The Charlotte News

Monday, March 3, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman urged Congress to allow the draft law to expire on March 31. The Army announced that it was releasing some 100,000 non-volunteers by June 30 to bring the Army down to its projected size by that date of 1,070,000. The Army and Navy would request a new law be enacted if the size fell below the projected required level. Initial reaction from Capitol Hill was favorable.

In Palestine, 22 persons had died in violence during the previous three days. A curfew violator in Tel Aviv had become the latest victim, shot by the British Army maintaining martial law. A four-year old girl had also been killed by the British when errant bullets struck her, aimed at her father leaving his home in violation of the round-the-clock curfew, departing after an argument with his wife.

The Senate approved a resolution to cut the President's proposed budget by 4.5 billion dollars and devote 2.6 billion of the savings, as well as money derived from sale of war surplus property, to reduce the debt. It now was headed back to the House, which had previously approved a six billion dollar reduction in the budget. The Senate resolution excluded wholesale cuts to the military.

President Truman arrived in Mexico City, the first President of the United States ever to visit the capital. The President was met by President Miguel Aleman with whom President Truman was scheduled to meet during his visit.

In Harrisburg, Pa., U.S. attorneys were preparing to present witnesses in support of charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to obstruct justice against former Federal Judge Albert W. Johnson and five other men, including three of the Judge's sons.

The Supreme Court agreed to rule on the constitutionality of the Lea Act, which prohibited coercive or extortionate action to force an employer to employ more people than necessary for a particular job, aimed at American Federation of Musicians head James Caesar Petrillo. The Court took up the case on request before it was heard by the Court of Appeals. The District Court had ruled the Act unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court delayed for at least another week a decision on the contempt case against John L. Lewis and the UMW.

Near Baltimore, a nine-year old boy was found hanging in the cloakroom of an Essex, Md., school, and subsequently died without regaining consciousness. His teacher discovered the boy about ten minutes after sending him into the cloakroom for rapping another boy over the head with a book. His mother said that the boy had been happy and singing when he left home that day for school.

Off Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the Coast Guard was able to rescue all 32 crew members aboard a wrecked collier, the Oakey L. Alexander, which had broken in two during a fierce storm, ripping away all of its lifeboats.

Pope Pius XII celebrated his 71st birthday the previous day.

In Hollywood, Carmen Miranda, highest paid woman in the country in 1945, with an income of $251,000, was set soon to marry a backer of one of her recent films.

Tom Watkins of The News tells of the near escape of the convicted murderers of Thomas McClure, manager of the Electric Ice & Fuel Co. In consequence, increased safeguards were being implemented at the County Jail. Jethro Lampkins and Richard McCain, both of whom were to be executed the following October, had secretly obtained hacksaw blades and a knife, apparently from a trustie, and had already removed some of the bars from their cell when discovered by a Sheriff's deputy on the night of February 17. They had been convicted on January 31 for the January 2 murder. The two convicted men were transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh the following day.

Additional deputies were being used to man elevators at the jail in lieu of trusties, and bars were being installed on windows never previously so covered.

Dick Young of The News reports that the previous morning, vandals had taken away a temporary traffic circle erected by police as an experiment in traffic diversion at the intersection of Morehead Street and King's Drive. Police were offering a $25 reward for information on the vandals' identity. The Police Chief believed that teenagers were responsible for the action. Two officers had been assigned to the matter with instructions to hunt down the vandals with alacrity.

Apparently, they had attached to their vehicle a rope and dragged away the boards used to cordon off the circle. A piece of sash cord used in the towing of the boards was retrieved as an important piece of evidence.

Whether the culprits used a sash weight to keep the cord on the ground was not indicated, but, regardless, we might lay odds, dollars to donuts, that it was an early operation of the Plumbers Unit, a sort of test case to see if they could get away with it.

On the editorial page, "Public Schools and Public Responsibility" comments on the Buffalo school teacher strike, the first in the history of the profession. They wanted more pay. The school authorities offered a small increase and the teachers returned to work this date, having remained off the job for a week.

The editorial writers had sided with the teachers, finding their less than subsistence pay far too low, but also questioned their action in striking.

The piece finds their action understandable, as had the average citizen. It was encouraging that perhaps the taxpayers were beginning to understand how important providing reasonable teacher pay was to society.

"Morals, Faith and Compromise" finds a good many people, including the dissenting four Justices of the Supreme Court, upset over the ruling of the Court majority which upheld Government transportation of students to Catholic and parochial schools, not finding it to be a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, requiring separation of church and state.

The North Carolina Catholic, official organ of the Catholic Layman's Association in the state, described school busses as being part of public service and to deny it to children going to Catholic schools would have been undemocratic. The publication's editor had also condemned Protestants for demanding separation of church and state in this instance, had managed even to get in licks on birth control.

The piece expresses admiration for the moral stands taken by The Catholic, but reminds that Protestants also shared in their fervor, and it was that which motivated the protests against the Supreme Court decision.

"The Annual Red Cross Campaign" reminds that the annual drive by the Red Cross needed support as the organization, 85 years old, was providing for veterans, and was many years away from returning to its normal peacetime activities. The Mecklenburg chapter had set a goal of $72,800, smaller than in the war years. It urges contribution.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "A Stamp for Mr. Pulitzer", reports that philatelists would be interested but journalists gratified by the fact that the Post Office was about to issue a new 3-cent stamp to honor Joseph Pulitzer, to go on sale April 10, to honor the 100th anniversary of his birth.

It was the first such recognition ever provided a newspaper man. Mr. Pulitzer had been a brave journalist, to the point of recklessness, and staunch to the point of intransigence. His St. Louis Post-Dispatch still carried on in the tradition he had set on course.

Mr. Pulitzer had said that his passion was politics, "in the sense of liberty and freedom and ideals of justice."

