The Charlotte News

Monday, April 7, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that members of the National Federation of Telephone Workers struck this date at 6:00 a.m., as planned, when no settlement could be reached on their demands for $12 per week in increased wages and parity to be achieved among wages paid the workers throughout the country. It was expected that the first nationwide telephone strike in the history of the country, involving 294,000 workers, would swell to 340,000. Government pleas to postpone the strike for two days went unheeded. Regular dial service, not utilizing the services of an operator, was unaffected by the strike. Some limited numbers of long distance operators remained on the job.

Speculation ran as to whether the President would seize the phone companies, as he had authority to do, according to the interpretation by Attorney General Tom Clark of the Federal Communications Act.

The State of New Jersey seized the 204 plants of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Co. just after the strike began.

The strike appeared 100 percent effective among Southern Bell employees.

Tom Fesperman reports that in Charlotte, the pickets held signs which read: "The voice with a smile/ Will be gone for awhile/ She's walking these lines/ Till Mama Bell signs."

Senator Robert Taft assured that the new labor bill being considered by Congress had within it provisions to allow court injunctions to be sought by the Government to end paralyzing national strikes. It would also outlaw the closed shop, restrict union shop agreements, prohibit secondary boycotts and jurisdictional strikes, and curtail industry-wide bargaining in some instances.

Some 280,000 of the nation's 400,000 bituminous coal miners remained idle this date, based on the UMW call to remain off the job because of safety hazards in the mines, in the wake of the Centralia, Ill., mine explosion which killed 111 miners two weeks earlier. The six-day Easter week work stoppage for a period of mourning for the Centralia miners had ended the night before.

In New York, at the U.N., Andrei Gromyko renewed his demands that the U.S. immediately destroy its stockpile of nuclear weapons to remove mutual suspicions and lack of confidence throughout the world. He rejected the contention of the U.S. and Britain that disarming and sharing of the atomic secret had to be conditioned on initial establishment of adequate safeguards to assure peaceful use of nuclear energy.

In Columbia, Ind., the engine and thirteen of fifteen cars of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Gotham Limited derailed at 12:12 a.m., causing injuries to 40 passengers. No one was killed.

In Scranton, Pa., Snooky II replaced the deceased Snooky I, who had died in a fire, and joined Mark Ventimiglia, brought to him by his daughter, Metropolitan Opera soprano Lilian Raymondi.

Erich Brandeis tells of most people collecting too much junk, such as the Collyer brothers of New York, recluses whose mansion was so full of trash and junk that police had to wade through it recently to find out whether one or both of the brothers had died, neither having been seen by neighbors for some time. You may read of that on the back page.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Albright and the Veterans Vote" comments on the resignation of one of the founders and the secretary of the GI Democrats of North Carolina. The organization had received more criticism than praise. It had, for instance, fielded a slate of candidates in Charlotte which included veterans dating back to the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century, not the progressive, vigorous organization it had promoted itself to be, peopled by young World War II veterans. It had not resulted in any showing of influence by the veterans' vote.

The lack of impact suggested that the veterans had not become a voting bloc with which to be reckoned, and that in 1948, it was likely there would be no slate of veterans offered.

"Good Bill Lost in the Shuffle" comments on the "slum clearance" bill which was abandoned in the closing days of the Legislative session, which would have established minimum standards for housing codes in cities of more than 10,000 people. It had been sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Real Estate Boards and so was conservatively oriented. It would have cost property owners some money, but that would have also resulted in a good investment. To remain competitive with one another as landlords, property owners had to be compelled to make substantial improvements.

But the bill had died in committee. The sponsors would try again in two years.

"Preserving the Democratic Monopoly" tells of the political deals among North Carolina Democrats, such as rotation of governors between the East and West, being usually openly discussed without fear of political reprisal. But there was a limit reached in the closing days of the Legislature when one Representative opposed having annual inspections of motor vehicles for safety, on the ground that it would alienate voters in the West and cause them to switch their allegiance to the Republicans. That stance was rebuked by Representative John Umstead, who found it cynically to be placing party loyalty ahead of public safety. The safety bill passed.

The piece applauds the stand of Mr. Umstead and hopes such displays, setting aside political considerations, would become more frequent.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Good Riddance to a Bad Bill", hopes that the Legislature had, the previous week, by the House killing the "city option" liquor bill, disposed of the question for the remainder of the session of the Legislature. Without regarding the merits of the bill, the piece offers that it should not have been brought before the Assembly in the latter days of the session.

A report from the Manufacturers Record, regarding the state of Southern industrialization in 1947, shows food manufacturing running ahead of other forms in terms of growth during the period 1939 to 1945, followed in order by textiles and chemicals, petroleum and coal, transportation equipment, and tobacco products.

