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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 02, 1948, Image 11

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Shooting in'Cold War'
Could Begin at Once
On Ambiguous Order
Soviet Drive to Make Life
Miserable for Americans
In Berlin Long Expected
By David Lawrence
A shooting phase of the “cold
war” between the United States and
Russia can come at almost any mo
ment should some commander in
the European area find himself up
against an ambiguous order from
his headquarters in either Washing
ton or Moscow. *
For the drive by the Soviets to
make life miserable for the Allies
in Berlin and thus cause them vol
untarily to withdraw has begun in
earnest. It has for a long time
been anticipated that, as the French,
British and American sones were
combined, the Russians would re
gard Berlin as wholly within their
sector and would do everything pos
sible to bring about the removal of
the 25,000 Allied troops garrisoned
in Berlin.
Communication between the Rus
sian commanders and their own
government has often been subject
to delays and complicated instruc
tions. The Allied commanders, on
the other hand, have explicit in
structions not to move out of Berlin.
Not to Be Bluffed.
The meaning of this plainly is
that Britain, France and the United
States are not \o be bluffed. If
Russia commits an overt act, she
will have to take full responsibility
for the consequences.
The Russian technique is to go
as far as possible to force with
drawal but probably short of any
actual shooting. The danger is that
some misunderstanding may occur
and shooting may commence any
way. This would not necessarily
mean war, for there would always
be the opportunity for either side
to say it was a mistake and for
the issue to be resolved peacefully.
It may be that the Russians are
testing again. When they con
nived with Marshal Tito in Yugo
slavia to fire on American Army
planes, a show of firmness caused
an abrupt ending of that phase of
aggressiveness. It may be that the
Soviet authorities are anxious to And
out how ready the Allies are to
bring an Immediate showdown. They
will soon get that answer, as it is
believed here that the western Allies
will insist on keeping their forces
in Berlin, and if hostilities occur
the onus will be placed on the
Moscow regime.
If Russia wants war, the Berlin
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This Changing World
Russian Move in Berlin Seen Aimed
To Make U. S. Lose Face in Europe
By Constantine Brown
The Joint chiefs of staff were over
ruled Wednesday by the White
House when they urged that Amer
ican trains continue running to
Berlin without
submission to
Russian inspec
tion, putting the
responsibility
for s t o p p ing
them on the
Russians.
Instead, Am
bassador Walter
Bedell Smith
was instructed
by the State De
partment to
take the matter
up with Moscow
In an effort to
straighten it out ConeUntlne Brown,
by diplomatic means.
The Army heads consider that
the Russian move was intended to
make us lose face in Europe and
pointed out that our submission to
the Russian order would offset all
the political advantages of our
diplomatic move in Trieste.
The Western Allies’ hold on Ber
lin and Vienna has been precarious
ever since we were placed at the
mercy of the Russians in maintain
ing communications between the
two capitals and the outside world.
High Washington officials had ex
pected for some time a Soviet move
to limit—and eventually forbid—
transit through their controlled
zone. But there was nothing much
We could do about It.
,
situation is one that could furnish
the basis for an outbreak, but, seri
ous as the steps have been in the
last few days, there is a disposition
here to believe that the Russians
will abandon their coercive tactics
suddenly.
Food Planes Offer Test.
. The fact that American planes
are flying food to Berlin offers a
test. If any firing on those planes
occurs, it may be that retaliatory
steps will be Inevitable. The Ameri
can concept of how wars begin is
to take a defensive attitude and
recognize a state of war only if
another country does the attacking.
The American and British and
French governments feel they have
a right to occupy a portion of Ber
lin and, if there is any violation of
that right, it will be resisted to
the utmost.
The prevailing belief here Is that
the Russians are bluffing and that
the incident will blow over. The
real fear is that, if shooting com
mences, it may be difficult to re
strain the passions that could de
velop In both countries.
The American Air Force would be
the first to go into action if Ameri
cans are attacked. It may be as
sumed that an adequate quantity
of bombs of all kinds have been
located at strategic points for in
stant use. If a crisis does occur,
however, America Is much more
likely to demand a cessation of the
attacks under penalty of reprisal
than to pursue hostilities. Once such
a firm communication Is sent, the
Russians would know whether the
United States and the Western
powers mean business.
The strategy of the Russians may
be to provoke an incident with a
view toward discouraging the peo
ples of the Western democracies
and cause them to withdraw their
garrisons. The Russians believe
America, France and Britain are
war weary and will withdraw
rather than fight. Misinformation
Is constantly sent to Moscow by
its representatives abroad, who tell
their government mostly what It
wants to hear. Hence an incident
involving hostilities and an ulti
matum may finally have to develop
before the misinformation the Rus
sians are given is thoroughly dis
pelled.
