The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 9, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Arabs meeting in conference in Cairo were favoring formation of a "volunteer people's army" to wage a jihad against partition of Palestine until the British would vacate in August. After that time, the regular Arab armies could then take over the duties of jihad. Until then, the regular armies would guard the borders to prevent supplies and reinforcements to the Jews.

Chairman Hussein Khalidi of the Arab Higher Education Executive in Palestine stated that any attempt of displaced persons to "invade" Palestine would be met by a "counter-invasion" by Arabs of neighboring countries. He believed that corruption and bribery had led to the U.N. decision and wanted the U.N. to disappear.

Sheik Abdel Latif Draz stated in Cairo that whenever Islam is attacked anywhere in the world, it was the obligation of every Moslem to wage jihad.

Do you have any idea how utterly stupid that concept is, negating any hint of religious and spiritual significance to the religion you claim to be supporting? It is the same nonsense which leads the religious zealot to murder doctors for "killing little babies". Or that which led the Klan and its equivalent to lynch. It has nothing to do with religion. It is psychological disturbance, a pandemic of fears of "the other", the outsider, the stranger you refuse to admit to your world view for your limited education, your ignorance, and your stubborn insistence on clinging to a perverted view of the world based on some rationalized interpretation of your "religion". It is mumbo-jumbo.

Molotov cocktails were thrown at four police armored cars in Tel Aviv by Jewish dissidents, probably of the Stern gang, according to Jewish sources. Unofficial reports stated that two Jews had been killed by fire from armored cars.

A night of violence had taken place in the border area of Palestine, as the "taxicab army" of Jewish volunteers, summoned by Haganah, counter-attacked a group of Arabs armed with machineguns and grenades.

A "Palestine Liberation Committee" announced in Damascus in Syria that Arab volunteers trained in commando tactics were being sent to Palestine to begin guerrilla fighting.

Abd El Krim, exiled Riff warrior chieftain, who had led attacks on the Spanish and French in Morocco in the late twenties, stated in Cairo that North Africa would contribute to the Arab campaign against partition.

The Arab League also announced its immediate participation in the fight.

Following two weeks of argument at the London foreign ministers conference, it appeared to observers that Russia might be ready to compromise on key issues regarding the future of Germany, to avoid an East-West split. V. M. Molotov the night before had submitted a proposal for economic unification and dropped the condition that agreement first had to be reached on the Soviet demand for ten billion dollars of reparations from Germany, that it could be considered simultaneously with the economic unification plan. He also dropped the previous Soviet demand that zonal economic deficits be shared under economic unification, at least until such time as costs could be determined. Western diplomats still were not optimistic about ultimate agreement.

In Paris, the Communist-dominated General Confederation of Labor told workers to return to work the next day, following the strike of 2.1 million workers.

Russia abruptly terminated trade talks with France, which had sought to negotiate shipments of grain from the Soviet Union for France, after the Russian Repatriation Commission was ordered on November 26 expelled from the country by the Government for alleged subversive activity in stimulating the strikes.

The Administration submitted a plan to Congress for consumer rationing of meat, gasoline, and other commodities, as well as to permit the Government to buy the entire crop of wheat and other commodities. The bill proposed to give the President power to allocate and fix priorities on scarce items, including livestock and poultry, steel, grain and grain products, and freight cars, as well as any other item affecting the cost of living. The authorization was proposed to extend to the end of March, 1950.

Former Governor of Pennsylvania, George Earle, had made public a 1945 letter from FDR which he claimed resulted in his "political exile" to Samoa during the remainder of the war. The letter came after Mr. Earle, then a Navy commander and emissary for the President, had requested permission to expose Russia as a greater threat than Germany.

Mr. Earle made the letter public because he had been questioned as to its authenticity when he revealed its existence during a "Meet the Press" radio interview of October 10. The President had expressed concern that his personal emissary might state publicly such an opinion, which could do irreparable harm to the Allied war effort. The President forbade him from publishing any such opinion regarding an ally, based on information obtained while in Government service. He then withdrew Mr. Earle's status as emissary of the President and said that he would instruct the Navy to make use of him where they saw fit. He then wished him well.

Send a postcard from Samoa and be glad it was not Alaska.

