Saturday, April 5, 1947

The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 5, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Richard Russell of Georgia wanted Greece to conduct another vote on retention of the throne as a condition to receipt of the proposed 250 million dollars in U.S. aid. The Senator stated that he believed neither Greece nor Turkey had a democratic government at present, but that the aid was to be provided in furtherance of an effort to stop Russian expansion. The Foreign Relations Committee had already expressed the notion that to attach conditions to the aid would violate the spirit of the U.N. and that no pressure should be brought to bear on either country to change its government.

There appeared little hope among Government officials to avoid the nationwide telephone strike scheduled to begin Monday. Continuous meetings were being conducted to try to resolve the impasse regarding demands for higher wages, a minimum increase of $12 per week being sought, with more in some places, to bring about parity in wages nationwide. Average weekly pay among telephone workers was between $44.10 and $46.21, depending on who was doing the calculations. The strike would involve about 337,000 of the nation's 550,000 telephone workers and would be the first nationwide telephone strike in history.

You better make your calls fast, before Monday. It's looking bad. You may die without your phone. The world may blow up. It's those Commies again.

The President was scheduled to deliver a speech to the nation at 10:30, a Jefferson Day dinner address, his first such direct radio address since the new Republican Congress had come to power three months earlier.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministers Council agreed conditionally on creation of central German administrative agencies, a first step toward creating a central German government. Three months later, an advisory council would be set up, and nine months after that, a provisional government would be established. The French, however, attached two conditions for their acceptance of the plan, conditions not acceptable to the other three powers. The two conditions were: exclusion of the Saar from the authority of the agencies, and making the agencies subject to administration by a committee made up of the representatives of the German states.

Near Tientsin, about 400 Chinese Communists had attacked a Marine ammunition depot and killed through sabotage five U.S. Marines and wounded 16 others, in a battle lasting four hours in a field near Hsinho, 22 miles east of Tientsin. About 100 Communists were wounded.

John L. Lewis sent a letter to the Coal Mines Administrator seeking closure of all of the nation's mines, save two in Wyoming, for unsafe conditions. He cited a Government report in support of the contention.

The State Legislature passed a bill to provide a million dollars to establish a State art gallery in Raleigh.

The Legislature then adjourned—thank goodness. Go home. You've done enough damage to the state, its alcohol consumption and labor relations, for one three-month period. And we are sick and tired of reading about it.

Tom Schlesinger, a staff writer for The News, received his parents, Harvard Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger, recognized as one of the most distinguished historians in the country, and his wife, visiting in Charlotte. Tom Schlesinger interviewed his father, who was one of the thirteen members of the Freedom of the Press Commission, as discussed in an editorial below. Professor Schlesinger was not surprised at the negative reaction to the report. Such criticism of the press nearly always drew adverse reaction. The press rarely criticized its own, as exampled by the Chicago Tribune having published, just days before Pearl Harbor, America's secret war plans, doing so with virtually no reaction triggered among the country's newspapers, despite the treasonous nature of the act had it been done after the declarations of war a few days later.

On the editorial page, "The Critic Is Criticized" tells of the results of the two-year study by the 13-person Commission on Freedom of the Press, headed by chancellor Robert Hutchins of the University of Chicago, finding that the news was twisted by the sensational and the desire to be first with the story. Too many of the stories had little to do with the average daily lives of ordinary people.

As remedies, it disfavored Government intervention, except in the areas of defamation and stimulation of technical development. It urged instead that the media undertake greater responsibility for themselves and establish radio advertising separate from content, as in print media. The public also had a role by promoting centers of advanced study at universities and establishing private organizations to report annually on the performance of the media.

Many editors had dismissed the report as inconsequential, some finding it too leftist oriented in its thinking.

The basic notion to be derived from the report was that continued concentration of news in the hands of a few was leading to stultification of the growth of journalism.

"The Day of the Resurrection" tells of the coming of Easter the following day in 1947, and its special significance for affirming the unity of mankind.

"The Lessons in Chicago" comments on RNC chairman Carroll Reece, having stated that the Chicago mayoral race would be significant, reversing course after democrat Martin Kennelly was elected, saying the election would have no impact on the 1948 race.

The truth, offers the piece, probably was somewhere in the middle, indicating that Republicans could, elsewhere the following year, make the same mistakes made in Chicago.

Mr. Kennelly had run on a platform of progress and independence from Mayor Ed Kelly and his machine. The election drew the largest turnout in Chicago's history, perhaps signaling that the apathy on which the Republicans had been able to capitalize in 1946 was dissipating. It might be an indicator also that the people could be convinced to vote for something rather than merely against something. It might suggest also that the electorate had become disenchanted with second-rate politicians, wanted something better.

Drew Pearson tells of the State Department having considered trying to convince Greece, at the death of King George II the previous Tuesday, to leave the throne vacant for awhile to give the aid bill pending before Congress a better chance of passage. But before they could get a message to Athens, Prince Paul, George's brother, had been enthroned.

Paul was more of a Fascist than had been George. He had headed the Greek Youth movement during the Fascist Metaxas regime. His wife was German and had openly declared divided loyalties during the war, had autographed pictures of Nazi leaders displayed in their home.

