The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 15, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Raleigh, Josephus Daniels, former editor and publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer, consistent force in that capacity in North Carolina politics at the turn of the century, former Secretary of the Navy during the Wilson Presidency and former Ambassador to Mexico from 1933 through October, 1941 under President Roosevelt, had died at age 85, succumbing to pneumonia, to which he had fallen victim the previous week, starting with a cold, contracted on New Year's Day, confining him to bed since January 4.

He had been active through the previous month in his firm stance against Universal Military Training and opposing the rhetoric of war, which he believed bred war, testifying more than once before Congress against UMT and in favor of merger of the armed forces during the previous two years. He believed that talk of compulsory military training was the equivalent of talk of war and thus stimulated thinking of war, when the converse ought be the case. He had continued to write editorials for the News & Observer until his last illness.

Mr. Daniels, whom FDR, even as President, called "Chief", had been Mr. Roosevelt's first boss in the latter's first Federal job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, remained close to the President through his death. Eleanor Roosevelt and President Truman had repeatedly called the Daniels home, Wakefield, in Raleigh to inquire of Mr. Daniels's condition in the previous days.

After lying in a coma for several days, he died this date at 1:20 p.m. All four of his sons, including Jonathan Daniels, current editor of the Raleigh News & Observer and former assistant and finally press secretary to FDR through the time of the President's death, were present at the bedside.

It was his first serious illness, though he had been seriously injured in a car accident in Atlanta in 1932.

As we have noted since the beginning of this project 16 years ago, Mr. Daniels spoke in Raleigh on December 5, 1941 at the posthumous presentation of the Mayflower Literary Society Cup to W. J. Cash for The Mind of the South. Mr. Daniels had been Ambassador in Mexico City when Cash died there on July 1, 1941 at the Reforma Hotel, found hanging from a bathroom hook by his own necktie, labeled a suicide, an indubitably incorrect judgment formulated, as we have posited also since the beginning of this project, by the Mexican authorities on simple-minded conclusions without a shred of stated evidence, ultimately in complete cooperation with Mr. Daniels and Cash's wife, Mary, for the understandable purpose of avoiding any spark which might light the fuse of war with Germany.

Both Mr. Daniels and Mary, as she later admitted in 1964 to Joseph Morrison, Cash's first biographer, deliberately told Cash's parents, who were against cremation of his remains, that his body had already been cremated when in fact it had not. Mary claimed to Dr. Morrison, quite without logical reason, that the misrepresentation was put forth because she could not abide the train ride back to Charlotte with Cash's remains, instead flew back with an urn containing his ashes. But there was no explanation why the commercial plane could not also accommodate a casket. Cash's parents had stated that they would pay for the fare, actually paid by the Guggenheim Foundation, under whose auspices Cash had gone to Mexico in late May on a one-year fellowship to write a novel.

The fact of the cremation is significant as it hid the crucial ligature marks around the neck, which would have conclusively shown whether the circle was complete, indicating strangulation by a third party, or incomplete, indicating hanging. No autopsy report was ever presented, Professor Morrison's effort to obtain one having been frustrated by the Mexican authorities in the mid-Sixties. The death certificate only indicated death by asphyxiation and that cremation had taken place prior to proper authorization.

President Roosevelt had, on May 28, 1941, declared a National Emergency, 25 days before the Wehrmacht stormed over the Russian border and began the battle which would ultimately lead, together with ample Western assistance, to the bloody fall of the Third Reich.

