The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 7, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senate Republicans stated that they would oppose the President's plan for medical care if it included compulsory health insurance. The President, in his State of the Union message the previous day, had presumably referred to the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill of the previous Congress, which had been tabled in committee, when he called on the Congress to complete the work on it. That bill entailed compulsory health insurance.

The Republicans planned to introduce a bill to provide some Federal aid to states and local governments for voluntary health insurance. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, a Republican, suggested that a plan could be enacted which would prevent bankruptcy from medical bills but also stop short of socialized medicine.

Senator Morse also indicated support for the establishment of a Department of Welfare, as proposed by the President—eventually to become Health, Education, and Welfare, later split into its present incarnations, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The House Democrats selected former Majority Leader John W. McCormack of Massachusetts as the Minority Whip.

The only bill introduced in the House was one to lower the age at which Social Security benefits would begin, from 65 to 60.

In China, General George C. Marshall, the President's special envoy, was returning home, stated that he had found the reactionaries in the Nationalist Government to be partially responsible, along with provocative policies of the Chinese Communists, disrupting communications in the country and spreading propaganda to destabilize the Government, for the continuing strife. He believed that the new Constitution would afford the opportunity to form a democratic government but that it would depend on whether all groups were welcomed to its administration. He asserted that the one-party rule of the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-Shek was at an end. General Marshall favored assumption of power by the liberals in the Government and in the minority parties.

In London, it was reported that British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin had determined that the only way to resolve the crisis in the Holy Land was to partition Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. The Cabinet was expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the issue.

The worst cold wave of the winter was gripping Europe, stifling industrial output and causing problems with transportation. Canals were frozen in Venice, with a temperature of 12 degrees, the coldest spell since 1929. In Naples, Mt. Vesuvius was under a rare downy blanket of snow. Italy had suffered thirteen deaths the day before from the cold, and another eleven this date. In Berlin, the temperature was five degrees, as many huddled within war ruins. In Moscow, the temperature was 14. Britain was covered in the heaviest snow of the season, but was getting warmer.

A report by The London Daily Mail stated that a British war bride who had arrived in New York to try to find her husband of Birmingham, Ala., complained of being treated shabbily by immigration officials, told she could not travel in the country because of a prior divorce, and was provided but $2 per day on which to eat and another $2 for sleeping accommodations. Her hotel alone, she said, cost $80 per week.

The report stated that hundreds of British war brides were facing a similar plight, stranded in New York without enough money for decent accommodations, paid a small allowance by the Red Cross, and awaiting passage back home after being unable to find their husbands.

In Raleigh, as the annual legislative session began, State Senator Joe Blythe of Mecklenburg was to be nominated to be president pro tempore of the State Senate. It was likely he would run unopposed for the position.

Tom Watkins of The News reports of the beginning of the trial in Superior Court of R. S. Smith and George Ferguson as putative kingpins of the illegal lottery operations in Charlotte. Carl Vann, who had left the jurisdiction contending it to be for his own safety against reprisal for his testimony in the first trial in Recorder's Court, remained absent as the State's principal witness, but through his attorney asserted the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, refusing therefore to testify.

He claimed to be subject to prosecution in Police Court on the same charges, but the solicitor indicated that the charges had been dropped that morning. His attorney contended, appropriately, that the nolle prosequi did not alleviate the threat of future prosecution for admissions he would have to make in his testimony. More to the point, however, the prosecutor stated that Mr. Vann had testified in the lower court proceeding, of which the current matter represented the trial de novo appeal of right under North Carolina law.

Mr. Vann's attorney countered that his client had been promised at the first trial absolute immunity for his testimony—meaning both use immunity, that being a bar to use of the testimony in a subsequent prosecution, and prosecutorial immunity, that is using the testimony as a basis for prosecution—, and then was nevertheless indicted at Christmas. Some kind of Christmas present, thought his attorney.

Such immunity would not necessarily, however, prevent prosecution on the charges, premised on separate evidence not involving the testimony. Deservedly so, therefore, said the solicitor. But also dismissed.

In Chicago, a Northwest Airlines DC-4 caught fire as it landed at the Municipal Airport the previous night, lost its left landing gear as it landed, but nevertheless safely touched down on a snow-covered runway, and no one was injured. The plane had come from Minneapolis.

In Grand Gorge, N.Y., in the Catskills, a desperado, bearing the desperado name of Alphonse Rocco, was shot to death by police in a snowy hilltop hideaway, declaring that the coppers would never catch him alive. He had fled on New Year's Eve following the shooting of his former wife via a gun disguised as a camera wrapped in Christmas paper and handed to a woman under the guise that he was an insurance investigator assigned to keep an eye on a particular woman, the former wife. The woman to whom he handed the camera had pulled the trigger, thinking she was snapping a picture, hitting the former wife in the hip.

