The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 12, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Bulgarian Parliament had voted the previous night that 23 members of the Agrarian Party of Nikola Petkov, Opposition Leader arrested on spurious charges, had resigned of their own volition and so were no longer members of the body. The 23 members claimed that they had submitted only pro forma resignations as a matter of party policy and did not intend their resignations to be final.

HUAC voted to begin hearings on June 23 regarding alleged Communist infiltration of labor unions. Witnesses would come from the CIO Electrical Workers Union of Bridgeport, Conn., Schenectady, N.Y., and New York City.

The Committee had unanimously approved a report concerning the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, to be released to the press on Sunday. In 1944, the Committee had labeled it a Communist-front organization.

Chairman J. Parnell Thomas also announced hearings on fascism, but no date had been set.

Former Russian Army officer Victor Kravchenko, author of I Chose Freedom, would testify on June 26 re conditions in Russia and how Communism worked.

The full committee, said the chairman, had not yet had a chance to act on the subcommittee recommendation of a full investigation of charges of infiltration of Communists into Local 22 of the United Tobacco Workers at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. As indicated the previous day, freshman Congressman Richard Nixon was a member of that subcommittee.

Democrats criticized the decision by House Ways & Means chairman Harold Knutson of Minnesota to appoint an 11-member extra-Congressional commission to advise on tax matters. The Democrats stated that such a decision was beyond the purview of his authority as chairman.

It appeared that Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder was advising the President to veto the tax bill, cutting four billion dollars from revenue. He advised that the government first needed to know what the budget would be before determining a tax cut.

The House-Senate confreres had reached agreement on an extension, through the ensuing February, of rent control, set to expire June 30, but permitting 15 percent increases if landlords and tenants signed leases which extended through 1948. Under the bill, all controls on commercial construction, except in certain recreational facilities, would end June 30.

The President urged a bill to continue controls on consumer credit.

The average cost of steers and yearlings in Chicago rose to an all-time high of $26 per hundred-weight, topping the previous record of $25.40 established the previous October, right after OPA controls on meat were released. The price for top grade cattle remained lower than the previous October.

In Franklinton, N.C., the vote was all wet, albeit delayed in implementation until the courts could rule on whether the Legislature's act permitting the referendum on liquor was valid under the State Constitution.

The chairman of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Executive Committee stated that Republican demands for immediate registration of voters in the county was a tempest in a teapot, reminding him of a "scared bullfrog [which] jumps and misses his footing". He thought the Republicans ultimately were seeking to reduce the number of registered voters in the county to increase their political prospects.

In Charlotte, the process of acquiring the first section of right-of-way for the new cross-town boulevard was anticipated to begin immediately, following approval of the plan the previous afternoon by the City Council. The first section would cost an estimated two million dollars, an eighth of which would come from the City, with the rest coming from the State and Federal Governments. The proposal for the second portion of the highway was still being considered, pending further consideration of its route. The boulevard would be 82 feet wide. You can get out your tape measure if you live near it and see if it has grown in the intervening years.

A photograph appears of the opponents of the cross-town boulevard taking their last stand sitting down, amid some proponents of the boulevard, including News General Manager and former Editor J. E. Dowd.

In Hollywood, actress Cobina Wright, Jr., and her husband, had their third son the previous day.

On the editorial page, "The Problem of Enforcement" tells of Police Chief Littlejohn in Charlotte having declared enforcement of prohibition to be an impossible task. He was then condemned by 75 churchmen who found him to be surrendering to the wets.

The problem, however, was that the public did not support such enforcement of the liquor laws in the county. And the law permitting a gallon per person per day to be brought into the county from wet areas made enforcement that much more difficult.

Chief Littlejohn thought that prohibition encouraged bootlegging and the crime which went with it, thus making a mockery of law enforcement generally. The piece urges consideration of this experienced viewpoint as voters went to the polls two days hence—at long last, thank goodness.

Wet or dry, let's get on with the show.

"Lynching Is Still Indefensible" finds Representative Monroe Redden of North Carolina seeking a Federal anti-Moreover, the sudden spate of alleged law to go along with the proposed anti-lynching law. It was a wholly unnecessary gesture and implied that he had not caught up with the times, when no one any longer could raise a protest to a Federal anti-lynching law, in light of recent events: the acquittal in Greenville, S.C., in May of the 28 defendants, 26 of whom had admitted participation in the lynching of Willie Earle in Pickens on February 17, after he had been arrested for stabbing to death a Greenville cab driver the night before.

The piece points out that his case had nothing to do with rape. The case of the attempted lynching in Jackson, N.C., of Buddy Bush, arrested for attempted rape for chasing a white woman, never getting close enough for her to identify him, also did not, therefore, involve strictly a rape case. Moreover, the sudden spate of alleged rapes or inchoate rapes of late had taken place only after the acquittal in Greenville, and thus the typical argument, strained as it was in its premises, could not be made that lynching served as a deterrent.

While rape was obviously a serious crime, state laws adequately dealt with it. At the time in North Carolina, for instance, it was a capital offense. It was unnecessary therefore to have a Federal law to address it. States had historically actively prosecuted the crime of rape; not so with lynching in the South. That failure was what the Federal law was attempting to redress, even if in the case of the Willie Earle lynchers, no one had questioned the tenacity with which the case was prosecuted and the fairness of the court in conducting the trial.

