The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 29, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that 4,000 out of 250,000 total Ruhr coal miners had struck at Dortmund, Germany, regarding shortages of food rations. The miners stated that they intended to return to work on Monday, but would strike again if no improvement in conditions were to occur. They wanted the spare 1,550-calory per day ration fulfilled, contending they were getting but two-thirds of it in the British occupation zone. During the previous two days, hunger strikes and marches by over half a million people had taken place in the area, including Dusseldorf.

Britain proposed to the other Big Four nations at the Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Moscow that all prisoners of war be returned to Germany by the end of 1948. Russia possessed more such prisoners than the other three nations.

An unidentified member of HUAC stated that the committee might register a 5 to 4 vote against outlawing the Communist Party, as proposed, but would instead recommend drastic legal curbs on Communist maneuvering in the country. Among the probable restrictions would be further limits in the law regarding advocacy of overthrow of the government by force and violence, more strict fingerprinting of aliens, strengthening the law of treason to cover borderline cases, requiring the Communist Party to publish its membership lists and sources of income, and recommending that the FBI be strengthened and made independent of the Justice Department.

The committee had finished a week of hearings on the matter. It furnished a report with evidence that the Communist Party in the United States had been an agent of Russia since 1919.

Congress was set for adjournment for Easter on Thursday, without yet passing on the President's proposed aid to Greece and Turkey, meaning that if no action were taken, it could not be approved before mid-April, two weeks after the March 31 deadline for the end of British aid. A separate measure for 350 million dollars for relief to Italy, Hungary, Greece, Austria, Poland, and China, was also facing the prospect of delay. Many lawmakers had already gone home, threatening the prospect of lack of a quorum for the last four days before the adjournment.

According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pay of production workers in manufacturing jobs rose 14 percent in 1946, an average of $6 per week, while the cost of living rose 18 percent. The largest increases in wages took place in the lumber and textile industries, with more than 20 percent hikes, but still leaving wages below $40 per week. Wages generally in February, 1947, for the third successive month, were pegged at $47 per week on average. Average hours worked by industrial workers was 38.5, for all manufacturing workers, 40.5, at, respectively, average earnings of $1.133 and $1.165 per hour.

Telephone workers threatening a strike to start April 7, were receiving $43 per week, seeking a $12 per week increase.

As discussed further by Drew Pearson on the editorial page, James Moffett, oil man and former Federal Housing director, testified before the Senate War Investigating Committee this date that Texaco and Standard Oil of California had deliberately defrauded the Navy by charging $1.05 per barrel for Arab-American Oil Co. oil from June, 1945 onward. The British Admiralty, he stated, had been purchasing oil in the Persian Gulf for 40 cents per barrel, setting the competitive price. In 1941, Aramco had offered to sell the oil for about half the 1945 price. Those agreements, he said, had been overlooked in 1945 when the deal was consummated at the $1.05 price.

In Houston, a "selfish" multi-millionaire oil man, H. R. Cullen, who had originally planned to donate 80 million dollars to charity, had doubled the value of the devise to 160 million after re-checking oil prices versus his holdings, which amounted to 80 million barrels. The price currently stood at $2.10 per barrel. He had first announced the gift to the Texas Hospital Association the previous Thursday, stating it at half that value. It was the largest bequest ever made in the history of Texas, and second largest in the history of the country, behind only the eleemosynary pursuits of the Rockefeller Foundation. He had also made other large bequests, including one for $100,000 to the Gonzalez chapter of the Warm Springs Foundation, FDR's infantile paralysis organization.

Well, what if the price drops to a penny a barrel before he kicks the bucket? Then it's just a little piddle of a gift.

In Reykjavik, Iceland, Mount Hekla, the country's most widely known volcano, erupted for the first time in 102 years. It did not appear there were any injuries, as the closest farms were some distance away.

In Phoenix, a two year-old saved her twin sister with skin grafts after the twin suffered severe burns, enabling her to leave the hospital. Twenty percent of the grafted skin adhered to the little girl's body, enough to allow her to gain her strength for undergoing further surgery to remove skin from her own body for grafting.

