The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 1, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in China, Chiang Kai-Shek expressed that his Army still had the strength to fight despite his having expressed hope for peace in his New Year's statement. He said that they were not seeking peace out of weakness. The Cabinet met this date to discuss the war crisis in light of Chiang's statement that the Communists could have peace on his stated terms. They debated a sentence in his statement which appeared to suggest Chiang's realization that he was finished as the Nationalist Government leader after 27 years. All battlefronts stood at a lull. It was hoped that the issue of peace or war would be settled within three days. There were indications that Peiping might conclude a separate peace with the Chinese Communists.

The Dutch announced that the Java phase of the Indonesian campaign was over, with clean-up still taking place in Sumatra, despite the order of the U.N. to cease all hostilities forthwith, issued the previous week. The attack on the Indonesian Republic had begun December 19, alleged as a "police action" to eliminate a Communist insurgent threat. The Dutch did not declare a formal ceasefire as ordered by the U.N.

William Oatis tells of a war weary world, in China, Palestine, Greece, Indonesia and Malaya, greeting the New Year with hope that it might bring peace.

Russians greeted the New Year "'proud of their socialist power—the torch of liberty and hope of all progressive humanity.'"

Londoners stood in rain-swept Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. A Scottish Army sergeant, on a bet, swam in one of the two lighted fountains of Trafalgar, wearing only swimming shorts. Nearly 6,000 persons went to the annual Chelsea Arts costume ball at Albert Hall, 2,000 more than 4,000.

In Frankfurt, night clubs were sold out, as dinner for two and a bottle of champagne cost about $36 or the equivalent of two weeks of German wages.

After two days of hard rain, floods were still raging in six Northeastern states, New York, New Jersey and in New England, but the worst appeared to be over. Hundreds were left homeless and at least four had died. The Hudson River had reached seven feet above flood stage and the Delaware River in Pennsylvania had flooded at several places.

The bad weather, which included snow, dampened the spirit of New Year's Eve revelers in New York City, but 350,000 nevertheless showed up in Times Square for the annual countdown. Usually, crowds reached a million or more. In Miami, police had to quell a riot of 2,000 teenagers who packed Flagler Street downtown. The teenagers started breaking into stores and pillaging, turning over a patrol car.

Noted race car driver Sir Malcolm Campbell, 63, the first man to drive a car faster than 300 mph, died in Reigate Surrey, England. He achieved his record in 1935 at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It had since been broken, but his speed boat record of 141.74 mph, established in England in 1939, still stood.

House Democrats were meeting to discuss possible rules changes of the Rules Committee to prevent pigeonholing of legislation to stop it from reaching the floor. One such proposed change was to allow a discharge petition by 100 or 150 signatures, whereas presently a majority of 218 signatures was necessary. Southern Democrats were reported to be joining forces with Republicans to block such attempted changes, including changes in the seniority system by which committee chairs were selected.

New North Carolina Senator J. Melville Broughton, former Governor, was in Washington for the start of the 81st Congress on Monday, said that he would favor repeal of Taft-Hartley provided substitute legislation retained the better features of the old law, such as bans on secondary and jurisdictional strikes, and the ability to use injunctions to stop strikes contrary to the "national interest", provided the latter phrase were properly defined. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina said that he was not in favor of repeal but would vote for reasonable revisions.

Both Senators and Congressman Hamilton Jones of Charlotte appeared opposed to providing more aid to China because of its inevitable waste in the failing Government effort against the Chinese Communists.

All three favored Federal aid to education, with Senator Broughton adding the proviso that it not be subject to Federal controls.

A photograph of the January 1, 1948 edition is included, which you can read here, should you wish to revisit the happy news of that day.

In New Orleans, UNC All-American halfback Charlie Justice, ailing during the week with a stomach flu, was reported ready for the battle with Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl this date.

Though slightly favored over the Sooners, North Carolina would lose 14 to 6, to finish the season 9-1-1, having tied William & Mary earlier in the year. In the final Associated Press poll prior to the bowls, UNC had finished third and Oklahoma, fifth. Oklahoma finished the season 10-1.

Here it is: Clemson beats Alabama next week 35 to 28, in 2016. Now, you don't have to watch it.

We were for the Spartans, but...

On the editorial page, "Report on Lynchings" comments on the Tuskegee Institute's annual report on lynchings, finding two lynchings involving three or more conspirators and one "borderline" case in which a black man was murdered by two white men because of the former's insistence on voting. All three cases occurred in Georgia.

One of the two lynchings, that of William Turner, was of a white tenant farmer who had been released on a charge of stealing cattle from his landlord for lack of evidence, was then accosted by a group of five white men and two black men and burned to death. One person was given the death penalty and three others sentenced to life imprisonment in the case. The other lynching was that of Robert Mallard, a black man, shot by Klansmen while riding home on November 20 with his wife. Two persons had been indicted on the testimony of his widow.

