The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 3, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had unanimously approved the 400-million dollar aid package recommended by the President for Greece and Turkey. It was anticipated that the full Senate would act on the bill the following week.

The Vandenberg amendment to the bill was revised to require majority support by either the General Assembly or seven of eleven members of the Security Council for the U.N. to halt American aid, and only in the event that the U.N. were providing aid directly itself, making unilateral American assistance unnecessary. Senator Vandenberg approved of the altered version of his amendment.

Amendments to require Greece to abolish the throne within 90 days of receipt of the aid and to exclude Turkey from the package were defeated. An amendment offered by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts to forbid any of the aid going to support either Fascism or Communism was also defeated. An amendment to include Giblets in the aid likewise was refused.

Britain had set a deadline of March 31 for withdrawing economic aid to Greece, the day before King George II suddenly dropped dead at age 56 of a long-term heart problem.

The House simultaneously was also considering the bill in committee.

The Turkish Premier was quoted by an Istanbul newspaper as saying he would not be surprised to find his country at war soon with a great neighbor.

Russian Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov accused British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin at the Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Moscow of favoring a dictatorial type Government, as in Greece. The two argued regarding the form of government to be implemented in Germany, Mr. Molotov favoring a representational system, Mr. Bevin opposing any system permitting one-party rule. The debate ended in mutual smiles.

According to General Lucius Clay, who returned to Berlin, the effort to resolve the reparations issue appeared ended for this conference.

Secretary of Interior J.A. Krug issued an order to close 518 Government-operated coal mines for safety reasons in the wake of the Centralia, Ill., mining disaster of the previous week. He stated that the other 2,013 mines run by the Government would re-open the following Monday after the six-day work stoppage by UMW to mourn the Centralia miners.

Shortly after issuance of the order, John L. Lewis demanded before a House Labor subcommittee that Congress take action to push the President to oust Secretary Krug for his negligence with respect to the mine disaster, in which 111 men died. He also wanted return to the UMW of the $750,000 in fines, ordered by the Supreme Court in the contempt case against the union and Mr. Lewis for the called strike the previous November in violation of a Federal Court order not to strike, pending determination of the right to strike under the Government contract in effect since the previous May. Mr. Lewis wanted the money placed in a trust for the benefit of the widows and orphans of the Centralia miners and those of another disaster, at Straight Creek, Ky., two years earlier.

He did agree that mine safety had been better under Federal control than when the mines were under private ownership, average monthly deaths having dropped from 95 to 85 under Government operation—though he nonsensically tried to blame the higher number on the "damnable Ickes", referring to the tenure of Harold Ickes as Secretary of Interior prior to February, 1946.

A Senate three-man subcommittee announced that Secretary Krug would be called to testify anent the Centralia disaster. John L. Lewis would be allowed to testify before the subcommittee if he wanted. The subcommittee was conducting hearings in Centralia for three days.

Former Presidential "court jester" and adviser George E. Allen, now in private business since the beginning of the year when he quit after a year as a member of the RFC, told reporters after a White House visit that he was no longer news but was more than ever supportive of President Truman.

Benjamin Fairless, president of U.S. Steel, stated, in response to rumors that the company might reduce prices, that no decision could be made until the bargaining with the Steelworkers Union regarding increased wages was completed.

The head of the National Federation of Telephone Workers Policy Committee stated that the workers would obey a legal seizure of the telephone industry by the Government pursuant to the Federal Communications Act, but added that he knew of no such legal authority. A rumor was circulating of such impending seizure in the event of the scheduled nationwide strike to start the following Monday. The President, as of December 31, had surrendered the right to seizure under the Smith-Connally Act, establishing wartime executive powers. The FCA, however, was thought also to have established wartime emergency powers which had not been surrendered.

The South Carolina House approved a bill authorizing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing.

The former Speaker of the North Carolina State House, O.M. Mull of Cleveland County, stated that those members of the Legislature who had sought to besmirch the reputation of former Governor Melville Broughton for having brought about the gag rule passed by the Legislature in 1941, requiring that legislation be passed by two-thirds majority unless first approved by a committee, would be "hanged on their own gallows".

That sounds a bit extreme. Let's have awda.

Dr. Cary Middlecoff, by the fairway, won the Charlotte Open in the tie-breaker playoff on Monday.