Near Asheville, the parents of five children, the oldest of whom was only seven, the youngest six months, were found shot to death at their residence. The couple had been estranged from one another for some period of time, when the seven-year old boy came home to spend the day visiting with his father. By the positioning of the guns, the act appeared as a murder-suicide by the husband, a note having been found from the husband begging his wife to return to him.

In Asheville, the North Carolina Education Association elected as president and vice-president two educators advocating the South Piedmont Teachers' salary increase plan, much greater than the thirty percent plan which had been approved as a compromise measure by the Legislature, turning back a bid by the more conservative current vice-president of the organization, normally acceding to the presidency.

In Charlotte, a vicious animal had apparently ripped four shoats wide open as they stood placidly, not harming a soul, in a field on the banks of Stewart's Creek near the city limits the previous night. The owner of the peaceful pigs found their carcasses ripped wide open on this morning, fateful as it was.

Who done it? That's the question. When they find that sucker, there is no punishment too bad, no hell too hot for the perpetrator to endure. Coals beneath the feet ought just be the beginning of the Trial by Ordeal of this Devil. To kill a poor, innocent, peaceful pig minding its own business in the field is beyond the pale, and we as a society owe it to all pigs not to tolerate it for one wee moment. Say no to the useless and senseless slaughter of pigs. These ruthless individuals or animals may come after you next.

The owner thought it was a coyote, but that may have stemmed from his own prejudice. For Coyote, our little brother, would do no such foul deed without at least leaving a note of apology, saying that he was just lean and hungry in a time of shortage.

The owner also reported finding a piece of tell-tale leather, which could be, he thought, part of a dog's leash. But, it also could be the sign left behind of a sadistic cult engaged in unearthly ritualistic practices. Do not be so quick to blame either our canine friends, mister, for this mean and low-down practice.

Citizens, unite! Form a posse and go after these heinous predators of the night, harming the three little pigs. Light a candle in your window for them this night, and remember their cute little faces and little curly tails, as they prance along in pinkness now blissfully in the great Pig Heaven.

Dick Young reports of another slate of candidates, with the approval of the Steering Committee, being formed for the City Council election.

In the Charlotte Open golf tournament, Herman Barron of White Plains, N.Y., had the early lead with a second straight round of 67, a total for two days of 134. First round leader Willie Goggin, also of White Plains, was still on the front nine holes, however, when Mr. Barron finished. Dutch Harrison of York, Pa., winner of the 1944 Myers Park Club event, was running second with a round of 70 and a total of 137 for the two rounds. Tied for third at 140 were Lawson Little, Dick Metz, and George Payton.

Some 2,000 of the spectators formed an army behind Charlotte native Clayton Heafner. Apparently, he was pretty far back in the pack though, as his scores are not listed among several other finishers and withdrawals. But we reserve judgment pending elucidation of further facts. Vic Ghezzi, winner the previous Sunday of the GGO, withdrew from the tournament with a cold after shooting a first-round 75 in frigid weather.

Sam Bates shot a 79 and picked up. Bill Yates shot an 88 and picked up, too. But what was their picked-up score?

By the way, we told you back on February 12, when our school beat the team from Cimarron, which arrived by dogsled at our school despite the 73 foot snow that hit the Triangle, that the Huskies of the Yukon would be the surprise entry. So, what's the big deal now? Relax, sit back, and have an ice cold Coca-Cola. The Spartans, though, didn't quite get there this year. Maybe next.

Call Time Out next time.

On the editorial page, "To Strengthen Civil Service" tells of legislation from the Charlotte delegation to the Legislature to have a Superior Court judge appoint members of the Civil Service Commission to match the County's model Civil Service Commission. But there were problems in that set-up, inhibiting good people from serving on the commission, and the bill thus would likely not pass. The piece proposes that it be altered to have a City Council Civil Service Commission.

"The Case of Kirsten Flagstad" tells of Walter Winchell's crusade among fellow veterans to boycott U.S. performances of the operatic soprano for her having supposedly been pro-Quisling during the war, having returned to Norway prior to Pearl Harbor to be with her family. The result had been that in Charlotte, for instance, the VFW had asked the Parks Commission to cancel the contract with Ms. Flagstad for her performance in April at the Armory. The Commission refused and the VFW reacted by saying they would boycott the performance.