Lynchings of 19 black persons were prevented by law enforcement in seven cases, 14 of which arose in Mississippi.

It finds the report on the whole encouraging, especially in a year when racial tensions were high in the South, regarding the President's civil rights program, the revolt of the Dixiecrats, the egging of Henry Wallace, and controversies over blacks voting in the primaries in South Carolina, with Federal Judge J. Waites Waring issuing a decision upholding that right against legislative attempts to make the Democratic Party into a private club. (The piece does not mention that which would be a bellwether of things to come, the arrest of Senator Glen Taylor in Birmingham the previous May 1 at the behest of Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor for having entered the black-only entrance to a church where Senator Taylor was supposed to speak, a meeting originally scheduled for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.)

It concludes, however, that until there were no lynchings or attempted lynchings in the South, the region could not have a "clear conscience". But the results did defeat the notion held by some non-Southerners that in the South, blacks were being routinely lynched.

"A Word of Caution" urges the State to exercise care in determining whether a prominent Fayetteville politician, Wall C. Ewing, convicted in mid-1947 for the murder of his wife, ought be released early after serving only 18 months of his sentence. Governor Cherry had asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into a report that the victim had suffered a fall several hours prior to her death, which may have been the ultimate cause of death. Three men, one a Fayetteville attorney and another a member of the State Board of Conservation & Development, had provided the information to the Governor a couple of weeks earlier.

The piece posits that if, after a lengthy and thoroughgoing trial of the matter, the defense attorneys could not dig up the information, it was questionable how the SBI could ferret it out so long after the crime.

It also suggests that, given the lenient parole system in the state, Mr. Ewing would likely be free anyway on his 18-20 year sentence within five or six years.

"Dangerous Tactics" tells of Dry forces in Whiteville, N.C., using questionable practices, threat by two Baptist organizations of an economic boycott of local businesses in wet communities, to try to swing an election to defeat an effort to legalize sale of wine and beer later in the month, the sale of wine and beer having been banned in the county in a prior county-wide election during 1948. The piece hopes that the citizens of Whiteville would not bow to such coercive tactics and would vote instead the way they wished.

"Highway Hazard" tells of automobile manufacturers, despite many new fancy gadgets on cars, such as windshield washers, having not dealt adequately with the glare of headlight beams at night. Dimmer switches on cars were not being adequately utilized by motorists and the matter needed to be dealt with in a manner such that the driver had control of reducing glare. Polarized glass had been suggested.

Paint the inside of the windshield black. Or just wear a blindfold.

A piece from the Fayetteville Observer, titled "Less Beer, More Booze", tells of the previous month being the first of prohibition of beer and wine sales in Cumberland County. Whereas in November, 1947, under the ABC system, there had been $200,000 worth of liquor sold in the county, during the previous month, the total had risen to $261,000 worth, indicative of purchasers turning to hard liquor when beer and wine were no longer available.

It questions whether therefore the prohibition move made sense in terms of temperance. It finds that the Fayetteville pastor who lost his pulpit for having opposed prohibition to have have been a voice of reason in the wilderness.

Drew Pearson discusses Sumner Welles's heart attack a week earlier while walking in 15-degree weather late at night near his farm, upset over the death on December 20 of his friend and former State Department colleague Laurence Duggan, a putative suicide, following the latter having been smeared by a HUAC witness testifying in executive session. He chronicles the career of Mr. Welles from 1915 when he got into the diplomatic service with the aid of Franklin Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, through his time as Undersecretary of State in the Roosevelt Administration, until his disputes with Secretary Cordell Hull led to his forced resignation in August, 1943. During that latter time, Mr. Welles had been the chief architect of foreign policy. He had been a friend to Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes during the Harding-Coolidge Administrations and, under him, had developed a Central American pact to prevent dictators in the Caribbean.

He had favored the quarantine of Japan in fall, 1937, adopted initially by FDR in his Chicago speech, drafted by Mr. Welles, after Japan had initiated war with China. But Secretary Hull had nixed the plan. Mr. Pearson notes that one of the stolen State Department documents, not yet made public by HUAC, revealed this conflict graphically.

Mr. Welles also believed in 1942 that it was time to begin constructing the machinery for peace after the war, while Russia had its back to the wall in Stalingrad fighting the Nazis and needed both American lend-lease and the opening of a second front in Europe by the Western allies. But Mr. Hull wanted to wait until the war was over, weakening the bargaining hand of the West vis-à-vis the Soviets.

Since leaving the State Department, Mr. Welles, he relates, had not been happy, sitting on the sidelines writing about foreign policy rather than making it.

