The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 24, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Moscow ended in complete deadlock on all the major sections of the German and Austrian treaties, the object of the conference, which had lasted 45 days. The foreign ministers had agreed on reducing occupation troops in Germany.

They would meet next in London the following November, if not in New York in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly meeting of September.

In Prague, Gestapo head Harold Wiesman and five of his henchmen were sentenced to hang for their roles in the destruction of Lidice in June, 1942. Nine others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from nine to 30 years. Lidice had been razed and its male inhabitants systematically murdered, its women and children sent to concentration camps, after it was believed that the town harbored the men who had exploded a bomb in the path of a passing car occupied by Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler's "protector" of Czechoslovakia and the author of the "Final Solution" planned at the Wannsee Conference of January, 1942, resulting in his death a few days later.

Former Undersecretary of the Treasury John W. Hanes told the Senate Finance Committee that the country could have both tax reduction and debt reduction, provided Congress followed its current plan to slash the President's budget.

G.M. refused to agree to a UAW demand that it submit to arbitration to determine whether it should grant an additional flat 3.5 cents per hour increase in wages to go along with the 11.5 cents offered and 3.5 cents for six paid holidays.

John L. Lewis provided $100,000 in UMW funds to help the telephone workers' strike. The UMW had just received a refund of 2.8 million dollars from the reduction of the 3.5 million dollar fine imposed the previous December by the Federal District Court on a finding of contempt for calling a strike agaisnt the Government and violating a court order to call it off. The fine had been remitted to that extent by the Supreme Court in March on condition that Mr. Lewis call off the March 31 strike he had previously threatened. The judge warned Mr. Lewis, in ordering the refund, that the Federal injunction barring a strike against the Government was still in effect and could be invoked at any time.

The National Federation of Telephone Workers was an independent union, not affiliated with either AFL or CIO.

In Malartic, Quebec, eleven men were trapped in a gold mine fire 200 feet below ground, with one known to be dead. The fire apparently ignited in a lunch room.

In Rio De Janeiro, "Selma the Terrible", a Paraguayan Government spy, had disappeared after infiltrating a group of Paraguayan rebels. She had been in the Brazilian border town of Ponta Pora for a few days before disappearing. She had worn "scandalous" clothing and pretended to be an ardent rebel. When she got an opportunity to speak over the radio at Concepcion, she gave her speech as originally written rather than reading it as censored, causing police to try to find out why she had not done as instructed. She then fled Concepcion. She was said to have caused a great sensation among the rebels, especially to her lover.

The British Royal Family departed Capetown, South Africa, for England, leaving behind a cheering crowd, following a tour of the country for several weeks to shore up support for the Empire.

In Durham, a nurse at Duke Hospital, scene of seven fires the previous day set by an arsonist, was shot in the back during a holdup of her and her boyfriend as they walked through Duke Gardens behind the hospital. After they gave him their money, he shot the nurse. She was in serious condition. The police had not linked the attack to the fires.

A photograph shows a guided missile developed by the Navy, the KUW, soaring upward by means of a rocket sled which was jettisoned once it reached its maximum thrust after two seconds.

On the editorial page, "The Retirement of Mr. Charlotte" tells of the retirement of Clarence Kuester, "Mr. Charlotte", after 40 years of service to the community.

When he had been born 70 years earlier, the population was 2,999. He became a floor sweeper at age 11 in the first Chamber of Commerce, and had been close to it since that time, though not becoming its paid manager until 1918.

His proudest moment was the fulfillment of the goal he had set for the city of reaching 100,000 population, achieved in 1940. He would continue as an adviser to the Chamber in his retirement.

There were skeptics as to his prediction that the city would reach 200,000 in another generation. The piece predicts that he would be around to greet the doubters with a smile and a cigar. He understood that the first 100,000 were the hardest.

Although Mr. Kuester would not be alive to see it, having passed away in 1948, Charlotte's population would fulfill and exceed his prediction, reaching 201,000 by 1960. As of 2010, it stood at 735,000.

Perhaps, a little more of "Selma, the Terrible", however, and her flying in the face of the censors of Concepcion and the rebels of Ponta Pora, including most especially her would-be esposa, might be in order for the next 50 years, becoming a Contra, lest you go broke trying to go for broke, and break everybody else down with it.

"The Armory Has Too Many" discusses the competing claims to the Armory by the National Guard and the City Park and Tree Commission, which had operated a successful Teen-Age Club in the basement during the war years when the Guard was overseas.

The Armory Auditorium was neither an armory nor a true auditorium, unsuitable for the many concerts being held in it. It afforded far more space than necessary for the Guard, but they could not use only a portion and avoid interference with other events.

The best solution, it suggests, was to build a new civic auditorium, but the project had been recently rejected by voters and so appeared years away. In the meantime, it was cheaper to build a new facility for the Guard than to move the Teen-Age Club, and so that appeared to be the best solution.

"Maybe the Twain Could Meet" supports a protest by a group of local politicians in Greensboro regarding the Democratic Party in the state alternating between East and West candidates for Governor every quadrennium. The piece supports the protest and finds the arbitrary assignment geographically to have benefited the state little.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "A Note on Foundations", takes note of the previous editorial in The News, "Football Isn't the Only Competition", which reported the departure of Thomas J. Wilson as head of the University of North Carolina Press to become head of the Harvard Press, finding it to have been an example of the University being unable financially to hold onto good personnel when larger, more well-heeled schools sought their service.