On the editorial page, "The King Is Dead, Long Live Etc." comments on the sudden death from heart disease of King George II of Greece and the succession to the throne of his younger brother of eleven years, Prince Paul. Speaker of the House Joe Martin believed it would not impact the President's proposal for U.S. aid to Greece.

But it underscored, posits the piece, the notion that the new Truman Doctrine would lend support to a royal Government which Americans generally did not particularly like, based on greater dislike for the potential of a Communist government which might replace the throne should it fall. And this policy was receiving bipartisan support in Congress.

"Any strange noises audible in Washington this week might have emanated from a hasty conference of astounded ghosts—Citizen Tom Paine, Tom Jefferson, George Washington, and old Ben Franklin, perhaps, trying to find out what ever became of a dream they once shared."

"Home Rule Begins at Home" thanks the Asheville Citizen for revealing a section of the State Constitution which provided for local governance of localities, county and municipal, with a minimum of interference from the State Government. After quoting the extensive section, it finds it too specific for inclusion in a constitution, but finds its intent clear, to provide the State authority over statewide functions and to leave to the localities that which applied exclusively to their own interests.

Yet, the ongoing Legislative session reminded of the continuing stream of bills which related only to specific counties. The only solution probably lay in amendment of the Constitution, as the courts had not ruled such legislation unconstitutional. With the concern being expressed over too much concentration of government power in Washington, it was also well to remember the need for decentralizing state government.

"New Argument Against Lilienthal" tells of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire objecting to the Senate Atomic Energy Committee having taken an approach to confirmation of appointments of members to the Atomic Energy Commission, including chairman-designate David Lilienthal, whereby it determined whether they were unfit to serve rather than whether they were the best qualified men for the positions. Chairman Bourke Hickenlooper then told Mr. Bridges that the Committee's function was to confirm and not determine whether the men appointed were the best qualified.

The piece finds it remarkable that any Senator could not understand the latter role under the basic Constitutional definition of balance of powers, as properly explained by the chairman.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Affront to the Palate", objects to the practice, undertaken by restaurants in response to inflation, of cutting pies into eight slices, each for a dime. They said it was a test to see whether consumers wished to pay more per slice, or have pieces of eight.

The piece favors quarters or even thirds. It describes the proper art of pie eating.

"And with almost universal higher education already decimating the ranks of the manual workers, the economy can ill afford the hazard of peewee pie portions producing a generation of sub-digital men."

Drew Pearson cites another example, in addition to that which he had already revealed regarding use of Marine sergeants as bartenders, cloakroom checkers, and valets for a party by General Alexander Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, in which enlisted Marines were so employed by Col. Harold Rosecrans, officer in charge of the Washington Naval Gun Factory, for a party given by Admiral Glen B. Davis, commander of the Gun Factory. The colonel had also used enlisted men to clean his personal quarters, also against Marine regulations.

CIO president Philip Murray had, the previous week, held a meeting of the top ten CIO officials to discuss strategy in the steel, auto, and electrical industries, where management was said to be resisting collective bargaining, awaiting action by Congress to restrict labor. It appeared increasingly to Mr. Murray that another round of strikes was inevitable.

Mr. Pearson next tells of Lt. Robert James, a Democrat who for 13 years had supervised the Capitol police, having been fired by the Republicans to make way for their own patronage appointee. A Capitol policeman, he notes, however, had not yet been fired, who worked by night at the Harrington Hotel as the bartender in the cocktail lounge, aptly dubbed the "Pink Elephant".

The General Secretary of the American Communist Party, Eugene Dennis, had refused to reveal to HUAC his real name, telling chairman J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey that he would reveal his name if the chairman, whose original name was John Feeney, would reveal his own. Mr. Pearson finds the Communist to be revealing his stupidity in the process.

The Senate War Investigating Committee was trying, thus far without success, to link Elliott Roosevelt to the "Spruce Goose" of Howard Hughes.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, along with others, had been forced by the White House to submit their statements in advance of testimony to the Congress re the proposed merger of the military branches.

Congressional mail on the proposed loan to Greece and Turkey had thus far been negative, despite polls showing a favorable reaction. The loan to Turkey was receiving most of the negative response, though Congressmen believed it to be organized.

