The Charlotte News

Monday, January 27, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Georgia Senate had confirmed 18 of Herman Talmadge's appointees to State offices, his greatest victory yet in seeking to retain his position to which he had been elected by the Legislature to succeed his deceased father who had died prior to taking office as Governor.

Some 400 Aroused Citizens of Georgia held a meeting near the Capitol against Herman Talmadge's election—though we were informed by Saturday's report that this group was seeking to protect Mr. Talmadge's victory, perhaps having changed its mind, or at least a letter, over the weekend. Or maybe they were otherwise Aroused.

One woman was forcibly ejected from the meeting after shouting praise for Mr. Talmadge. She had appeared at a meeting on behalf of Mr. Talmadge the previous week, also aroused at that time, too. She said at this meeting, "I'm an aroused citizen of Georgia."

Everybody was aroused.

In Jerusalem, two Britons, a banker and a judge, had been kidnaped, apparently by the Irgun organization, resulting in 90,000 Jews in Palestine being placed under house arrest, as a strict curfew was imposed as soon as the kidnaping was announced. British military forces postponed the scheduled hanging of a Jewish underground terrorist, the object of the kidnaping, so that an appeal could be taken to the Privy Council, the highest court of Britain.

Two people were kidnaped and 90,000 were kept in their homes. How would you feel if you had been among the 90,000?

The Justice Department sought review in the Supreme Court of the decision by the Federal court in Chicago which had ruled that the Lea Act, as applied to James Caesar Petrillo and his American Federation of Musicians, was unconstitutional for being too vague, among other infringements. The Act had sought to make it illegal to coerce a business to hire more people than necessary to perform a particular function, the court having found vague the term "necessary".

Republican chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, proposed at least a ten percent decrease in the President's proposed 37.5 billion dollar annual budget, hearings on which were about to begin.

Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee challenged his old nemesis David Lilienthal, appointed chairman of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, the appointments being reviewed for confirmation by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Mr. McKellar thought that Mr. Lilienthal knew nothing about atomic energy and so should not so serve. Mr. Lilienthal said that he had done his damnedest to stay out of the service, but had been drafted.

Mr. McKellar previously had called Mr. Lilienthal "the head Communist" of Tennessee.

Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, former chair of the Atomic Energy Committee, stated that he suspected that the Russians were developing an atomic fission plant in the Ural Mountains, under the pretext of having sent a foremost nuclear physicist in Russia into Siberia as punishment for crime against the state. He advised immediately swapping atomic knowledge for atomic control to avoid nuclear destruction. He urged that there could be no method by which the atomic secret could be protected—just as Albert Einstein had insisted in his letter printed in The News the previous week. Thus, the Senator urged an immediate plan by which the secret would be shared with adequate atomic inspection to prevent its use for weapons.

But that would be no fun. We could not then endure all the recreation of the ensuing 42 years of the Cold War that the conservative Republicans and reactionary Southern Democrats wanted us to have. It gave everybody something to do and about which to converse politely in the streets.

If you cure all the problems of a society and the world, after all, what then would you do? If you get rid of all the criminals and the guns, what then? The courts would close. There would be no work for lawyers. If you eradicated disease, all the doctors and pharmaceutical companies and medical care facilities and insurance companies would be out of business. What next? Get a car that runs forever on sunshine and water, no more mechanics to work on the little plastic cars to cheat your pants off...

You've got to have Evil to thrive.

President Truman personally made the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan, according to a letter he had drafted to Dr. Karl Compton, president of MIT, as published in the February, 1947 issue of Atlantic Monthly. The President was responding to an article by Dr. Compton on the decision. He stated that the Japanese were provided adequate warning and chose to ignore it, a true statement.

Dr. Compton, who was on General MacArthur's staff in Manila as of June, 1945, supported the decision and believed that no other decision could have been made by a President acting under the extant circumstances. He also stated that until the bomb was dropped, the Japanese people, based on Government propaganda, were of the belief that they were winning the war.

In Copenhagen, a crash the previous day of a KLM DC-3 took the life of opera star and actress Grace Moore, native of Tennessee, Swedish Prince Gustaf Adolf, and 20 others aboard. Danish authorities then set a weight limit of 1,629 pounds less than that being carried by the fatal airliner.

Airplane crashes during the weekend took 54 lives across the world, in China, Copenhagen, and the crash reported Saturday in London. Five were killed in the United States in a crash of a private plane near Rensselaer, Ind., and two persons each in four other crashes across the country.

In Birmingham, Ala., the mother of Betty Jane Baker, wife of Mickey Rooney, stated that she and Mr. Rooney had agreed to live apart.

