The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 26, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Centralia, Ill., 122 coal miners remained trapped 540 feet below ground following an explosion the previous afternoon. Little hope remained that any would be found alive other than the nine already extricated. It was the worst mine disaster since 195 men had died in 1928 in Mather, Pa. The explosion was initially attributed to coal dust.

Eddie Gilmore reports from Moscow of the long evening the night before of vodka, Greek hospitality, and Russian ballet, as the delegates to the Foreign Ministers Council meeting were being doubly feted. The delegates were seeking to shake off the effects. The four foreign ministers had attended the Bolshoi Ballet performance of "Romeo and Juliet" by Prokofiev, featuring ballerina Galina Ulanova.

Ambassador to Russia Walter Bedell Smith had a prior engagement at the Greek Embassy and so was unable to attend the ballet. Some suggested that the Russians had deliberately planned the conflict because the Greek Embassy had planned their dinner around their independence day. V. M. Molotov and Andrei Vishinsky did not attend the Greek dinner. Nor did French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault. Both Secretary of State Marshall and Foreign Secretary Bevin reportedly enjoyed themselves immensely at the Greek affair.

The Senate Rules Committee voted along party lines to place the Speaker of the House next in line of succession to the presidency after the Vice-President. Previously, succession was to the Secretary of State. Third in line would be the president pro tempore of the Senate, then the Secretary of State.

The President told a press conference that he hoped that big business would lower prices, following the lead of Ford, International Harvester, and others.

The President also expressed the hope that the Congress would pass his proposed 400 million dollar aid package to Greece and Turkey prior to March 31, when the British were planning to withdraw their aid. There had been talk in Congress of passing a temporary 100-million dollar aid package to Greece as a stop-gap measure.

In Los Angeles, a civil jury, after seeing the knees of actress Ruth Brady, rejected her damage claim for $21,100, based on being hit by a car door of a set designer. She had claimed that her knees had been marred. The jury thought otherwise.

In London, an unauthorized strike regarding Paulette Goddard's hair-do stopped the two million dollar production of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband", as twelve hairdressers walked off the job because Ms. Goddard's hair was being done by a Swedish hairdresser. The hairdressers wanted only English personnel working on the film. Ms. Goddard had no comment on the matter.

But, oh, her hair was just awful...

On the editorial page, "The Legislature Should Be Scared" tells of several newspapers in the state having labeled the 1947 Legislature the most timid in history, making full use of the gag rule which required committee approval of a bill before it could pass by less than a two-thirds majority on the floor. It had also passed controversial legislation on a voice vote. Now, it was stampeding toward adjournment.

Its most irresponsible act was to attempt to raise members' expense allowance for the session, which was Constitutionally limited and which had failed to win voter approval the previous fall. The editorial supports the higher pay, but only through the proper legal channels. Should the Legislature pass it, the public indignation would properly add to the fear manifested by the Legislature.

"Hardened Arteries in the Body Politic" comments on a Gallup poll which had found that increasing numbers of Americans did not know the simplest things about their Government, such as the number of years in a Presidential term or the general organization of the state and Federal governments.

In the previous fall election only 35 million of 91 million eligible voters went to the polls, comparing unfavorably to other democracies such as France, where over half the population voted in the previous election, or Britain, where, in the July, 1945 election, over 50 percent more voted than in the U.S. Parenthetically, it should be noted that those were the first elections in Britain in ten years and in France since before the Nazi invasion of spring, 1940. In Canada, the proportion of voters was twice as high as in the U.S.

The proportion of voters was smaller than 50 or 100 years earlier. It had decreased in nearly indirect proportion to the increase in literacy. Dr. Gallup had wondered whether the democratic system in the country was outmoded.

He had attributed the apathy to the low plane on which campaigns were conducted. But the piece thinks just the opposite to have been the case. In the recent Congressional election in the Mecklenburg district, both winner Hamilton Jones and Republican challenger P. C. Burkholder had fought polite campaigns, but the turnout nevertheless had been light.

The fault, it ventures, lay with the people, not the system. Preservation of the system at least insured that the people would have the opportunity to vote for more competent representatives when they tired of incompetent ones.

"The Empty Jury Box Again" reports that ten of 24 persons summoned for jury duty did not show up, causing the judge to issue caustic remarks from the bench as the court machinery was forced to a halt. But in the end, the judge accepted the prospective jurors' excuses offered when they were brought into court, and suspended the previous contempt citations.

A piece from the Charleston News & Courier, titled "Improved Morals and Habits", tells of the absence of gander pullings in South Carolina or within its immediate vicinity since 1798, when one had occurred in Augusta, Georgia. But, nevertheless, the editorial was concerned about turkey shooting matches involving turkeys tied to a stake. Those, too, however, had apparently disappeared.

It concludes that the average South Carolinian had come to be more refined than in earlier days. But as to cock-fighting, it had no comment.

Drew Pearson discusses tax-czar Congressman Harold Knutson's ban of discussion of his tax bill by the Ways & Means Committee which he chaired. Were the public present, they would witness a mockery of democracy, similar to that for which the country criticized Russia. The Democrats on the committee could learn only from the newspapers what was transpiring behind closed doors among Republican members. Mr. Knutson was allowing no amendments to his bill, despite Democrats having in 1943 allowed minority amendments regarding the Ruml pay-as-you-go tax plan offered in opposition to the majority tax bill. When confronted with this notion, Mr. Knutson stated that there had been a coalition government at the time. Former chairman Robert Doughton of North Carolina responded that the coalition had only been in the sense of cooperation between the majority and minority on tax matters.

