Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that South Carolina
Democratic Representative L. Mendel Rivers yelled to Republicans on
the floor of the House: "I tell you, you are shooting at the
wrong bird. Harry Truman is a dead bird already." He referred to the
Republican passage of anti-lynching legislation by the House
Judiciary Committee, the verbal exception taken despite the
legislation having several times previously been approved by
Democratic Houses, only to falter in the face of Southern filibuster
in the Senate. He interpreted the action as an effort by Republicans
to harm the President politically, despite the President having
urged the legislation as part of his recently enunciated civil
rights legislation. The next step for the legislation was to go
before the Rules Committee before debate could begin on the House
Boss Ed Crump of Memphis said that the President, in his
"scheming, cold-blooded effort" to attract the black vote,
was attempting to "reduce the South to a country of crawling
cowards." He said that he would vote for a Democrat in November
but that it would not be Truman.
The South Carolina Democratic executive committee adopted a
resolution opposing the Truman nomination and election.
The Mississippi Democratic executive committee asked the
delegates to walk out of the convention unless the party reversed
its position on civil rights.
Governor Ben Laney of Arkansas recommended that Southern
Democrats repudiate the national party leadership.
In Nashville, Governor Jim McCord commuted the death sentence
of a prisoner, set to be executed on Thursday, to life imprisonment.
The commutation followed a plea by the prisoner's childhood
sweetheart, a Sunday school teacher, who traveled from Pittsburgh to
marry him in his cell if his sentence were not commuted. He and an
accomplice had been convicted for robbery and murder of a pawnbroker
in Memphis. The Governor said that he was convinced the accused did
not know that a robbery would take place. The other man was
implicated as the killer and his sentence of death was not
It was okay 'cause neither of 'em were black.
Near Jerusalem, British troops battled beside Jews against
Arab snipers dug in on the hillsides above the Jerusalem-Jaffa road.
The British vowed to use their weapons henceforth in impartial
manner against the side firing at the moment of any given outbreak
of violence. The British also said that they were prepared to use
weapons more powerful than those of either the Arabs or Jews to stem
the violence. A three-mile stretch of the road had been made
impassable by sniper fire for the previous several weeks.
The British Mandate Government charged the Jewish Agency with
condoning terrorism, apparently in response to the Sunday mine
explosions aboard three railway passenger cars in which 28 British
troops were killed, that stated by the Stern Gang as being
retaliatory for the Ben Yehuda Street bombing in Jerusalem which
killed 54 Jews a week earlier, attributed to the British, though
Arabs had taken credit for that bombing.
Mass demonstrations took place in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden
in protest of the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. Thousands of
student demonstrators in Oslo shouted, "Down with Communism."
HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas subpoenaed the Commerce
Department's loyalty board records associated with the head of the
Bureau of Standards, Dr. Edward Condon, on the basis of an
accusation by HUAC that he was the weakest link in atomic security,
that he had associated, knowingly or unknowingly, with Communists.
—Yeah, Bob, I know. But we have to have something to keep
the Committee in the headlines during the election year. Because the
people have got to know that their President is running a Communist
Government. I'm working right now on a matter involving a former
high level State Department guy who is a traitor. You'll hear about
—Yeah, it involves a pumpkin, a farm, microfilm, secret
agents, all kinds of intrigues. They may make a movie about this
one, Bob, once they hear it.
—Oh, right. It's the ticket to the top, Bob. Yeah.
In Livermore, California, a private plane crashed into a
home, demolishing the bedroom in which a family of three were
sleeping, remaining nevertheless harmless from the crash. The two persons aboard the
plane were killed when it bounced off the house, hit across the road
The South Carolina State Highway Commissioner told a
delegation from York County that the State did not yet have the
money to build a proposed four-lane highway from Rock Hill to the
new Celanese Corporation plant, three miles from town. But it might
by mid-summer if Federal funds for highway construction were
appropriated, in which case the highway could be started in 1949.
