Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Administration
had removed one major stumbling block for Congressional approval of
the Marshall Plan by removing the 17 billion dollar cost estimate
from the recommended four-year package. There was no change,
however, in the 6.8 billion recommended for the first year.
Senator Arthur Vandenberg, chairman of the Foreign Relations
Committee, stated that the change recognized the reality that it was
impossible to determine what the situation in the world would be
three and four years down the road. But he still favored a four-year
commitment, without any fixed amount of aid being stated.
Senator Robert Taft, who favored a one-year commitment,
refused comment on the change.
William Arbogast of the Associated Press reports on the first
day of the regular session of Congress, with little being done until
the President's State of the Union message would be provided the
following day. The House consisted of 245 Republicans, 186
Democrats, and one American Labor Party member, with two older vacancies and one new vacancy, after the death of a Democratic
member from Virginia. The Senate was comprised of 51 Republicans and
45 Democrats. The President's message was likely to point up sharp
differences between the Administration and the Congress.
General MacArthur's headquarters reported of plans to take
ten million dollars from the occupation trust fund to purchase
50,000 bales of cotton to keep the Japanese mills operating until
spring. By the following month, headquarters indicated, it hoped to
have resolved issues on use of 120 million dollars worth of Japanese
gems and precious metals with which to purchase cotton. American
banks had agreed to loan 60 million dollars for purchase of American
cotton, provided part of the Japanese gems and metals would be put
up as collateral.
Recently retired chief of naval operations, Admiral Chester
Nimitz, stated in a report that the U.S. held undisputed control of
the seas and could, if necessary, establish a floating airfield off
any shore in the world. He predicted that in the future the Navy
would add to its arsenal carrier-based planes with atom bombs aboard.
While relatively deficient in manpower, he continued, the
U.S. could make up for the deficit in superior technology and
weaponry. East Asia and Western Europe would not be in a position
for decades to become a threat. Only Central Asia could imminently
contest American security.
The President's personal pilot, Lt. Colonel Henry Myers, was
retiring to return to commercial aviation.
In Georgia, Herman Talmadge, who had failed a year earlier in his bid to
succeed his deceased father as Governor—but who would win the
special gubernatorial election in 1948 and would eventually become
Senator—expressed the view that a last ditch effort would be made
in Georgia to bar blacks from voting by passing a law similar to
that on the books in Alabama, the Boswell amendment, whereby persons
seeking to register had to explain the Constitution to the
satisfaction of the registrar of voters. He stated his view that not
more than 10 to 15 percent of blacks should be allowed to vote,
while 85 to 90 percent of whites, including those who were
illiterate, were capable of exercising their franchise with
A lawyer for the N.A.A.C.P. said that any such law in Georgia
would be challenged in the courts, just as the Boswell amendment was
being challenged in Alabama as denying the franchise to blacks.
The statements of Mr. Talmadge were in the wake of the U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals decision the previous week striking down
the South Carolina private-club primary law which had stripped the
statute books of all references to primaries and sought to enable
the parties to operate the primaries as private functions,
regulating who they wished to allow to vote.
In Winston-Salem, the 16-year old boy who fatally shot both
of his parents with a rifle on New Year's Eve at their home on Robin
Hood Road following an argument over money as the boy sought to
elope with his girlfriend in York, S.C., was arraigned on the two counts
In Charlotte, Southern Bell announced plans to construct a
three-story addition to its building on N. Caldwell Street, to cost
1.8 million dollars.
You'll look forward to that.
Dick Young of The News tells of the City Planning
Board in a meeting having added to its master plan for 1948 the
widening of the bottleneck underpass on E. 4th Street.
A graphic representation is included, albeit not recommended
for younger viewers.
Now, you'll be able to get your wagon through there without
getting stuck in the neck of the bottle.
Street improvements in the black section of town were
emphasized at the meeting.
Mrs. C.N. Peeler of Charlotte, long active in civic life in
the city, passed away at age 68. She was married to a prominent
physician in the community.
The Empty Stocking Fund campaign for the season, sponsored by
The News, had delivered presents to 2,971 persons from 581
needy families in the community, plus 114 foster home children and 294
lone adults. The Fund fell $250 short of its $7,700 goal, a deficit
made up from a permanent reserve fund. The Fund provided presents
for 850 more persons than in 1946, when $5,600 was spent. No person
who qualified for the assistance failed to receive their gifts.
In Santa Monica, California, actor and swimmer Johnny
Weissmuller was planning a fourth marriage after he obtained divorce
from his third wife. He had met his intended, a professional golfer,
on a golf course.