Former Army Colonel Jack Durant entered prison, pursuant to his conviction by court martial for having, with the assistance of his WAC captain wife, stolen the Hesse family jewels from a cache in the cellar of the Army's headquarters at the Hesse estate in Germany at the end of the war. He was to serve fourteen years. His wife had already been released from her five-year sentence based on a Federal Court determination that she could not be convicted by court martial as it came after her release from the service.

Tom Watkins of The News reports of the Mecklenburg ABC Board having undertaken a major bust of bootleggers during the morning hours, by noon having arrested 50, with more to come. State undercover agents had been working to ferret out the bootleggers since the previous September, when the ABC system became effective. It was thought to be the largest single bootlegging arrest in the state's history. Forty-two of the arrestees were white; eight were black.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports of reputed bootlegging kingpin Jim Massey having been caught in the round-up of bootleggers. At 76, he had been arrested more times than he could recall. He smiled a "toothless" grin for photographers, the result of which appears on the page. (He appears to have teeth in the picture.) Former Judge Marion Sims, now chairman of the ABC Board, told Mr. Massey that he had been expecting him.

A list of the 50 suspects is on the page. We hope your relatives are not among them.

Presumably, the remaining eleven of the fifteen new G.M. buses of the Duke Power Company, to supplement the city's bus transportation service, arrived on schedule, equipped with the promised thermostatically controlled heaters and their green coroseal seats—the real deal—to provide smooth riding comfort for 32 happy passengers. But that Saturday story was not reprised on the page this date, bumped for the fact of the bootlegging bust.

On the editorial page, "Sky's the Limit for the GOP" tells of the Republican Congress ready to proceed in 1948 with a bill to cut taxes by 5.3 billion dollars or more, within 200 million dollars of the peak estimates for the budget surplus for the year. If the country would run into a slump, then such a tax cut would be a major problem, causing a deficit of several billion dollars.

In the struggle forming, the Democrats were assuming the role of conservatives and the Republicans, radicals. The Administration wanted tax reduction only after substantial payment toward reduction of the national debt from the war and after fulfillment of current foreign commitments. The Republicans were taking the position that tax reduction would be a panacea for economic ills, curbing inflation by giving more money to the consumer to purchase, easing demand for wage hikes and increasing demand for product. But as a general rule, economists saw tax reduction as inflationary.

While a tax reduction of a more measured size might be possible in the coming year while meeting the concerns of the Administration, the GOP plan was otherwise. But the Republicans were taking the risk for purposes of the election year to achieve popularity with the electorate, regardless of the consequences to inflation at home and recovery abroad.

"Passing the Buck for Control" tells of Senator A. Willis Robertson of Virginia—father of evangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson—counseling that the cure for inflation was exercise of self-control by Americans, voluntary reduction of steel prices and reduction of profits by manufacturers generally, as well as a voluntary end to price supports for farmers. He was against any renewal of price and wage control or rationing, as urged by the President.

The piece finds the argument specious, a bit of "amiable poppycock" characteristic of Washington. For he had stated that the Government could not control "selfishness, greed and group rivalry." But the same dynamic would serve to defeat volunteerism.

The Senator offered no remedy for the working man who had seen his standard of living diminished considerably in an inflationary economy. And the only hope for that person was the Government and control.

"A Rich Life in the Faith" laments the passing of Dr. L. R. Pruette of the Ninth Avenue Baptist Church in Charlotte after 53 three years of service to the community, having organized several other Baptist churches. He had also been a trustee of Wake Forest College and of Wingate Junior College. While he had retired as a pastor twenty years earlier, he had continued to preach regularly at the Pritchard Memorial Church.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Nationalized Poetry", finds British poet laureate John Masefield to have delivered a less than par performance in his lines penned for the occasion of the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten on November 20. The piece, however, finds the failing commonplace, as Alfred Lord Tennyson had muffed a royal wedding hymn and William Wordsworth had declined to write one.

In the old days, British poet laureates were hired as public servants and subject to dismissal with the change of administrations. John Dryden had been axed, as had Rudyard Kipling, the latter for a reference to Queen Victoria as the "Widow at Windsor".

While Messrs. Masefield, Tennyson, and Wordsworth had lent prestige to the position, by and large, the effort at nationalized poetry had been a flop in Britain. It suggests therefore that it was rather amazing to see the Attlee Government trying to nationalize such a complicated industry as steel.