Mr. Pearson next tells of Marshal Koniev, hero of the Russian military, having passed on the vodka at the recent dinner in Moscow for the diplomats. He had urged the vodka on a reluctant General Mark Clark, but then took only a blackberry cordial for himself.

He next fulfills a promise made the day before, in the wake of the Centralia, Ill., mine disaster of the previous week, to begin listing the mines which were not complying with Federal recommendations for safety. He lists four, one in Betsy Lane, Ky., one in Paris, Ark., another in Riverton, Ill., and a fourth in Wilmore, Pa., telling of the violations of each.

He points out that miners were also part of the hazard by not refraining from smoking in the mines and not donning proper footwear, rubber shoes which would not produce sparks capable of igniting gases, opting instead for hobnailed boots. They also sometimes wore non-regulation caps, sometimes because the mine operators did not provide the correct headgear.

Mine owners sometimes, because of war production, had been unable to obtain the necessary fans to suck the stale air out of the mines and replenish it with fresh.

Joseph Alsop finds the amendment offered by Senator Arthur Vandenberg to the bill to provide aid to Greece and Turkey, to allow the U.N. by majority vote of the General Assembly or the Security Council to veto the aid, to have been significant. It was even more significant that he did not consult the Democrats before proposing the amendment. The latter fact had caused the White House and Democrats to be upset that they had not received advance advice of the proposal. There was discussion among Democratic leaders of opposing the amendment. Senator Alben Barkley was chosen to discuss it with Senator Vandenberg.

The significance lay in the fact that it betrayed deteriorating bipartisan relations on foreign policy. Secretary Marshall was not taking Senator Vandenberg into his confidences as had Secretary Byrnes before him. Senator Tom Connally was not backing up Senator Vandenberg on the Foreign Relations Committee as had been the case when the Democrats held the majority. Senator Vandenberg was also placing credence in the idea, voiced by Harold Stassen, that the Democrats were not including Republicans in the initiation of policy, only in its aftermath. The Republicans had never been included, for instance, in discussion of policy with respect to China and South America.

Moreover, the President's increasing political strength had caused Republicans to be less inclined toward cooperation with the White House.

The interpersonal relationship between Senator Vandenberg and Senator Connally had deteriorated, but the other personalities were not immature or petty. The personal factor could be eliminated only by eliminating the institutional factor which was impeding the continuation of a bipartisan foreign policy. It was an important feature to be recognized within the Government structure and needed to be preserved.

Samuel Grafton reports of Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut reading a letter from Nobel Prize winning physicist H. C. Urey, warning that should the Senate fail to act quickly on the confirmation of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, the atomic energy program could be set back for years. To that, Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire responded by calling it "the bunk". Mr. Grafton views the exchange as emblematic of a diminution of respect for intellect in recent times.

The committee was also told that atomic scientists would quit the Government project if Mr. Lilienthal were not confirmed, producing shrieks from members of the committee. The idea that some Senators wanted Mr. Lilienthal to undergo further investigation by the FBI was a remarkable departure from past practices and implied the breakdown of formalities and restraint.

Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia had proposed that the Greek aid be turned over to the U.N. and if the Russians were to veto it on the Security Council, then a new U.N. should be formed without Russia. This attitude fit well the new tendencies of Congress.

The whole procedure reminded one of not wanting one's estate to be administered by angry men, and the Congress appeared quite angry in administering matters for the whole nation.

The New York Daily News, determinedly anti-Communist, was counseling moderation, lest the course being followed lead to calamity. It was another comment on the times that such an organ posed the counsel of moderation. The FBI stood as a great constant in such an atmosphere. The tendentious direction of this new, extreme intellectual mood was toward discovery of a new Ultima Thule—if not the analogue in the opposed direction.

A letter defends the action of the VFW in condemning the appearance in Charlotte of Kirsten Flagstad, noted Norwegian opera soprano, to appear the following day at the Armory. He cites the example of Ernestine Schumann-Heink, another great opera star, born in Germany, and whose husband had remained in Germany during World War I, as did Ms. Flagstad's husband in Norway during World War II. Whereas Ms. Flagstad had rushed home to be with her family, despite her husband's pro-Quisling politics, Mme. Schumann-Heink, whose son was fighting in the German army, had not. She had memorably sung "Silent Night" for the Allied men in the trenches on the Western Front on the eve of the announcement of her own son's death in the earlier war.

Despite Ms. Flagstad not having supported the Nazis actively, she had also not distanced herself from them and had remained on the sidelines in her native land. He thinks the veterans well advised to skip her performance.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its even-handed treatment of the Flagstad issue in its previous editorial. He believes Walter Winchell's attack on her had been hysterical.

A letter writer states that according to science, all Germans were possessed of a "bohunk head", and so Germany as a nation had to be kept down to avoid another war. Nazism, he thinks, had nothing to do with it. It was the "bohunk head".

A letter writer thinks the President ought start his search for disloyal Americans within the draft records, those who evaded service, and among those who practiced discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed or class, and among those who deprived the country of a work-or-fight law during the war.

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