Cash, as we have demonstrated with ample circumstantial proof, was undoubtedly correct in his assertions of being followed in his last 24 hours by Nazi spies in Mexico City, threatening his life and that of Mary. Without recapitulating that argument and its evidentiary basis here, we merely posit the question again: Why, otherwise, was it that on July 12, 1941, Ambassador Daniels, unique to his tenure, sent a letter to Foreign Minister Ezequiel Padilla of Mexico asking that three specific individuals be arrested as German spies? an action not undertaken by the Mexican Government until the following February after Pearl Harbor, when some 250 were arrested, all deported back to Germany, but none imprisoned. Start there and the rest falls into place, including the probable participation in his murder of greasy, sleazy oil man, William Rhodes Davis, present in June, 1941 in Mexico City and probably staying then in his usual haunt when there, the Presidential Suite of the Reforma. Mr. Davis died of a heart attack in Houston on August 1, 1941, thought by some knowledgeable of that case to have been the work of MI5 out of Britain for Mr. Davis's nefarious activities funneling oil and other crucial war materials to the Nazis, even in circumvention of the 1939 blockade via the Pacific route to Vladivostok and the Trans-Siberian Railway until the German invasion of Russia. In June, 1941, he was trying to negotiate a new, complex banking scheme with the Government of Mexico. In January, 1941, Cash had written two caustic editorials for The News on Mr. Davis, implicitly calling him a traitor.

Again, none of that detracts from the credit or memory of Mr. Daniels or of President Roosevelt, who was contacted directly by Mr. Daniels on July 4, 1941 to get the State Department to "cook up" a document so that Mary could get out of Mexico, Cash having locked their passports in a safe deposit box on the morning of July 1. Mr. Daniels and the President would have been genuinely concerned about the international situation and the implications of an American journalist being murdered in Mexico by Nazi spies and what that report might trigger in a tottering world, nine days after the Nazi invasion of Russia, especially as Mexico walked a thin line between cooperation with its Good Neighbor to the north and preservation of its longstanding good relations with Germany and fealty to the many German nationals living in the country. Mr. Daniels acted for the greater good.

To wonder then why he would not have informed Cash's parents of the truth assumes that he never did. John W. Cash, Cash's father, was present with Mary at the presentation of the Mayflower Cup, both jointly receiving it from Mr. Daniels on December 5, 1941. After the war and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, came, almost immediately, the fear of a war with Russia and potentially apocalyptic results.

There is, sometimes, more to the picture than meets the eye.

Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall testified this date to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that to substitute increased armaments for the Marshall Plan would require an "armed armistice" and could cause re-institution of a draft, never before done in peacetime. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal made the same statement to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying that such an armament program could increase the annual defense budget from its current 11 billion dollars to 17 billion, the difference being more than the projected cost of ERP, 6.8 billion in the first 15 months, progressively less in the ensuing three years.

In Washington, a police inspector informed that "flying squadrons" of up to 125 officers of the Department were being trained in the event of Communist riots as those which had occurred in France and Italy during the national strikes in those countries in the previous two months. He stated that he did not expect any such major disorders but the police would be ready should they occur.

In Salisbury, N.C., a fire severely damaged a bowling alley. Occupants of second-floor apartments above it were rescued by the Fire Department.

Ralph Gibson of The News tells of the December 6 Shrine Bowl high school all-star football game in Charlotte having netted $60,000 for the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Greenville, S.C. The game had collected, since its inception in 1937, $189,050 for the hospital.

A special committee was formed by the Charlotte Merchants Association, the Community Chest, and the Chamber of Commerce to study the possibility of coordination and merger of charitable drives to reduce the number of separate drives in the city each year, totaling 27 in 1947.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of the cold snap in the face of the fuel oil shortage having caused Charlotte residents to resort to every means feasible to keep warm the previous night and through the morning. The fuel oil shortage got even worse and coal supplies were also depleted. Some delivery trucks were frozen by morning.

By 2:30 p.m. this date, the temperature was 28, having dropped in the previous 24 hours as low as 14 degrees, 8 degrees at Douglas Airport. It was the coldest day since February 9, 1947, that, at a low of 13 degrees, being the coldest day since February 12, 1943. The low predicted for Friday was 20 degrees.

To prove it, a photograph appears of a frozen bottle of milk, taken by staff photographer Tom Franklin, who had been under instructions for a "long, long time" to get that snapshot.

Other places in the South were also feeling the cold, such as Macon, Ga., where the fuel oil shortage was so bad that many residents had to resort to gas stoves, causing pressure in the Southern regional pipeline to drop. In Florida, some schools were closed.

