The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 23, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that former Vice-President Henry Wallace spoke in Paris, saying that the U.S. and Russia had undermined the cause for which men had died during the war. He stated that he believed that Russia would, of necessity, continue seeking access through the Dardanelles into the Mediterranean and that the Communists would continue to have considerable influence in nations where there was scarcity—consistent with his philosophy enunciated since May, 1942 of providing foreign aid in the form of food and implements to produce food rather than funding for weaponry, billingsgated by critics as "milk for Hottentots". The former Secretary of Agriculture and, until the previous September, Secretary of Commerce, also believed that Communists would thrive under martyrdom. He further stated that he believed that the U.S. would continue to be committed to democracy and competitive enterprise, but that toughness on both sides only bred further toughness, disserving the cause of peace.

Earlier, Mr. Wallace had told a press conference that Russia should forgo heavy reparations from Germany and receive instead 10 to 17 billion dollars worth of food and services under a 50-billion dollar world reconstruction program.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministers Council meeting was winding down, without either an Austrian or German treaty being concluded, primary goals of the conference. Secretary of State Marshall stated that if the Austrian treaty were not completed by September, he favored turning the matter over to the U.N. He also stated that Russia had blocked agreement on a four-power German disarmament treaty. Foreign Commissar Molotov claimed that the U.S. had blocked the agreement by rejecting Soviet amendments to the treaty.

The Senate Banking Committee approved a long-range housing bill which would encourage the building of 15 million homes by 1958. The Senate as a whole had passed a similar bill in the previous session, but it wound up shelved in the House.

Builders especially opposed a provision encouraging construction of 500,000 public housing units in the first four years of the program, for which the Government would fund 26.4 million dollars for each of the first four years. For the ensuing 41 years, the Government would annually pay out 105 million dollars. The other major component of the bill was that Federally insured loans would be available to cover 95 percent of the purchase price of the housing.

In an effort to end the telephone strike, Federal conciliators asked for a meeting with three key units of Bell Telephone and the unions. The strike was in its 17th day.

In response to the invitation tendered two days earlier by William Green of AFL to CIO to meet regarding possible merger of the two labor organizations, president Philip Murray of the CIO agreed to meet with Mr. Green at the earliest possible time.

The UAW voted to demand of G.M. a straight 15-cent hourly increase, already rejected by the company. The company had offered 11.5 cents and 3.5 cents additional pay for six holidays. The union rejected that offer.

In Newburyport, Mass., Clover Farm, a major New England grocery store chain, cut prices by 30 percent, and six other communities joined Newburyport in its campaign to roll back prices at least ten percent. Newburyport stores which had reduced prices the previous day reported an increase in sales by 10 to 46 percent. Wholesalers were also following suit with reductions in prices of goods.

In Durham, N.C., police and firemen were searching for an arsonist who had set seven fires at Duke Hospital early in the day, the first breaking out at 2:30 a.m. It took until 8:40 a.m. to extinguish all of the fires. There was no panic among patients and few even knew of the fires. Damage was confined to X-ray storage facilities, destroying about 10,000 X-rays, and a medical lab.

In Philadelphia, Kirsten Flagstad, opera soprano who had been accused of being pro-Quisling during the war in her native Norway for having returned there prior to Pearl Harbor to be with her admittedly pro-Quisling husband, was roundly booed at the Academy of Music during her performance. Stench bombs were also set off in the hall. Pickets paraded outside with signs accusing her of being pro-Nazi.

The booing began only after her first selection was performed, erupting from the loges section. The hecklers were ejected and the performance continued for about 1,000 members of the audience. No arrests were made.

In Hollywood, actress Arline Judge was granted a divorce decree from her fourth husband and announced her intention to marry the brother of one of her former husbands. She cited as ground for her divorce that her husband made fun of her career. Shame on him.

Also in Hollywood, actress Marion Hutton was scheduled to try out for a film role in which her sister Betty had originally planned to act, but for a scheduling conflict. Keep your fingers crossed.

Clarence Kuester, 70, the "chief booster" of Charlotte, announced his retirement as executive vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, after 40 years of service to the city. Mr. Kuester was a close friend of W. C. Dowd, former publisher of The News until the previous January. Mr. Dowd moved reluctantly that the executive board accept Mr. Kuester's resignation.

John Crosby reviews the recently aired Mutual Radio Network broadcast of "The Trojan Women", of which you may read on page 2-A.

