The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 1, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman announced a signal agreement involving two million AFL workers in the building trades to participate in voluntary arbitration to resolve disputes. Mr. Truman saw this development as the better method to resolve disputes than the present restrictive legislation pending in Congress. He found the agreement notable, hearkening good labor news ahead, a return to collective bargaining without Government assistance. Recent agreements had also been reached in the steel and rubber industries, to which the President also issued praise.

AFL leaders proposed a merger of the CIO with AFL to combat anti-labor legislation. CIO leader Philip Murray had, on December 5, proposed that the two organizations work together to combat such intended legislation. William Green of AFL insisted that such effective cooperation could only come from combining the two rival union organizations.

In Philadelphia, three newspapers of Philadelphia and one of Camden, N.J., all owned by the Philadelphia Record Co., suspended operations after a strike by the American Newspaper Guild had beset the newspapers since November 7, with no end in sight. The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin would acquire all three newspapers and radio station WCAU, thereby reducing competition in the market.

Radio Hanoi, in a broadcast heard in Manila, reported that fierce fighting was taking place in French Indochina between French forces seeking to relieve their garrisons at Hue and Vietnamese troops surrounding that city, capital of Annam province. French troops in Laos, bordering Annam, were trying to effect entry to the Vietnamese territory.

Tornadic winds had killed eight people and injured at least 70 others across Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. A photograph appears of some of the damage near Montgomery, Alabama.

In Winston-Salem, a vote was being held as an advisory determination on whether to allow Sunday baseball and movies in the city. About 4,000 of the city's 22,000 eligible voters had voted by noon, considered a light turn-out. The heaviest voting was recorded in the Ardmore ward, populated mainly by white-collar workers, with 200 citizens voting in just over two hours.

Six of eight members of the Board of Aldermen had pledged their support for the results of the informal referendum. The other two had made no commitment.

The Moravian Church led the opposition to lifting the blue law restraint on Sunday entertainment. Moravians afforded themselves enough entertainment of their own accord.

In Waukegan, Ill., three boys, ages 11 to 13, spent someone else's $2,700 in a spending spree lasting four hours. They bought three twenty-dollar rifles, a car, and gave some of the money away to other youths. One of the boys the night before had stolen $4,000 from the home of the owner of a linoleum shop. They were caught when the car they had purchased from three other teenaged boys stalled in a snow bank. They had provided a $600 down payment and left as much as $2,000 in cash as security for the car.

In downtown Charlotte, at around 10:00 p.m. the previous night, a cattle dealer from Lincolnton, N.C., had been abducted, robbed of about $100, and released by three men, after a threat was made to slash his throat if he resisted. He was standing on the corner, having come to town on business, when a man approached, asked him if he needed a hotel room. When he said that he did not, the man inquired of his business. Being told it was cattle, the man said he had a cow he wanted him to see around the corner. The visitor from Lincolnton then accompanied him to a car where the two accomplices awaited. They then drove the cattleman into the country, where they left him after the robbery.

Never accept an invitation from a stranger to see a cow just around the corner.

Charlotte police reported the solving of several robberies with the arrests of two men, one in Forest City, admitting to several downtown break-ins to shops, and another, an escaped convict, linked to several burglaries of dry cleaning plants and other stores. The Forest City arrestee had admitted a break-in at the National Hat shop in which the March of Dimes box had been robbed. He had also admitted breaking into the My Shop, from which money had also been stolen from the March of Dimes box.

Simple punishment would be in that case to make him swim daily for a year in unsanitary quarry swimming holes frequented by unsanitary children.

In Hollywood, actress June Lockhart announced her engagement to a former Army fighter pilot, William Warrick, the two to be married when Mr. Warrick finished his degree at Dartmouth.

We might observe that in the first three weeks since the change of ownership and management of The News, the front page has lost its punch, stressing, along with the editorial column, local and state news more than the former stress on national and international matters. Perhaps it will change, once the Legislature's session ends.

On the editorial page, "Let's Have a Referendum" again calls for a referendum on legal sale of alcohol in Charlotte, that it was easy enough for such groups as the Allied Church League for the Abolition of Alcoholic Beverages to inveigh against legal sale, but it was quite costly, denying the revenue from sales as being tainted money, derived from sin.