They were a fissile couple, living in the Atomic Age.

On the editorial page, "Money Keeps 'Em Healthy" examines the economics behind the state's Good Health Program, to cost an estimated 48 million dollars, of which the State would fund 32 million and the Federal Government the remaining third, to add 7,200 additional hospital beds. There were 33 of the 100 counties in the state without any hospital beds.

Eight of these counties were extremely poor, with an average per family expenditure on retail goods of $790 per year, half the state average. The average income was $1,600 per year. Thus, raising the money from these counties would be problematic. Each county was supposed to shoulder one-third of the operating costs of new hospitals.

In 24 other counties, even poorer, health centers were planned. The poorest of those, Clay County, had an average annual income of only $860.

Doctors tended to go to the urban centers to earn better money.

Only seven North Carolina counties, each with an urban center, exceeded the national average income of $3,613. Mecklenburg was the wealthiest county in the state, with an average income of $5,242.

Health care in the state, it concludes, was deficient because the people were relatively impoverished.

"A Candidate in Sight" tells of progressive textile businessman John Clark of Greensboro contemplating entering the Governor's race for 1948. He was the son of liberal Judge Walter Clark.

The piece hopes that he would throw his hat in the ring.

"The Highest Atomic Statesmanship" tells of the Senate reviewing the recess appointments by the President to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Some were upset that the President had not first consulted Congress before the appointments were made.

Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee objected to his old nemesis from TVA, David Lilienthal, being named chairman of the commission. It meant that Senator McKellar, notorious for his desire for patronage, could not control the atomic bomb for that purpose, as he knew Mr. Lilienthal would no more permit it than he had with TVA. His was simply a bitter atavistic voice of back country politics crying inauspiciously in the Atomic Age.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, "Journalism of the Closed Mind?" comments on the editor of Harper's, Frederick Lewis Allen, deploring the "trend toward journalism of the closed mind", with regard to control by big business of industry in the country, gained during the war. There was a tendency to paint big business either as fascist predators or beneficent saviors of the American economy.

The piece urges Mr. Allen to cheer up, however, that an open-minded middle ground protected by free speech existed, one which would consider both sides of the issue independently. That was yclept "Harry Z", who hoped to be a liberal, compared to Tom X on the left, who had perused the report of former Government economic analyst Robert Nathan for CIO, and Dick Y, also of the left, who had reviewed the report prepared by the National Association of Manufacturers. Harry had clapped eyes on both and believed the truth somewhere in between.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Glen Taylor having stopped the passage of a resolution which would have allowed one plant in Nebraska to distill syrup and alcohol in the same plant. The plant belonged to the former partner of Nebraska Senator Hugh Butler and other prominent Nebraska Republicans. Senator Butler was the author of the resolution and his old grain company had an exclusive contract with the alcohol company which the resolution sought to aid. That company had a war contract to supply alcohol to the Government. The contract had ended and the plant now was supplying alcohol to Seagrams Whiskey.

OPA was scrutinizing the wartime contract of the alcohol distiller because of the exclusive contract with Senator Butler's grain firm, as to whether the former had been entitled to a cost-plus wartime contract because of the exclusivity of the arrangement between the two concerns.

Senator Butler had told Mr. Pearson that he had no remaining interest in the grain company but retained the right to repurchase the stock and that one of the partners in the company was like an adopted son to him.

For years, the Government had banned distilling of syrup and alcohol in the same plant on the basis that the plant could then secretly convert the syrup grains to alcohol. The ban was suspended during the war to afford greater manufacture of grain alcohol for medical purposes. Senator Butler now wanted the suspension to last seven more months, but he appeared to have personal interests at stake in so doing.

The company was the only one in the nation seeking the special right. On cost-plus contracts, a company was not supposed to collect royalties on patents owned by the officers. But three officers of this alcohol producer were seeking to collect such royalties from the Government.

Marquis Childs tells of the trial of Henry Harris, one of the last of the accused in the Canadian plot to provide secret information to the Soviets. Mr. Harris was charged with being an internuncio between the principals.

In Russia, he posits, the defendants would have been summarily shot based on evidence presented by the report developed by the Royal Commission. In Canada, each had received a fair trial and six had been acquitted, one despite the Royal Commission having determined that he had communicated secret information to the Soviets. The commission report had shown that Soviet agents, operating under the cloak of diplomatic immunity in the Embassy, had worked incessantly to entice Canadians to spy.

One of those named by the commission, Sam Carr, had lived in the United States from 1940 to 1942, then returned to his native Canada in Ottawa, and escaped when the plot came to light. Since, he had been reported in Paris, Stockholm, and Moscow. Another Soviet agent was said to be in Los Angeles. Other agents also named in the report were elsewhere in the U.S.