Though some of the music she would present was written by Wagner, there was no political message to be attempted by Ms. Flagstad, and so the piece finds the matter a tempest in a teapot, that her performances should not be made the object of objection by veterans. The State Department had approved her visa for making the operatic tour.

Mr. Winchell, in his column, and the VFW, in their proposed picketing, were within their rights of freedom of expression. But so was Ms. Flagstad in her right to perform. And so would be the attendees of the performance.

Ultimately, the matter rested with the people who would or would not attend the concert, having been informed that Ms. Flagstad denied the charge of being pro-Quisling, admitting that her husband, who had died in prison as a collaborator, had been in favor of the Nazi puppet, shot as a traitor by the Norwegians in October, 1945, for his handing Norway to the Nazis in 1940.

In defending Ms. Flagstad, it should not be forgotten that Hazel Scott, wife of Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York, was denied, in October, 1945, permission by the D.A.R. to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington solely because of her skin color. Marian Anderson had suffered the same treatment at Easter, 1939, invited in consequence by Eleanor Roosevelt to sing from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—which helped to give birth to a dream, continued 24 years later from the same steps. While those instances of racism obviously were not Ms. Flagstad's responsibility, her free rein to perform anywhere she chose in America must be weighed in the balance against the insufferable racism practiced at the time against other musical performers, unquestionably loyal and patriotic Americans.

It becomes more understandable, therefore, why many veterans, who fought and saw their fellow soldiers die from Nazi shell fire, and returned home in the hope of finding a stronger democracy for the fight, felt betrayed by allowing Ms. Flagstad unfettered access to public performances, given her history. For she was not blameless. She did nothing, which is tantamount in those times to being an accomplice to the fact of Nazi aggression, her husband's politics notwithstanding. She was not merely a spectator of someone else's fight. Yet, she adopted that role to her personal dishonor.

Having said that, the above balanced editorial was indited, in all probabilty, by Harry Ashmore, who was an Army lieutenant-colonel in France on the front lines during the war. Thus, his opinion must be given deference accordingly in the matter. Assuming it to be his editorial, it would be perhaps such an even-handed treatment which would win him the Pulitzer Prize for editorial journalism during the Little Rock, Ark., school integration crisis of September, 1957, quelling local tensions with his writing. It is that tenor, in context, which the above editorial adopts, in an obvious effort to accomplish a like result.

All things held equal from the times, however, in perfect hindsight, for the mere taint and controversy Ms. Flagstad provoked, the State Department would have better served the mood of the country by foreseeing the adverse reaction and never approving her visa in the first instance. That is doubly reinforced by the fact that First Lady Bess Truman had refused in fall, 1945 to denounce the action of the D.A.R. with respect to Ms. Scott, and attended a tea in Ms. Truman's honor which had been arranged prior to eruption of the controversy. Public actions of publicly visible personages send loud signals and ripples through a society, an undeniable fact of life.

In the abstract, occurring in an ideal vacuum, Ms. Flagstad should have been afforded the right to perform, regardless of her prior politics or lack thereof, albeit in a time when everyone who had any human feeling and concern held strong emotions one way or the other, failing which suggests more the achievement of Frederich Nietzsche's perfectly insensate Superman, the embodiment of the idealized Nazi, rather than a blameless person on the sidelines. Within the context of the times, she should have been sent home to Norway, hardly a terrible punishment, given that she had already chosen it for herself during the war and that it was her native country.

Yet, we understand and appreciate both the above editorial and the documentary to which we link, and find neither offensive, though we disagree. To obtain truth, one must have active debate and disagreement. The converse, wholehearted and happy-happy agreement, is a hallmark of Nazism and Fascism.

On a more contemporary level, was it proper 25 years later for the Government to try for three years to deport John Lennon, ostensibly because of a prior plea of guilty in England to a marijuana offense, actually because of his highly visible and active stands against the Vietnam War, while in 1947 having no issue with Ms. Flagstad coming to the country for the purpose of performing and making money? Or does the question beg comparison of apples to oranges for the obvious time and political differential?