You have to look at it philosophically. If you have a state and region full of ignorant rednecks, who insist on drinking themselves into early graves, you might as well seek to raise all boats from the revenue generated by their self-destructive behavior, on the long-run premise that improved education from the revenue will, in time, tend to stem the tendency to be self-destructive of its own natural processes, generational observation of the debilitating results.

"A Mandate Can Also Be Negative" tells of Tom Bost of the Greensboro Daily News, experienced Raleigh correspondent, remarking that the citizenry of the state was apathetic to the plight of their teachers with low salaries, always had been. The average legislator was far ahead of the citizenry in concern. Thus it was a lie to portray the citizens as being desirous of higher pay for teachers. And, he believed, the citizenry ought be ashamed of their apathy.

The piece thinks the argument meritorious but inchoate. Some citizens resisted higher salaries on the premise of resultant higher taxes rather than mere apathy. But the citizens had supported neither the Governor's plan for higher salaries nor the South Piedmont plan for even higher salaries. Nor had they registered any loud protest against either plan. The negative support thus evidenced showed some public support for higher salaries, even if there was disagreement as to how much that should be. Nobody had asserted that salaries should remain as they were.

The legislators were charged with leadership and were exercising it in this regard. They should not wait until the people raised a demand for higher taxes to pay for higher teacher salaries.

"Mr. Truman Lights a Fire" tells of the President tossing the political hot potato to the Congress regarding whether rents should be raised by ten percent. It was appropriate, even though the President had authority on the matter, as it was Congress which, during the previous year, had wrecked price control generally.

Moreover, he relished the notion of lighting a fire under the GOP Congress, saying that it was part of the desired cooperation with the new Congress to let them handle the issue.

As the President's pleasures were few during these days, he should not be denied this one.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "A Jew's Bed for Bilbo", relates of the bitter irony in the fact that Senator Theodore Bilbo, who had once responded to a letter from a Jewish woman with the salutation, "My dear kike", was in Touro Infirmary in New Orleans for treatment of his mouth problem—which was cancerous. Touro Infirmary had been donated by a Jew, Judah Touro, 106 years earlier. Mr. Touro was the son of a rabbi. The infirmary was under Jewish management, but non-sectarian.

It suggests that Mr. Bilbo should be thankful that the infirmary did not practice the same discrimination that he did, "the most eloquent rebuke to the hatemonger."

Drew Pearson tells of the Secret Service concern for the President's safety in light of the recent spate of air crashes. The President would insist on taking off in "The Sacred Cow" regardless of weather. He would simply go when he wanted to go.

Ye dig?

The Secret service wanted him to take the train in the rain and generally, as FDR had most of the time. President Truman liked the speed, however, afforded by the airplane, permitting four-hour travel to Kansas City. Thus, the Secret Service had abandoned hope of getting any change of habit, waiting instead for a bigger plane soon from the War Department.

General Marshall had attended his first Cabinet meeting as Secretary of State, but, remarked General Phil Fleming, head of the Office of Temporary Controls, it was not his first Cabinet meeting, as he had attended three British Cabinet meetings during the war.

The President had told his staff to maintain impersonal relations with the GOP in trying to effect harmony. He did not want them to engage in tit-for-tat exchange of insults. But he would not duck an honest scrap with Congress. The bickering, however, should remain impersonal.

Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska had complained that Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana had derived, from reading the column of Drew Pearson, his concerns that Senator Wherry was seeking chairmanship of the Small Business Committee.

Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire echoed Senator Ellender's concerns, adding that the desire for the chairmanship was the only reason for maintaining the special committee and the War Investigating Committee, the latter so that Senator Owen Brewster of Maine could be the chairman. Senator Wherry repeatedly sought to have Mr. Tobey yield the floor to him, which Senator Tobey adamantly refused to do.

Marquis Childs discusses the pros and cons of Senator Arthur Vandenberg accompanying Secretary of State Marshall to Moscow for the Foreign Ministers Council meeting to write the German and Austrian peace treaties. He was being urged to do so to provide continuity in the peace team, as Mr. Vandenberg had been to Paris and New York at the conferences which had determined the five other peace treaties. But those treaties were soon to be presented to the Senate for confirmation. With Mr. Vandenberg now chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and president pro tem of the Senate, his input, as one of the authors of the five treaties, would be vital to assure Republican support and passage. A two-thirds majority was required for ratification.

