Thursday, June 5, 1947

The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 5, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Marshall had, in a speech at Harvard, outlined that which would become known as the Marshall Plan, calling for the countries of Europe to work together in the great new program of reconstruction, with American economic assistance to be provided as necessary. He pledged U.S. opposition to any government which sought to block recovery of any country. He did not specifically indicate how much money would be provided.

The speech at the time received only passing notice, as it was largely only a restatement of that already expressed by both Secretary Marshall and President Truman since the March 12 address by the President to the joint session of Congress, urging passage of the 400-million dollar aid package for Greece and Turkey, becoming known within a few days thereafter as the Truman Doctrine.

The Senate completed ratification of the treaties with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, the latter despite the recent Communist-backed coup. Occupation troops were to be withdrawn from the countries within 90 days of ratification by the Big Five nations. Russia would still be permitted to maintain sufficient troop strength to enable communication lines with the Soviet zones of occupation in Germany and Austria.

President Truman denounced the coup in Hungary as an outrage and asserted that the U.S. would not stand idly by in its wake.

Diplomatic observers believed that Soviet action to solidify Communist domination of Czechoslovakia would be the next move. Recently, right wing opposition in the country had surged in strength.

Iranian troops were dispatched to northwestern Iran to battle Mullah Mustafa El Barzani, Kurdish chieftain, who, according to the Iranian Government, had crossed the frontier from Turkey with 500 armed tribesmen. Mullah was under sentence of death in Iran for brigandage and fomenting armed rebellion.

President Truman criticized the economic philosophy of Senator Robert Taft as being one of boom or bust, which could, if followed, destroy prosperity and profits. He stated that the principle that high demand necessitated high prices was fallacious and dangerous. Mr. Taft had criticized the President for adopting a policy of providing aid abroad, which he asserted would keep prices high. The President responded that he did not advocate the Greek-Turkish aid to keep prices down but rather for humanitarian purposes and to provide a bulwark against Soviet aggression.

Former Vice-President Henry Wallace, visiting North Carolina and speaking in Raleigh, had stated at a press conference, held at the home of Josephus Daniels, that he would not support President Truman for re-election. But he qualified the statement by saying that it depended on whether the Truman Doctrine would be a war doctrine, which it gave all indications of being, along with the Democratic Party as a whole. He said that he was trying to make the Democratic Party liberal again, but if it continued on a course of reaction and depression, he would cease being a Democrat. He stated, however, that he could not see himself campaigning for Republicans, save possibly former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen or Senator Wayne Morse.

He said that the paranoia over Russia was uncalled for as it was incapable of waging war for another decade.

Mr. Wallace was the guest of former Secretary of the Navy and Ambassador to Mexico Daniels.

Attorney General Tom Clark and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover stated to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that an investigation the previous fall into voting irregularities in the Democratic primary in Kansas City, involving the race between incumbent Congressman Roger Slaughter and the President's hand-picked choice, Enos Axtell, backed by the James Pendergast machine, had found no evidence of problems, but admitted that it was only a preliminary investigation and that a full investigation was presently underway in light of the indictments returned against 78 persons by a Kansas City grand jury, stating its opinion that Mr. Slaughter should have been the winner of the election. Some of the ballot boxes preserved by the grand jury for recounting the votes had been recently stolen.

Food prices had risen 7 cents on average from the previous week, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

In Philadelphia, police were trying to trace the manufacturer of a metal drum in which the body of a strangled middle-aged woman had been found on Monday. The identity of the woman had not been ascertained.

A trinket belonging to the late singer and actress Grace Moore was found near the scene of an airline crash in which she had been killed along with 21 others as the plane took off from Copenhagen January 27. The trinket had been presented to her by King Haakon VII of Norway.

The North Carolina Supreme Court gave its approval to the gift by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of $350,000 annually to Wake Forest College conditioned on moving the campus to Winston-Salem. The contract was deemed valid and enforceable in a test case.

But they do not discuss the imminent name change to Reynolda College of Robin Hood. We know it well that way. What's the deal?

On the editorial page, "UMT Is Part of a Pattern" tells of Universal Military Training, recommended as essential for long-term survival in the world by the liberal Presidential Advisory Commission, being a part of an overall pattern of the Truman Doctrine. But, as yet, there was a lot of talk and no action. A frank discussion was needed in the country of the doctrine and what form it would take, mere monetary aid and threat of force or actual force being used to stop Soviet expansion. The Hungarian situation was the recent example. Thus far, only talk had followed the coup of the previous week.

The piece wonders whether turning the matter over to the U.N. would work to resolve it, or whether it would take force of arms exerted by the U.S. If the latter, it wonders whether the Government and Congress were willing to so commit. The people apparently were.

"Our Annual Parade of Drunks" tells of the police discriminating between passing out drunks and fighting drunks who were disturbing the peace, the latter being the only ones subjected to arrest. Ten thousand arrests per year were made for drunkenness. It cites other figures which it says had made prohibition an utter failure. The only alternative was to have controlled sale.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Our Communist Veterans", tells of a bill introduced by Representative William J. Crow to deny G.I. Bill of Rights benefits to any veteran who was a member of the Communist Party or in sympathy with its aims. The piece considers it a "vicious move", regardless of its legality or capability of being enforced. It cast dishonor on military service. Communists had been accepted into the military and fought with as much distinction as anyone else. Now, to deny them rights was unjust and would create martyrs in their ranks. The real peril of Communists was not what they could do but what the witch-hunters could do to the country in trying to deny them rights.