Perhaps not, as Strom Thurmond, instrumental in getting the ball rolling against John Lennon, had just been elected Governor of South Carolina the previous November of 1946. As a veteran, was he equally incensed by the presence of Ms. Flagstad 25 years earlier? Or was it just the hair which turned the balance?

"In Health, As in Sickness...." reports that the following day was Doctor's Day, to honor physicians in the county, sponsored by the Auxiliary of the County Medical Society, comprised of wives of doctors. The day had first been observed in Georgia in 1933, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Crawford Long, a medical pioneer. Other states then took up the idea.

It urges the healthy, as well as those infirm, to think of the day, to pause to remember how they got that way, healthy, that is—though some of the informed infirm might take pause to consider cause for a more cynical vein.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "In the Nick of Time", tells of an effort to ram through the Legislature, at the eleventh hour of the waning session, a bill to make it a felony to display any written material which advocated the overthrow of the government by force, violence, or any unlawful means.

The piece breathes a sigh of relief that the Governor would be saved from the likes of Sam Hall and John Harden, and also George Washington, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence also might be deemed subversive under the bill, but the D.A.R. could be called in, for its tradition, to save it from consignment to perdition. Revolutionary heroes who had statues to them might, however, also fall within the ambit of the proposed legislation and be chopped down in their prime.

It ventures that the bill would likely pass with flying colours.

Drew Pearson suggests, for insight into the proposed loans to Greece and Turkey, looking at the books of the Export-Import Bank and the loans of the RFC to King Ibn Saud of Arabia. The Navy, since, June, 1945, had paid premium prices for oil from the Arabian-American Oil Co., Aramco, owned by Texaco and Standard Oil of California, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. Government had appropriated 55 million dollars of the money to aid the two companies. The Navy was presently taking two-thirds of its oil from this Aramco supply. The Navy had determined that if Turkey, Greece, and the Dardanelles fell into the Russian sphere, then soon afterward, so would Arabia.

As a result, King Saud got what he wanted, such as a 25 million dollar loan from the Export-Import Bank, approved by the State Department, part of which was for building a railroad from the capital to the King's summer palace in Riyadh.

RFC had provided 30 million dollars to the British for King Saud during the war, to protect the interests of Aramco, to enable them to pay King Saud greater royalties on the oil, at the rate of six million dollars annually.

Nevertheless, Texaco and Standard had charged exorbitant prices for the oil to the Navy. The Aramco prices were the same for delivery to the Navy in Arabia as in the Gulf of Mexico, belying the basis for the higher prices. Though the higher prices had been opposed by the two Naval lieutenants who had sought to negotiate the prices with Aramco, they had been overruled by Navy superiors, presumably Admiral Andrew Carter, head of the Petroleum Board of the Army and Navy. Admiral Carter was a former oil man who had returned to the business. But the Navy instructed Mr. Pearson that it had been the Admiral's brother, also an Admiral, who actually purchased the Navy's oil.

Marquis Childs reports of findings by the Commission on Freedom of the Press, chaired by the chancellor of the University of Chicago, Robert Hutchins, and including Beardsley Ruml, the economist who had authored the pay-as-you-go tax plan of 1943, and ten professors plus a lawyer. Extremists, he suggests, of both the right and left, would not like the results.

The Commission found that, increasingly, a concentration of control over the media was taking place, especially in radio. The report complained of cheapness, sensation, and lying in reportage as other threats to freedom of the press. Such sensationalism was a complaint which Russian journalists had made against the American press.

The only regulation the commission recommended was to strengthen libel laws by requiring a publication to print a retraction for any falsehood it had published. The commission wanted freedom of the press and speech extended to radio and the movies. It advocated more criticism by the public of these various organs of communication. It favored greater stress in schools of journalism on education and research rather than mere training in technique to earn a living. Ultimately, it favored more self-restraint by journalistic organs.

Mr. Childs adds that, though he labored to maintain accuracy in his column, occasionally mistakes inevitably were made. Recently, he had said that Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan had been attacked by the Chicago Tribune for his role in shaping a bipartisan foreign policy, but that the same newspaper had not covered his speech to the Senate in which he had attacked Gael Sullivan of the DNC. It turned out that one story in the Tribune had covered the speech, though Mr. Child's staff had checked all editions thoroughly before he had originally printed the editorial. He thus offers an apology to Col. Robert McCormick for the error.

