The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 9, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. had confirmed its willingness to take part in four-power talks on the future of the prewar Italian colonies in Africa but rejected a Russian proposal to begin the talks in Paris the following day, as that would be impracticable. It had been announced the previous day by Secretary of State Marshall that a bipartisan agreement had been reached on what the U.S. position would be on the colonies, though not stating what the position was.

The President, according to an AFL official, David Dubinsky, president of the ILGWU, had indicated that the U.S. would remain firm on staying in Berlin. Mr. Dubinsky believed that a danger existed that Russia would grab complete control of Berlin through violence, bluff and bullying.

Mr. Truman had said as much during a press conference this date, confirming Secretary Marshall's comments the previous day. As Secretary Marshall, the President refrained from explaining how the occupation would be maintained and whether force was being contemplated if necessary.

Diplomats speculated that the Soviets might stop the four-power talks in Moscow concerning the Berlin crisis because of the Communist demonstrations at City Hall in Berlin and their aftermath.

The Greek War Minister said that Yugoslav troops had invaded Greece and Greek troops killed nine of the Yugoslavs. He sought intervention from the Western Allies and the U.N. before Greek soldiers lost their tempers and set off a general conflagration. He said that Greece would consider accepting an international military force to seal 500 miles of the Greek border with the countries accused of aiding the guerrillas, Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria.

Pollster Elmo Roper finds that Governor Dewey was as good as elected to the presidency, causing him to agree with those opponents of polls who questioned the social utility and desirability of predicting presidential elections. He allows for a political convulsion to upset conventional wisdom on the matter, such as a war with Russia prior to election day or the President being able to pull off a coup in foreign affairs or domestic policy. Or should Governor Dewey blunder in his political conduct, such as the modern-day equivalent to "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" of the 1884 election. But these things were unlikely of occurrence.

He says that he felt silly pretending to call a close race and so believed it best to predict that Governor Dewey would win handily, and move on to other issues in sampling public opinion. His most recent poll showed Governor Dewey in front, with 44.2 percent, the President with 31.4, and the rest split between the other candidates, with 15.4 percent undecided. It appeared to forecast another Roosevelt-Landon election, the greatest presidential landslide in history to that point, in 1936.

In consequence, he determines to stop reporting on the poll results in the race unless some major event took place.

The editors point out that in 1936, Mr. Roper had predicted the outcome to within 1.1 percent, in 1940, to within a half percent, and in 1944 within .3 percent.

But, this time, Mr. Roper and most of the other major pollsters would be in for the Ride of a Learned Man.

The President said that he expected soon to name a committee on armed forces segregation, to study methods of dealing with the problem.

In Georgia, Herman Talmadge, 35, was leading by 30,000 votes and had a county-unit margin, similar to the electoral college, of 316 to 86, in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Governor M. E. Thompson had conceded victory to Mr. Talmadge. Mr. Talmadge was trying to arrange a special session of the Legislature to install him right after the November election and Governor Thompson said that he would cooperate if the Attorney General of Georgia determined that the move was legal. Mr. Thompson had acceded to the office as Lieutenant Governor after Mr. Talmadge's father Eugene had died as Governor-elect before taking the oath of office in December, 1946, setting in motion a tumultuous contest to determine the successor, Herman Talmadge having been named then by the Legislature and then occupying, through use of the Highway Patrol, the Governor's Mansion and office at the State Capitol, denying access to outgoing Governor Ellis Arnall, who sought to hold the office until Mr. Thompson could take the oath as Lieutenant Governor and then succeed the elder Talmadge per the State Constitution. The State Supreme Court settled the issue in favor of Mr. Thompson. Mr. Talmadge, who campaigned on white supremacy, said that the election outcome was a warning to the nation on civil rights.

Not reported, HUAC, again meeting in executive session, for the last time until December regarding the Bentley-Chambers accusations of espionage in the Government, heard more testimony regarding the 1929 Model A Ford of Alger Hiss and whether or not it was sold in the open market or specifically intended for a Communist. According to documents, William Rosen had immediately purchased the automobile from Cherner Motor Company in 1936 after Mr. Hiss allegedly sold it to Cherner. Whittaker Chambers had testified that Mr. Hiss wanted the car to be donated to a poor West Coast Communist organizer. Mr. Hiss had claimed that he gave it to Mr Chambers, whom he then knew only as George Crosley, because he had no car and the car was virtually worthless. HUAC was trying to ascertain the truth of the competing accusations to determine who of the two should be prosecuted for perjury.

