The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 14, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Andrei Gromyko told the 55-nation U.N. General Assembly that Britain's 1922 Mandate over Palestine should immediately be terminated and criticized the British administration of the country and attempts to maintain order through force, inimical, he said, to both Arabs and Jews. He recommended dual Arab-Jewish administration. He invoked the U.N. Charter as mandating protection of human rights and being applicable in the situation.

The Senate approved the President's requested 350-million dollar aid bill for war-ravaged countries in Europe and Asia, the amount having been cut in the House to 200 million dollars. The Senate vote was 79 to 4, rejecting the House cut by a roll call vote of 64 to 19. The bill would now proceed to conference for reconciliation.

During final debate of the bill, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge argued that the aid be limited to countries who would carry out their commitments under the treaties.

Secretary of State Marshall had indicated that the primary beneficiaries of the bill would be Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, China, and Trieste.

Admiral William Halsey said in a written statement released by the Navy Department that the world still thought in terms of strength and that the nation thus could not shrink from its obligations as a leading nation in the post-war world.

Winston Churchill, speaking to a "United Europe" meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in London, urged Britain and France to take the lead in restoring the German national economy before the German people turned their thoughts to revolt and revenge. He warned that otherwise, Germany would again become a menace to its neighbors and the whole world. Germany, he said, could not be expected to undertake the task itself, as it lay in ruins.

In Greenville, S.C., the trial of the 31 defendants accused of the lynching murder in February of Willie Earle proceeded into its second day. One of the defendants, George Covington, in a pre-trial written statement presented by the prosecution, had identified R. Carlos Hurd, Sr., as the man who twice shot Mr. Earle, killing him. He had inflicted the first wound while Mr. Earle was on the ground weaving on one elbow, following a brutal beating by some of the other men. Mr. Hurd then asked for another bullet for his gun and after obtaining it, fired the fatal shot to the head.

Mr. Earle, according to Mr. Covington's statement, had denied to the men killing the cab driver the night before, for which he had been arrested that morning. But after another of the defendants had spoken nicely to Mr. Earle, he had confessed.

Another defendant, Ernest Stokes, had, before the fatal shots, drawn a knife and stated that he wanted to put the same marks on Mr. Earle that the latter had on the fatally stabbed cab driver.

Another statement, by James Truman Cantrell, a cab driver, also said that Mr. Earle had admitted the killing of the cab driver.

A third written statement by another defendant, Hubert Carter, also read to the jury, said that Mr. Hurd carried a shotgun when Mr. Earle was taken from the Pickens jailer at gunpoint, but that he had not actually seen the murder. Carlos Rector, he said, had demanded that the jailer turn Mr. Earle over to the lynch mob.

Other statements introduced by the prosecution were to meet defense contentions that these admissions were obtained through coercion or threats. A State Police officer stated that the defendants were treated nicely and that no inducements were offered for the statements.

In Washington, the Government rested its case in the trial of former Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky and the Garsson brothers for fraud and bribes in connection with war contracts. The defense filed motions for a directed verdicts in the case, contending that the prosecution had not established its prima facie case of guilt. The Judge expressed considerable doubt about the legal sufficiency of the evidence against a fourth defendant in the case, Joseph Freeman.

The President signed into law the bill banning portal pay suits, based on it promoting economic stability. He expressed, however, reservations as to the effect the legislation would have on wage and hour standards, as it eliminated preparatory time from the definition of "work" under the original 1938 Wage and Hours Act. He also requested anew that Congress raise the minimum wage from 40 cents to 65 cents per hour.

In New York, 8,000 Long Lines workers were ordered by the union to cross NFTW picket lines the following day and return to work. The Long Lines workers the previous week had resolved their contract dispute with A.T.&T.

Telephone operators in Jacksonville, Fla., crossed picket lines and returned to work.

In London, it was reported by the Food Minister that beer would be ten percent stronger in future. That is good, considering the harsh winter endured there, we suppose.

