The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 19, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the estimates by the Red Cross of the dead in the Texas City explosions of Wednesday and Thursday mornings had risen to 580, with some 3,000 injured. The numbers were still rising. It was still not determined what the initial cause had been of the fire aboard the French ship Grand Camp, which caused the ammonium nitrate in one of its holds to explode, spreading then to the nearby Monsanto Chemical Works Plastics Plant, and then, 16 hours later, causing the High Flyer Liberty ship berthed nearby also to explode in a hail of steel shards, injuring numerous rescue workers.

Victor Riesel reports that in New York, there had been an effort by the Communists to turn the walkout of the switchboard operators in the telephone strike into a "mass of picket lines and wild demonstrations". The effort had been planned for a year. They had sought to infiltrate the union and convince the gullible strike leaders that outside help was needed, then seeking to direct the obtention of that help from pro-Communists.

Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey urged his fellow Republicans to meet with the President to develop a labor bill which he would sign. He predicted that the current Senate bill could pass the President's desk, but not if radically amended. Democratic Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana agreed with that assessment.

U.S. Steel reached an agreement with the Steelworkers Union, causing automobile stocks to lead the way of other stocks in gains from a few cents to three dollars per share on the New York Stock Exchange. The terms of the wage settlement at U.S. Steel were not disclosed, but it was believed to entail around 15 cents per hour.

The strike scheduled to begin Monday for the Wall Street Exchange, itself, had been postponed for at least one day.

Cannon Mills, towel kings, of Kannapolis and Concord, N.C., the country's largest manufacturer of household textile goods, had lowered prices on a broad range of products.

In response to the President's plea to lower prices, other companies had done likewise, with canned goods going down two to ten cents, anthracite coal, by 60 cents per ton in certain areas for the summer, canned chicken, soap by up to ten percent, Crisco, furniture, milk in New York, Boston, and New Jersey, by one percent per quart, and footware by certain companies.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, stated that he had reversed his position of the previous day and decided that Russia should not receive further lend-lease goods until they had cured the default on payments in satisfaction of wartime lend-lease obligations. Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson had urged that the already contracted lend-lease consignment of oil refining equipment be shipped under terms of a 30-year credit.

The Foreign Ministers Council, meeting in Moscow, agreed, at the insistence of Secretary of State Marshall, to take up the issue of Austria's frontiers this night. The primary dispute was Yugoslavia's claim to southern Carinthia, supported by Russia and opposed by the Western powers. A stalemate had been reached the previous night on the issue of defining German assets in Austria for the sake of providing reparations.

Both Secretary Marshall and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin were reported to be in favor of adjournment, as it appeared there was no way immediately to effect either a German or Austrian treaty, which had been the primary goal of the meeting. Some observers speculated that the Russians were seeking to stall the treaties, that they might first determine the effects of the new Truman Doctrine.

Noonday meals for school children in the American occupation zone of Germany would begin on May 1, at which point, in Hessen, 573,000 students of ages 6 to 18 would be receiving 350 calories per day.

Study hard, now.

The remains of British Maj. General Charles Wingate, famed "Chindit" leader, killed in the crash of a B-25 on March 24, 1944, had been located near Thillon in India, 50 miles northwest of Imphal.

A photograph appears of a sobbing Patricia Schmidt, nightclub dancer, reenacting the fatal shooting of John Lester Mee aboard his yacht in Havana Harbor.

You won't wish to miss the outcome of that case.

It would help, however, since this matter has not previously been on the front page, to tell the reader just who was supposed to be whom in the reenactment, and why the pistol is pointed as it is, downward, poised at a slightly inward angle. It seems odd.

The pistol, probably belonging to Mr. Mee, must have been a Kauckov.

On the editorial page, "Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No" discusses the House Labor bill, finding Representative Graham Barden of North Carolina to have added to it an amendment which would permit states to go further than banning only the closed shop, and allow state bans on the union shop and maintenance-of-membership agreements to stand. He had justified it on States' Rights doctrine.

But the piece thinks that rationale nonsensical, as the Congress would have thus left the matter to the states in any event.

It offers that if the State had the right to ban the closed shop, then it ought have the right also to permit it. Thus, the States' Rights rationale was a one-way street.

