The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 1, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman agreed with visiting President Miguel Aleman to provide to Mexico additional credits and stabilize the rate of exchange between the peso and the dollar. President Aleman spoke to a joint session of Congress, saying, "Democracy, if not backed by force, whets the appetite of dictators."

AFL and CIO leaders met in Washington to discuss merger of the two organizations. It was the first meeting of representatives of both organizations in four years. John L. Lewis was in attendance.

In Berlin, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, claimed to have been involved in the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler by a bomb placed in a meeting room, narrowly missing rendering the dictator kaput when it went off next to a leg of a large conference table, shielding him from the worst of the blast.

Former Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes refused to recognize the new name given to Boulder Dam, now called Hoover Dam after the President had signed into law the bill passed by Congress to rename it. Mr. Ickes said it would always remain to him Boulder Dam, but that he would compromise and call Boulder City "Hooverville"—a reference to the Depression-era shanty towns which were laid at the doorstep of Hoover Administration policies.

In Washington, Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was appointed to be director of military central intelligence, succeeding General Hoyt Vandenburg. The appointment should not be confused with the CIA, which was not yet established.

Charles "Lucky" Luciano left Genoa, Italy, for Palermo, Sicily, to face an inquiry as to why he had left Sicily for Cuba the previous year after being deported from Cuba following commutation of his 30 to 50 year prison sentence by Governor Thomas Dewey, original prosecutor of Mr. Luciano in 1936, on condition that he leave the U.S. and never return. He had been deported again from Cuba earlier in the month.

In Huntington, Pa., protruding steel plates on a freight train ripped a hole in a passing Pennsylvania Railroad flyer, "The American", causing it to wreck at 1:47 a.m., killing four persons and injuring 40 others. A second freight train ran into the wreckage.

In Fairmont, N.C., near Lumberton, 50 families, principally of black farmers, had been rendered homeless by a tornado which had killed one person, a four-year old girl, and injured at least three others the previous mid-afternoon, passing from Dillon, S.C., to a point ten miles east of Fairmont.

Wind storms hit Jonesboro and Blytheville, Ark., as well as southeast Missouri. More tornadoes hit Texas on Wednesday night, killing two persons and injuring a third in a traffic accident near Rockwall during the storm.

Near Asheville, a deaf mute from Watauga County, arrested earlier in the week in St. Augustine, Fla., confessing thereafter to a murder committed on April 22, led law enforcement officers to the bullet-riddled body of a man, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Linville Falls. The confessed killer had attempted to hang himself by his belt in his jail cell, but was cut down by deputies.

There were plans for a new Federal Housing Agency office in Charlotte, to be opened possibly by June 1.

A dope ring operating in Charlotte had been interdicted to a degree by the arrest of two men who allegedly had been engaged in interstate transportation of morphine. One man was named William Howard Taft Huffman. The other, Mr. Biggers, should have been named Grover Cleveland Biggers, we suppose—though we are not certain that the two former Presidents were ever weighed to determine who was in fact the larger.

The two men were described by the Police Chief of Charlotte as "small operators", engaged in peddling small amounts of the narcotic, but having enough when caught to constitute the crime of interstate transportation.

In Singapore, rickshas were disappearing after a ban imposed by the Municipal Council on human-drawn vehicles for it being degrading. They were being replaced by bicycles with passenger sidecars.

In Pasadena, Franklin K. Arthur tells of 33 white-haired women of the WCTU passing from bar to bar in the hot sun, advancing their temperance sermon to the patrons. Some of the habitues to these purlieus of perdition called them "damned busybodies" while others listened, and still others simply went on drinking, ignoring the Scripture. Some patrons cried. The WCTU leader invoked the name of the "Black Dahlia", murder victim Elizabeth Short whose bisected body had been discovered in a vacant lot in Los Angeles in mid-January, as having "transpired" in a bar—although appearing confused on that one. The WCTU women sang "Onward, Christian Soldiers".

A fellow at the bar said he really needed a drink after going through their presentation. The bartender replugged the jukebox and things returned to normal.

Bette Davis gave birth to her first child, a girl, in Santa Ana, California.

On page 11-A, former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles gives his take on the proposed aid to Greece and Turkey, stating that the aid should not be used to dictate the form of government in either nation.

On the editorial page, "The Town Is Growing Fast" tells of the just passed annexation to the city, including 15,000 to 25,000 new residents, the annexation to become effective at the beginning of 1949.

It was believed that the city had grown to a size of 125,000 after the annexation, having 100,000 at the time of the 1940 census, adding at least 10,000 within the existing city limits sense that last decennial toll.

As indicated, the next goal, as set by retiring Chamber of Commerce manager Clarence Kuester, that of 200,000 within a generation, would occur by 1960, when the population rested at 201,000.

"In a Time of Transition...." quotes from Frederick Lewis Allen's 1931 book, Only Yesterday, regarding the year 1919, sounding very much like a report on 1946. He had found that the labor movement, having suppressed its will to obtain higher wages during the war, came out of it wanting new contracts. The employers also emerged wanting to take a stand against what they believed were Communist and Anarchist infiltration of the unions, until they became obsessed by the notion, believing that a tiny fraction in fact of labor was the prime spark behind all labor dissension.

The book was just being reprinted in paperback with a new foreword by the author. He had sought to explain the recent past of the prior decade of the twenties to a Depression-era audience, attempting to make no grand point in the book.