Mr. Knutson insisted on voting on the bill before it was finally drafted.

A secret black book on Greece had been handed out by Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson to members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, showing that Communists in Russian-controlled Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria were aiding the guerilla forces in the northern part of Greece seeking to overthrow the Government of King George. It also revealed that while most of the Greek citizens were opposed to the Communists, a great many also opposed King George, even though 84 percent had voted for restoration of the monarchy in the election of 1946. Many had apparently so voted because the monarchy stood as the best hope against Communism.

The book also paid high compliment to the present Greek Government as being staunchly pro-American.

The same was true of Turkey, according to the book. Turkey, where costs of living were decreasing, was better off financially than Greece.

Some members of the Committee believed therefore that the proposed aid ought be limited to Greece.

He next tells of representative Karl Mundt of South Dakota ferreting out the secret agreements made at Potsdam in July, 1945, Yalta in February, 1945, and Tehran in December, 1943, between Russia, the U.S., and Britain. Mr. Mundt insisted that Mr. Acheson make them public as it was impossible to chart the course into the future without the terms of the agreements being known.

Marquis Childs tells of Senator Arthur Vandenberg, just turned 63, having a busy schedule presiding over the Foreign Relations Committee in the mornings and over the Senate in the afternoons. The confirmation of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission still hung fire, preceded now in priority by the emergency proposal of the President for 400 million dollars of aid to Greece and Turkey, needed by March 31 in Greece when the British would abandon their responsibilities. The four treaties approved by the U.N., with Italy, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Hungary, to which the United States would be signatory, still had to be ratified. (The U.S. was not a party to the Finnish treaty, also already finalized by the U.N. The U.S. never declared war on Finland. Incidentally, hush-hush and on the Q.T., when we mentioned three weeks ago a fifth treaty with Poland being omitted, we were momentarily confused, thinking then in terms of the Ford Motor Company.)

Senator Vandenberg had changed during the war from isolationist to internationalist and a vigorous supporter of the U.N. He still regarded himself, however, as a moderate conservative politically, probably accurate. The Wallace supporters regarded him as far too cautious, while the reactionary Republicans vilified him as no one save FDR, a charge led by publisher Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune.

Senator Vandenberg had stated firmly to Life that he would not be a presidential candidate for 1948. He had tired of having all of his moves interpreted as in furtherance of his political ambition.

He scoffed at notions that he and Senator Robert Taft of Ohio were in rivalry with one another or having feuds.

His son, Arthur, Jr., served as his assistant and they worked well together. With all of his work, he needed the teamwork.

Samuel Grafton finds it hard to fathom the gripes of the winners on the right, moving the country steadily to the right, who claimed foul at the hands of the left, wishing to undertake some form of thought control to combat it.

The Texas Legislature had voted to refuse an address by a representative of the American Veterans Committee because he was "too liberal". The school board of Glendale, California, had banned a textbook which they felt was "friendly to Russia", though admittedly not subversive. Representative Edward Cox of Georgia wanted the House to withhold public funds from the salary of David Lilienthal. Each of these actions and others like them served no articulable purpose.

The feeling was that Russia was being merely used as an excuse for a domestic operation, offensive in nature, disguised as defensive. He wonders whether the stage managers were really defending the country against the Red scare or conducting an offensive against the last vestiges of liberal thought.

Wright Bryan of the Atlanta Journal writes anent the flak occasioned by the tour of operatic soprano Kirsten Flagstad after it was made known by the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States that she had been pro-Quisling during the war, a charge which she denied, attributing the collaboration to her husband who had died during the war in prison, charged with collaboration. Ms. Flagstad had been absent from the country since prior to Pearl Harbor.

She was in the U.S. when the Germans invaded her native Norway in spring, 1940. She returned to her husband and family a year later when the U.S. was still technically neutral in the war. She remained in Norway for the duration. She received her visa to come to the U.S. a few months earlier.

Her patriotism to Norway had been attested by the chief justice of the Norwegian Supreme Court, albeit amended by the Norwegian Embassy in the U.S. to include only the time she was in Norway and not prior to that point. Norwegians believed that she could have rendered great service to Norway by remaining out of the country for the duration. There was nothing to indicate that she had aided either the Norwegian resistance or the Nazi invaders, save, in the latter case, by her presence and implied support of her husband's activities.

Irving Kolodin of The New York Sun had written that she placed her domestic interests over patriotism and now sought public approval once again. She had a recital set for Carnegie Hall on April 20—Hitler's birthday—and, he remarked, there were likely enough music lovers to turn out for the concert. While her hiring of Carnegie Hall for her recital was one thing, he found it unacceptable that the Metropolitan Opera, which functioned on public subscriptions by the season and received tax-exempt status, would present her.

Mr. Bryan suggests that one could take the view of Mr. Kolodin or the attitude, "Judge not that ye be not judged." He asks the readers what they thought.

Senator Soaper says: "With the new 60-second camera, the subject need no longer wait a couple of days for the banquet group photo which shows he had had five too many."

But what about whether he had five too many? Because, after all, Senator, to have had five too many twice over, means, inevitably, twenty-five too many.

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