The problem, of course, is that the whole thing was a red herring. When you are a bunch of liars, having spent your whole adult life lying not only to others but also one's self for the sake of political avarice, it is very difficult to ascertain the truth about anything or even to define the question designed to probe for the truth in a reasonable manner. Cheap, petty persons undertaking ad hominem attacks on private citizens for their own aggrandizement do not belong leading the country or, for that matter, in any position of responsibility.

In the Philippines, an urgent radio appeal urged the evacuation of the remaining 15,000 persons from Camiguin Island, location of Mt. Hibokhibok, blowing its stack for the first time since 1871. The broadcast said that there was a rain of acidic ash over the island, probably of halogens, a family of chemicals such as chlorine, bromine, fluorine and cyanogen.

In Detroit, 50,000 auto workers remained idle for the second straight day based on a strike of 170 plant guards at the Briggs Manufacturing Company.

They needed to make the lawn mowers more powerful than the locomotives to compete with the giant airplanes.

In San Francisco, programs for rationing gasoline were being prepared in light of the California refinery strike of September 4 by 15,000 CIO oil workers demanding wage increases. Another 6,800 Standard workers had respected the picket line. Shell had been the first company struck.

On page 5-A, Dick Young of The News tells of the "invisible government" of Charlotte working on voluntary commissions.

It may be squirrels doing it.

In Providence, R.I., a squirrel caught an eleven-year old boy while he was fishing in a Roger Williams Park lake the previous day. The squirrel descended a tree and got such a grip on the boy's ankle that it had to be pried loose by a park attendant. The squirrel was posthumously being investigated for rabies.

On the editorial page, "From Yalta to Berlin" remarks on the most recent in the lineage of carping on the Yalta agreement of February, 1945 for supposedly having lost the peace by making undue concessions to Russia, that being from former Ambassador to France and Russia William Bullitt. Mr. Bullitt contended that FDR was responsible for the lost peace.

The piece finds it otherwise, that the pressing problem of fighting a two-front war, with the U.S. fighting Japan almost single-handedly, caused the need for Russian agreement to fight the Japanese. The atomic bomb had not completed its testing and there appeared no end in sight to the Pacific war, some observers predicting it might last ten years longer and would at least take a bloody invasion to end it.

Recently, former Secretary of State Byrnes, who was at Yalta as the President's assistant, stated that FDR conceded nothing to the Russians which they were not in a position to take anyway. That statement, concludes the editorial, made further critique of the Yalta agreement only an exercise in discrediting further FDR and thus the U.S., building up sentiment for war with Russia. For if the peace had been lost, then war appeared to be the only alternative. It rejects, however, that the peace was lost or that war remained the only other means to resolve the dispute with Russia.

It recommends that the Monday morning quarterbacks turn instead their attention to the more immediate problem of Berlin and the Moscow foreign ministers conference seeking to resolve the blockade crisis.

"The Great Migration Northward" finds the splintered Democratic Party not so important as the fact that blacks were migrating to the North from the South in increasing numbers. In 1940, 77 percent of the black population was in the South, whereas in 1947 it had reduced to 60 percent, a migration rate of 2.5 percent per year.

Most of the migration was from rural areas to cities such as Indianapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. It suggests that if the rate of migration continued, the South would be as the rest of the nation in terms of the proportion of its black population.

Northerners and Southerners were unable to face the idea that a nation founded on equality could not systematically deny for long the rights of citizenship to one group without undermining the republic.

Dr. Howard Odum of UNC had posited a year earlier in his book that the South could not achieve regional balance until half of its black citizens migrated elsewhere. The problems of the black community would then manifest themselves nationally rather than regionally. The fact that the black migration was to inner city ghettos would have to be faced in time, as inner city conflict had been produced in Detroit and Philadelphia and would likely recur elsewhere.

The South should welcome the migration, it suggests, as sharing the problems nationally which the South had been unable alone to resolve, would be the only hope for resolution.

"Out of Season, But Welcome" welcomes the coming of football season. The editors had seen their first game at Memorial Stadium the previous week as the Hornets were still engaged in baseball at Griffith Park. On the newsstands were the football dope books alongside the baseball magazines. It looks forward to the chill autumn afternoons during which football would transpire, even into the icy November days when the feet would be frozen to the concrete, preventing too much cheering amid the frozen rain.

Several members of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team had passed out in 94 degree heat in their first game of the season. It repeats its refrain: "...Ah Football!"

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) News, titled "The 'Threat' Is Denied", tells of the denial of the reported threat by DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath to excommunicate from the party any Democratic candidate who supported the Dixiecrats. It was not denied that Senator McGrath had made the statement but that he had the authority to back it up with action. It seemed to support the Dixiecrat contention that the Truman Democrats were not really Democrats as they had repudiated party principles. It was thus left to the voters to determine who were more nearly true Democrats.