"Whose Home's Whose Castle?" tells of a South Carolina judge ruling that striking mill workers had no right to live in company houses during a strike, concluding that the mill could evict such workers. The woman in question had contended that she was still an employee and contractually thus had a right to live in the home. The court ruled that she could not serve two masters at once, the union and the company. The case would, no doubt, be appealed.

"These Are Not Criminals" tells of six prisoners in the Shelby jail who belonged in the mental hospital at Morganton. One complained that her neighbors were plotting to kill her with a death ray—very possible in Shelby, especially as the Roswellians were poised to attack in less than three months. She had a loaded gun, in case.

Soon, when the Camp Butner facility, just donated to the State by the Federal Government, could be opened, there would cease to be any excuse for not funneling such prisoners into the mental health facilities. Placing such people in jails usually only exacerbated the condition.

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "We Spread the Gospel", promotes the recent Charlotte election, overwhelmingly approving the measure to raise property taxes to support education, as a good example for Salisbury to follow. The voters in Salisbury previously had approved an ad valorem tax of 18.5 cents per hundred dollars of valuation for education, but another 11.5 cents was necessary or a severe reduction in school personnel would be the result.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman Clare Hoffman of Michigan becoming enraged at Speaker Joe Martin of Massachusetts for seeking a compromise on the labor bill such that the closed shop ban would permit the union shop, whereby an employer and a union could agree to have only union employees, which the employer could select. Mr. Hoffman ultimately became so enraged that he stormed out of the caucus, saying that the bill was being written by "a bunch of gosh durned politicians".

He next reports of the gosh durned Ku Klux Klan of Atlanta, Klavern No. 1, holding a meeting in which pep talks were provided by the Reverend Mr. Jones of the National Biscuit Co., who had no church, and the Reverend Mr. Bomer of Milledgeville, Ga., who wanted to become exalted cyclops of his own klavern. They discussed a new schedule of bonuses for bringing in members: nothing for fewer than ten; $1 each up to 50; $1.25 for up to 100; $1.50, thereafter. Grand Dragon Dr. Samuel Green praised Atlanta detective Jimmy Helms for his membership recruitment.

Dr. Green also talked of the Georgia Attorney General Dan Duke, who had recently successfully prosecuted the leaders of the Columbians, Inc., on charges of conspiracy to riot and assault.

Dr. Green thought the Klan had made progress in promoting discrimination and predicted, correctly, that Herman Talmadge—just prevented by the Georgia Supreme Court from succeeding to the Governor's office based on the Legislature electing him in the wake of his father's death the previous December before being sworn into office—would win the gubernatorial election of 1948.

The initiation ceremony for the new Kleuchers, previously shortened because they were fearful that spies of Drew Pearson might be present, was given in full, as they believed the spies were not in the hall. They had said that were Mr. Pearson present, they could have an initiation "out in the woods" for him.

He next informs that six-year old Saundra Fey Hall, chosen by the VFW to pin the annual poppy on the President, proved to have a commanding view of political geography. When provided a sombrero as a souvenir by the President, she asked whether it was a Missouri hat, to which he responded with a laugh that he had picked it up during his recent trip to Mexico. The little girl lived with her five brothers in an Eaton Rapids, Mich., war orphans home, supported by the VFW poppy drive.

The Logan Act, which Representatives J. Parnell Thomas, chairman of HUAC, and member John Rankin had suggested be used by the Justice Department to prosecute former Vice-President Wallace for speaking in Britain against the new American foreign policy, had developed in 1799 out of the trip taken to France by Dr. George Logan in an effort to stop war between the U.S. and France. Though he had letters of introduction from Thomas Jefferson and other influential Americans, and knew Talleyrand, many of the Federalists, including former President Washington and current President John Adams, were upset at that which they perceived to be his intermeddling. They convinced Congress to pass the Act to prevent negotiations between a citizen and a foreign government on a matter of dispute between the foreign government and the U.S. Government. Dr. Logan, however, was never prosecuted under the Act, and no one had ever been.

Dr. Logan, Quaker and scientific farmer, not unlike Mr. Wallace, went on to become Senator from Pennsylvania. Some believed that Mr. Wallace might ultimately be elected to the Senate from his newly adopted home state of New York.

Mr. Pearson suggests that two countries nurtured on freedom, as the U.S. and Britain, were too level-headed to be concerned about the Wallace speeches. But the reaction in Russia might be different.

