The Charlotte News

Monday, February 24, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Nuremberg, Franz Von Papen had been sentenced by a German de-Nazification court to eight years at hard labor and his assets confiscated. The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal had acquitted Herr Von Papen in October of war crimes. The de-Nazification court consisted of a seven-man tribunal. He was convicted of being a major offender who helped Hitler achieve power and remaining with the Nazi regime to its end. Von Papen, who had been a leading diplomat for Hitler, first as Ambassador to Austria and then to Turkey, was 68.

In Britain, Midlands factories employing a million workers reopened after being closed for two weeks by the coal shortage produced by the harshest winter in 50 years. Prime Minister Attlee stated that factories in Manchester and the Northwest would reopen the following Monday. London and the Southeast area remained shut down. Thus, four million workers continued idle. Domestic cuts in electricity for five hours per day also remained in effect.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to outlaw most portal-to-portal pay. A subcommittee had approved it the previous week. The bill carried a two-year statute of limitations. Unions, under provisions of the bill, could not file suits for back pay.

In Chicago, a car carrying five persons overturned in front of a train when the driver suddenly died of a heart attack. Another motorist came to the rescue of the passengers and saved them from the approaching train by flagging it to a stop.

In Los Angeles, the remains of the chemist and his assistant responsible for mixing perchloric acid and acetic anhydride for a metal-coating process were still being sought from the wreckage produced by the explosion the previous week of the O'Connor Electro-Plating Co. plant which had killed some thirty people. Fifteen victims had been identified.

Also in Los Angeles, a 19-year old had been killed when he lit a match to see if his gas tank was empty. Unfortunately, it was not.

In Hollywood, former silent screen actress Florence Vidor underwent a major operation, her post-operation condition being described as comfortable.

In Salisbury, an ABC store campaign had caused a storm of controversy, as petitions were being circulated to place a referendum anent controlled sale of liquor on the ballot. Enough signatures had already been collected for the purpose. Success of the referendum would impact other counties in the Western part of the state. Failure would tend to discourage proponents of controlled sale.

A mass rally against legalization was held at the First Methodist Church, attended by 1,500 people, and a minister from Lexington stated that he felt that those voting for liquor legalization should also vote for legalizing adultery, theft, and lying, so that the revenue from those activities could also go to the public treasury.

But that suggests licensing establishments for the purpose.

At some point, old Hebraic chants were being sung.

Hava Nagila?

In Charlotte, a Superior Court judge ordered the Grand Jury to investigate charges from health authorities that some Mecklenburg dairies were dumping milk adulterated with water onto the market.

State Representatives Frank Sims and Harvey Morris of Charlotte told the County Board of Commissioners that because of an active bootlegging ring in the county, preparations were being made to introduce to the Legislature a bill to have a referendum on controlled sale. They reported that there were 2,600 bootleggers in the county and 250 speakeasies in the city, the latter breeding most of the crime associated with the bootleg liquor trade. There was also available 24 hours a day a pervasive system of ready delivery.

Cold weather continued across North Carolina, with the temperature predicted to drop to 15 degrees in Charlotte by the following morning. Keep your mufflers on.

On the editorial page, "The Consolidation of State Boards" tells of a proposal before the Legislature to reduce the 21 licensing boards of the State to three. The boards were present to insure competence in the professions and trades, and should not be used to reduce competition, as, in many instances, had become the case. One example was the proposal for an undertakers board, to be empowered to license undertaking establishments. The goal appeared solely to limit competition among undertakers.

"They Can't Go Home Again" discusses the twelve million Europeans who had been uprooted by the Nazis for use as slave labor. Since V-E Day, eleven million of these people had been repatriated to their homelands. But in Central Europe, 850,000 displaced persons were still living in detention camps. Most were natives of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Only 20 percent were Jews. These persons could not return home for threat of racial, religious, or political oppression because their homelands no longer existed based on changes in boundaries.

The President had asked Congress in January to act to admit more of these displaced persons as immigrants, only 5,000 thus far having been allowed to enter the country since May, 1946.

An annual quota for immigration had been set at 154,000, only 15 percent of which had been used during the war. Thus, unused quotas could be utilized for the purpose of allowing the displaced persons to enter, without change in the laws. Accepting a substantial number would set an example for other nations.

But a tide of nationalism was sweeping the country, with organizations such as the DAR asking that such immigrants be barred. The primary fear appeared to be Communism.

The country was avoiding its obligation and seemed to be turning once again to isolationism.

"The Senator's Repeat Performance" tells of the bill introduced to the Legislature to re-amend the State Constitution to limit jury duty to men, the State Constitution having just been amended to allow women to serve. The State Senator who introduced the bill believed that women did not wish to serve on juries. He was probably correct, but it was a duty of citizenship which went along with voting. The vote in the fall had been overwhelmingly in favor of the amendment and so the bill to have the matter resubmitted to the voters in a year appeared superfluous.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "A Prophet Without Honor", tells of a man suddenly arising in the Senate gallery recently and declaring that he was a prophet, whereupon guards quickly hustled him from the chamber. The piece suggests that he could have done no worse than Senator Taft and other Senators, Mr. Taft having stated in 1941 that there was no need for a draft, in October, 1943, declaring that there was no need for subsidies to the common schools, in June, 1945, that there would be no rise in post-war prices, and in 1941, that if Germany were defeated, there would be no fear of invasion.