In nearby Hollywood, actor Van Johnson became the father of a
new daughter. The mother was the former wife of actor Keenan Wynn,
by whom she had two children. The couple were married a year
On the editorial page, "Back to Normalcy and Isolation"
finds the alternatives to the President's anti-inflation program and
the Marshall Plan being set forth by Senator Taft to be in
fulfillment of his wish for a return to normalcy and isolation. The
inflation control measure which had become law during the
November-December special session was, as the President had
described it in reluctantly appending his signature, "pitifully
inadequate". The alternative proposed for ERP was equally bad.
It was likely to cut the expenditures on aid to the 16
nations, attach unacceptable conditions to the aid, and take
administration of the Plan from the State Department and vest it
with a bipartisan committee, so that the Republicans could obtain
credit for whatever success it enjoyed.
But after these revisions, the Plan would be less likely to
succeed. The Truman Administration, working through Senator Arthur
Vandenberg, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, would seek
to preserve the Plan intact, as proposed by the President. And
several GOP progressives had given signs of intent during the
special session to bolt from the Taft leadership.
It concludes that the world was out of step with Senator Taft
and, "by cracky, it is just too bad for the world."
You don't want to miss it. It will be the biggest event since
the Coolidge inaugural.
"The Drama of Mecklenburg" tells of the effort of Charlotte
booster Clarence Kuester to establish an outdoor drama
depicting the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence
on May 20, 1775.
Playwright Paul Green had expressed an interest in authoring
such a work and research had been performed by Charlotte
writer-historian Legette Blythe and Charlotte composer Lamar
The piece thinks the effort worthwhile and that the resulting
drama would draw many visitors to the city, as had prior such
historical presentations in 1925 and 1930. In the latter year,
President Hoover had attended a celebration held at nearby Kings
Mountain, site of the crucial Revolutionary War battle, and had told
Mr. Kuester that the area was so rich in history, it ought to be
tapped. He was taking the advice.
Get one of those for the Martian landings.
"More Inflation as a 'Cure'" tells of Senator Elmer
Thomas of Oklahoma advocating more inflation finally to stabilize
prices. He believed that the citizens in his state would rather
suffer anything before returning to rationing and price control.
It was unlikely, offers the piece, that the Senator had consulted with anyone
save those in business ecstatic about higher prices. The increasing
malnutrition among children was likely not on his radar scope.
His statement betrayed the notion that behind the opposition
to control was the desire for a prolonged boom.
While inflation could not be stopped until production
restored the balance between supply and demand or deflation cut the
money supply, price controls would at least spread the burden over
the whole population and prevent wrecking of the economy during the
period of readjustment.
But inflation had passed beyond all remedy when such
politicians as Senator Thomas recommended more inflation as the
A brief piece from the Christian Science Monitor,
titled "The Red and the Black", finds the bishop in charge
of Methodist work in twelve European countries reporting that the
most resistance to the work came in Franco's Spain, where
Protestantism was not allowed religious freedom. In the Soviet
Union, Methodist work was being effected without interference.
Sumner Welles, former Undersecretary of State until August,
1943, tells of internal events in Italy justifying optimism, with
the new Republican Constitution having been adopted and a more
representative Government being the result. The de Gasperi Cabinet
was much stronger than that of Robert Schuman in France. The
Government's popular appeal had led to the failure of the
The chief cause for the confidence was that the Cabinet was
getting things done. The financial and economic program was
succeeding and inflation was coming under control, with prices going
down on basic necessities. Employment was slowly increasing.
With 750,000 tons of coal per month coming from the U.S. and
200,000 more from the Ruhr and 60,000 from Poland, Italian industry
could function satisfactorily. The interim aid from America would
tide the people over through March, and promised wheat from
Argentina would extend their sustenance to June.
But if Greece were brought under Soviet control, then Italy
would be the next target. The unsettled status of internationalized
Trieste invited a major incident between Italy and Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia was already busy provoking minor incidents in the
Adriatic, as its recent unjustified seizure of 25 Italian fishing
The Communist Party in Italy had the largest treasury of any
of the many political parties in the country and it was prepared to
try to decrease the turnout of supporters of the democratic parties
in the elections in the spring by provoking riots on election day
and engaging in other nefarious activities. Yet popular sentiment
ran so high against the Communists in Italy that, short of an armed
revolt orchestrated by the Soviets, any attempted coup d'etat
Mr. Welles suggests that Winston Churchill had done the world
a salutary service the previous year by suggesting that Soviet
rulers understood only force. Many American leaders were making a
mistake in assuming that loans and relief alone could maintain
While ERP was indispensable to saving European freedom, it
was also necessary that Congress declare that American force would
be used, if necessary, to enforce the provisions of the U.N.