The piece agrees with The News and ventures that an academic version of the Football Foundation, designed to produce competitive football teams, should be put into operation.

Drew Pearson tells of members of the Senate Armed Services Committee being concerned about committee chairman Senator Chan Gurney of South Dakota, acting more as an advocate for the Army-Navy merger bill than chairman. More disturbing was the fact that many officers who had testified for the merger had confided to committee members that they could not have spoken their true feelings without receiving reprimand from superiors.

The President had recently criticized the housing industry in a meeting with eight national organizations, as well as finding fault with Congressional inaction, pointing out that only 45,000 housing starts had taken place in the first quarter compared to 80,000 in the same period of 1946 when controls were in place. The President blamed the ending of controls and the absence of a long-term housing bill for the shortfall.

Labor Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach was upset with both the telephone companies and the striking telephone workers union for not cooperating more in resolving the nationwide telephone strike. The workers could not afford a long strike and so their recalcitrant position was especially disturbing. The big telephone companies could operate local service for weeks without problem, until equipment issues would begin to occur. But if the companies were to defeat the union, then it could be taken over by the AFL or CIO and become much tougher than operating as an independent.

Marquis Childs tells of the Texas City disaster of the previous week being emblematic of the concentration of petroleum industries in relatively small areas because of the availability of cheap transportation and sources of supply, rendering them, according to a secret report of the Joint Chiefs, highly vulnerable in the event of another war.

The report from the Army and Navy Munitions Board had named Texas City among other locales so concentrated. The chairman of the Board was R. R. Deupree, president of Procter & Gamble.

The rubber industry, centered around Akron, Ohio, was even more concentrated than oil.

But the cost of decentralizing these industries was prohibitive, estimated at up to 300 million dollars, more than the cost to the U.S. of World War II. Putting key industries underground, also proposed, would cost even more. Sweden and other countries were planning such underground operations.

Military planners were aware that the conservative Congress would not approve such large sums, but some decentralization was taking place through private industry without Government assistance. That process, however, would take time, perhaps a century to accomplish.

During the war, one of the Monsanto Chemical Co. plants at Texas City had provided 25 percent of the supply of styrene, necessary for producing synthetic rubber. Mr. Childs suggests that had the disaster occurred during the war, it could have materially harmed the war effort. Bombs could obviously do even more damage.

The people tended to forget quickly the lessons of war, but the military leaders and planners remained mindful of those lessons, such as that conveyed by Texas City.

Samuel Grafton tells of General Eisenhower having hit upon the novel notion of having young officers freely explore the possibilities of atomic warfare and how to go about defending against it. He did not want them to restrict themselves to budgetary boxes or military constraints, but to roam freely through the mental turf.

Mr. Grafton thinks it an excellent idea and recommends such a free-thinking committee for the State Department, to place it more in tune with leftist movements, for instance, in Greece. For if one individual attempted such bold thinking, he might wind up in trouble with his superiors. But with a squad of young persons under orders, there would be no such implied impedance to progressive thinking.

It was important for the country not to blind itself, as General Eisenhower insisted. It was difficult for aging generals to understand why young liberals in Greece might join the guerrillas, though Communist, and take to the hills to fight against a Fascist Government.

As liberalism was considered dangerous at the time, such a process was all the more needed in government to keep minds open and fresh.

A letter from a man in Wadesboro adds to the mail received earlier in response to a piece the previous October by Tom Fesperman on "Old Ninety-Seven" and its wreck near Danville, Va., on September 27, 1903. His boyhood friend had been a mail clerk on the train when it wrecked and so he wrote to him in Washington and encloses the reply.

The man provides his knowledge of the wreck, though in the rear car resting on bags of mail, not in either of the two mail cars. He had been sitting in the door but had been told to run an errand at the time of the fatal wreck. All of the employees, he believes, died in both of the mail cars. He had remained several hours at the wreck site and said that there were no canaries, nary a one, aboard the train, as reported.

He still handled mail for the railroad. A friend had recommended that he go to Florida but it was too much riding for him, as he had ridden over two million miles, 2,188,212, to be more exact, during his 41.5 years with the railroad.

If he had worked there instead for 42.5 years, we might be inclined to eat our hat in the narrowest stretch of the Khyber Pass, railroad to it or not, November 21, 1878.

But we remain too busy trying to figure out the riddle of where the bear sat in the buckwheat. In January, Mr. McKinnon of Arkansas, in New Orleans, having received his million-dollar check for the sale of his cotton crop to Anderson, Clayton of Texas, had related it to a spelling bee which he had won as a boy. But, as we said, there is no "r" in buckwheat. Mr. Moody will say on "The Fred Allen Show" on May 25, next month, based on our advanced receipt of the script, that when someone said that to him, he responded by instructing that they would have their hands full and would need to hold up their pants. It becomes confusing out here in the jungle amid the alfalfa.

A letter writer was glad that the country was providing the 400-million dollar loans to Greece and Turkey, and suggests that Henry Wallace and Senator Claude Pepper be loaned permanently to Russia.

A letter from the Classroom Teachers Association thanks The News for supporting improvements to education.

A letter writer from Monroe reminds that the town had voted for the Mecklenburg recreation referendum while Charlotte voted it down, urges next time the city to beat its "country cousins".

A letter from a professor of health education at Delta State Teachers College in Cleveland, Miss., thanks the newspaper for its Good Health edition of February. She had worked in health education in Hickory the previous summer.

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