It suggests that the national Democratic Party was too eager for support to alienate Southerners further by such excommunication regarding opposition to the President's civil rights program.

Robert Allen, substituting for Drew Pearson, tells of General MacArthur holding quiet conferences in Tokyo with Chiang Kai-Shek's emissary, General Chan Chun, former Chinese Premier, who was esteemed by Secretary of State Marshall. Being discussed was a visit by Chiang to Tokyo to deal directly with General MacArthur, the creation of an anti-Communist front in the Far East, and reopening of Chinese-Japanese trade.

Communist strength in China had grown greater than ever before, the result of Nationalist incompetence, reactionism, graft, and treachery. Thus, it was not likely that Chiang would leave China as he might find it difficult to return.

The actions of some officers toward reservists in the Thirteenth Naval District on the West Coast was deplorable. One such incident had occurred when a group of college educators, who had war-earned reserve commissions, reported for a two-week tour of duty only to be told by an officer that there were already "too damn many college professors" in the Navy. They were then given the cold shoulder by other officers.

Mayor Jim Curley of Boston was using his recent prison term for wartime mail fraud to explain to penologists how jails should be run. Upon their speaking invitation, he explained to them the value of the judge having had a good breakfast on the day of sentencing. He also found that nearly every college in the country, including the prestigious Ivy League schools, were represented in the jail population. One prisoner was a West Point man and another had graduated from Annapolis. He met one old man whose graduating class Mayor Curley had once addressed at M.I.T.

The mysterious death of Col. General Andrei Zhdanov of Russia had given rise to new questions regarding what might occur when Josef Stalin died. Zhdanov had been listed as one of three most likely potential successors to the 68-year old Premier. It left V. M. Molotov higher than ever in the pecking order.

The President was arguing that the Republican tax reduction was part of a secret plan to impose a national sales tax on the country, to compensate for the deficit which would result from the tax reduction.

The State Department had pigeonholed a long-sought agreement between New York and Ontario regarding the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, prompting supporters to claim that the State Department was motivated by pressure from the railroad and coal interests, who opposed the project.

A Congressional committee was investigating the historical division of the Army. It was said that one historian had criticized General Patton. They produced more books on rear echelon operations than on combat troops.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop resume the story of "Peter", begun two days earlier, explaining how he had used his training in art to obtain greater rations than the starvation amounts provided his fellow slave laborers in the Siberian Kolima gold mines. In the camp to which he was sent, most of the prisoners were Volga Germans, Poles, Balts and Jews. Most of the guards were brutes but some had been prisoners before being "freed" to become guards. Peter befriended one such guard. From a photograph of the guard's wife, Peter was able to draw a portrait on the wall of his hut, which brought him recognition in the camp. Other guards then begged Peter to draw such likenesses, thus providing him extra food in exchange.

His high standing among the guards enabled Peter to be "freed" in 1944, albeit still confined to the camp area. He received extra rations, however, and became a prison draughtsman, taken on expeditions in search of other gold and uranium. He was also able for the first time in five years to write to his family. He had managed to get one message out of the prison previously, only by happenstance, through an anonymous stranger who found the note, thrown through a grate in the prison to the outside, and sent it on by regular mail.

After three years of effort by Peter's family to obtain his actual freedom, an unprecedented order came from the Kremlin, permitting him to return to Moscow. He needed 3,000 rubles for the journey and the other prisoners pooled their resources to provide it for him. He was now free of the entire Soviet system.

His story was unique. The other estimated twelve million such "political" prisoners died in these camps. Fear and suspicion governed the Soviet system. Peter's crime had been to visit the embassy of his native country to seek to go home. The story explained, they find, why so many Soviet citizens risked death to escape the Soviet system for the West. It also bespoke the fact that the Soviet system was not a simple alternative to the democratic way of life in the West.

James Marlow examines the Berlin crisis, focusing on the most recent episode of the previous Monday in which Communist-led demonstrators broke into City Hall and engaged in fistfights, with the resulting kidnaping of Western policemen by the Russian command structure.

In 1946, the four powers had agreed to allow the German people of Berlin to determine their city government. The Berliners elected about 130 members to an assembly which determined laws and rules and appointed city officials to carry them into effect. The assembly was subject to the authority of the four occupying powers.