In Gastonia, N.C., in a probable cause hearing on a charge of
bigamy, the court heard the testimony of two witnesses who described
the defendant, a taxi driver, as living a double life, residing with
one woman in the daytime and another at night. He told the nighttime
wife that he had to work in the daytime and the daytime wife that he
had to work in the nighttime driving his cab. It was not explained
when he drove his taxi. He may have exculpatory meter records to
combat this malicious attack on his character. The judge bound the
defendant over for trial in Superior Court on the felony charge.
In Whiteville, N.C., the County adopted an ordinance
requiring that milk be labeled.
Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan dodged questions as to
whether he would accept the Republican nomination if drafted by the
convention. He also requested that his name not be placed on the
Nebraska primary ballot, as proposed.
The News straw poll found General Eisenhower still
leading the field with 136 votes to Thomas Dewey's 120. Henry
Wallace had fallen back to third place with 117. Senator Vandenberg
had 88 votes, Senator Taft, 87, Senator Harry Byrd, 69, Harold
Stassen, 57, and President Truman, falling back to eighth place,
When is that man going to give up? He's only getting 51 votes
in a city of over 100,000 population. He must be dumb.
On the editorial page, "Cold Or Hot, We Lose a War" finds the cold war drawing to a close and the possibility of a hot
war looming on the horizon, an inevitability in the minds of the
Congressman W. J. Bryan Dorn of South Carolina wanted to
create an alliance of Western Europe, China, Japan, and Germany to
stand against a Soviet offensive. But this plan would destroy the
concept of the U.N.
The competition with Russia had led the U.S. into the cold
war, in which one point after another had been lost, witness the
recent takeover of Czechoslovakia by the Communists and the
entreaties to Finland by Moscow. The Administration leaders appeared
to have overestimated U.S. strength and that of the allies while
underestimating that of Russia.
Mr. Dorn, with his emphasis on offense, was only seeking to
cover up the failures. He advocated alliance with nations still
recovering from the war, rife with their own internal problems. And
even if America could win a hot war against Russia, it did not
promise to solve anything on the world stage, would only serve to
destroy America's remaining allies in the Eastern bloc and cause
America to have to provide aid for yet another rebuilding effort.
The realists, it posits, should do some more thinking on such
"Housing Is the Big Issue" finds that in the recent
victory of American Labor Party candidate Leo Isacson in the Bronx
special Congressional election, housing had been the major issue.
Senator Robert Wagner of New York had sent out a
questionnaire to 500 local leaders around the country, and of the
257 respondents, all but 50 thought that private industry was
incapable of doing the job of building sufficient units to house the
country, especially low-income families. While a lot of new housing
had been built since the war, it remained far short of the needed
number of units per year, roughly supplying yearly 900,000 units
when 1.5 million per year were needed.
Congress needed to act on the Wagner-Ellender-Taft long-term
housing legislation which had languished for quite some time.
"'Donkey Without Head Or Tail'" uses the title
quote from Senator Taft to suggest that it was an accurate
description of the Democratic Party and that it was difficult to see
how the donkey could be put back together again. The Southern revolt
on the one side and the growing menace from the left on the other
appeared to foredoom the President's chances in November. The
Administration had chosen to concentrate on criticizing the Wallace
campaign, indicating its increasing concern in the wake of the Bronx
election. It was a way to dampen liberal defections and to use it as
a device to put the quietus also on the Southern revolt by creating
fear that Mr. Wallace might actually win the election.
It appeared plain that there would be a Southern defection at
the convention if it could not nominate either Senator Harry F. Byrd
or Senator Walter George and if it could not obtain a diluted civil
rights plank in the platform. But if the South were to get its way,
the liberals and labor would depart.
