The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 25, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin of Britain charged that President Truman had wrecked negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem by calling the previous October for immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees. When told of the prospect of the statement, Mr. Bevin had gone to Secretary of State Byrnes and objected to it being made, as he believed it would interfere with the ongoing negotiations between Arabs and Jews. He was told that Governor Thomas Dewey intended to make a similar statement the following weekend. The President had intended to precede him.

Secretary of State Marshall disclosed that Russia had approved an American trusteeship over the 623 mandated islands seized from Japan during the war, in the Carolines, Marshalls, and Marianas. Russia was the first nation so to concur in the trusteeship arrangement, stating that it was only fair that America have control of these islands as America had been the primary nation involved in seizing them. The matter would ultimately be determined by the U.N. Britain and Australia wanted the action postponed until a treaty was concluded with Japan.

Senator Robert Taft stated that while the Army and Navy might escape severe cuts in their proposed eleven billion dollar budget for the current year, they could expect their budget to be slashed in the following year to 7.5 billion dollars.

A Senate Banking Subcommittee approved a measure to remove all Federal controls on rent by the end of the year and to allow an immediate ten percent increase on rents. It also would end OPA and provide to the courts the authority for enforcing remaining controls.

In Komagawa, Japan, a train wreck took the lives of 178 persons and injured another 350 when four cars of the six-car train derailed and fell down a 30-foot embankment. It was one of the worst rail accidents in the history of Japan. The engineer continued operating the train and did not realize part of it had left the tracks until he reached the next station. The accident scene was 25 miles west of Tokyo. Most of the dead were passengers en route into the country to buy food.

In Washington, the White House denied any truth to the rumor spread by a radio report out of Paris that an attempt had been made on the President's life. Apparently a radio report from Buenos Aires regarding a bomb exploding shortly after a speech by dictator President Juan Peron was believed to have made mention of President Truman.

In Chicago, a mayoral primary was held and Mayor Ed Kelly was not on the ballot for the first time since prior to 1935. He had first become Mayor after Mayor Anton Cermak was assassinated during an attempt on FDR's life in early 1933, having been elected by the City Council as successor. Mayor Kelly, age 70, decided to retire. He had held the office longer than any previous Chicago Mayor.

Also in Chicago, hogs hit an all-time high price of $30, which could result in dollar-per-pound pork chops and dollar bacon at the table.

In Butler, Mo., a farmer who had stomped his wife to death and said that God had told him to do so, was found insane, would be committed to the institution for the criminally insane.

In Los Angeles, USC football halfback Verl Lillywhite heard suspicious noises outside his fraternity house and exited to see a car thief taking off in a stolen car, gave chase with several of his brothers, made the tackle.

In Carmel, California, a man slipped from the rocks and fell into the surf, was carried 100 yards and was fighting for his life, when a fisherman made a perfect 250-foot cast which the man was able to catch. He was reeled in to safety, had only superficial cuts.

They had to remove the hook though.

The State House passed the bill to ban the closed shop in North Carolina and eliminate mandatory check-offs of union dues from wages.

On the editorial page, "Light in the Spreading Darkness" tells of a meeting in Asheville by a group called the United World Federalists, who championed the cause of peace on the basis of affirmative justice, not merely the absence of war, and the establishment of world law to provide a system under which that justice could be administered. The group came from 22 states and represented a variety of occupations, from publisher to janitor. Their goal was to mobilize opinion to influence legislators.

Such a group of visionaries were the only ones in society still holding out hope for one world. The practical citizens believed that only through arms could another war be prevented. The group's flame therefore was weak. But being one of the few lights in the spreading darkness, characterized by fear of Russia and Russia's refusal to cooperate with the West, the piece wishes the group "Godspeed".

"Notes on the Closed Shop Issue" finds the Statesville Daily commenting on the bill to make the closed shop illegal, now before the State Legislature, and finding it to be for the workers, not for employers. Yet, no great protest had arisen from unorganized workers to the closed shop.