Ray Stallings of The News reports on Jo-Jo, a large watchdog, a German police-collie, credited with saving the lives of his owners, a couple, by driving off a man who had intended to rob their grocery store. The man had shot and wounded the husband, albeit not seriously, during a scuffle over the gun.

Prior to this time, Jo-Jo, tied to a long chain on the back porch, reared up and actually said to the robber, "Get back to where you once belonged." The startled man retreated into the store where the scuffle then took place, after which he fled through the front door of the store into the night.

Or, something like that.

A photo of Jo-Jo appears on the page. The caption notes that when the photographer flashed the camera at Jo-Jo, he lunged forward but was held back by the owner.

Moral: Don't flash at Jo-Jo. You may regret it, unless, that is, you happen to be Loretta.

Frank Morgan says: "Knowledge.... It is said that the more a man knows the less he blows. Which brings me to the thought that it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought as a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

On the editorial page, "We Need New Schools and Parks" discusses the twenty-year education program for Charlotte which the Planning Board and the School Board had discussed at an open meeting the previous day. An expert on school planning from New York had been engaged to provide a report, which advocated that large tracts of land, up to 75 acres, be purchased for the construction of new schools.

The advice he gave, it says, appeared sound and sites ought be located and purchased accordingly, with the extant Lions Club project to find and raise money to construct sites for new parks to be amalgamated with the construction of the new schools, such as the new Freedom Park, where a junior-senior high school was to be built adjoining the space.

They did not really need to go to New York to obtain an expert on this topic. They could have invited someone from Winston-Salem, wherein, since 1923, Reynolds High School has sat atop Hanes Park, that land having been given by the Hanes family. Perhaps that fact was in the unawares of the Planning Board and School Board. Perhaps not and they simply did not wish to have truck with tobacco people.

"Boom Train Roars into 1948" discusses the President's economic report to the Congress, the highlights of which you can go back and read on the front page of the previous day. Its main theme was to combat inflation through the 10-point program urged by the President during the special session, including authorization for implementing, as necessary, limited price and wage controls and rationing and allocation of items in shortage.

The piece thinks that drastic measures to control inflation were past due but that too many people were prepared to ride the boom-and-bust cycle to permit agreement on a method of control.

"South Carolina Looks Ahead" comments on Governor Strom Thurmond's urging of the 23-point Reorganization Plan before the Legislature, also outlined on the front page of the previous day. The Plan, proposed when Mr. Thurmond first came to office a year earlier, it suggests, was the most comprehensive ever set forth by a South Carolina Governor.

Too bad it did not include modernization of the thought process.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, "Personal Politics in Alabama", tells of Governor "Big Jim" Folsom having been at odds since he took office with the Alabama Legislature, which had sought to stultify his progressive policies. His ineptness as an administrator had contributed to the freeze-out.

The previous January 6, a special election failed to approve an amendment to the State Constitution to allow the Legislature to convene at its own pleasure rather than having to await call by the Governor. Governor Folsom had stumped the state campaigning against it.

The newspapers were attacking him anew and he had reportedly barred them from his press conferences.

It posits that the best thing the people of Alabama could do was to let it all drop and get on with looking after the public welfare.

Drew Pearson discusses the decision of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma to reveal his commodities trading in cotton. In May, 1945, when Mr. Pearson had revealed this trading, the Senator had denied it and called Mr. Pearson a "chronic liar", even contemplated suing him for defamation.

His current willingness to be candid had germinated from the Department of Agriculture's revelations of commodities traders. He claimed that he was poor and the cotton trading supplemented his income, but facts, says Mr. Pearson, belied that claim. He goes on to explain Senator Thomas's lavish lifestyle and offers to provide to the Congress witnesses of the Senator's luxury liner cabin accommodations should the lawmakers initiate an investigation.

While he claimed that his activities did not affect the price of cotton, it was plain that anything a Senator said about cotton could impact the price, especially when the Senator in question was chairman of the Agricultural Committee.

