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