Mr. Rocco had fired four times at police before being fatally shot. One shot from a state trooper had "smashed his nose and the blood ran like revenge over the crusted snow."

Undoubtedly, this sort of thing was that to which the little British girl had made reference the previous year on February 4 and 7, when she said she was going to move to Chicago-New York, America, and, as informed by her American father that she could, shoot some tigers and rabbits, and attend school, unless the cowboys and Indians prevented it.

In any event, Mr. Rocco had obviously seen at some point Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent", Raoul Walsh's "High Sierra", and the 1939 Broadway play by Maxwell Anderson, "Key Largo", with his namesake, Johnny Rocco, in a key role, had perhaps become a little confused between thespian escapism and becoming the characters in reality, always an unwise thing to do.

You do not know these characters, no matter who they might pretend to be on the screen or stage or in print, no matter how suave or lovely, how magnanimous and charitable, how compassionately human in paradoxical juxtaposition to commission of evil deeds, how chic or hip they may be portrayed in carefully edited frames of existence. They may bite you, in the end. It is best to remain you, no matter how bad you may attest the perception of the experience to be from within. The characters may have had experiences and pain before the play or other presentation, of which you cannot even begin to imagine or dare not contemplate. Your pathetic little existence may be eminently more exciting than anything of which the characters ever dreamed. They likely envy you, thus may destroy you should you attempt to co-opt their identities, abstracted for popular exhibition and consumption so that we might learn something, not so that we might vicariously become them.

On the editorial page, "Funeral Oration for the New Deal" comments on the President's State of the Union address as being almost entirely negative, going along with the Republican plan of decontrol and turning the economy back over to free enterprise. He gave lip service to a national health care program, expanded Social Security, creation of a Department of Welfare, a fair minimum wage, and better housing. He indicated the rising problem in race relations and increscent violence exhibited from race prejudice in the country but did not again urge, as he had previously, that the Fair Employment Practices Commission be made permanent.

He offered no positive proposals of his own and did not defend the Wagner Act, rather conceded that revision of the labor law was needed. He only advised against vindictive laws aimed at a few problematic union leaders.

The Republicans would find, by and large, little with which to disagree in the President's statement of proposed policy.

"Built-In Schism on the Left" comments on the third party movement having gotten underway with a division in its ranks. The New York Progressives, led by Henry Wallace, were not making any effort to exclude Communists from their membership, while the Washington group, the Americans for Democratic Action, led by former OPA heads Chester Bowles and Leon Henderson, and former Housing Administrator and Expediter Wilson Wyatt, had done so, specifically disallowing membership to Communists or their sympathizers.

Domestically, the two groups were similar, but on foreign policy the Progressives wanted to destroy immediately all atomic bombs in the U.S. arsenal, while the ADA supported the U.S. position put before the U.N., destruction only after adequate safeguards for multilateral inspection had been implemented and proved workable.

For such liberal groups to be successful, they had to remain separate from any taint of Communism, as such members of Congress as John Rankin would readily seek to paint them with a Red brush merely for being liberal. If Communists were in the organization, it would only lend credence to such attempts.

The ADA had thus managed to present itself in solid contrast to the Progressives, suggesting a choice among liberals between groups supporting honest patriotism and those which did not exclude the subversive radical.

As previously indicated by Marquis Childs on December 31, the ADA included Eleanor Roosevelt, Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey, Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, and former Congressman Jerry Voorhis—who accounted for three, maybe four, of the four major political opponents of Richard Nixon in his rise to the presidency in 1969, excluding his runs for the vice-presidency against Governor Adlai Stevenson and Senator John Sparkman in 1952 and Governor Stevenson and Senator Estes Kefauver in 1956.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Note for a Menu", suggests that the Democratic plan to hold two national dinners, one on Jackson Day and the other on Jefferson Day, was one dinner too many, especially given that the Democratic Party had abandoned the Jeffersonian principle that the best government was the least government.

Whoever wrote that one had not read the news in the previous few months.

Drew Pearson speculates on who might replace Secretary of State Byrnes should he resign for health reasons—as he would on the evening of this date. General George C. Marshall, who would succeed him, was one candidate for the job. General Eisenhower and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal were the other two prime candidates. General Marshall had made it clear that he was not interested in the job, wanted to retire to Virginia. General Eisenhower also appeared not interested, had expressed a desire to retire after his tenure as chief of staff of the Army. Only Secretary Forrestal appeared to want the position. But he was the least qualified of the three.