Drew Pearson tells of parlor politics appearing to enter into the promotion of the top hundred of the Army brass to permanent positions as generals. It had been Army practice not to promote to the permanent rank of general unless the candidate had been overseas during the late war. But high on the list of promotions was Maj. General Wilton B. Persons, who had not been overseas during the war but rather had been the chief lobbyist for the Army in Congress. He lists other such examples.

He tells of the findings by Congressman George Bender of Ohio, from a report of Comptroller General Lindsay Warren, that several Army officers in charge of negotiating war contracts or adjusting contracts as the war wound down had been hired in the private sector by the very firms they had assisted during the war. He provides four examples.

Finally, he relates of Corn, Oklahoma, a town of 500 located along Route 66, the farmers of which had collected 8,000 bushels of wheat for the Friendship Train to help feed Europe during the winter. The wheat had been ground into flour free of charge in another town. He had been informed of the acts of generosity by a letter writer associated with the mill, who sought no publicity and suggested that while some called the people "Oakies", he believed them "God's people."

Joseph Alsop, in London, discusses the ongoing foreign ministers conference with its goal to try to effect treaties with Austria and Germany. The London newspapers were discussing the loss of strength in the world of Britain as the end of the Mandate in Palestine approached, following the passage of the U.N. partition resolution on November 29. The effect would be to place the burden of world leadership on the United States.

In Britain, rations were less than a year earlier while lines were longer and people appeared more shabby and less optimistic. But the postwar slump in production was coming to an end, as workers, overworked by the war, were gradually recovering. The production in coal in 1938 had been 1.14 tons per man shift. At the beginning of 1947, it was 1.03 tons, and by November had risen back to 1.12 tons, was expected to rise further by spring.

The Government was busy cutting spending to a bare minimum to preserve dollars. Some of the worst of the wasters in Government, Dr. Hugh Dalton, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Emmanuel Shinwell, were gone. Sir Stafford Cripps now headed the Exchequer, promising more economic stability.

The Marshall Plan would provide an infusion of capital which Britain so desperately needed, enabling a way out from the morass which would otherwise be a dead end street.

Samuel Grafton tells of the Council of the Authors' League of America indicating that the recent ten Hollywood dismissals constituted a dramatic new form of censorship, censoring the whole person, not just a portion of the author's work. The term "blacklist" would come to characterize that censorship. The Council pointed out that those who purchased as little as ten lines of prose from these banned writers even by 1954 would risk the end of their Hollywood welcome.

While Mr. Grafton agrees with those who said that the country must protect itself against peril, he also believes that the peril must first be proved to exist. And in the case of movie scripts and finished movies, that peril was ephemeral and not subject to proof. One could not proceed from what one suspected was the case, that which one believed a film might induce another to think. No one had been able to prove the existence of subversive content in Hollywood fare.

So the Council was correct in its criticism. Indeed, it might have gone further to point out that creating categories of wholesome and unwholesome fare was a prominent characteristic of totalitarian states. Totalitarianism should be resisted through diplomacy and the country's economic strength, and by proving the overt act. It could not be done by interrogations and purges of industries selected more or less at random.

"For that is a decline in order, and order is the skeleton of freedom."

A letter writer from Polkton, N.C., says that time had slipped by and here it was another Christmas, wonders whether the people were as thankful as they ought be. The writer praises The News, especially for its sponsorship of the annual Empty Stocking Fund to provide Christmas presents for needy children of the community. The anonymous author encloses a $20 check for the Fund.

The editors note that there was no overhead associated with the Fund, as the letter writer assumed, and that all proceeds went directly to the beneficial purpose.

A letter writer urges maintenance of the atomic secret, that sharing it with the Soviets, even with adequate assurance of international inspections to police adherence to peaceful uses of atomic energy, would not be trustworthy.

He cites an article by Cord Meyer in the October Atlantic, urging that the U.S. give up the bomb, provided there would be swift and certain punishment for violators of the international agreement. The Baruch plan called for equal atomic facilities across the nations. The writer wonders whether such a plan was realistic.

No, why don't we wait around until Russia builds their own bomb, as all of the physicists said would definitely occur within a couple of years or so, and then plan to have a twenty-minute World War III somewhere down the line?

The writer engages in the common mistake of assuming a static and perfect world according insulation to the plan which he favored. It was the type of thinking, on both sides of the divide, which helped to encourage rather than discourage the East-West split and the Cold War of the ensuing forty-two years.

In point of fact, the plausible argument can be made historically that the world has never really recovered fully from World War II.

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