Charter, to guarantee the freedom of countries such as Italy, whose
freedom was essential to American security.
Drew Pearson, in Trieste, suggests that if war were to come
in 1948, it would erupt in either Greece or Trieste. There were
5,000 U.S. troops present in the internationalized port city,
separated by a thin line from the Yugoslav forces of Tito. The situation in Trieste
was more dangerous than that in Greece because of the presence of 100,000
well-equipped Yugoslav fighters.
Many diplomats expected the Soviets to seek to establish
Communism in Northern Italy, where many of the municipal councils
were already Communist-dominated, and that the Tito troops would be
sent there by the following spring to support such a move.
American intelligence had prepared a report showing that the
Yugoslav troops opposite Trieste were chosen for offensive
capability, not mere guard duty, and were equipped with the latest
Soviet arms. Mr. Pearson had a copy of the report and quotes from
While the American troops were well-trained and
well-equipped, they nevertheless were only 5,000 men against 100,000
He next provides a dinner exchange between the wife of
Senator Styles Bridges and Foreign Minister Georges Bidault of
France during the Senator's recent visit in France. When Mrs.
Bridges asked why it was that the French people did not know how
much food was coming from the U.S., M. Bidault replied in French
that it was because the Ambassador, Jefferson Caffery, also at the
dinner, did not come down to meet every ship. Mrs. Caffery
translated M. Bidault's reply, to which Mrs. Bridges rejoined that
if the Ambassador met every ship, there would be little else for him
Mr. Pearson notes that Ambassador Caffery met the "Friend
Ship" carrying food donated by American citizens and held a
reception for French officials.
He next provides three excerpts from the French press in
praise of the Friendship Train, delivering to the French 4,000 tons
of food, as a contribution directly from the American people.
Samuel Grafton tells of New Yorkers during the 25-inch
snowfall the previous week having forgotten their troubles and all
thoughts of political differences, lending to their fellow New
Yorkers a helping hand when needed. There was a minor bread delivery
"crisis" which caused everyone to join together in common
He had been in the blizzards of the previous year in England
and France and found the reaction in those countries a little
different, as there were no hot baths afterward and no meat with
meals. Ordering bread had meant omitting soup or dessert. Thousands
of head of livestock had perished in the snows and people had been
marooned for four or five days at a time, villages cut off for a
When Americans sat in a warm room and spoke against the
Marshall Plan, he thought, perhaps they had not experienced enough
cold and snow, enough reality. Good, decent people were being led
against the Plan for various doctrinal reasons, both from the right
and the left. The result, regardless of reasons, was inhumane. Thus,
the human situation, snow in the face, would provide a quick check
on the inhuman thought path.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop, writing under a common byline for
the first time since August, discuss the Greek situation and the
declaration of a "free state" in Northern Greece by
General Markos Vafiades (appearing under a variant spelling as
"Vifiades"), receiving support from Soviet satellites,
with Albania being the primary source of military aid. His
propaganda came from a loudspeaker mounted on a movable railway car
just across the border in Yugoslavia.
When the Soviet Union would, as expected, provide official
recognition of the Vafiades Government, it would challenge the West
to further action. One course being considered was the establishment
of an Anglo-American base in the Mediterranean. More aid could be
provided the Greek Government at Athens, with additional emphasis on
the military. It was argued that if the Greek Army were enlarged
from 150,000 to its wartime strength of 400,000 and equipped with
American arms, then it could withstand anything short of a direct
Soviet-sponsored assault. But such a force would also place pressure
on the economy of Greece and drain necessary manpower from the
recovery effort, delaying economic stability.
A second alternative was to send American troops to Greece,
with some in the State Department and Defense Department favoring
the approach. Even 4,000 men would help to stiffen the Greek forces.
But there was also argument being posed against it on the ground
that such a small contingent would be unable to resist the
guerrillas any more than the 150,000 Greeks had been able to do. The
only effective means of defense would be to seal the Greek borders,
requiring several divisions of troops. That, the critics contended,
would play into the Politburo's strategy of dispersing American
troop strength, leaving the Soviets free to change their emphasis
and move into Italy or Austria, Turkey or Iran.
So, the third alternative, the contemplation of a base in the
Mediterranean, was being considered the best option, to convince the
Soviets that the Greek move was unproductive. Such a base might be
established in the Bengaul region of Africa, held by the British.