Drew Pearson discusses the Ambassador-designate to Great Britain, Lewis Douglas, appointed to replace the deceased O. Max Gardner. Mr. Douglas possessed even more charm, he relates, than FDR, and was only one step removed from being a British subject, himself, his grandfather having been Scotch and a professor of geology, migrating ultimately to Arizona where he established a copper mine which made millions.

Mr. Douglas had a lot of Government experience and had maintained close ties with Canada, through which his grandfather had migrated. He had served as chancellor of McGill University in Montreal.

He had sometimes hated the New Deal and at other times, had worked in its behalf. He came to Washington as a young Congressman in 1929, and when FDR became President, was made Director of the Budget, a position from which he operated as a fiscal conservative opposed to New Deal spending. He had been instrumental in getting his old friend Dean Acheson appointed as Ambassador to London, and now it was Mr. Acheson, as Undersecretary of State, who had recommended the appointment of Mr. Douglas.

Mr. Douglas had split with FDR over his spending polices and departed Government, voting for Alf Landon in 1936 and Wendell Willkie in 1940. But he came back into the fold at the outset of the war, and FDR, despite his reputation for maintaining long political grudges toward the disloyal, had welcomed him back.

Mr. Pearson believes he would make a good Ambassador. In 1943, when FDR had asked him to come to the Quebec Conference and help smooth troubled relations with the British, he had done so. But he had not been hesitant also to confront when necessary the British Minister for Shipping at the point the latter insisted that the U.S. provide transports because of a British shortage. Mr. Douglas told him that his claim was untrue and did so without upsetting anyone.

While Mr. Douglas would be sympathetic to the British in their current economic struggles, he would also be an American first.

Marquis Childs reports of the President's trip to Mexico. Mexico was beset by extreme inflation, serving as an object lesson to the U.S. With 1929, a year of high prices, as a base scale at 100, the cost of living index in Mexico for the previous year stood at 313. In January, it had dropped back slightly to 311.9, but in February prices had again climbed. The index on food alone stood at 355.2 the previous December. A year earlier it had been at 298.5.

The average Mexican had always been poor. In 1941, beans cost 30 cents; in 1946, they were five times higher. Lard had gone from 1.40 to 6.50 during the same period, corn from 15 cents to 55 cents.

There was a wartime boom because of spending from the U.S. Luxury apartments were springing up in Mexico City; in the suburbs, houses for the nouveau riche were being built, starting at about 40,000 pesos, at 5 pesos to the American dollar.

The Administration of Miguel Aleman was seeking to straighten out the problems caused by the inflationary economy, hoping to obtain a loan from the U.S. to stabilize prices.

But the U.S. had its own inflation woes, in turn causing problems for the wage earner, especially with higher food prices.

He warns that the higher inflation would climb, the worse the fall would be at the end.

Samuel Grafton, back in Paris after returning from Prague, tells of the wall between Americans and Europeans in terms of that with which Europeans would cope while Americans would not. He cites as example a night he had spent in London, passing four or five people huddled by a street fire because their houses were too cold for them to stay warm in the midst of the coal shortage from the harsh winter. They appeared not to mind the discomfort, took it in stride.

The French middle class lived in housing which Americans would deem inadequate. Rent control had been in effect since World War I, and the result was that rents were not profitable and so no new housing for the purpose was being constructed. Life transpired without much change or upward mobility in society.

A Frenchman had explained to Mr. Grafton that even the large vote for the Communists did not translate necessarily into a French desire for change. They were merely voting against the upper classes, as they had for a long time. The radicalism was no more radical than 150 years earlier. The Communists had been in the country for many generations, simply operating under different labels.

The French were suspicious of the American determination to make life better for Germans. A rough time for Germany would mean peace on the Continent.

He cites as example of French attitude that of an old woman who delivered newspapers on her bicycle. She did not feel that the French were cruel to the Germans, nor that life itself was cruel. She believed Americans were crazy.

A letter writer objects to the recommendation of the State General Assembly Joint Appropriations Committee to increase total expenditures by $300,000 more than that recommended by the Budget Commission. He warns that overspending at the state level was as corrosive as at the Federal level, finds such spending to cause the country to border on socialism.

He believes teachers, but not other state employees, were entitled to increased salaries.

A letter writer finds that the word "liberal" "has took" on an entirely different meaning from its old meaning, that a person believed in liberty. Now, it meant that a person was freely advocating the spending of taxpayer money. He regards as farcical the previous letter writer's praise of Frank Porter Graham as a recipient of the Brotherhood Week honor, finding the concept of the Week itself equally farcical.

"Liberal" was "idinified as a 'contagin carrier' for the 'Red-Communist-plague'", laying down the Red carpet for the Communists, who would "enslave the populace to the dabacil of state slavery".

One of the principal means of deception, acting as an "opate" for lulling the unsuspecting, was the concept of racial tolerance. Contrary to the general "suppisition", racial tolerance meant that everyone else had to tolerate the arrogant practices of the "intolerant poltically prejudiced preverts".

Any mature person "pocessing" strong convictions had the right to abhor people or things which were a threat to health.

He wants "consentious" Americans to become alert to the intentions of liberals, that they were fellow "travlers" and "posion" peddlers of communism.

"It should be the further duty to desist from exaulting them to the platitude of polite respect and pompious tribute. And in this consideration, Dr. Graham's position would prove no exception."

The editors note that the spelling was as printed by the letter writer.

Mr. Black had written a similar letter earlier, replete with suspiciously selectively erratic orthography. Whether he was doing the best he could or was deliberately engaging in a form of irony is not clear. And, to be effective, it ought be.

"Personnel", incidentally, from November 1, 1946, is now here.

Leave, gentle waxman; nurse, blame us not, trying to save paper.

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