The Charlotte News

Monday, May 5, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Acre, Palestine, a jail break had taken place on Sunday night with the assistance of the Irgun underground organization, freeing 216 Jewish and Arab prisoners, of whom only 33 were Jewish. Sixteen persons had been killed, including four Jews and one Arab, and 20 wounded in the escape. Nineteen had been recaptured almost immediately, but no others had been caught. The prison held 613 prisoners, 158 of whom were Jewish, at the time of the escape.

The national telephone strike appeared ready to be resolved by nightfall. The Government had proposed a $5.14 weekly wage increase and AT&T Long Lines officials were said to be considering the offer. Southwestern Bell had made a cash proposal to settle the strike, the first from within the Bell System.

In New York, the telephone workers who were members of four independent unions accepted a $4 per week wage increase and began returning to work. The members of the National Federation of Telephone Workers, numbering 19,000, remained on strike.

The order of North Carolina Governor Gregg Cherry that telephone workers in the state return to work by this date or he would order the companies to begin hiring replacements, resulted in workers returning in Asheville and Goldsboro, but not in Raleigh.

Tom Fesperman tells of the leader of the local Charlotte telephone strikers having resigned his position and returned to work at the telephone company. A successor was elected to head the strikers.

The Justice Department announced that it was waging anti-trust suits or investigating matters involving 79 of 100 of the biggest companies in the nation.

The U.S. proposed to Panama a new agreement for defense of the canal, allowing for continued use of 36 of 134 wartime military bases within Panama, to afford adequate protection for the canal. The Canal Zone itself was U.S. territory.

The death toll in the May Day massacre of civilians by machinegun fire in Palermo, Sicily, had risen to ten. The gunmen had fled through the mountains and their identities were unknown.

In Istanbul, American and Turkish warships exchanged 21-gun salutes.

In Allentown, Pa., twenty infants died from an outbreak of gastroenteritis. Thirteen others remained sick.

In Toledo, O., a woman was arrested after 13 years as a fugitive from parole on a check forging charge. She had maintained a law abiding existence and changed her name and appearance to avoid being caught, though staying within her hometown. She had fled from Marysville, O.

Professor Louis Ullman, head of UNC's classics department, was named a Fellow of the Mediaeval Academy of America, an organization of scholars. The only other two Southern members were also from UNC.

State Representative John Umstead advocated that the state obtain from the Federal Government almost all of the land associated with Camp Butner, not just 7,500 acres, for the purpose of establishing a mental hospital and vocational training school. It would enable the creation of a State Government center on the property as well.

In Wayne, W. Va., a man being sought for the killing of four relatives and wounding of two others, was trapped by a sheriff's posse inside a cabin and killed.

In Santa Monica, actress Georgia Davis, the wife of comedian Red Skelton, gave birth to a baby girl.

On the editorial page, "Protection for the Cotton Industry" tells of the cotton industry struggling for survival and manufacturers being fearful of foreign competition, seeking protection of domestic markets in Congress. But this type of protectionism, as advocated by South Carolina Senator Burnet Maybank before the American Cotton Manufacturers' Association meeting at Augusta, Ga., did not follow current foreign policy. America needed to assist the governments of Europe struggling financially so that they would not fall within the gambit of Communism.

So the piece quarrels with Senator Maybank's solution but not with the overall dire prognosis for the cotton industry. It finds it ironic that a Southern Senator was speaking against free enterprise and in favor of protective tariffs.

"The Matter of Rent Control" discusses the complications in rent controls. Taking them off meant that millions of renters would suffer with immediately higher rents, while leaving them in place with no allowed increases was unfair to landlords when controls were released from the rest of the economy. So the reasonable solution was to allow some uniform increase. But the House had rejected that proposal by allowing the states and cities to take or leave rent control measures. The bill was now before the Senate. Rent controls were set to expire on June 30. Thus time was of the essence.

"Beyond the Looking-Glass" finds Rowan County's liquor situation engaged in complete fantasy. There had been a recent trial of a leading bootlegger who the police and several citizens described as a leading citizen. The judge suspended sentence on condition that the man give up bootlegging. He assured that he would.

The bootleggers had joined together to stop liquor sales until the referendum on controlled sale would take place May 31. The motive was unclear. One bootlegger had stated that the reason for turning off the spigot was to show the county how things would be under prohibition. But such a rationale was counter-intuitive to the notion that the bootleggers' interests were sympathetic to prohibition. Some thought that they were trying to keep the county dry to assure a victory for prohibition, that their trade might continue.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, it ventures, the residents of Rowan would continue to have a plentiful supply of liquor.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "The Saga of the Smelts", seeks to draw a lesson from the smelts who were hatched in Lake Michigan 40 years earlier, then multiplied, and eventually made their way atavistically as lemmings back to home waters in Maine, where the fishermen then were enabled to make a huge haul and send it to the Fulton Fish Market in New York for fat payoff.