On three recent occasions, the assembly could not hold its scheduled meeting because of Communist demonstrations and disruptions. The assembly met in City Hall within the Russian sector. After the Monday riot, all except 34 or 35 assemblymen present fled in fear and went into the Western sectors. Those who stayed were considering carrying on their work in the Russian sector while the others wanted to set up shop in the Western sectors. Thus, there might result two separate city governments, each claiming lawful status.

The four military governors had met regularly regarding German administration until the previous March when the Russians declared that the Allied Control Council meetings were useless. The Russian governor also declared that the Western nations could no longer send supplies into their respective zones of Berlin, with the object of driving out the Americans, British, and French, leaving the Russians to control the city.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, finds HUAC not so popular with Nobel Prize winners as with noisier newspaper writers, proving apparently that the former were not so bright. Eight Nobel laureates, led by Dr. Harold Urey, had just addressed a telegram to President Truman and Governor Dewey warning them that HUAC posed a danger to national security by scaring good scientists away from national service. They never knew whether some reporter might bust into their lab and say, "Boo! The Thomas Committee says you're disloyal."

Of the 150 atomic scientists engaged in work on the atomic bomb during the war, according to the Smyth Report, only 15 still remained doing full-time Government research. That was how HUAC served the nation. It had become the age-old contest between the intellectual and the censor of thought and behavior. The departure of Government scientists resembled too much earlier stories of frustrated thinkers removing themselves from the scrutiny of "arrogant and cocksure orthodoxy".

A society, he ventures, was safest when its thinkers, scientists and even its wits were freely allowed to operate and when they actually took the lead, that it was least safe when some form of cop had them under surveillance. "Who can deny that the Thomas Committee is helping to lead us, not by the hand, but by the hysterically upstanding hairs of our heads into this grim latter condition?"

It was likely that others had departed the quieter bureaus as well. Reactionaries were likely glad to see them go, the type of young public servant under Roosevelt who had incurred the hatred of some for making the American people love their Government.

On the private level, too, HUAC worked to chill open expression of ideas and force qualification of statements that in America no one really cared what another thought. Eventually, a person might stop trying to frame his thoughts aloud. For the sake of all of these individuals, it would be prudent, he suggests, to return to the concept that a man was convicted only by evidence against him, and when there was no evidence, everyone remained decently mum.

A letter writer comments on the September 1 piece, "The Eggs and Henry Wallace", tells of not being Southern or Northern by heritage but having never heard anyone comment unfavorably on the South during her 18 years of residence in the North. So she found the statement in the piece that Northerners did not like Southerners to be unfair. She also thinks that "Mockingbird Melody for the Yankees" was below par when it referred to "callous Yankee ears". She found Yankees appreciative of everything "sweet and lovely". The editor who described the land as "grim" north of the Mason-Dixon line, she opines, must never have been there. She found the North very beautiful in its scenery, such as in the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. She urges keeping cool and not letting politics get the better of emotions.

You obviously, in 16 years of living in the South, never discovered the Southern sense of irony and take everything ruefully seriously.

A letter writer from New York City finds that Northerners were too eager to condemn the South without seeking to help it solve its problems. He wonders when the Southerners would cease being defensive and find the seamy side of the North and urge reform there. He does not wish to defend the North or the South, finds faults in each section. The North, however, needed "caustic criticism". Northerners and Southerners had their demagogues.

A letter writer says that Henry Wallace probably would not have been allowed to stop in South Carolina or Georgia had he tried, for who wanted mingling of the races? Mr. Wallace was for mongrelization to "brass ankles". The writer desires racial purity. The egg and tomato throwers were aiming at what Mr. Wallace espoused rather then the man personally.

He thinks there was no difference in the people of the Carolinas, between North and South. He finds that making the egg throwers in Greensboro write stuff was too much like the school marm. They were the great grandsons of the Rebels, chips off the old block, and you could not change them—any more than you could your early Sunday morning underwear on a Saturday night.

Free speech, he says, was okay as long as it was reasonable. But when it was unreasonable and contrary to established ways, then it was not free. It depended on the speech as to whether it should be free.

"If Wallace has such a love for the colored race, why did he pick the wealthiest to spend the night with. Besides having several kinks in his brain, probably caused by a fall when an infant, the Progressive candidate also, it seems, is color blind."

He signs as anti-Truman, anti-Wallace, anti-Dewey, "(Dew is all wet)".

That was clever. Wished we'd thought of it back in '44 when Dewey was running with Bricker. That woulda been funny, especially during the summer of '74. You remember the Duke laws, renowned across the starry galaxy?

We fell down some steps as an infant, hit our head on the concrete. Perhaps, more Southerners of the letter writer's type ought, helping to round out the points.

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