew that he would have a difficult time following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt.

At first, he had walked softly, so softly that decisions had to be placed squarely before him to get him to act. But before long, it suggests, he began behaving as if he were preordained to be President. He became cocky and it became increasingly clear he would run in 1948. He began approving anything anyone wanted, including many things not feasible or desirable. When the Congress did not act on this program, he charged them with irresponsibility and obstructionism. He selected his program carefully to appeal to the organized interests, labor, farmers, blacks, and consumers, so that he could go to them in the fall for support.

In Michigan the previous day, he had opened his campaign by telling labor that he was all for them and expected their support in return. He would go to the other three groups in the weeks ahead with similar appeals. But, it predicts, that effort would lose some of its impact as it became clear that the President was seeking to appeal to the mass interests, good, bad or indifferent, in return for votes.

It concludes: "Harry Truman, a second-rate President, has become a salesman for Harry Truman's second term."

The piece seems to be suggesting that the ideal candidate and the ideal President is a weasly, little, unopinionated, non-committal, spineless cipher who makes appeals rather to the big corporate interests.

"Natural Gas for Charlotte" tells of the advantages of natural gas over fuel oil or coal for heating, that it was preferred by industry for its hotter burning with fewer emissions, saving on maintenance of furnaces. A pipeline was planned through the North Carolina Piedmont from Texas and Louisiana, with financing of 75 million dollars having been arranged by its promoters. The promoters wanted the cities along the route to help argue the case for it to the Federal Power Commission.

The project would sell the gas at wholesale prices to franchisees who would then resell it to the consumer. Natural gas was much cheaper than manufactured gas made from expensive coal.

It recommends that the Chamber of Commerce, which would study the matter, consider the consumer caught between John L. Lewis and the oil shortage.

A piece from the Arkansas Gazette, titled "Charlotte's Lesson", presumably written by former News Associate Editor and Editor Harry Ashmore who had left 13 months earlier to become Associate Editor and then Editor of the Gazette, comments on the housing ordinance previously passed in Charlotte during the war to eliminate substandard dwellings, but delayed in implementation for scarcity of building materials until recently. With a polio epidemic during the summer, however, the need was forcefully demonstrated for cleaning up the insanitary conditions pervading in the slums of the city and so the ordinance was now being enforced.

It says that the lesson was driven home to Charlotte, as to any modern city, that the entire community had no choice for its collective well-being but to become their brother's keeper.

Robert Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of the Senate Investigating Committee, once chaired by Senator Truman, getting ready to reveal that the President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan, had exerted personal pressure to obtain export licenses. Hearings on the matter were planned for an "'opportune time'" during the campaign. One person involved in the scheme was said to be William Remington, former official in the Office of International Trade and implicated recently by Elizabeth Bentley in the HUAC espionage hearings.

Mr. Allen reveals the evidence against General Vaughan.

Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, in response to a journalist's pressure to provide him exclusive information, related that Socrates once said to a youth getting married and seeking advice that he would not give it because anything he said, the youth would regret and hold against Socrates.

Yeah, but you are not Socrates.

West Virginia Democrats claimed that the Republicans had attempted to form a deal with the Progressives whereby the GOP would pay them $100,000 to put a Progressive candidate on the Senatorial ballot opposing Senator Chapman Revercomb to dilute his strong Democratic opposition from former Senator Matt Neely, expected to win the race. The Progressives had refused the offer.

Dave Beck, the West Coast Teamsters leader, had emerged as the top man in the Teamsters, winning a showdown vote with Teamsters president Dan Tobin at an executive board meeting in Chicago the previous week, giving Mr. Beck the real power in the union. Mr. Beck had wanted to endorse the Dewey-Warren ticket against the will of Mr. Tobin, a lifelong Democrat. The executive board gave Mr. Beck a clean bill of health and refused endorsement of anyone. It was the beginning of the end for Mr. Tobin, and several of his lieutenants were quitting or about to get the axe.

Marquis Childs, in Denver, finds that the Democrats had only a fighting chance, by the assessment of Democratic leaders, in five of eleven Western states, with only a reasonable chance of victory in Arizona possessed of but four electoral votes. All five were thinly populated and had therefore few electoral votes. The Dewey-Warren ticket would certainly sweep the West Coast, with the personal popularity of Governor Warren assuring California in the Republican column.

Some states, nevertheless, were expected to send Democratic majorities to Congress. One such state was Colorado. Montana, New Mexico, and Utah were considered uncertain, with the President having only an outside chance of carrying any one of them. Popular Senator James Murray might swing Montana to the President. Former Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson was slightly ahead of former Ambassador to China Patrick Hurley for the Senate race in New Mexico and might be able to carry that state for the President. Governor Herbert Maw in Utah, though having lost some of his popularity, was running for a third term and might attract some Democratic support for the top of the ticket. Wyoming was another long shot for the President, with three electoral votes.