In Cranberry, N.C., in Avery County, some 300 of the 400 students at the high school struck until the County School Board would act on their request to re-elect C. C. Bowlick as their principal. Another man had been elected to succeed Mr. Bowlick, who had held the post for two years. The students marched a mile to Elk Park, where they staged a street demonstration. Classes at the Cranberry High School were being held as usual.

Whether there was any sauce for Greece on the side in the matter was not indicated.

In Los Angeles, a woman left her purse containing $3,500 inside a cab. The cab driver retrieved it and returned it when she arrived at the cab company to claim it. She gave him a $50 reward.

In Hollywood, actress Ann Sheridan lost her voice from a sudden attack of laryngitis, was resting at her home in Encino—strange, as her eyesight was apparently not affected. She should have been recuperating in Ensano.

On the editorial page, "The Colonies Win a Round" discusses the Supreme Court decision in the freight rate case, eliminating decades of discrimination against the South in rail freight rates versus those charged in the North. The Interstate Commerce Commission had ordered the rates in the South lowered by ten percent and those in the North raised by ten percent, and the Court upheld the order.

The piece finds the victory to hearken a new age of prosperity for the South. Previously, finished goods were at a disadvantage because of the disparity in rates when being shipped from the South to the North, compared to finished goods from the North. Raw materials from the South enjoyed good rates, but the disparity discriminated against Southern manufacturing, limiting the incentive of manufacturers to place factories in the region.

The victory had left a good taste in the mouth of the South, even if being a bitter pill to swallow for the North. But the piece finds little sympathy for the latter as the South had been swallowing that pill for a long time.

"A New Army of Censors" tells of the Southern Baptists girding to do battle with Hollywood regarding exhibition of decent morals in films, much as the Legion of Decency had done in the past from within the Catholic Church. The piece expresses sympathy for the sentiment, but finds little hope that the effort would have any salutary impact. It had always been the case that dissolute behavior rendered taboo became more attractive for its censorship, and the present campaign would prove no exception.

It agrees in principle that the self-imposed Hays Office standards, now under the direction of Eric Johnston, had done little other than in trivialities, fussing with necklines of actresses and the like, while allowing themes of adultery and other such conduct to proliferate in films.

It wished the effort well, but was not going to hold its breath or even express hope for its success, given that it would only in the end make matters worse by making the taboo more attractive.

"South Carolina's Example" discusses the murder trial of the 31 defendants accused of the murder by lynching of Willie Earle the previous February, the morning after his arrest for the murder the night before of a Greenville cab driver. The defendants, 28 of whom were cab drivers, probably, it predicts, would not be convicted by the all-white jury, seven of whom were textile workers, historically apt to look at the crime of which the victim was accused before they would look at the accusations against the defendants.

Nevertheless, it finds that South Carolina had made a start in the right direction by not officially condoning the act and letting the lynchers go free with impunity. At least they were being prosecuted vigorously, an exception to the rule through the decades among the Southern states. It set a precedent in the right direction even if unlikely to result in convictions on this occasion.

The editorial was correct. Despite confessions by the cab drivers of their complicity in the murder and the identification of the shooter who finally killed Mr. Earle, all 31 defendants would be acquitted the following week.

Thus, whether, on the whole, the case presented any real sign of progress is a dubious notion, especially given knowledge in hindsight of events to transpire over the ensuing 20 years and more. The most ironic portion of the reportage was that new Governor Strom Thurmond was being hailed as a progressive on race relations for having promptly issued orders after the lynching to undertake a full investigation and to arrest and prosecute the culprits.

A piece by O. J. Coffin from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Piping for Peace", provides in light verse an expression of the recent trip by former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen to Moscow, meeting with Josef Stalin, given to imbibing vodka.

Drew Pearson backtracks to the story of former Attorney General Francis Biddle, fired two years earlier by the President for a number of reasons, most of which related to his unwillingness to give quarter on the matter of Boss Tom Pendergast, who gave Mr. Truman his start in politics and had been sent to jail by a U.S. Attorney whom Mr. Biddle refused to fire.

