The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 1, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that King George II of Greece, age 56, had died of a heart ailment, to be succeeded by his brother, Prince Paul, age 45. George had returned from his wartime exile only seven months earlier. The night before, he had attended a showing of Laurence Olivier's presentation of William Shakespeare's Henry V.

Reaction from Congress generally indicated the belief that there would no effect from the death to the proposed 250-million dollar aid package to Greece. House Majority Leader Charles Halleck of Indiana suggested, however, that the death might complicate the passage, while Speaker Joe Martin of Massachusetts expressed assurance that it would no impact have. Let all of England and her dominions thus rejoice in ecstacy; so be it, too, with Greece. The White House had no comment.

The President asked the Congress to extend rent controls for a year beyond the end of the current fiscal year, when they were set to expire under the recent three-month extension.

In Lithonia, Ga., 25 miles east of Atlanta, a black couple were taken from their home by four unmasked white men and flogged. The woman was shot in the foot. The couple said that one of the men accused them of stealing. The men had knocked on their door and claimed to be law enforcement. The couple were then taken away at the point of a shotgun to an awaiting car, driven to a wooded area, and told to get out, whereupon they were both beaten. The man was able to break away and run to a friend's home where he called police. The woman wandered through the woods after the men left and linked up with the police during the morning hours. The police stated that they had no leads on the identity of any of the four men.

In Centralia, Ill., farewell notes were found within the clothing of thirteen of the 111 dead coal miners trapped below ground after an explosion the previous Tuesday of coal mine no. 5. The Centralia Evening Sentinel had the previous day published the notes found in their pockets on Saturday. The thirteen miners had lived for about fifteen hours after the explosion. They had scrawled on a rock face: "Look in everybody's pockets. We all have notes. Give them to our wives."

The story provides several excerpts. One note read: "Everything going, all are gone but Joe Ballantini, Fred Gutzler, Ned Jackson of the joy is here. Don't know about the others." The "joy", the piece explains, was a coal-loading machine, so dubbed for its manufacture by the Joy Co.

The miners of Centralia left the coal pits to begin a six-day period of mourning. All other UMW miners followed suit. All of the six days save Wednesday would have been days off in any event for the miners, for Easter and the traditional April 1 holiday. A West Virginia coal executive claimed, however, that production in recent years had been normal during the Holy Week, save in 1941 and 1946 when there had been strikes.

In Hollywood, Fla., the driver of the 44-passenger diesel bus, which had disappeared from its normal route in the Bronx on Friday, was now in jail. The driver, who had sent a telegram to his New York bus company, asking for money for gas to return the bus, gave no reason for his 1,300-mile odyssey. It had all begun with his normal routine as a bus driver. He started out and kept going, believed his fellow drivers back at the bus company would understand.

He was arrested at Gulfstream Park race track, where he had gone to try to win some dough for the return leg of his mystery trip. When he went to the Western Union office to collect what he thought was some money from his company, he was arrested.

When he began, he said, he did not know where he was headed, Mexico, Florida, or California. He could have wound up anywhere, but hit Highway 1 and so set sail for Florida.

The first day, he had driven 15 hours and spent the night at a tourist cabin in Virginia, then spent Saturday night in Georgia, and in West Palm Beach on Sunday night. He was never stopped or questioned by police as to why he was driving an empty bus. Occasionally, restaurateurs would ask where he was headed and he would respond simply, "South."

He made sure that it was clear that he had a loving wife and family and no trouble at home.

The man just needed to take a trip. When you got to go, you got to go.

In Chicago, a 10-month old infant, possessed of 16 teeth, is shown in a pair of photographs, in one of which munching a hard roll, a regular regimen of which his father, a baker, believed had caused the early development of his teeth and also caused him to gain 16 pounds since birth.

"Sixteen teeth and sixteen pounds," said the baker's son, "what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt."

On the editorial page, "The Coalition Emerges Again" finds the Republicans unified in their 30-20 tax bill, even garnering support of 39 Democrats in the House, despite efforts of former Ways & Means Committee chairman Robert Doughton of North Carolina to table the measure pending further information on the cost of foreign aid. Of the 39 Democrats voting for the bill, 29 hailed from the South, establishing a familiar pattern of coalition. The only Southern state delegation which unanimously supported the Administration was that of Virginia.

In North Carolina, one representative bolted.

It was hard to justify the defection on typical conservative alignment, as economy was a conservative issue, and voting against the bill was to vote to reduce first the national debt before providing tax relief.

The usual question was prompted by the defection: were the 29 Democrats entitled to wear the party label?

"Strikers Outside the Law" discusses the Louisiana milk strike, which included not only AFL union members but farmers, protesting alike fixed prices by New Orleans milk distributors. They had refused to sell their own milk and had banded together forcefully to prevent shipment of milk into the city.

To that end, the striking farmers had seized property on the open highways and had destroyed milk, held up railroad trains with arms, broken into express cars, and broken the seal of a U.S. mail car and taken some of its contents. They had even fired on some persons in the process.

They were upset about the Milk Commission, a public agency which had price-fixing powers. Higher prices would be paid by the consumer should the farmers succeed.

The piece finds the farmers to be out of line, going beyond their legal rights to achieve an end, and jeopardizing the public health in the process, by refusing to produce milk.