Senator Taft had predicted that Mr. Wallace would capture ten
percent of the Democratic vote and, suggests the editorial, if
things continued as they were going, that estimate would need be
Drew Pearson tells of President Truman, at the start of his
Presidency, having been content with finishing FDR's term and
returning to his old life as a Senator. Bess Truman felt the same
way. But the party leaders initially believed that the Democrats
could win with President Truman and so had encouraged him to run in
1948. But now, things were the reverse, with many party leaders, as
former DNC chairman Robert Hannegan and Bronx boss Ed Flynn,
convinced that he could not win and wanting him to bow out.
Southern Democrats had moved quietly behind the scenes to
suggest Senator Alben Barkley as the alternative candidate. Senator
Barkley would be nominated in July as the vice-presidential
He next discusses, as do the Alsops, the upcoming Italian
election of April 18 and the prospective attempt of the Communists
to take over Italy at that time. A secret Red battalion of about
250,000 men had moved into Northern Italy and the Red Army was
mobilized along the Yugoslav border, as it had been on the Czech
border before the takeover there. The Russians were funneling money
into Italy as never before, to undo the beneficial results of the
Friendship Train. Meanwhile, the U.S. Information Service remained
without adequate funding from the slashing of its budget in half by
Congress the previous year. Italian leaders in American labor who
could help the effort in Italy were not being asked to do so by the
The report of the Congressional Aviation Committee had almost
leaked atomic secrets in its publication of a detailed plan for
placing nuclear warheads on V-2 rockets. The reports were quickly
withdrawn after complaint by the Atomic Energy Commission, but three
copies had not been located. No newspaper printed the secrets.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest that the Communist
takeover in Czechoslovakia and that which was incipient in Finland
could also take place in Italy in the ensuing months. They posit
that if Italy were to become dominated by Communists, then it would
upset the East-West balance in a way that the other two nations did
not. The Italian election was scheduled for April 19—so either the
18th or 19th, depending on whether they or Drew Pearson proved
correct. The Communist-run people's bloc was likely to poll well.
The Communists had, since the previous fall, assumed the mantle of
true democrats and Moscow had been aiding the Italian Communists in
The West had little available to use to woo the Italians. The
Soviets could renounce a portion of their substantial reparations
due from Italy per the treaty. It was believed that the Communists
could do well enough to prevent the formation of a non-Communist
government, enabling the Socialists to achieve power and, through
them, the Communists. It would cause the Western position in the
Near and Middle East to be outflanked and the balance of power in
Europe significantly altered. At that point, the world would be
close to war.
Samuel Grafton tells of the Communists in Europe tiring of
being cast as being under the domination of Moscow and so had begun
to propagandize against the Western European countries in a similar vein
the U.S. The more the U.S. talked of need to check Soviet
expansion, the more such talk by the Eastern bloc nations
accumulated to counter it.
He suggests that had relations been reasonably friendly
between the U.S. and Russia, it would have been more difficult for
the Communists to take over Czechoslovakia and would have, at very
least, taken longer. The U.S. was not to blame for the fact of the
takeover but there had been no successes thus far in the containment
Meanwhile, the U.S. was backing an authoritarian regime in
Greece, which had imposed the death penalty for labor strikes, not
to mention its recently enunciated policy that no prisoners would
any longer be taken among the guerrillas, that they would be
executed on the spot. Barging into a thirty-year old civil war in
China on the side of the Nationalists would not endear the local
populations in China to America.
So the negative propaganda was accumulating faster than any
positive effect on containment. He suggests that the way out of the
dilemma was to propose peace plans and demand peace pledges while
withdrawing from competitive arms shipments abroad, instead
demanding mutual evacuations of military personnel. That process
needed to be begun at once.
A letter writer responds to a letter of February 19
disfavoring Universal Military Training. The author, a veteran,
urges reading of the report of the President's Advisory Committee on
the subject, recommending UMT as a necessity for preparedness and as
a deterrent to war. He says that UMT would not be a harsh program
which would lead the country into a military state, as the previous
writer had suggested.