But now, the President was battling for an appointment of Mr. Biddle to become the U.S. representative on the U.N. Social and Economic Council, an appointment being blocked by Senator Arthur Vandenberg in the Foreign Relations Committee. It had lain dormant for three months without a hearing being called. There was effort afoot to convince the President to withdraw the nomination, including that of Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, who advised appointment instead of George Harrison, head of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks. Nevertheless, President Truman admirably had stuck by the appointment and assured to Senator Vandenberg and others that he would not withdraw it. He had also offered to Mr. Biddle as an alternative the position of Ambassador to France.

Thus Mr. Pearson withdraws his previous criticism of the President as being vengeful in favor of Missouri cronies and finds that he was doing everything he could to make up the previous firing to Mr. Biddle.

North Dakota representatives in Congress were upset that the President had appointed a Missouri Federal District Court Judge, John Collett, to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. They wanted a North Dakota appointment as there had never been a North Dakotan on the Eighth Circuit, despite all other states in the Circuit having received appointments. The President stood by his appointment, but likely the expressed resentment would influence future appointments in the Circuit.

Marquis Childs discusses the persistent suspicion that the U.N. consideration of the Palestine problem was little more than a game of delay. The British had stated that any recommendation which came out of the investigatory commission with which they disagreed would be vetoed by them in the Security Council. Thus, the results of the investigation had little more hope of success than the Anglo-American committee recommendations of the previous year.

The American delegation was taking a complacent attitude of watching and waiting, hardly admirable under the circumstances of the emergency facing the Displaced Persons of Europe, increasingly abject in condition and in need of sanctuary.

The argument that the U.N. was not equipped to handle the Palestine problem held little weight, provided the nations would agree to a resolution which would permit orderly immigration of 100,000 persons.

A bill was pending in Congress, sponsored by William Stratton of Illinois, to admit to the United States 100,000 Displaced Persons per year for four years, and there was considerable effort being mounted to pass the bill.

The Arab nations consistently raised the bogey of Soviet intervention in Palestine in the event of Jewish immigration and partition. Their real fear, however, was that their feudal power would be ended under Communism.

The overriding danger was that the power of the U.N. would be emasculated should the effort fail to produce any result and appear as a mere puppet show. Canada was expressing lack of confidence in a report issued on the U.N., stating that it had been the country's belief that the body would be a permanent world peace-keeping organization, not a temporary expedient.

Samuel Grafton comments on luncheon clubs of businessmen being routinely optimistic that no recession would occur or, if it did, that it would be short and relatively painless. But then they would behave, by decreasing orders, in a way which forecasted a downturn in the economy.

The President's "moral suasion" exerted on business to lower prices voluntarily had not worked. Mr. Grafton thinks it might be wise to try instead to convince the consumer to purchase less until prices would begin to fall. The consumer had purchased just as much as in the previous year, though unable to buy as much with his dollar, given the substantially higher prices after the elimination of price controls.

Mr. Grafton recommends that Congress begin holding public hearings on various individual commodities which had gone up substantially in price, to determine where the money had gone, thereby increasing public awareness of the worst offenders in the marketplace in terms of not voluntarily lowering prices without excuse of higher costs. It would do more good than the generalizations characterizing the debate of the previous year.

A letter from Inez Flow comments on her favorite topic, liquor, taking the usual position that controlled sale would breed drunkenness and crime beyond that under bootlegging. She cites numerous statistics from the FBI which, she contends, back up her thesis.

A letter writer is tired of the usual commentary in the "People's Platform" anent liquor or, of late, the shooting of eagles, votes for a change of topic.

He proceeds to suggest that no matter how the liquor referendum turned out, the same old moonshine would be around because the drinkers preferred its kick to the "government grog", which needed moonshine to boost its lethality.

The editors respond that they printed the opinions they received and until the referendum on the subject of liquor occurred June 14, the topic of the column would likely continue in that direction.

A letter from the secretary of the Board of School Commissioners in Charlotte tells of the Board passing a resolution of appreciation for the newspaper's support of the raise in school teacher salaries and the recent successful referendum in the county to increase property taxes for the benefit of education, to supplement the state raise of 30 percent. They especially thank Dick Young of The News for his reporting on the issue.

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