The time of the Twenties was now as remote to a younger audience as the Gay 90's. They would find the parallel between the present and the post-World War I era striking and surprising. Even the elders who were then of age had apparently forgotten the era.

But despite the lessons of the past having slipped away from memory, there was something comforting in the fact that the society had previously been through the entire gamut of problems now facing it.

"Inequities of the Income Tax" tells of Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina seeking to eliminate a tax inequity in the law, permitting at present in the nine community property states the filing of separate spousal returns rather than the joint return, required in the other 39 states. The result was a lower tax liability for the couple in the community property states, reducing revenue to the Government by a billion dollars.

The piece favors the change, and also advocates elimination of the prohibition to employees of the same deductions permitted business owners.

Drew Pearson indicates that the death on April 26 of Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, owner of the Hope Diamond, closed a unique chapter in Washington's social history. She was wont to give lavish parties for the cognoscenti of Washington. But she also had done a lot for servicemen during the war, who were likewise invited to her parties.

She contended that the diamond had brought her bad luck, including the death of her first child in an auto accident, the death of her husband in an asylum, and the prior September 20, the loss of her daughter, also named Evalyn Walsh McLean, the wife of former Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, by an overdose of sleeping pills. She said that she had not sold it because it would only bring bad luck to the new owner.

She had once temporarily given it to Elliott Roosevelt for a silver dollar after meeting him at the Kit Kat Club by happenstance. But, remembering the legend, he quickly returned it and retrieved his dollar.

She had gone into seclusion recently after the death of young Evalyn, 21. Her butler would not even bother her to tell her that Chief Justice Fred Vinson and his wife were dropping by to pay a visit. So it remained in her last months until her death the prior Saturday.

He next discusses the talks between William Green of AFL and Philip Murray of CIO regarding the possible merger of the two labor organizations. Mr. Green would demand that CIO purge all Communists, withdraw from the World Federation of Trade Unions, and abolish the CIO PAC, which had been heavily involved in Democratic politics. In return, he would offer CIO equal membership on the executive board of AFL and autonomy for CIO unions in industries in which it had a majority of the members. Mr. Murray would accept some but not all of these conditions, and would have some counter-proposals of his own, reminding that CIO was twice the size of AFL.

The biggest roadblock to labor peace was John L. Lewis. If the CIO joined AFL, his chance of becoming head of the combined organization was diminished. He had led CIO out of the AFL. He wanted to split CIO and pull certain friendly unions into AFL.

Mr. Pearson predicts that, as a test of good faith, the CIO would propose that AFL join it in combined opposition to the Hartley labor bill.

Harold Young, political adviser to Henry Wallace, had stated that liberalism was dead.

The column notes that Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman was being considered as a running mate for President Truman in 1948. The running mate would instead be Senator Alben Barkley, Minority Leader.

Marquis Childs tells of the visitor from Mars, expected any day, being bound to find puzzling contradictions on Earth, such as in the varied uses of the word "monopoly" within the United States. The National Association of Manufacturers was running ads saying that industry-wide collective bargaining constituted a labor monopoly. NAM became upset quickly, however, when anyone suggested that there were multiplying monopolies in big business, calling such claims the product of "left-wingers" and "collectivists". NAM had specifically attacked a report by the FTC finding such monopolies growing in big business. The report had found that five percent of the value of all manufacturing corporations had been merged in the previous two or three years, an extraordinary trend. Thus, name-calling was useless in light of this evidence.

Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming, no left-winger, had stated that the giant corporations represented, in reality, the equivalent of collectivism, a form of private socialism, eventually to become public socialism. He and Congressman Estes Kefauver of Tennessee were co-sponsoring a bill to close a loophole in the law, which did not prohibit one corporation from acquiring the physical assets of another though tending to form a monopoly. The present law only forbade stock acquisition which would tend to form a monopoly. Most mergers in recent years had been by this latter method.

It did not matter whether business monopoly preceded industry-wide bargaining or vice-versa. The problem was most evident in recent trends of big business.

Samuel Grafton finds it time for Governor Thomas Dewey of New York to comment on the Taft labor bill. He was remaining mum on most issues, including the fight to confirm David Lilienthal as Atomic Energy Commission chairman.

He was the chief fence-sitter since his defeat in 1944 for the presidency, as if in semi-retirement. Being titular head of the Republican Party and Governor of a large state, he had influence, especially on labor issues. New York had not outlawed the closed shop or several other liberal policies with respect to labor which the Taft bill would ban.

Mr. Grafton asks whether Mr. Dewey would wait until the summer of 1948 to start taking stands, as a post-mortem on a fight in which he had not participated.

A letter cites several pieces of Scripture from the Bible to counter that cited by a Methodist minister in a recent letter which had opposed, based on the passages, the upcoming referendum in Charlotte to establish controlled sale of liquor.

The passages this writer cites suggest to eat, drink wine, and be merry when one is low. And Jesus turned the water to wine.

A letter wonders why one bus company appeared to control service in the state, such that a route between Charlotte and Raleigh had been discontinued.

The editors respond that Carolina Trailways had been given permission by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to discontinue the route, but the company now had plans to re-establish a night route to Raleigh.

Get your tickets before they are all gone.

A letter writer sets forth a plan to reduce national debt and cut personal income taxes, wanting to retire the debt with a tax on the "machine system" and replace the present bank credit system with a single unit dollar monetary system.

Sounds good. Let's do it tomorrow.

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