President Truman hoped that Mr. Byrnes would remain as Secretary indefinitely. The two had become warm friends, despite some misunderstanding a year earlier when Mr. Byrnes came back from the first Foreign Ministers Council meeting and held a press conference without first consulting with the President.

He next tells of Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon having attempted to thwart the Republican kingmakers in the Senate, Senators Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, and new Majority Leader Wallace White, in placing on the Foreign Relations Committee Senators Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, Alexander Smith of New Jersey, and Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa. Mr. Morse objected to the Eastern orientation of the three appointments to the exclusion of the West, vowed to fight for appointment of West Coast Senators to the committee. Mr Morse made it clear that he believed Mr. Lodge to be well qualified for membership on the committee, but that he lacked the seniority, having voluntarily withdrawn his seniority rights from his earlier service in the Senate in the other Massachusetts seat before volunteering for the Army, in response to Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire having proposed during the Republican conference that retention of seniority rights under such circumstances be allowed.

It turned out that the deal for withdrawing his claim to seniority was that he receive the coveted spot on the Foreign Relations Committee, a Committee on which Mr. Lodge's grandfather had served, and in which capacity he had been instrumental in blocking U.S. membership in the League of Nations in 1921.

Mr. Pearson wonders how the younger Senator Lodge might affect history and future world cooperation.

Marquis Childs describes the scene in the Senate at the start of the 80th Congress as something out of central casting in Hollywood, as former cowboy singer Senator Glen Taylor, a Democrat, stood up to condemn as a racist Senator Theodore Bilbo, in support of the Republican effort to deny Mr. Bilbo his seat. Suggests Mr. Childs, Mr. Taylor could have been played by James Stewart or Gary Cooper.

Senator Taylor had beaten to the draw Michigan Senator Homer Ferguson, a fervent member of the War Investigating Committee which had issued the report condemning Mr. Bilbo as having personally profited from his high position of trust.

His eloquent and powerful speech setting forth the argument that Mr. Bilbo had denied the franchise to blacks in Mississippi in contravention of the Fourteeenth and Fifteenth Amendments resulted in Mr. Bilbo glowering at Mr. Taylor as few ever had at a fellow Senator.

Mr. Taylor had not been cautious from the beginning of his term in the Senate and this display of open acrimony was no exception. He was regarded as a maverick by his colleagues and sometimes in that role had shot himself in the foot. But on this occasion, he had distinguished himself and set an example which others in the Democratic Party ought follow. Two vibrant parties were necessary for a functioning democracy.

Samuel Grafton finds the proposal of Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, new chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, that taxes be cut twenty percent for everyone earning less than $300,000 to be without sound fiscal footing, forfeiting three billion dollars in revenue at a time when inflation was high, putting money in the hands of citizens already spending. The benefit of such a plan would be primarily to the wealthy. The average wage earner earning $50 per week retained only an additional $19 during a year in saved taxes. The person earning $50,000 retained over $4,800. Thus, it would not increase spending power in the lower brackets, but would only tend to perpetuate the wartime luxury market.

To accord with conservative principles, the tax revenue ought be used to reduce the national debt. The quarrel was therefore between conservatives as to whether such a tax cut would be a wise move. A balance-the-budget party was considering as its first major order of business cutting Government revenues by three billion dollars. If passed, the conservatives would lose face with the world by no longer adhering to their own fiscally conservative principles and instead acquiescing to the importuning of special interests.

A letter writer from Clover, S.C., acknowledges the part being played by wet South Carolina in the undermining of prohibition in Mecklenburg County and the concomitant stimulus to bootlegging.

He indicates that the dry forces in South Carolina were trying to get the Legislature to adopt local option. He believes that many counties would then vote to be dry, thus turning off the readily available liquor spigot to Mecklenburg.

A letter from the vice-president of the Southeastern Region of the National Association of Manufacturers finds persuasive the NAM argument, as reported the previous week, against the report of Robert Nathan prepared for the CIO which had expressed the contention that industry could afford up to 25 percent wage increases without raising prices, based on high profits. He says that it was not the case, and that raises in wages would inevitably have to trigger higher prices to sustain adequate profits to assure high production.

And we note a factum we found late yesterday by serendipity in our exegesis of the Epiphany, after completing our note and underlying links without ever knowing of this matter. In 1923, the first Rose Bowl played on New Year's Day in Pasadena, resulted in the Southern California Trojans beating the Penn State Nittany Lions by a score of 14 to 3. The only score by Penn State was a field goal accomplished by Mike Palm through the rarely used device of a drop kick. Penn State was led by running back "Light Horse" Harry Wilson. "Gloomy Gus" Henderson coached the Trojans.

Richard Nixon, growing up as a young football fan in Yorba Linda, California, was eight days short of his tenth birthday at the time.

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