Drew Pearson discusses the influence of the President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan. Secretary of State Byrnes had recently spoken at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., just as Winston Churchill, in March, 1946, had given his "iron curtain" speech at the College. The reason for choosing the 300-student school as the location for these speeches was that it had been the alma mater of General Vaughan, and President Truman wanted these notable men to speak there. It suggested that the President would do anything he could to please his aide.

Meanwhile, General Vaughan had accumulated gold wristwatches on the Russian black market and had boasted of it. He had once turned loose a pig in the offices of J. Edgar Hoover, and had instructed the D.C. prosecutor and the Attorney General who to prosecute and not prosecute.

He had become an officious intermeddler as well in other departments of the Government. The General had tried to twist the arm of Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson to refrain from reducing grain allotments, necessary for the starving of Europe, to American distillers. Secretary Anderson, however, refused to be bullied.

But other officials had been more apt to acquiesce to prodding by the General. At the behest of General Vaughan, the State Department refused passports to critics of the King of Greece.

The President's loyalty to General Vaughan probably explained why the royalist Greeks were able to gain an audience with the President.

A few years earlier, General Vaughan had a low-paying job as a manufacturing representative. In 1939, he became secretary to then Senator Truman. General Vaughan then obtained his present vaunted role through the happenstance of Vice-President Truman coming to the Presidency following the death of Franklin Roosevelt.

He might have a good point though in having turned loose those pigs, one not quite so evident in 1947. General Vaughan was looking to the future and understood well a George Orwell novel or two in the offing when he saw the antecedent signs pointing the way.

Marquis Childs provides the time line for development of the atomic bomb, from the first steps for determining its feasibility, undertaken by the President's advisory committee on October 21, 1939, through December 6, 1941, when the decision was reached to devote resources to development, to first deployment on August 6, 1945 over Hiroshima. He then traces the steps of the development of the Atomic Energy Commission and the ongoing battle for confirmation of chairman-designate David Lilienthal, still pending before the Senate after over two months of hearings and over five months since the appointment the previous October 28.

The real reason behind the hearings was that some Republicans, led by Senator Robert Taft, wanted the military to retain control of atomic energy and not have it provided to a civilian commission, notwithstanding the expert testimony of scientists favoring such disposition, and the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission, formerly led by Bernard Baruch, favoring the same result. Mr. Taft stood with Andrei Gromyko in supporting retention of military control. It implied a deep distrust in the living world.

General Leslie R. Groves, under military control, would again assume leadership over atomic energy in the United States.

The younger Republican Senators, Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, Brien McMahon of Connecticut, William Knowland of California, and Wayne Morse of Oregon, facing the future, had led the way in the fight to confirm Mr. Lilienthal and the other AEC appointees.

Conservatives, such as Edward Moore of Oklahoma, opposed Mr. Lilienthal because of his New Deal background, favoring public power while heading TVA. But that was a more honest reason than the backbiting charges against him for supposedly having Communist sympathies.

Stewart Alsop, still reporting from Jerusalem, suggests that America could no more limit its involvement in the Middle East than a woman could become a little pregnant. Having begun in Greece and Turkey, the U.S. would have to continue to stabilize all of the Middle East. The first job would be to settle Palestine.

The plan of Henry Grady the previous year to divide Palestine into two semi-autonomous states, had been approved by Secretary of State Byrnes and supported by the Cabinet. The American Zionists opposed it for the reason that Jewish immigration would have been subject to British veto under the plan.

DNC chairman Robert Hannegan had informed the President that support of the plan could mean loss of important districts in New York City, leading to the nixing of the plan.

The U.S. policy was hypocritical in proposing such a plan without offering to shoulder responsibility for its implementation, as well as in members of Congress calling for immediate immigration to Palestine while not permitting expanded immigration to the U.S. of European refugees. The policy had undermined moral authority of the United States among Jews in Palestine.

Bartley Crum, campaign manager for Wendell Willkie in 1940 who had shifted allegiance to FDR in 1944 on the basis that the Republican platform was nationalist and isolationist, had recently opined in an article in a national magazine that the Arab majority in Palestine and in the neighboring states should be ignored in formulating the policy regarding a Jewish homeland, and that the objectives of the Soviets toward the Middle East should also be disregarded. Mr. Alsop finds such thinking to be "inane jabberwocky", worthy of Col. Robert McCormick, the notorious isolationist Republican publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and Senator Claude Pepper, liberal Democrat of Florida, now in agreement with Mr. McCormick that America should not be sending aid abroad to Greece and Turkey—at least, insofar as Senator Pepper's position in the case of Greece, without U.N. participation and approval.

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