He suggests that the network of agents operating in the country was greater than that in Canada and could only be uncovered through an agency such as the FBI.

HUAC was set to begin its hearings into Communist infiltration in Hollywood movies. He suggests that the effort might do more harm than good. Fellow travelers would likely only become martyrs for a cause and the end result would only be confusion. Such a witchhunt reduced the process to that of the Russians.

The distinction between the totalitarian, authoritarian regime in Russia and that of the United States would gradually cease to be discernible.

Some of the Canadians had entered the conspiracy out of a genuine belief in ideals, but were quickly reduced to the status of paid spies. Canada, in the face of such a threat, had preserved the true values of democracy by affording fair trials to the accused.

Harold Ickes discusses the "squatter sovereignty" extant in Georgia, with Herman Talmadge holding the reins of Government by force against the claims of Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson. He finds the U.S. Supreme Court's 4 to 3 ruling in Colegrove v. Green the previous June, as shirking of the Federal responsibility to assure that the citizens were afforded proper representation at the polls. That case had refused to disturb a decision out of Illinois based on facts similar to that of the Georgia county-unit voting system, upheld by the Federal Court of Appeals, regarding the matter as a strictly state political question, not within the purview of the Federal courts. The Supreme Court had then left the Court of Appeals decision on the Georgia matter undisturbed, refusing to grant certiorari.

The Democratic primary election during the summer, the de facto general election in the South of that time, had been won, on a popular vote basis, by James Carmichael, the candidate supported by outgoing Governor Ellis Arnall. Former Governor Eugene Talmadge had come in second and former Governor E. D. Rivers a distant third. But on the county-unit voting basis, weighting sparsely populated counties as roughly equal to more densely populated urban counties, Mr. Talmadge had won.

Herman Talmadge had received 687 write-in votes in the general election by prior arrangement, because of the concern regarding Eugene Talmadge's failing health. The Legislature had then elected Herman Talmadge to replace his father after the elder had died in December before being sworn in. Herman Talmadge had contended that the general election votes received by his father had been invalidated by his death and that, as runner-up, he was entitled under the law to be elected by the Legislature.

Mr. Thompson, however, was contesting the matter on the basis that, under the State Constitution, he succeeded the Governor in the event of his death.

The Georgia courts were set to hear the contest on February 7.

Mr. Ickes thinks that Al Capone—who, by the way, had managed to die on Saturday without anyone too much noticing—could not have written a better scenario than that constructed by Herman Talmadge and his band of "mobsters". He holds out little hope that the Georgia courts would resolve the matter justly.

He concludes by quoting the U.S. Constitution, that the Federal Government guarantees "to every State in this Union a republican Form of Government."

To be precise, the original document utilizes an upper-case "R" in "Republican", but we do not wish to give latter-day literalists any new ideas with which their forerunners may have tried to dim-wit them in the past.

The Georgia Supreme Court would ultimately rule that Lieutenant Governor Thompson was the lawful successor under the Georgia Constitution until an election could be held in 1948—at which time Herman Talmadge would be elected Governor.

Bertram Benedict tells of efforts in the Senate Rules and Administration Subcommittee to change the two-thirds rule on cloture of debate to a simple majority rule.

Debate had been unlimited until 30 years earlier when the Senate adopted the British House of Commons rule to terminate debate, thus providing a mechanism against unrestricted filibuster.

In Britain, the rule had come about under Prime Minister Gladstone in 1882, when the Irish Nationalists sought home rule through dilatory tactics in Commons.

Cloture had been applied since 1917 only four times in the Senate. It had failed on the anti-lynching bill of 1939 and on the anti-poll tax bill of 1942, not receiving even a simple majority in either case. The vote for cloture on the bill in 1946 to make the Fair Employment Practices Commission permanent failed to achieve a two-thirds majority vote, but did obtain a simple majority.

Zoe Kincaid Brockman of the Gastonia Gazette finds useless the literature she had received from the Oriental Rug Institute, for the fact that she already had her Oriental rug, inherited from her mother, albeit thin and worn. It had served in the bedroom, in the dining room, and in the living room.

Despite the invitation to join the expected volume of 75 million dollars in Oriental rug business, according to the Institute's literature, she would not succumb. And, she says, it hurt her more than it could ever harm the Oriental rug business.

And, as to the pair of comments of Senator Soaper, we suggest, first, a bit more comprehensive etching to flesh out the "easy go" part of the Bilbo equation, and, second, 'Baft-Tricker, awaiting a bit over five years to understand the fuller-brushed abstraction.


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