(Reproduction Rights Renerved )
After the failure of the London
Conference last fall the Soviet au
thorities boasted that they would
make the American, British and
French occupations in the former
German and Austrian capitals the
laughing stock of the world.
Reports reached us that Moscow
did not intend to remove the West
ern Allies by force, but aimed to
let the handful of western soldiers
and civilians “die on the vine” by
interrupting transit by means of
drastic controls,
If because of helplessness we sub
mitted to such a flagrant breach of
the Potsdam Agreement, the Rus
sians intended to issue an order
freezing all communications—even
by air—between Berlin and the
western zones and forbidding the use
of the Russian-controlled road be
tween the American airport in Aus
tria and Vienna itself.
These reports, emanating from
sources close to the Soviet head
quarters, said the Russian high
command would not use force to
compel the Western Allies to leave
the two capitals. On the contrary,
they would offer allied personnel
food and other supplies on the same
scale as given to Russian soldiers, in
exchange, of course, for payment in
hard currency. Thus, American,
British and French troops would
become the wards of the Soviet, de
pending on the Russian commis
sariat for their needs.
The Soviet high command felt
that by leaving the Allied occupation
forces “in the air” allied prestige in
Europe would suffer. We would
either have to accept the humili
ating situation of being spoonfed
by the Russians or—the Russians
considered more likely—we would
pack up and get out of Berlin and
Vienna.
Although the western govern
ments, which still pretend that
there has been no definite break
between the four occupation forces,
were forewarned of what was in
store for them, there was nothing
practical they could do about it.
Some food and gasoline have been
stockpiled, but because of the lack
of adequate warehouses available
quantities are so small that it will
not be possible to draw on them
for more than a few weeks.
Order Known Over Europe.
It is impossible to defy with force
the Soviet order on inspection of
railway and motor vehicles passing
through the Soviet occupation zone.
The Western Allies have a handful
of constabulary and token occupa
tion forces in Berlin, while the
Soviet has a regular army sufficient
to overrun the whole of Germany
west of Berlin. Furthermore, they
have shown unmistakable evidence
that they intend to use that force
if the westerners refuse to comply
with their orders.
The order for inspection of all
land traffic, which is expected to be
followed by a more drastic measure
forbidding the use of other means
of communication, is being widely
broadcast throughout Germany and
Austria.
The Soviet and satellite propa
ganda agencies are using it lavishly
in their hourly broadcasts to Italy
to prove that neither America nor
Britain nor France has the power
to oppose any Russian edicts. Dip
lomatic notes, emanating from
Washington, London and Paris are
the only weapons of the western
bloc. Hence, these propagandists
say, the Italian people should watch
their step in casting their votes at
the forthcoming election.
In short, the order of the Soviet
military authorities in Berlin has
as its main aim not only to make us
lose face and Influence with the
Germans and Austrians, but also to
intimidate the Italian voters, who,
since the diplomatic coup in Trieste,
have shown unmistakahle signs
that they intend to reject a Com
munist domination of their country.
| LOUIE
—By Harry Hanan
Hard to Sell Ideas
Truman’s Political Fortunes Becoming
Increasingly a Personal Matter
By Doris Fleeson
It Is a little difficult to <611 who
is having the most trouble with
President Truman—those charged
with keeping him in the presidential
race or those
determined to
get him out.
The President
is in a fractious
temper. He is
hard to ap
proach. He is
harder to sell
any ideas about
the political sit
uation.
His political
fortunes are be
coming increas
ingly a personal
matter with him
to a degree »®ri* Fle*,on
which begins to alarm the would
be compromisers within the party.
But at the White House those who
are not with the President are
against him and with those who
are against him he does not care
to associate.
When the storm clouds broke last
week various party leaders signified
their willingness to be helpful. They
spoke soothingly to the National
Committee and expressed loyalty
to the President. Several indicated
they would be willing to make pub
lic statements or visit the White
House as a way of calling atten
tion to their position.
Rejected Whole Idea.
The President rejected the whole
idea. The National Committee,
whose mail reflects excitement and
confusion in the party, dropped the
matter and is trying to think of
some other way to answer their in
quiring correspondents.
Last week, Mr. Truman put his
fellow-Missourians on notice how
he feels. For nine years he had
joined happily, as Senator and
President, with the State Con
gressional delegation at an annual
dinner given by Claude M. Hou
chtns, a before-Truman Missourian
who has been a tax lawyer here
since the income tax was adopted
in 1914.
Monday night the delegation
gathered as usual to dine but no
Trumans. They naturally asked
questions and now report that Mrs.