Present laws only permitted employers and unions to negotiate a closed shop, but did not mandate it. There were more open shops by far in North Carolina than closed shops. The closed shop prevented union-busting by the employer, and while denying "right to work" for those employees not wishing to join a union, it was difficult to see how banning it would work to the benefit ultimately of workers.

If the system had come to the point where unions had the advantage, then there was no sound argument against banning the closed shop. But if based on the success of unions in North Carolina, it was doubtful of passage, as unionization was not widespread in the state.

"The Situation Is Well in Hand" tells of Dr. James Dombrowski of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare having sent a telegram to Attorney General Tom Clark, asking for Federal intervention under the Civil Rights Act in the lynching of Willie Earle a week earlier on Monday in Pickens, S.C. The FBI had already been investigating the matter out of the Charlotte office and had taken evidence to Washington for analysis, including the bloodstains found in a taxi, thought to be the blood of Mr. Earle.

On Sunday, however, the Special Agent in charge took the FBI men off the case because the local law enforcement had arrested 31 men believed to have taken part in the lynching, and so found that the local authorities had the situation in hand. Few lynching investigations had ever received such energetic response.

The piece acknowledges that there could be slips between that point and trial of the defendants, but thus far, there was concerted effort being applied to arrest and prosecution, and there was no apparent need for further Federal intervention.

The piece assumes the good intentions of Dr. Dombrowski but suspects he was angling for another attempt to pass a Federal anti-lynching law. Such intervention would only be called for in the event of a failure of local law enforcement to act. It believes that Dr. Dombrowski was effectively insulting South Carolina law enforcement.

Given the outcome of the Greenville trial in May, acquittal of all 31 defendants, despite their admissions to the crime, which included inflicting deliberate torture to Mr. Earle before one of the men shot him in the head with a shotgun, it is fair to say that justice, no matter how swiftly and efficiently pursued by local authorities, is only as good as the pool of jurors ultimately sitting on a case. The same, of course, is true of Federal cases, which ultimately draw on that same pool of veniremen, a fact borne out the previous November with the acquittal in Federal Court in Columbia of Police Chief Lynwood Shull of Batesburg, S.C., for the blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard the previous February from a brutal baton beating inflicted by Chief Shull on Sgt. Woodard on a bus passing through Batesburg, when the driver complained that Sgt. Woodard, just honorably discharged from the Army after service during the war in the Pacific and heading home, was drunk and causing a disturbance, assertions disputed by Sgt. Woodard and several witnesses.

Some might argue, of course, that in the case of Mr. Earle, there was evidence of his connection to the killing of the cab driver for which he was under arrest when the lynch mob, consisting primarily of cab drivers, seized him from the jailer at the point of a shotgun, that there was justification therefore for their act, only avenging, in eye-for-eye fashion, the stabbing death of one of their own. That argument obviously breaks down in the premises, as substituting mob mentality and mob emotion for impartial consideration of evidence in a trial nullifies the basic American tenets of presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the crime charged, with jury deliberations based on the evidence presented, and only on the evidence presented, concepts far more concerned with Americanism than waving either an American flag or Confederate flag over the corse of a lynched young black man for a crime he may not have in fact committed. If the populace has not the confidence in its courts to deliver justice fairly and impartially, then it needs to elect new public officials, not engage in acts of lynching and nullification of the criminality of that gross offense, undermining the entire foundations of a society.

It is always worth remembering that it was an act of mob violence which led to the lynching of Jesus Christ.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota objecting to the calling of William Davis, former chairman of the War Labor Board, and Frank Porter Graham, former member of the Board, to testify before the Labor Subcommittee regarding the legislative effort to ban the closed shop. Senator Ball did not want any pro-labor witnesses, saying that everyone already knew what their views would be. Senator James Murray of Montana wanted to call the witnesses, and he was supported by Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon and Senator Irving Ives of New York, both Republicans.