Marquis Childs tells of the 30-20 tax bill which had been passed by the House having come out of the Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Representative Harold Knutson, despite several tax experts who had testified that its impact would be inflationary. One of the Republican members had stated that the experts studied too much and that the way to write a tax bill was instead through votes.

Most observers agreed that the bill would be inflationary and that any tax savings to lower bracket taxpayers, the beneficiaries of the 30 percent tax decrease, would be eroded by commensurate decreased spending power. During the war, the Federal Reserve Board had held down consumer credit to avoid inflation. There were no automobiles, refrigerators, and the like at the time to purchase anyway.

But now consumer credit was again on the rise, despite some continued restrictions on installment purchases, including a required down payment of one-fifth to one-third the cost of the item and limitation on the term of payment to 15 months. But those limits, applying to purchases between $50 and $2,000, would soon be removed. The Congress was prepared to repeal them if they were not removed.

The automobile and appliance lobbies were primarily behind the effort to abolish the credit limitations. The result would be more consumer buying of goods on credit. Auto manufacturers would have long waiting lists for cars, albeit with demand soon to be satisfied through increasing production. Five times more automobiles had been produced in February than a year earlier, when 57,000 units came off the lines. Trucks had tripled in production. And the comparative figures a year earlier came from a time of strikes in the automotive industry. Nearly five million cars and trucks were predicted to be produced in 1947.

The banks also had placed pressure on removal of the restrictions, as they held about a third of the more than ten billion dollars of consumer credit, 3.7 billion, 1.7 billion of which was in automobile purchases.

If the credit bubble were to blow up too big, everyone, big and little, would suffer.

Stewart Alsop—joining his older brother Joseph as a regular syndicated columnist in The News, replacing Harold Ickes in alternating with Samuel Grafton—writes from Jerusalem of Zionism as viewed through the lens of the Jewish collective settlements in Palestine, rather than from the perspective of the American Zionists.

He finds three viewpoints, first that of the older men who had been in Palestine since the days before Hitler or shortly after he came to power in 1933, and had spent the previous 15 to 30 years within the collectives. They moved slowly as farmers everywhere, but also possessed a look of fear, similar to that of the refugees in Europe.

The second viewpoint was that of the new refugees for whom the Nazi horrors resulting from the concentration camps and mass exterminations of six million Jews in Europe was a reality, not an abstraction as with most of the Western world. They had the look of an unforgotten fear in their eyes.

The third group was comprised of the Sabras—named for the Palestine cactus, prickly and tough on the outside but tasty on the inside—, those Jews born and raised in Palestine. They appeared casual and guileless, often stupid, the look one might encounter in the eyes of the inhabitants of a small farm town of Iowa or Connecticut.

All three groups were dedicated to the Zionist cause beyond any debate.

The Arabs of Palestine resented the attitude of Americans which they perceived to be forcing of Jews on them to the point where Arabs would become the minority, while America refused immigration rights to the Jews of Europe.

Mordecai Bentov, leader of the leftist Hashomer Hatzair Party, had proposed a Palestinian state, neither Jewish nor Arab, in which both would learn to cooperate with one another. His idealistic proposal had greatly influenced the Anglo-American Commission and its similar proposal. But at its base was the dubious premise that brotherhood could ultimately prevail in Palestine in the immediate future.

Mr. Alsop posits that only a Jewish settlement within Palestine, partitioned between Jews and Arabs, could work to resolve the problem. Most American observers agreed, and that such was in the best interests of the United States.

A letter writer provides a letter he had forwarded to Washington, in which he objects to the gamble being undertaken by the right-wing, finding that its policies would lead to atomic warfare. President Truman was naively following their lead. Under this policy, war was imminent.

He stresses that he was not championing communism, but peace. Communism was an idea, not a nation, could not be fought as such.

He favors the aid to Greece and Turkey, to ward off communism, as well as aid to others similarly situated, such as Korea and Bulgaria. But they should be allowed to vote as they wished.

If FDR had still been in the White House, he believes, there would be no such impending war.

He favors getting President Truman out of the White House to avoid atomic desolation brought on by the advice of his oil buddies.

A letter finds prohibition to be a tenet of Christianity and that its proponents stressed this aspect as its primary recommendation. The advocates of controlled sale cited factual evidence without religious bias and sentimentality. The latter, he believes, thus had the better of the debate. Prohibition, he asserts, was the least efficient means of dealing with the problem of alcohol.

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