Truman telephoned the family ex
cuses which were: The President
feels that political differences be
tween him and certain members
of the delegation have developed to
the point where it is a personal
matter, so that he could not con
sent to dine with them.
I
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It Is not very difficult for the
Missourians to pick out the cul
prits. Senator Kem has pressed
his resolution to investigate the
Kansas City vote frauds with ex
tremely pointed vehemence and has
secured a commitment from the
Senate Expenditures Committee to
proceed with it. Representative
Bell from the President’s own Kan
sas City has chosen to retire from
the House this year, which weakens
the Democratic ticket and is under
stood to be viewed at the White
House as a kind of "no confidence”
gesture.
Welcome Allen’s Return.
Representative Bell is one of four
Democrats in the Congressional
delegation; the rest are Republi
cans. The administration lost
ground in Missouri in 1946 and re
portedly is in a bad way there still.
It is a point on which the Presi
dent naturally might feel sensitive.
Veteran politicoes are watching
the White House apprehensively as
these and other straws in the wind
appear. They are hoping that the
President will not don the hair shirt
which Herbert Hoover wore with
such disastrous effects when the
going got tough for him. They
are inclined to welcome the return
to the White House this week of
jolly George Allen, the Presidential
intimate who has been off money
making since he quit the RFC.
Like the rest of the kitchen cabi
net, Mr. Allen has never carried a
precinct but unlike them he has a
wide acquaintance in national poli
tics and a cheerful gregariousness
which opens aU doors to him. Of
the Truman circle he is the logical
choice for political liaison.
McLemore—
Out to Tap Sap
On Truck Junket
By Henry McLemore
I hate to do this to Dr. Gallup.
The doctor has worked tip a sweet
business by the use of post cards
and field workers. He taps the
American mind
of its sap and,
packaging it
neatly, sells it
right back to
the people he got
it from.
Tomorrow
morning, the
Lord willing, I
am leaving New
York City for
California. I am
not flying. I am
not Superchief
ing. I am not
Greyhound bus
ing. Neither am Henry McLemore.
I bicycling, motorcycling nor sharing
expenses with a man who owns an
expensive convertible.
I am going out by truck. With
me will be Bogart Rogers, a dear
friend. We decided to cross the
country in a Spartan manner. The
truck has no springs. It has only
oqe seat and that for the driver,
but discomfort is of no importance
between New York City and Los
Angeles. We intend to talk to any
one who will talk to us. We intend
to out-gallop Gallup by at least ten
lengths pulled-up breezing.
Some of the Questions.
Here are some of the questions
we intend to ask the Americans we
contact on this transcontinental
junket:
1. What good is an atom bomb
if you’re never going to drop it?
2. Why do towns so small that
neither Mr. Rand nor Mr. McNally
has ever put them on a map insist
on having as many traffic stop
lights as Cleveland, Boston, Phila
delphia and Seattle?
3. Are country girls prettier than
city girls; and, if so, why?
4. Why do all policemen act as
if they thought all civilians were
crooks? We intend to find out why
citizens who pay policemen’s salaries
cringe at the sight of anything in a
blue suit.
5. Why should anybody vote for
Henry Wallace with the possible ex
ception of his immediate family?
6. What are Tom Dewey’s chances
of carrying Memphis?
7. How many Taft-for-President
Clubs are there in Crab Orchard,
Term.?
8. What is the life expectancy of
Siamese cats?
9. Is it true what they say about
Dixie roads? Do they really buy
old detours from New Jersey and
Pennsylvania and use them as main |
arterial highways?
10. What cement company is re
sponsible for the ingredients used
in roadside pancakes?
11. Is there a diner in America
where a man can have a cup of
coffee and a doughnut without hear
ing Perry Como perry como or what
ever Perry Como does?
12. What is Dr. Gallup’s middle
name? How much did he make
last year? Does he go for cold
showers? Who does he think will
win the National League pennant?
What does he think our chances
are of crossing the country in a
truck without getting a flat tire?
How much mileage does he think
we will get? Has he ever spoken a
harsh word to Mrs. Gallup? Who is
Dr. Gallup going to vote for for
President?
Tomorrow is the big day! As
dawn’s rosy fingers come creeping
over the Morris Plan Bank Bull<ung.
Bo Smart, Ba Thrifty with . .
L Willard Hotel District 3371
Prompt Datiaary
we will be off—ready for anything,
prepared for nothing. My next dis
patch will be filed from somewhere
between the Holland Tunnel and the
first motel whose owner doesn’t
know a counterfeit flve-dollar bill
when he sees It.
(Distributed by McNausht Syndicate, Inc.)
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