Drew Pearson tells of power politics being as bad as ever when it came to promotion in the Army. The latest example was the promotion of John C. H. Lee to Major General. General Lee during the war had his own private railroad and commandeered the George V Hotel in Paris for his personal residence. He had been in charge of transporting munitions from the French coast to the front, an operation criticized for its sloth. The slowness was sometimes unavoidable but the General had drawn fire because of his flamboyance otherwise.

Once, when a munitions ship caught fire in the port at Le Havre and was in danger of exploding, a colonel examined the ship and determined that the ammunition above the waterline could be safely unloaded. His men then spent three hours doing so. When they got off the ship, the colonel was greeted by General Lee who ordered him to take his men back aboard to unload the ammunition below the waterline. When the colonel reduced the order to writing and asked the General to sign it, he refused.

One of the beneficial results of the Republican victory in the fall had been that Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi had been reduced to an insignificant role. The chairwoman of the House Veterans Committee, Edith Norse Rogers of Massachusetts, ignored Mr. Rankin, which aggravated him. Recently, she had ignored his demand to be allowed, ahead of freshmen Congressmen, to question General Omar Bradley, head of the V.A.

President Truman was quite upset about the controversy surrounding the nomination of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had stated to advisers recently that the real issue was the concern of the power interests over having a man of Mr. Lilienthal's integrity controlling nuclear power. The real contest, said the President, was therefore between the interests of the people and the special interests.

Marquis Childs discusses the railroads and the effort of Robert Young to form a railroad federation to wrest power over the railroads from the large banks and insurance companies of New York. The Interstate Commerce Commission had just granted a 17 percent increase in freight rates, overdue after the war.

But in so doing, the squeeze had been put on Kaiser Steel on the West Coast, whose chief competitor, U.S. Steel in Utah, was able to receive a freight reduction, saving 1.2 billion dollars per year, while Kaiser had incurred a $600,000 increase. Moreover, U. S. Steel had purchased its Utah plant from the Government at 25 cents on the dollar while Kaiser had only been able to lease its Fontana, California, plant from the Government.

Such preferential treatment by rate bureaus of the railroads, which operated without ICC approval, could determine the future of certain industries by effectively eliminating certain competition. Ultimately, that would lead to monopoly and the necessity of Government intervention.

Harold Ickes relates back to the letter he had published weeks earlier, addressed to the President of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas, in which he had set forth certain facts regarding the President's activities during the Japanese occupation and seeking answers. He had never received a reply.

The Philippine Liberty News, first newspaper published in Manila after the liberation, had, however, published an article which stated that all of the facts which Mr. Ickes had asserted regarding collaboration by President Roxas and his circle of supporters during occupation were true, even if there might be some difference of opinion on what constituted treason, as it was labeled by Mr. Ickes.

Pursuant to the demands of the Japanese, President Roxas had instructed the Cabinet at the point at which General MacArthur landed in Leyte to declare war on the U.S. Yet, he was not interned as a collaborationist. Eventually, he was elected President with the blessings of General MacArthur and High Commissioner Paul McNutt.

So sensitive to the criticism was President Roxas that he had ordered customs officials recently to hold up the shipment of Betrayal in the Philippines, by Hernando Abaya.

Mr. Ickes suggests that Mr. McNutt's sense of morality had not greatly changed since the days when he was a beneficiary of the Two Per Cent Club of Indiana, later outlawed, established by Mr. McNutt for the purpose of dunning state employees for political support.

A letter writer presents a letter he had sent to the county's State Representative, Mr. Morris referenced on the front page, anent the proposed liquor referendum and labor. He favors outlawing of the closed shop for the practice being undemocratic. He opposes legalization of controlled sale of liquor for its being the tool of Satan.

A letter writer wishes to know why movie-going in Charlotte had to be painful. He did not like the sound of popcorn being chewed, candy being unwrapped, and empty cartons being dropped. He thinks people ought bring their own refreshments to the theater and not be encouraged by the concessionaires.

He and his wife had been to two cartoon comedies, a Pete Smith short, which he had seen in the Army six or seven months earlier, and a couple of short subjects. The other fare had been the feature, a badly cut newsreel, and fifteen minutes of canned music, which sounded tinny. The rest consisted of inspection of hats of the ladies in front of them.

He thinks that if Loew's or RKO were to enter the market, changes would be made, as there was inadequate competition for the first-run theaters.

He recommends seeing "Anna and the King of Siam", "The Dark Mirror" and "Caesar and Cleopatra", but thinks that they deserved better surroundings.

A letter from a teenaged boy says that if he were Moffett W. Eldridge, he would watch what he had to say—as Mr. Eldridge, the editors note, had written a letter to the "Let's Fix It" editor on February 19, suggesting a law against raising pigeons in the city and that the police ought be allowed to shoot the pigeons on sight, as pigeons posed a hazard to sanitation. The writer had pigeons and he knew lots of others who had them also.

He thinks if pigeons posed a menace, then so must also birds. The Lord could strike them dead for messing with the pigeons. The Bible forbade the killing of the pigeons. If people cleaned their houses, they would not be bothered by the pigeons.

The pigeons had served a salutary purpose carrying messages during the war and prevented the deaths of millions of soldiers.

There is only one solution: make the national bird the pigeon.

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