Mr. Redden's oration, it suggests, indicated that some Southerners still had not gotten the word that lynching was as indefensible as rape.

"The Great State of Carolina" finds that New Yorkers often confused the Carolinas. Morris Ernst, lawyer-author, in a review for The New York Times Book Review, had confused North and South Carolina by way of discussing recognition of sister state divorce decrees and prosecution for bigamy, attributing the problem to South Carolina, when in fact it had been North Carolina. South Carolina was the only state in the nation which did not permit divorce at all. North Carolina had a divorce mill.

The piece states that the editors had become so frustrated at repeatedly seeking to untangle such confusion that they proposed a merger between the two states, henceforth to be called Carolina. It would corroborate the majority of radio comedians, songwriters, and editorialists who regularly transmogrified the two states into one entity.

But that is not right at all. Carolina is only in Chapel Hill. Everybody knows that.

Drew Pearson tells of Attorney General Tom Clark being subjected to an earful from GOP Senators during a hearing on the Kansas City voting scandal of the previous summer, anent the Democratic primary in which incumbent Roger Slaughter ostensibly was defeated by President Truman's handpicked candidate, backed by the James Pendergast machine, Enos Axtell, who ultimately appeared to win the primary but lost in the general election. The Grand Jury had delivered 78 indictments and stated that Mr. Slaughter should have won the primary. To top off the problem, ballot boxes secured by the Grand Jury for recounts had been stolen by an unknown person.

Senator James Kem of Missouri accused the Democrats of whitewashing the election. Mr. Clark responded that he had vigorously prosecuted and sent to jail Mayor James Curley of Boston for graft in forming war contracts. He had also brought a prosecution of former Kentucky Congressman Andrew May on receipt of bribes in war contracts.

The column next tells of the wife of the newly appointed American Minister to Ireland, George Garret, stating that one of her biggest worries was how to accommodate all of her friends who wanted tickets to the Irish sweepstakes.

The end of housing controls for veterans had taken place by way of the proposal of Senator Douglas Buck of Delaware, substituting in conference the House bill for the Senate bill on housing and rents, except for the Senate provision to raise rents by 15 percent. The amendment had passed.

On the conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill had been Senator William Knowland of California, for veterans' housing, and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, a veteran who nevertheless took the side of the real estate lobby against veterans' housing.

Marquis Childs discusses the Taft-Hartley bill and its ramifications. It was expected that labor would contest many of its complicated provisions in the courts, which could take two years to complete. The final version of the bill which had emerged from conference was more stringent against labor than the Senate version.

The bill was so complex legally that no one yet fully understood it.

Mr. Childs blames labor for not undertaking voluntarily to address some of the ills which the bill sought to remedy. Anticipation of the inevitability of its worst aspects probably would have served to mitigate its impact on labor.

One of the things which the bill did was to enable the President to appoint a general counsel who would oversee labor contests and determine which matters could come before the NLRB, making him essentially a labor czar.

One legal expert who had reviewed the bill had informed Mr. Childs that it was so weighted down with intricacy in the process for getting before the Board that, in his opinion, most labor unions would henceforth opt to strike before seeking to resolve their disputes at the Board.

For the immediate future, the bill would likely insure an increase in contested labor cases, and the NLRB was already overburdened with cases.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again look at the shaping of the comprehensive plan for dealing with the economic and political crisis in Europe, under the guidance at the State Department of the Planning Committee led by George Kennan. The broad objective was to help Europeans help themselves. There would be an American agency and a European agency therefore charged with joint responsibilities and needing to coordinate their efforts.

The European agency would determine the needs of the European countries and then determine what needs could be met by Europe itself. The remaining gap would be filled by the American agency which would then determine allocation of the approximate six billion dollars annually which would likely be needed in the initial years until Europe could again be self-sustaining.

The leadership abroad likely would have to come from Britain as the Communists would seek to wreck Western European economies by such devices as the current French rail strike.

Uncertainty existed as to whether the Congress would appropriate the necessary money for this program. It would resist any aid to such Soviet-dominated countries as Poland and Czechoslovakia. And it would be hard to get Congress to understand the interrelationship between the Western European and Eastern European economies.

A letter writer finds the dry argument all wet and hopes the electorate would realize that prohibition was unenforceable and led only to a bootlegging criminal syndicate.

A letter from Inez Flow says that a letter of May 31 had resorted to an old trick to try to convince voters to vote for ABC controlled sale of liquor, appeal to class prejudice.

She says that a year earlier in France, licensed prostitution had been abolished, but there was now talk of eliminating the ban for inability of enforcement. The Chinese sold their little girls into houses of prostitution. Liquor, she says, led to prostitution and the "blackest crimes" among youth. Liquor was evil and should not be legalized.

We would like to have Ms. Flow devote her time to discussion of baseball card collecting, for a change of pace. Perhaps, after the referendum on Saturday...

A letter says that bootlegging would continue to thrive under the ABC system. You could not put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.

The editors tell of additional letters on the issue on page 15-A. With your leave, we shall skip those.

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