Drew Pearson tells of President Truman becoming more concerned over the housing shortage and frustrated at the failure to do anything about it. The President's own advisers had helped to cut the ground from under former Housing Expediter Wilson Wyatt the previous year. He provides an example from Kansas City, where an entrepreneur wanted to expand his midget-car race course. At first denied by the local Citizens Committee, the businessman won his right to build when he appealed to the Housing Expediter, Frank Creedon, whose office explained that only a small amount of building was involved. But that did not take into account the harm done to local morale. Mr. Creedon, as a member of the Civilian Production Administration, had been fond of overruling Mr. Wyatt when it came to veterans' housing.

A new affidavit had emerged in the secret court martial of Lt. Commander Edward Little for his tattling on American prisoners of war in the Fukioka Camp no. 17 during the war, resulting in several beatings and at least one dead from deliberate starvation by the Japanese and another beaten to death. The new affiant alleged that perhaps a third death, his own, might have occurred resultant of the tattling but for the end of the war. He provides the account of that which took place on August 15, 1945, until word came of the end of the war and he was able to effect his escape on August 29.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the bill to merge the armed forces having finally emerged from the Armed Services Committee to go to the floor for a vote, following months of hearings on the matter. It was likely to be passed by the Senate, and then the House. They assert that Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal would become the first Secretary of Defense—or Defense Establishment, as it was initially called. All of these predictions were accurate.

The Senate bill had been authored by Maj. General Lauris Norstad and Admiral Forrest Sherman.

Merger was necessary to establish a unified policy, presently missing from the country's defense. Though charged with doing so, the Joint Chiefs had never delivered a comprehensive report to the President, as to do so would compromise their individual branch's interests.

Nothing, for instance, had been done to establish the northern arc of defenses across the Arctic frontier, where the crucial defense line existed to ward off any form of air attack from the Soviet Union. The investment for such a large-scale operation had not been undertaken.

Nor had there been a comprehensive Asiatic policy. The ring of island bases acquired from the Japanese during the war was not sufficient to ward off Soviet domination of the Asian mainland, already well advanced in Burma, French Indo-China, and Indonesia, as well in China itself. To do so required restoration of stability in China and the investment for that had not been made. The alternative was to allow Soviet dominance in that sphere, with its 1.5 billion people and vast natural resources. It would cost more than it would have a year or two earlier to restore the needed stability within China.

And, of course, insofar as China was concerned, the hope to preserve any semblance of democracy had already gone by the boards. Secretary of State Marshall, before taking over the reins at State, had so informed President Truman the previous fall when he returned from his mission there. The thought was that Chiang Kai-Shek and the Nationalists presented only a marginally better alternative, if that, to the Communists.

Samuel Grafton finds it hard to figure out the post-war world. No sooner than the tax bill to reduce taxes by four billion dollars had been passed, the Congress was being informed that 1.75 billion dollars per year would be needed for universal military training and other measures, according to the President's Advisory Committee, to ensure against extermination. Added to the Greek-Turkish aid bill for 400 million dollars, over half of the tax savings would already be wiped out.

The housing shortage was another area of grave disappointment coming in the post-war world, when it was promised that a million homes per year would be produced by private industry under controls, with another 500,000 over four years under the long-term housing bill. But controls had been ended and the housing bill was stuck in committee. The only thing the Senate had done was to pass a rent control extension bill, making it possible to raise rents by 15 percent on a showing of need, for profit. And that would push up the cost of living at a time when the country was being told to expect a decline in consumer prices.

All of it gave a person the feeling that the people running the show did not know what they were doing.

A letter blames the liquor scene on the gallon law passed by the Legislature, allowing consumers to bring a gallon from South Carolina into dry counties such as Mecklenburg, and also on the movies for glorifying alcohol with routine depictions of cocktail parties.

By golly, if you see someone drinking in the movies, just as when you see someone commit cold-blooded murder, you are certain to do likewise right straightway, as soon as you leave the theater, regardless of pre-existing tendencies in that direction which only need excuse to manifest them, to be found elsewhere if not in the movies. Red rum, as everyone knows, leads directly to murder in the mirror.

Anyway, we are sick and tired of this topic. Have the referendum and let's get on with something else.

A letter from the former pastor of the Gospel Baptist Church says that he is against the referendum and wants everyone to wake up and demand enforcement of the existing laws.

Well, they have had plenty of time to do it and haven't; so what is theoretically ideal and practically capable of accomplishment in the real world are often two very different things, with which you must learn to grapple.

And, we do not know how much crime of a serious nature might be committed but for the fact that someone got drunk and passed out before doing what they had a mind to do of a nefarious nature. So, consider that possibility, not subject to a statistical study, and try, in the end, to have a little faith in your fellow human being, drunk or not.

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