He explains how the trading was handled through a broker, occurring in spring, 1946, during the period when OPA administrator Chester Bowles was proposing price controls on cotton. The speeches at the time on the floor by Senator Thomas, Senator Bankhead of Alabama and others in the cotton bloc, coincided with fluctuations in the market.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Senator Taft and the more extreme Republican isolationists in the Senate having banded together in a kind of junta to try to find a compromise on ERP to permit their assent to it and preserve party unity with Senator Vandenberg, the Congressional majority leader of the pro-ERP forces. While continuing to be isolationist, these men had realized the harsh political consequences awaiting from seeking to defeat ERP in the bloody showdown.

The bloc, the most active members of which were Nebraska Senators Hugh Butler and Kenneth Wherry, might ultimately seek to rip the guts from ERP. Senator Taft, whose presidential candidacy they were supporting, had taken no active role in their recent caucuses on the subject, but his early influence had congealed their determination to proceed.

Senator Taft had discussed the Marshall Plan with Secretary of Defense Forrestal and reportedly come away shaken by the revelations, believed that America no longer could afford to stand isolated from the remainder of the world absent the risk of nuclear annihilation somewhere down the line. He had thus come to accept the necessity of passage of the Plan. But he did not wish to renounce his former position alone and so wanted to bring others of his former viewpoint together in a compromise plan.

That position would not offend Col. Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and notorious isolationist. Senator Taft, not doing well in recent polls, did not wish to offend his leading backers, as Col. McCormick, for the presidency.

Samuel Grafton suggests that the Marshall Plan could be the first victim of Republican cutting to support their tax cut, in need of trimming the President's proposed budget by five billion dollars, or could, if not cut, become the object of blame for inflation down the line. Thus far, the former position seemed to be the one staked out by the GOP, as it was convenient to cut the budget when it only ostensibly impacted foreign interests.

Yet, he points out, the Marshall Plan was but one card in a house of cards which, if it fell, would cause the rest to collapse. The commodities markets were holding fast only in prospect of the Plan, with recession to follow if it were pared down considerably.

During the war, the country had shipped ten to twenty times the exports contemplated by the Marshall Plan. It could not therefore become appropriately the object of blame for inflation.

If a recession were to occur, then no tax cut of any sort could be funded. Revenue to support the budget was coming from high income and high taxes on it.

Russia would rejoice at the trimming of the Plan and Europe would shudder, with defense expenditures increased commensurately.

"That would leave us with fine expressions on our faces, and nothing much to say to each other except: 'Butterfingers!'"

James Marlow of the Associated Press revisits the founding of the U.N. in the spring of 1945 at San Francisco and compares the Charter's vision with the President's Air Policy Commission report released Tuesday night, urging working within the U.N. to abolish war through law, while also beefing up the Air Force to meet the contingency of nuclear war, the goals which it recommended, as set forth on the previous day's front page, to be fulfilled by "A-Day", January 1, 1953, the date by which it forecast the need for choate preparation for nuclear attack.

The report had stated that the U.N. would not likely develop the necessary mechanisms to prevent war before the time would come for the potential of nuclear confrontation, i.e., when the Soviets developed the bomb. The Commission found that the provisions of the Charter calling for reduction and control of armaments had not been fulfilled and that unilateral disarmament was therefore out of the question.

The Commission said that great wars usually occur by the time the nations had recovered from their war wounds. Mr. Marlow questions whether that would be as soon as 1953, but finds that the Commission had said, "There is no doubt about it."

A Quote of the Day: "A musical arranger is a fellow who gets big money for transcribing to concert style a simple popular tune whose composer got big money for stealing it from a concert opus composed by an old master who died of starvation in a garret." —Louisville Times

Another "pome" from the Atlanta Journal, this one "in Praise of the Last Year After Survivng Assorted Stresses and Strains Arising from Various Causes":

We all got one year nearer Heaven
During 1947.

We can only suggest that you and your'n had better mind your manners next year in trying to form another such "pome" for 1948.


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