Mr. Hull had never relaxed his desire for jealous vengeance against Mr. Welles and was opposed to his being made any kind of emissary with regard to Palestine or Indonesia.

Unable to sleep a week earlier, Mr. Welles had taken sleeping pills and ventured out into the night to try to walk himself into a state of exhaustion.

Mr. Hull, a longtime resident of the Bethesda Naval Hospital, might be saying, he concludes, that he had gotten even—just as had his father with a bitter rival who had bested him at the end of the Civil War, 30 years later going to the man's house and shooting him dead. Or he might decide that peace was more important than personalities and settling old scores, let bygones be bygones.

Joseph Alsop discusses the Berlin airlift from its inception after the full Soviet blockade of the Western sectors went into effect the previous June. American and British intelligence had predicted the blockade three months in advance based on feints in that direction by the Soviets in Berlin. Yet, there was no coordinated plan in place either between the Big Three or between Washington and the U.S. military occupation command in Berlin.

When full communication was cut between West Germany and West Berlin in late June, General Lucius Clay, his political adviser Ambassador Robert Murphy, and his air commander Lt.-General Curtis Lemay agreed on a plan to send in an armed train or convoy to the city with orders to resist against Soviet attempts to block it. The young officer in charge of the train, however, lost his nerve and it was halted.

Meanwhile, the British and French were not in favor of a convoy and the State Department was not enthusiastic, fearing that it would precipitate a war, notwithstanding that the chances of which had been assessed by General Clay and his advisers as one in ten. Washington then came up with the airlift idea. But it was organized at the last minute and so enjoyed only limited success in its early weeks. Many among the Big Three still considered it too expensive and dangerous to operate indefinitely. Those in charge in Germany, however, believed it had to be continued on a semi-permanent basis for years to come.

General Clay, meanwhile, had altered his assessment of the risk of war in the event of an armed convoy at this juncture, finding it now quite high.

For the airlift to be sustained indefinitely, some provision had to be made for continuing the economic life of West Berlin, not yet undertaken.

General William Tunner, commander of the airlift, had determined that the monthly load of supplies could be extended to 250,000 tons by replacing the 150 British aircraft with larger C-54's. That amount would provide for the city's needs. But the availability of those aircraft was not yet at hand.

Marquis Childs makes several New Year's resolutions, in response to indignant readers, starting with his resolve not to continue use of the phrase "the little people" or to defer to Washington as the seat of all wisdom in the country. He would also carefully ration his use of the words "crisis" and "problem", the former no more than once per week, the latter, at most twice.

As for national and international resolutions, he points out that every time there was a lynching in the Southern United States, the news echoed throughout Asia and worked to supply Soviet propaganda.

The Dutch attack on Indonesia had also given fuel to the Russian propaganda mill.

While Americans understood the preference of democracy over the totalitarian regime promised by the Soviets, each person had an individual responsibility to uphold the banner of democracy to thwart use of the warts by the other side for its purposes. Western democracy was still evolving toward greater freedom and equality of opportunity for all and had to do so to accomplish peace.

He concludes by saying that while he would break his initial resolution, it was that kind of peaceful conquest which could resolve the "world crisis". And breaking resolutions at the start of the year was what making them was all about.

A letter from the editor of the Star of Zion, official organ of the African M. E. Zion Church in Charlotte, thanks the newspaper for the "splendid and liberal manner" in which it handled news of activities of the black community and editorialized on race relations. He found it superior to most newspapers all over the country in this regard. He finds it especially helpful that the news was not segregated as in many Southern newspapers, often in The News not identifying the race of the subject of a story. Photographs of black citizens were also often included, unlike most other newspapers. He wishes the newspaper and its staff a happy New Year.

A letter from A. W. Black responds to the letter responding to his previous letter labeling UNC president Frank Porter Graham a Communist. The responding letter had suggested Mr. Black to be a Fascist. He says that to a Communist and to their defenders, the word "Fascist" meant anyone opposed to Communism. He regards the thinking as inept "from behind a smoke screen of false colors..."

Again, A.W., relax. Everybody knows that everybody at UNC are Communists, that the blue is a smokescreen for Red, always has been, always will be. In fact, Communism, it is a little known fact, was founded at UNC on a cold January day in 1814 at 6:00 p.m. in McCorkle Place by students receiving High Marx from Communist professors.

Another pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "in which is pointed out the fact that pleasure frequently comes from the unexpected:

"A touch of excitement
Produces delightment."

But too much of it,
Appears to produce fightment,
For which then there can be indictment.

Eighth Day of Christmas: Eight Muckers a-Mulching in the Emulsion.

Ninth Day of Christmas: Nine Laddies Looping with the Garter.

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