With 71 electoral votes at stake, only 19 were conceded to the Democrats in the region by the most generous estimates and it was possible that only Arizona would be in the President's column come November 2.

The victory for Governor Dewey, a fait accompli, might find him though without a Republican majority in at least one chamber of the Congress, a similar fate to that experienced by the President since 1946 when the Republicans had taken control of both houses.

With the exception of Oregon, incidentally, the President would wind up carrying not only the other of the eleven states considered by Mr. Childs but also every state west of the Mississippi, save Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, a total of 28 electoral votes for Governor Dewey and ten for Governor Thurmond, the latter in Louisiana. The President's stock was 143 electoral votes in this region.

Moral: Don't count your thrown eggs before they are splattered.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of one of the estimated twelve million slave-laborers in the labor camps of the Soviet Union. They dub the actual case that of "Peter", a laborer in Siberia for the previous nine years. In spring, 1939, he had been arrested by the Soviet secret police in Moscow at the age of 21. He had immigrated to Russia with his family and was not a Soviet citizen. Naively, he decided to go back to his home country and sought a visa at the embassy in Moscow. He was thereupon arrested and placed in a crowded prison.

Under constant interrogation, he said he had no interest in politics and only wished to return home. After three months, he was placed on a railway wagon bound for Siberia for "political crimes against the State". He was put to work in the Kolima gold mines, worked entirely by slave labor. Death from the conditions was the only end of the sentence. When one of the men in his cell died, the other prisoners did not notify the guards so that they could divide his rations until the corpse was discovered.

When someone died in the intense cold, his body immediately froze and it was difficult to obtain fingerprints. Thus, the burial squad was ordered to cut the hands from the dead and place them in a hut where a fire was maintained to thaw them. The fingerprints were then acquired and the hands looped around the neck of the corpse before it was placed in the mass grave.

A year after his experience, Peter still had nightmares of handless corpses marching with their hands tied around their necks.

Food was scarce and to obtain greater rations, one could become a spy for the secret police. There were so many such spies at Kolima that no prisoner dared to speak openly to another.

Peter did not become a spy but obtained extra rations from his training as an art student—which the Alsops promise to explain in a forthcoming column.

The Editors' Roundtable, compiled by James Galloway of Asheville, examines the issue of the recurring instability of the French Government. A majority of editorial opinion believed that it was the result of the multi-party system not providing a clear choice to French voters. Opinion was evenly divided as to whether there would be a merger of moderate interests to enable a stable coalition government or whether the coalition would forfeit power to the Gaullists or the Communists. Most believed that failure of the moderates would enable General De Gaulle to win over the Communists. Fear of Russia was a prime motivating factor in French politics.

The Trenton (N.J.) Times finds decadence in France not permitting a government to form after the country had been the center of two world wars and faced the prospect of a third. It had fallen swiftly in 1940 because of incompetence and corruption of its leaders, the avarice of its industrialists, and the lethargy of the people in the face of crisis.

The Boston Traveler finds that the resilient people of France could do little until their politicians changed. French politics was rotten to the core and had been for years.

The Manchester (N.H.) Morning Union finds the instability to result from the multi-party system, of which the Communists had taken advantage.

The Louisville Courier-Journal offers that merger of the multiple parties had to occur before stability could be achieved. Communism or De Gaulle might profit from an interim government, counting, in either extreme, as a defeat for the moderates.

The Phoenix Gazette asserts that the moderates would compromise their differences and form a coalition. Victory for the Communists would mean the defeat of ERP in France. If the Gaullists took power, the Communists would declare open warfare and wreck the economy with strikes.

The Asheville Citizen finds Communist influence losing ground, probably from the influence of ERP, though it might revive. The Gaullists were also slowly surging. General De Gaulle in recent weeks had been effectively stumping the countryside by motorcade in the rural areas, seeking support.

The Minneapolis Star finds there to have been passive ingredients as well as domestic issues which helped to cause the fall of both the Schuman Government and the Marie Government. They were mainly the result of French dissatisfaction with British and American policy toward Germany. As long as France was needed as an ally in Europe, its concerns about Germany had to be recognized.

The Chicago Daily News tells of the French not liking the decision to leave the ownership of the Ruhr industrial area in the hands of Germans. International control, they believed, was not enough. They also regarded U.S. policy toward Russia as too tough, risking war. The dispute regarding military appropriations, over which Robert Schuman had originally resigned, symbolized that French feeling.

A letter from "Dubitante" suggests various names for the cutting of trees and displacement of houses in Charlotte to make way for the cross-town boulevard. Among the suggestions are "Fool Avenue", "Charlotte Speedway", "Carolina Death-Trap" and "Henry Wallace Plaza".

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