The dispute was headed into the courts. Regardless of the outcome, the farmers would lose public support, a process of erosion begun as soon as the farmers interdicted milk coming from outside the state.

"The Legislature's Negative Approach" finds the Legislature overly sensitive to the negative criticism being delivered in redundant salvos by the Raleigh News & Observer and Josephus Daniels. One State Senator had chafed against it so badly that he said that the bill which he had introduced regarding tenant farms was bound to be a good bill because the News & Observer had so vehemently opposed it. His statement drew a round of loud applause from fellow Senators.

The piece thinks it consistent with the negative tone of the Legislative session of 1947. It was one thing for the Legislature to follow editorial opinion without question, but it should also refrain from "creating policy out of petulance."

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Britain Discards Another Symbol", tells of the end of Britain's red coats, which, insofar as military usage, had been abandoned after the Boer War, but had still been used for ceremonial purposes. It was symbolic of the high tide of Empire, of Clive in India, of Kitchener at Khartoum, of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. It had descended from Cromwell's time in 1645 to the present.

Now, every shilling had to be saved, and the red coats cost money. They thus became a symbol of the decline of Empire. Scarlet was giving way to somber green and blue. Pomp was renounced in favor of grimness, willingly accepted.

Drew Pearson continues his expose of John Maragon, the Greek-born former narcotics agent of Kansas City, who was able to obtain audiences with the President for Mr. Maragon's Royalist Greek friends. Mr. Maragon had complained about Mr. Pearson's previous columns about him.

A few years earlier, Mr. Maragon had obtained a photograph of himself with his arm around Mr. Truman, got him to autograph the pictures, and then began using them to obtain influence after Mr. Truman became President.

He was sent to Greece as an observer of the Greek election, but was sent home by State Department representative Henry Grady, who did not appreciate his intermeddling. Back home, Mr. Maragon felt disgraced and that he had disgraced the President, threatened to jump out a window until placated by a Congressman. Notwithstanding the failed mission to Greece, he was still able to obtain entree for his Greek Royalist friends to see the President.

Mr. Pearson next informs of Senator Clyde Reed of Kansas wanting the Reed-Bulwinkle bill to exempt railroads from the anti-trust laws to reach a Senate vote soon, had become upset at delays in the subcommittee occasioned by Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire. The latter saw no reason for haste, as the Justice Department would not bring any further anti-trust actions against the railroads until a decision was reached in the Western freight case. The only reason he saw for rushing was to try to circumvent the decisions of the courts. He told Senator Reed that, contrary to his statement, there was quite a lot of opposition among Senators to the bill.

Marquis Childs tells of a British woman from Coventry writing him a letter complaining of America trying to kill the British Empire, that America's surplus ships were not sold to England because they might interfere with America's trade, pushing up prices on British food. She complained that the British did not want the American 3.7 billion dollar loan of the previous year, but were compelled to seek it. The British Empire, she contended, was a model of unity and democracy, unlike the U.S.

She continued that the British were not "luxury-fed gangsters, but hard and tough, kind-hearted, long-enduring."

During the tough winter in Britain, the royal family was away, touring South Africa to try to unify disparate factions, as the Empire was necessarily shifting its focus to Africa. The success therefore of the trip was of utmost importance.

Should the American effort fail in Greece, the left of the Labor Party in Britain would favor close cooperation with Russia instead of the U.S. The policies of Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin would be reversed and a new Foreign Secretary appointed in his stead.

While Britain's food situation was a disaster, along with its foreign exchange position, it was too early to count it out as a power and an empire.

Samuel Grafton tells of American conservatives wishing to present a united front to the world against Communism while fighting for dominance at home. But they were busy restricting labor unions, relaxing controls on rents, and producing inflationary conditions, hardly a recipe for unity.

The choice was between an enforced unity and one which was built naturally from the ground up. The Republican efforts were only going to produce bitterness in Americans, producing unity for the few, maintained by suppression.

Witnesses testifying before Congress that the country was in danger of being attacked by Russia were not fostering unity. One such witness had even advocated pre-emptive use of the atomic bomb.

Unity, Mr. Grafton suggests, was worth paying for, and only those who were willing to restrain their passions and ambitions could hope to afford it. The price was a function of what a person was willing to sacrifice to obtain unity.

A letter writer objects to the editorial of March 28, "On Prohibition and Democracy", finding it to ignore the majority will of the populace of North Carolina, voting as they had in both 1908 and 1933 in favor of statewide prohibition. Only the Legislature, he says, had allowed the local option which provided for controlled sale in 25 counties, and for wine and beer to be sold in all counties. He thinks that there should be no objection to the statewide referendum favored by the dry forces or to the bill to regulate sale of beer in 29 counties and prohibit the sale of wine in 20 counties.

A letter writer favors a sober state and nation, but not through prohibition. He had seen the failure of the Great Experiment of the Twenties. Prohibition only led to bootlegging and organized crime. The ABC system was not perfect, but it was better than Al Capone.

A letter from a veteran says that the veterans did not wish charity, but rather held the same opinion as that expressed by John McCormally in the April issue of Reader's Digest at page 6, objecting to the spending practices of Congress. He urges sending the McCormally expression, as he had done, to one's Congressman.

A letter writer wants the election regarding city annexation to be held separately rather than concurrent with the mayoral and City Council elections.

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