The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 8, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State James Byrnes had tendered his resignation, and the President had immediately appointed General George C. Marshall as his successor. The Foreign Relations Committee initially gave its unanimous approval to General Marshall's appointment, and the full Senate then followed suit, all within 55 minutes of the announcement of the resignation and appointment.

White House press secretary Charles G. Ross stated that the change had been in the works for months. Secretary Byrnes resigned because of a heart problem, tendering his resignation the previous evening after rumor of it had leaked to the press.

General approval of the appointment of General Marshall came from world capitals, including the Russian-controlled press of Berlin. Some German political leaders of the Social Democratic Party expressed concern at the resignation of Mr. Byrnes, whose tough stand on Russia expressed in his September 6 Stuttgart speech had been well received. Most newspapers across Europe gave praise to the outgoing Secretary.

General Marshall would become most remembered for being the architect of the successful Marshall Plan for rebuilding post-war Europe, a program which stressed increased economic aid to the depressed areas and stimulation of new manufacturing and world trade. While the policy directed an eye toward precluding the necessity of economic assistance by the Soviets, a concern since before the end of the war for its attraction to the Soviet sphere of influence, therefore pleasing to the anti-Soviet bloc in Congress, the primary consideration was one of generally forestalling internal, nationalistic revolts bred from depressed conditions, which might result in a return to fascism as in the Twenties and lead to war. Global thinking economically was premised on the realization of this historical antecedent leading inexorably to World War II. Simply put, hunger breeds revolt and consequent dictatorships, and, within the context of Central Europe historically, likely to world war.

Secretary Byrnes would go on to become Governor of South Carolina between 1951 and 1955, succeeding Strom Thurmond, limited to one term at the time. Mr. Byrnes would live until 1972, passing largely into historical obscurity despite his prominent role during the war as "assistant president" in his successive positions as director of the Office of Economic Stabilization from 1942-43, and the Office of War Mobilization from 1943-45, before resigning shortly prior to the death of President Roosevelt, at the time said to be upset that he had first not been tapped for the vice-presidential nomination in the summer of 1944, FDR having left the selection up to the party hierarchy, and then having been skipped over for appointment as Secretary of State in November, 1944, at the resignation of Cordell Hull, in favor of Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius. President Truman then had turned to Mr. Byrnes for advice in the early days of his presidency, as Mr. Byrnes had been privy to the highest counsel with President Roosevelt on both domestic and foreign affairs, and thereafter tapped him for Secretary of State in late June, 1945, right after the U.N. Charter was formed at the San Francisco Conference. Mr. Byrnes had served for one term on the Supreme Court before resigning at the behest of President Roosevelt at the outset of the war.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee formally received the appointment of Undersecretary of the Treasury O. Max Gardner to become the new Ambassador to Great Britain. His brother-in-law, Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, predicted quick and unanimous approval in the committee.

As indicated, the former North Carolina Governor would die within less than one month hence, before going abroad to assume the post.

The President sent a written economic message to Congress urging no change in taxes, extension of rent controls, increase of Social Security benefits, an increase in minimum wages, extension of the wage-hours act to additional groups not covered, initiation of a long-range housing program, and passage of a new labor law. He stated that the country ought increase production by five percent to maintain the present record-breaking full employment level. He urged business to reduce prices to enable wages to remain stable and increase purchasing power of consumers.

The reaction was chilly among Republicans on Capitol Hill to this message, cooling the warmth engendered by the conciliatory State of the Union address of Monday. Southern Democrats also were not happy with the President's renewed call for legislation to eliminate discriminatory bias in wages and job opportunities based on age, sex, race, color, or religion, a rekindling of the proposal to make permanent the Fair Employment Practices Commission.

In Los Angeles, a 66-car pileup occurred in fog at an intersection. No one was hurt, however, as traffic had been moving slowly.