On the editorial page, "Interior Under the Axe" finds it to be purely a political move to attract headlines that the Republicans had slashed the budget of the Department of Interior by 48 percent, or 139 million dollars. It amounted to only a bit over two percent of the necessary six billion dollars of cuts to balance the budget and still provide the promised tax cut on which the Republicans had run the previous fall.

Interior was one of the smallest Government departments and had grown little either during the New Deal or the war, increasing by only 3,000 employees since 1938. Its services were traditional and not the product of the New Deal.

To curtail functions drastically would likely mean that many worthy projects in operation would deteriorate, from preservation of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace to the Hoover Dam.

The record suggested that the Republicans were paying more attention to 1948 than the work before them of slicing the budget reasonably.

The point perhaps was that the Republicans wanted the public to have fused in their minds such personages as the Centralia "murderer" J. A. Krug, Harold Ickes, former head of the Department under FDR and until February of 1946 when he broke with President Truman, the late Harry Hopkins, head of WPA, and Henry Wallace, all implying Communist-Socialist-Fellow Traveler-Pink tendencies of the Democratic Party, from which taint it was hoped they could not escape by the time the brush had painted them thus and caused the image to stick, to rub off on Harry, doubly reinforced by Thomas and Dick.

"A Symbol of Public Ingratitude" criticizes the low pay provided public servants, requiring that they continue to work when retirement would be ordinarily an option financially had they been employed in the private sector. Former Secretary of State Byrnes had taken a job in a Washington law firm rather than retiring to write his memoirs. After serving in the Senate, on the Supreme Court, as War Mobilizer, and as Secretary of State, he had earned no more than that necessary to cover his immediate needs.

The solution was not to provide for pensions but to provide better pay to government functionaries.

Mr. Byrnes, nearly 65, would go on to become Governor of South Carolina from 1951-55. He would live until 1972.

"Fred Allen and the Vice-Presidents" finds the cutting of a half minute from the Fred Allen Show the previous Sunday night because he had refused to change a script which criticized NBC vice-presidents, to have been an exercise in futility, which might even backfire and cause the public to believe that his comments about the network were true. He had once memorably quipped that NBC bought desks with built-in vice-presidents.

As with newspaper editors, the vice-presidents had the final say at the network. Nothing else would happen to Mr. Allen because of his high Hooper ratings, the highest in radio, deserved for his being the only real satirist on the airwaves. But the listener was left to conclude that his satire lampooning the Irish, Jews, Southerners, and farmers through the various characters appearing on "Allen's Alley" each Sunday night was not off limits when NBC vice-presidents were.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Every Knock a Boost", comments on Russian journalist Ilya Ehrenburg having criticized the Voice of America broadcasts from Munich into the Soviet Union for being untruthful and the product of "servile reactionaries". He made the comments in Culture and Life, a Russian publication.

The State Department, for its part, was glad to receive the negative publicity on the belief that it would attract more Soviet listeners.

Drew Pearson states that the most important vote of the decade had occurred in the House on the Hartley labor bill on April 17. Of the 22 Republicans voting against it, most were veterans of the war and freshmen in Congress. Of the 93 Democrats who voted against it, many had New Deal records and were considered strong Roosevelt followers. But Roosevelt-Truman men such as Lyndon Johnson, Wright Patman, and John Lyle of Texas, Albert Gore and Jere Cooper of Tennessee, and Herbert Bonner of North Carolina, all voted for the bill, as anti-labor sentiment in their districts was running high. They had refused to support even mild labor reform.

Other Democrats, however, where anti-labor sentiment also prevailed, voted against the bill, such as former Speaker Sam Rayburn and Albert Thomas of Texas, Hale Boggs of Louisiana, George Smathers of Florida, Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, and Harold Cooley of North Carolina.

The political pendulum could swing back to labor as it had in Britain.

The 22 party bolters among the Republicans had been heavily pressured by business interests to vote for the bill. They included Homer Angell of Oregon, Runt Bishop of Illinois, John Brophy of Wisconsin, James Patterson of Connecticut, and Jacob Javits of New York.

Perhaps a motivating factor in these Republican votes, ventures Mr. Pearson, was that it had only been ten years since the Harlan County massacre in Kentucky, Republic Steel's Chicago massacre, Andrew Mellon's coal and iron police, and Henry Ford's goon squads at the Rouge Plant in Dearborn, and that Congress should not seek to remedy a wrong of labor in overplaying its hand in recent strikes by committing another.