The piece thinks the lesson is that four decades of struggle puts the country right back where it started. But it hesitates to draw the analogy with the smelts too tightly, as at least they had increased in number if not wisdom.

They could have made a rotelle smelter-shelter for them, however, and then, perhaps, the smelt would have unwittingly turned about and headed back for the waters adjacent to the abductor digiti minimi, from whence they derived secondarily, once removed.

Drew Pearson suggests that Congress could save money by eliminating such "joy rides" as had been taken by a colonel in Tacoma, Washington, who dispatched himself, a sergeant, and two privates to transfer an ambulatory private from New York to the Veteran's Hospital in Tacoma. Each of the four men was also given ten-day leaves in their hometowns, also on instruction of the colonel.

He next provides details of FDR's views on Palestine, as provided by Morris Ernst, close friend to the late President. President Roosevelt had wanted Jewish immigration to all countries, not only Palestine, with 100,000 permitted into each of the U.S. and England. The U.N. would finance this immigration. He also wanted reparations for Jews inside Germany and Austria, at least consisting of the property stolen from them by the Nazis, plus some additional property as compensation for suffering. The estates of the Junkers might be used for the purpose, as well as the U.S. war surplus goods in Europe. He proposed that all of the Allied nations take in certain numbers of refugees.

The plan, however, had received little support among Zionists after the war, as the Truman pledge to allow 100,000 immigrants interfered with their fund-raising and because of general disillusionment. The President had on Christmas Eve issued an executive order allowing in 40,000 Jewish refugees, but the State Department quietly intervened and blocked 36,000 of the visas. Such had occurred also under President Roosevelt.

Britain had already admitted 100,000 immigrants, but most had been non-Jewish. Latin American countries had indicated a willingess to accept immigrants, as long as they were not Jewish.

Such were the reasons why many Jewish refugees had turned toward Palestine as their only hope.

Marquis Childs discusses the dwindling defenses of Alaska, reduced nearly to pre-war levels, woefully inadequate for defense against potential attack. He predicts that if war with Russia would come, it would come through Alaska.

Recently, the Navy had sent a group of submarines into Alaskan waters and failed to tell the Army about the maneuvers. At first, the Army thought they might be Russian submarines. They were detected by the Alaskan Territorial Guard, which the Governor of the Territory wanted strengthened. The problem suggested a continuing failure of cooperation between the Army and Navy, despite the lessons of World War II.

Statehood, he counsels, was needed for both Alaska and Hawaii to insure their proper representation in Congress, especially to provide for adequate defense. A bill had been approved by the House Lands Committee to grant Hawaii statehood, but was stalled in the Rules Committee. Hearings had been held on statehood for Alaska, with most witnesses favoring it. But nothing otherwise had been done toward making Alaska a state.

The services meanwhile appeared to be drifting back to the past when the generals competed with the admirals.

Joseph Alsop tells of the potential for three crises in the country in the coming 18 months leading up to the election in 1948. First, a labor crisis could occur when the coal mines were turned back over to the private owners on June 30. Second, a coal strike would bring on a recession or depression. Third, the effort to bring order from chaos in the rest of the world would then have to be halted.

The coal strike would be disastrous as would a crisis in the dollar exchange rate on the world market. Both were avoidable but nothing was being done to avert either disaster at present.

The Republicans proceeded to try to pass a punitive labor bill which the President was certain to veto. Secretly, the Republicans relished this prospect because they could then blame the President for not signing a labor bill. The omnibus bill carried a mandatory sixty-day cooling off period for strikes, which everyone, including the President, wanted. But he would have to veto it along with the rest of the more stringent bill. That would leave him powerless to deal with John L. Lewis and the coal miners.

Presidential politics were already playing a role in how the Congress was behaving. He suggests that the American people should make it plain that they would tolerate no such political gamesmanship during such a crucial period for rebuilding abroad and continuing reconversion at home, during the ensuing 18 months.

A letter opposes the liquor referendum based on the usual arguments, that controlled sale would increase drinking and thus multiply all of its concomitant problems.

A letter favors the referendum for the usual reasons, that the proponents of prohibition were playing into the hands of the bootleggers.

A letter from the president of the Mecklenburg County Teen-Age Club thanks the newspaper for its support of the continued use of the recreation center in the basement of the Armory by the Club, contesting for use with the National Guard after its return from overseas duty. He expresses appreciation for the editorial of April 24 on the subject.

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