"We all make mistakes. And maybe if we admit them a little oftener, it would be a healthy thing for everyone."

Better phrased, Mr. Childs, it should be "more often". But we forgive you the error, this time.

Harold Ickes remarks on the "good show" being demonstrated by Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson on behalf of the President's proposed aid to Greece and Turkey. At first, he discussed the "free people" of the two countries and their need for preservation of their freedom, excluding for the nonce King George of Greece, a German sympathizer during the war, and Napoleon Zervas, the current Minister of Defense under the King, who appeared to have taken British gold during the war while collaborating with the Nazis.

Then, the previous Monday, per Mr. Ickes's prior forecast, Mr. Acheson had added Korea to the countries in need of aid.

He had not disclosed that Iran was also awaiting aid. The Iranian Ambassador had sought from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a loan for 250 million dollars. But Iran had shown in the past that it did not honor its debt obligations, one glaring particular instance involving the default since 1928 on a contract with an American corporation to construct a portion of the Trans-Iranian Railway. The outstanding debt of the Iranian Government in this instance exceeded a million dollars.

Mr. Ickes thinks the State Department ought be as concerned about helping such a company to recover its proper payment under contract as loaning money to Greece and Turkey. Some of the money then would become revenue to the U.S. to enable funding of the foreign aid.

A letter provides a concurrent resolution passed the previous January by the Indiana General Assembly, to abandon all Federal aid and tax themselves for their own purposes—essentially to secede from the Union.

That was a brilliant move, Indiana.

Got any more smart legislative ideas, pal, about which to educate the public?

A letter from the chairman of the Board of School Commissioners thanks the newspaper for its Tuesday editorial on the proposed school tax supplement in Mecklenburg County, to afford better quality education than permitted only by the increase in funding afforded by the State.

A letter from Henry Wallace, as editor of The New Republic, informs of his address via NBC on March 13, in response to the President's call the previous day for aid to Greece and Turkey, Mr. Wallace stating that to use American economic power for political or military purposes rather than economic rehabilitation would not ameliorate the problems which led to communism.

He opines that the President's new policy would foster the spread of communism, not prevent it. He favors that to which William James referred as "the replacing power of the higher affection", that is to provide people with something better than communism.

A letter from the chairman of the local Red Cross chapter thanks the newspaper for promoting the recent Red Cross fund drive, which had proved successful.

William R. Bradford, Jr., in the Fort Mill (S.C.) Times, discusses the controversy between Charlotte and Fort Mill as to the locality of the last Confederate Cabinet meeting, each community claiming to possess the locus. In a recent edition of The News, a story had appeared, he says, which referred to Jefferson Davis, before moving south, conducting the last Cabinet meeting at a location in Charlotte, occupied in 1947 by the Bank of Charlotte.

He corrects that statement: while it was agreed among historians that the Davis Cabinet was fleeing Richmond to Montgomery, Ala., at the time, and did pass through Charlotte and Fort Mill, many historians believed that the last Cabinet meeting had taken place in Fort Mill, south of Charlotte. They would not have returned north to Charlotte to hold their last meeting.

He does not mention that Jeff Davis was finally arrested in Irwinville, Georgia, and that Washington, Georgia, also has a competing claim, apparently, that the last Cabinet meeting took place there.

But that of which we would wish to be privy is to what precisely these Cabinet meetings related in their stir-ups. Were they discussing weighty issues such as the price of milk, butter, and sugar in the South? Or whether the milk was adulterated with water and being sold as whole milk? Whether the oleomargarine should be sold with yellow food coloring already added, or clear with the food coloring to be added by the consumer? What was their stand on whether to lift the blue law bans of Fort Mill Sundays and make Mecklenburg County wet? What was the price of a bale of jumped-down picked cotton? These were the things the people wanted to know. What did Jeff have to say of those? These things, the what, are far more relevant than the where or even the who in understanding how around it goes.

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