Marquis Childs tells of Harold Stassen, former Minnesota Governor and delegate to the U.N. Charter Conference in April to June, 1945, touring Europe, beginning with the Soviet Union and eventually planning to stop in England. In Russia, he had interviewed Josef Stalin and twelve of the top Soviet leaders, and would report back on his findings when he returned. He would do the same in England.

Mr. Childs contrasts his conduct with that of Henry Wallace, finding Mr. Stassen to be listening rather than telling his audiences what to think. He finds the conduct admirable.

The Republican insiders, however, dismissed Mr. Stassen as a viable presidential candidate for 1948, though public opinion polls consistently ranked him second to Thomas Dewey in voter preference.

Mr. Childs suggests that a proposal of an open primary would be good for the people to be heard above the din of the smoke-filled room in selection of party nominees. But Senator Robert Taft opposed such a change in process as he claimed it would cause only candidates with a lot of time to campaign and support from big money to have a chance in an open field. Ultimately, the field would be narrowed thus to two or three candidates, not the truly open field which the advocates of such a primary claimed.

Mr. Stassen would lecture and write about his findings during his trip, reminiscent of that taken by the late Wendell Willkie in the wake of his defeat for the presidency in 1940. The country would be in Mr. Stassen's debt, he thinks, for his lending to better understanding of the situation in Europe.

Joseph Alsop relates that bitterness and gloom were taking hold of the progressive and moderate Republicans as they became convinced that the conservative majority of the party were throwing away the election of 1948.

One recent example of this negation costing public support was the insistence in the House Appropriations Committee on sharply curtailing the funds for power, reclamation, and flood control projects, at the behest of the public utilities industry. The House as a whole would likely pass the legislation, but action in the Senate was uncertain.

The result was that the Republicans representing the Pacific Northwest and California, as well as other Western states, were incensed. Such projects as Bonneville Dam, the Grand Coulee, the Columbia Basin, and the Central Valley of California were vital to those areas and cutting them to the quick would result in loss of political support.

There had also been fallout from the labor restrictive legislation, despite the fact that most of the country was in an anti-labor mood. Eastern Republicans believed the punitive bill being contemplated to be politically suicidal.

Senator Taft had taken the position that the bill should be as strong as possible and be an omnibus bill rather than three separate pieces of legislation, to present the President with a single choice. If he vetoed it as expected, and if more than one-third of the Senate, as Senator Taft believed, would sustain the veto, then it would nevertheless be politically beneficial, as the Republicans could claim that the President had blocked effective labor legislation.

A vetoed bill would leave the President without weapons to fight a strike by John L. Lewis during the summer. That could produce a wave of political hysteria beneficial to the extreme right of the Republican Party. But it might also, in turn, benefit the extreme left, and ultimately break down the structure of American politics.

In the end, the Democrats, with a 44-member minority in the Senate, would need seven more votes to sustain the President's veto in June of the Taft-Hartley Act. Thirty-two of 95 sitting Senators at the time were required for sustaining the veto. Twenty-two Democrats voted to sustain, 20 voted to override, and three were either not present or abstained. Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi was sick and had been delayed indefinitely in taking his controversial oath of office; Senators Elbert Thomas of Utah and Robert Wagner of New York abstained. Three Republicans, Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon, William Langer of North Dakota, and George Malone of Nevada, voted with the 22 Democrats to sustain the veto.

Only six of the Democrats voting to sustain hailed from the 13 Southern states: future Vice-President Alben Barkley of Kentucky; 1952 vice-presidential candidate John Sparkman of Alabama; Lister Hill, also of Alabama; Olin Johnston of South Carolina; Harley Kilgore of West Virginia; and Claude Pepper of Florida.

Senator Harlan Pepper of Montezuma was at the dog show with Senators Soaper and Claghorn, had asked for a vote by proxy, but the hound he left in his stead, voting in the "ruffs", was not recognized by the chair for being out of order, having grabbed the voting button and touched by mistake the high-tension wire on the red telephone, finding it to be a hare-raising experience.

That's a joke, son.

A letter from Lamar Stringfield, conductor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony, living in Charlotte, writes of air travel to Knoxville from Charlotte. He provides the schedules for flights, comparing times by bus, having to go via Asheville or even Greensboro, the latter necessitating travel first to the east.

He assures that he was not griping, but setting forth facts on the roundabout transportation methods available, costing precious time from business schedules. He urges the Civil Aeronautics Board to approve a route which would enable direct air travel from Charlotte to Knoxville.

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