He next imparts a part of the conversation between James Roosevelt and Josef Stalin during the former's recent trip to Moscow. When Stalin asked about Anna Roosevelt, the late President's daughter who accompanied him as an assistant on his trips abroad, James Roosevelt stated that she was publishing a newspaper in Arizona but having trouble obtaining newsprint for it, at which Stalin laughed.

Robert Hannegan, following a determined effort by some White House insiders to oust him after the fall election debacle, was now reported to be as strongly entrenched as ever in his position. His assistant at the Post Office Department, Gael Sullivan, would take over as DNC chairman in six months. Mr. Hannegan had appointed Chase Going Woodhouse, former Congresswoman from Connecticut, to be the woman's director of the National Committee. Creekmore Faith had been appointed assistant director of the National Committee. All three were strong liberals and former New Dealers. Mr. Hannegan believed that by 1948, the do-nothing Republican Congress would become a lightning rod for public criticism. He was right.

Marquis Childs discusses the need for a law to define the distinction between the personal property of officeholders when they leave an office and that which belonged to the Government. The conflict had come into high relief with the controversy regarding former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau having taken some 900 volumes of documents with him as his personal "diary" when he left office. The President, when he found out, immediately instructed new Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, appointed to succeed Fred Vinson, appointed as Chief Justice the previous June, to obtain return of the papers.

Ironically, Mr. Snyder at the same time was taking away his own personal documents, mixed with official papers, which he had at the White House while director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. He had done so at the request of new director John Steelman, and had not intended any wrongdoing. Neither had Mr. Morgenthau. The problem lay in the lack of a law to determine what documents were personal to the former officeholder.

Mr. Morgenthau's primary interest was to portray FDR in a favorable light, to combat the attempts by such people as Senator Owen Brewster of Maine to tear down the late President's legacy.

The papers of President Lincoln were not due to be opened until the following July and it was rumored that Robert Todd Lincoln had burned many of his father's personal letters.

Under such circumstances, it was difficult to provide an accurate history of the presidencies.

Harold Ickes raises criticism, as he had nearly a year earlier, regarding the treatment by the Navy of the citizens of Guam and Samoa, held under virtual dictatorship. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal had the previous year signed a statement charging Mr. Ickes with "irresponsible criticism".

Mr. Forrestal then arranged for newspapermen to travel to the islands for an inspection but did not include in the group the requested representative of Mr. Ickes.

Recently, two more groups, one with Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug, and the other a three-man commission selected by the Navy to study Naval administration of the islands, had departed for an inspection tour. The commission included Knowles Ryerson who was the only one of the three members who had ever been to Guam previously. During the war, he had recommended that between 1,500 and 2,000 acres on Guam, 2,500 to 3,000 acres on Tinian, and approximately 1,500 acres on Saipan, be utilized for production of green vegetables.

On Guam, only 400 acres were found suitable and the Navy began administering the program. After a year and a considerable expenditure of effort and 40 tractors, the crop yield would not pay even for the fertilizer. Yet, the program was still continuing, trying to acquire another 1,600 acres.

Mr. Ickes anticipates that Mr. Ryerson would give the Navy unquestioning approval of its administration, and he expects Mr. Krug likewise to approve the effort orchestrated by his fellow Cabinet member, Mr. Forrestal.

A letter from the secretary-treasurer of the Air Reserve Association comments on articles appearing the previous week in the newspaper on the closing of the Army Air Force training facility for reservists at Morris Field in Charlotte. The training of the reservists had been ongoing since the previous August. They had a good record. The reason for the base closure was that the City Council refused to cooperate any longer with the Army Air Forces. He advocates letting the City Council know what the citizenry thought about the matter.

A letter from a retired Army sergeant to the President, the Governor, the two Senators and the Representatives from North Carolina, tells of a member of the Barber Examiners operating a chain of barber schools and a supply house, forcing others to buy equipment and supplies from him. One former Navy barber charged that he was denied permission to operate a shop in a community of 525 people, despite a petition being signed by the residents to allow him to do so. He cites other denials of licenses to open shops. He believes the practices of the Barber Examiners to be violative of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and calls for an investigation.

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