Stewart Alsop, still in Cairo, finds it surprising that it was nearly universally assumed that the policy of the U.S. Government in the Middle East was dictated by the American companies, forming Aramco, which controlled the American oil concessions in Saudi Arabia. A leftist Jewish newspaper in Palestine, a Cabinet officer in an Arab government, and an American businessman on a Middle East junket all shared that view. In fact, it was becoming a pervasively held belief throughout the world.

He regards it as "twaddle", a point on which all qualified American observers in the Middle East appeared to agree. The American policy makers and the oil company executives operated separately from one another, and two bodies of opinion had developed among informed American observers as to the relationship between oil and American policy in the Middle East.

The first such view, held by a minority, came from a liberal of the old school with impeccable integrity and sound intelligence, with long experience in the region. He found it dangerous that the oil executives of Aramco, controlled by Standard Oil of California and Texaco, because of sporadic contacts with the Government, could make decisions impacting the political and strategic situation in the Middle East, completely independent of the Government. An example was the decision to build the railway in Saudi Arabia.

The oil companies funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of King Ibn Saud and other heads of state in the Middle East, impacting policy, without any direction from the Government. As King Saud was incorruptible and sought the best for his people, there was no problem in his case. But one day, he would die and have a successor who would follow the precedent, with the result that policy could be formulated with neither Aramco nor the American Government understanding its direction. The same had been true for a long time in the British Near East policy, determined by the British East India Co.

The observer also believed that if the Soviet oil interests in the region were satisfied, then tensions would quickly be mollified.

The other view was that while American interests in the region were not political, but only commercial, the Soviet interests were driven solely by politics. Russia was not seeking oil, as shown by the first Moscow conference in which both the U.S. and Britain had offered to back any Soviet request for oil concessions in Iran. Mr. Molotov was not interested, however, in this olive branch but wanted to gain political control of the Iranian Government.

The majority view, in contrast, was that Russia would use any oil concession in the area to further their own political interests and that the only way to prevent it from military or political expansion in the area was to make it plain to the Soviets that the effort was not worthwhile.

Samuel Grafton, still writing from Manteo, N.C., tells of peace pervading the atmosphere of Roanoke Island and the war becoming fast a distant memory. With that mood, however, there was a feeling that the lessons of the war would be lost.

But a man in a truck told of the high prices demonstrating that the country was not yet set for peace, that it was not "equalized". Another man, who appeared as a contractor, driving a large sedan, likewise complained about prices, calling them extortionate. He hoped for a short economic setback in the country to throw a scare into the pirates and cause them to lower prices.

Mr. Grafton ventured to the amphitheater where, during the summer, Paul Green's "The Lost Colony" would be performed, and saw that the museum adjacent to it had been a WPA project during the New Deal. It reminded of the Depression.

Most of Manteo did not think that a slight setback was acceptable, instead wanting a business boom, that the cars being built unrelentingly now in Michigan had to be purchased, then would roll along the roads. When they did, some of them would roll to the Outer Banks and Manteo for the fishing and beaches, boosting the economy. So, if the cars kept on being produced, everything, thought one man, would be fine.

Thus, part of the island appeared to be hoping for a boom, while another part, distressed over high prices, wished for a small setback to lower them. The two aspirations could not be reconciled, as was the case across the rest of the country, and so the man in the truck was right, that things had not been equalized.

A letter from a minister counsels voting against the referendum on controlled sale of liquor coming up on June 7 in Charlotte, that it was as sensible to legalize drugs as liquor, on the premises of reducing bootlegging and raising revenue.

He advises the reading of certain cited Bible passages and voting no.

A letter from Inez Flow, as usual addressing the topic of liquor, maintains that Prohibition had been a success in the nation, as evidenced by the testimony of numerous people—no doubt, had Al Capone not recently met his maker, a testimonial surely provided to her he would without a fee.

She concludes by quoting Blackstone—always a mistake—anent the notion that the law regulates what is right and wrong. And she asks whether liquor was right and should laws legalize its sale.

She, of course, missed the point entirely. But Al was singing in the chorus in the background, along with Frank and the rest of the band. So that's the important thing.

We might query Ms. Flow as to whether the extant law of the day did not the crucifixion of Jesus Christ say thus, if the law define right and wrong, was right.

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