Moreover, the reciprocal trade agreements were coming up for renewal and those were even more likely to run into problems without his guidance from the foreign relations perspective. Some Republicans wanted to return to the days of McKinley and reinstitute high tariffs to protect domestic industry and farmers from cheap foreign competition. Senator Vandenberg believed that he could lead his party to a moderate stance on the issue.

International relief was another controversial matter in need of Mr. Vandenberg's guidance. The Republicans were talking about decreasing relief to enable budget cutting.

Also, the U.N. budget would be coming up for approval, and Senator Vandenberg had familiarity with it because he helped to create it.

Mr. Childs thinks it better, on balance, that Senator Vandenberg remain at home and that Secretary Marshall take Republican foreign policy advisor John Foster Dulles with him to provide foreign policy advice from the Republican perspective. The coming conference would only serve as a prelude to further conferences on the German and Austrian treaties, just as it had taken more than one conference to settle the other five treaties, less controversial than the two now remaining to be settled.

Samuel Grafton, writing from London, discusses the controversy surrounding the British Labor policies to have higher production for export trade and improve efficiency of the factory. Capitalists were afraid of over-production. Britain was short of workers but there was resistance by the unions to having immigrants come to England to provide labor. They did not want Poles mining British coal.

There was a shortage of bookbinders to produce books. But the goal was to increase production for export and so there was afoot no eager anticipation of having sufficient bookbinders. The ideal, said one intellectual, was a dustman earning 6 pounds per week able to broaden his aspect—sate himself as Falstaff might, and as physic must gin. The only solution, said another, was to cause the books they had to alight the procryptic dustbin.

The intellectuals were of the opinion that the country could not "unscramble the eggs". There would be no return to private ownership of the coal mines, to lowering of the age for leaving school, or permitting unemployment, the contrary to which had been embodied in progressive legislation instituted under the Labor Government during the previous 18 months. The liberals promoted the fact that many American observers had noticed that the health of slum children had improved dramatically even under rationing.

The Conservatives had no program, and of late had resorted to calling themselves the Party of Religion, of Christian values. The movement had not been popular, however, and letters to newspapers regularly pointed out the number of clergymen who were supportive of Labor. The High Church of England had issued statements denying the Tories the right to suggest any special status in regard to religion.

The Conservatives were resorting to dire warnings that the Labor movement was the advance guard of totalitarianism.

When Mr. Grafton had mentioned to a British friend that thirteen years of that sort of stress among American conservatives had finally produced a result in the late election, the friend had simply smiled and said, "They can't unscramble the eggs."

Because that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone with the eggs.

Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution writes of union efforts to organize textile mills in the South. About a thousand AFL and CIO organizers, most from CIO, had been at work at the task since the previous May. But the effort had largely been ineffective, with most workers unaware even of the effort to organize them. Only in small mills had the effort been successful. CIO had three successful elections in small mills, with a total of 480 employees, and had suffered defeats in six, employing 1,800 persons. The AFL issued no reports and privately stated it had no real interest in organizing. It appeared more intent on preventing CIO efforts so that it could enter the field of organizing later.

The effort in the tobacco, lumber, woodworking, furniture, oil and metals industries had enjoyed success. And often these workers were of the same families as the textile worker. It remained an anomaly to the organizers.

The answer probably lay in the fact that the larger mills had formed a paternalistic policy toward the workers, arousing regional loyalty and fear of outside agitation, especially from people with foreign names, which many of the CIO organizers had.

Moreover, the mills would raise their wages as soon as organizing efforts began, heading off the incentive to organize. Some mills, as the Avondale mills of Alabama, had instituted profit-sharing plans.

The wages had jumped twenty cents per hour to 73 cents on average, a wage only had in dreams a decade earlier.

That plus the fact that the AFL strike of 1935 had been a failure served to explain the failure of organizing efforts thus far in the South. The fact that Northern workers were paid more did little to excite the Southern textile worker. He remained a mystery.

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