The State Legislature considered a bill to provide for graduated pay increases for teachers and other State employees, ranging from 10 to 25 percent, the percentage of increase being inversely proportional to the salaries currently being earned. Amid cries of "railroad", efforts failed by a voice vote to overturn the rule requiring a two-thirds majority to stop debate.

In Weehawken, N.J., a freight-laden export pier caught fire and burned five hours before being brought under control, causing approximately six million dollars worth of damage. Pier 3 had an estimated three million dollars worth of damage and was insured for but 2.9 million.

In Concord, N.C., a man was robbed at gunpoint as he worked overtime at a belting company. The robber took the man's watch and the seven dollars he had in his wallet, then returned a dollar, saying that he might be broke. The robber said that he had lived in Charlotte several years, had no police record, and made his living by holding up people. He then fled into the night.

In La Paz, Bolivia, 736 votes separated Enrique Hertzog, a Socialist Republican Unionist, and Luis Fernando Guachalla, a leftist revolutionary, the former leading. The race was to replace President Gualberto Villarroel, who was hanged from a lamppost during a junta staged the previous July.

And you thought the 2000 election was bad. At least, the United States may brag that its electoral processes are far superior to those of Bolivia in 1946-47.

Moreover, they probably do not have access there, as we do, to rich Corinthian leather.

"Fissure", by the way, of April 9, 1945, is now here. Where the Body by Fissure went, we do not know.

On the editorial page, "The Poor Little Rich Boys" comments on the healthy surplus in the state budget with which the new Legislature would have to work in the current three-month session. But it also meant that the members could not easily contend inadequate money for appropriations in response to requests for money.

"Co-Operation with the Inevitable" tells of the retirement of Ben Gossett of the Gossett Mills of Williamston, S.C., who had, since 1907, been a native textile pioneer, favoring intimate employer-employee relations. The progress of the Gossett Group was the story of the progress generally of the textile industry in the Piedmont of the two Carolinas.

The company had changed the previous May from family ownership to ownership by a group of New York investors, Textron, Inc., with Mr. Gossett as the chairman of the board of a subsidiary. That arrangement now ended.

Such change, it offers, perhaps signaled progress as significant as the earlier decision of the Gossetts to establish a mill in the first instance.

To condition readers, this piece, incidentally, likely presaged the announcement the following day of the sale of The News to a group of investors, primarily based in North Carolina, headed by Thomas L. Robinson, formerly of The New York Times, to become Publisher. Whether the subject matter of the column this date, oriented exclusively toward state and regional matters, presaged also a change in editorial direction, we shall have to wait and see.

"The Absentee Ballot Statute" tells of the resignation of Colonel William T. Joyner as chairman of the State Board of Elections, leaving behind a list of suggestions for revision of the election laws. One such suggestion regarded the absentee ballot, a source of much abuse in the past, having been eliminated from the state primaries in 1939. The Board now recommended its elimination also in the state general election.

The piece thinks the ballot law needed revision but that eliminating the absentee ballot completely confessed impotency to ameliorate the statute by amendment. The statute needed stronger penalties to deter violation.

A piece from the Shelby Star, titled "No Veterans Class, Please", questions what class of citizens the FBI agent in charge of North and South Carolina had in mind when he stated that crime was less prevalent among veterans than among non-veterans. The editorial finds the veterans to be just as heterogeneous as the rest of the country and not entitled to special recognition as a class for either being law-breaking or law-abiding.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Jim Murray of Montana, a Democrat, calling into question the heritage of Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, a Republican, after the latter had reneged on his December promise to begin hearings on January 7 regarding monopolistic practices among major newspapers and magazines, and in the newsprint business.

Literacy around the world had dramatically increased in recent years, Russia, for instance, going from 25 percent to 75 percent literacy, and with it, the demand for newspapers and newsprint rising precipitously. The major magazines, such as Time, Life, and Fortune, in the Luce contingent, the Saturday Evening Post, and the major newspapers, had cornered the market on pulp mills to produce the newsprint and so controlled the prices. The smaller newspapers wanted the probe while the larger organs naturally opposed it.

Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, whose family owned the Cincinnati Times-Star, received support from Henry Luce, was opposed to the investigation.

The Senate Small Business Committee had found that the Post Office provided a 3.5 million dollar per year subsidy to the Luce publications in the form of second class postage, denied to the smaller organs.

Mr. Pearson adds that if the investigation were to proceed to save face for the Republicans, it would only be after the investigators who had previously uncovered the facts were terminated. He also reminds that public opinion in Germany had been molded by Hitler on the basis of control of the press organs.

Finally, he tells of the behind-the-scenes maneuvers which resulted in a compromise agreement with the Democrats temporarily to keep Senator Bilbo out of his seat for two months, enabling the business of the Senate to proceed so that the Senators might attend the State of the Union the previous Monday. Senator Taft had been in favor of delaying the matter. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon and Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, wanted the matter to proceed forthwith, and the Senate to remain continuously in session until it was determined, even at the expense of not attending the State of the Union. Senator Chapman Revercomb of West Virginia favored the Taft position. Eventually, Mr. Taft yielded, permitting the compromise.

Marquis Childs provides the background for new House Ways & Means Committee chairman Harold Knutson of Minnesota, a Congressman since 1917, an isolationist and patron of big business, who favored a return to high tariffs. His tax proposal to cut rates by 20 percent on virtually all taxpayers, save the 600 to 1,000 persons who earned more than $300,000, was consistent with his prior stands. Such a measure would not likely pass the House, but even if it did, it would not get through the Senate.

The real danger posed by Mr. Knutson was his ability to block measures in the Committee, thereby retarding the new trend toward world trade. Whether public opinion could alter his pre-1900 politics remained to be seen. His own district apparently, however, had no qualms about repeatedly sending him back to Congress, his seniority, not respect for his views, having enabled his path to power.

Harold Ickes addresses the prospect of renewal of the coal strike by John L. Lewis come April 1. Mr. Lewis could not now work out an agreement with both the Southern and Northern coal mine operators even if he wanted to do so, as there had developed a division since December 7 when he called off the strike in the face of continuing daily fines to the union and himself personally.

Should such a strike occur, even after winter, the halt of coal-dependent industries in the country, especially steel, would create economic interruption of reconversion and stockpiling of coal for the next winter.

Mr. Ickes counsels that the Government bring together the Northern and Southern operators with Mr. Lewis and get them to form a contract, to enable the Government to get out of operation of the mines, which had begun the previous May. The Government, he advises, should also start pumping natural gas through the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines to the East Coast. It should also be prepared to take over the strip mining industry in the event of another strike in the bituminous mines. The strip mines could be operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Such steps would both deter Mr. Lewis from calling another strike and provide the basis for preparedness in the event it would occur.

Not mentioned by Mr. Ickes, the Supreme Court was, the following week, scheduled to take up the contempt matter regarding the UMW and Mr. Lewis. A decision to uphold the right of the Federal Court to issue a temporary restraining order forcing Mr. Lewis to call off the strike or face penalties, including the potential for jail, would of course be the primary arbiter of what would take place in the future.

Editorial Research Reports covers, in relation to the effort to bar from the Senate Senator Theodore Bilbo, the history of attempts to bar members of the Congress from their seats, the competing interests of allowing the citizens of a state to send to the membership whomever they deemed fit and the rights of the membership not to have the Congress demeaned by having among its membership persons unfit to serve. It provides several examples, including examples from the history of the British Parliament.

The N.C. Public School Bulletin suggests a bill of rights for teachers, including the right to take time each day for planning lessons, to have classes which were not too large, consisting ideally of 10 to 20 students, the right to adequate supervision from others on the faculty, the right to an appropriate classroom, adequate materials, a realistic program of continuing education of teachers, a 30-hour week, and an adequate salary.

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