Wednesday, December 1, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 1, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reported that a Lisbon dispatch had it that FDR and Churchill were speeding to a conference in Iran to meet with Stalin after they had already met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo. The report, circulated by Reuters, was accurate and was now being disseminated with the approval of both the Office of Censorship and Office of War Information. OWI Director Elmer Davis, however, criticized Reuters for initially putting out the report, but nevertheless approved the action, explaining that it was already all over Europe anyway, including circulation by the press in Berlin.

The Reuters report, however, was inaccurate in stating that Chiang would meet with Stalin.

Observers suggested that the two conferences were concentrating on planning major new offensives against the Axis.

Under the umbrella of the largest air cover yet of the Italian Campaign, the Eighth Army moved forward from captured Sangro Ridge, making progress of one to three miles in fierce hand-to-hand combat with the Germans defending their breached winter line. Algiers radio reported that the British had captured Lanciano, six miles beyond the Sangro River.

The Fifth Army pressed forward three miles west of Montaquila, wading through the most extensive barbed wire entanglements yet encountered in the Mediterranean theater, reminiscent of the First World War, as well as through dense mine fields left by the Wehrmacht.

In Russia, the Germans recaptured Korosten, the second major point of recapture, along with Zhitomir, effected during the previous two weeks. Otherwise along the 600-mile front, the Red Army continued to make progress.

The American Eighth Air Force and the RAF again combined for day and night raids on Germany, hitting undisclosed targets. The primary target for the day raid the day before in Western Germany had been Solingen in the Ruhr Valley.

The eleven RAF raids of November had dropped a record 13,000 long tons of bombs on Germany. The Americans had lost 89 planes during their ten November raids, a drop from twenty-four losses per raid down to an average of eight, as German defenses, crippled by the incessant bombing, had weakened measurably during the month.

Reports coming from inside Germany indicated that a cabal of Junkers, including diplomats and military and industrial leaders, had formed to await an opportune moment to depose Hitler and make overtures of peace to the Allies. It was rumored that they had already floated a proposal for an armistice. Both Secretary of State Hull and British Minister of Information Brendan Bracken, however, discounted the report as an attempt to weaken Allied resolve to prosecute the war to unconditional surrender. They also found it unlikely that in the first instance such a group would possess sufficient authority to back up any peace agreement made with them.

In China, Chinese troops drove the Japanese from Changteh in Hunan Province, site of intense fighting for the previous two weeks, recapturing the important city.

Fifteen hundred exchanged civilian war prisoners arrived in New York after being released by the Japanese from two years of interment. Some had been captured originally in Shanghai, some in Manila. Summing their feelings, one freed prisoner exclaimed, “Damn glad to be home.”

Hal Boyle tells of the Navy's chief aerologist, Commander Richard C. Steere, who determined the proper weather for landing in North Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy, each time having to predict not only the right weather but also the proper winds and surfs to insure that thousands of troops would not be drowned during landing operations.

Locally, a man walked into the Charlotte Courthouse and summoned a former Alabama policeman awaiting the start of his trial on occupying a room for immoral purposes by cohabiting with a seventeen-year old girl. The man told the former policeman that he had a personal message to deliver in private. The ex-policeman eventually followed the man to the police station whereupon the man whipped out a pistol, declared that, as with his son shooting Japanese at Guadalcanal, he was "killing yellow rats at home", and opened fire, shooting four times at the former police officer, wounding him twice in the lower abdomen, albeit non-seriously. It turned out that the man was the father of the seventeen-year old girl.

And starting Sunday, the OPA announced, the public could obtain grapefruit juice as well as other citrus juices, canned soups, and canned sauerkraut without rationing points.

Thus, presumably, it was revealed why the Government had bought up all the sauerkraut in the country, as queried recently of the Budget Director by Congressman John Dingell of Michigan, set forth in Drew Pearson's column the previous week.

Chow down.

You know that what eat you are.

On the editorial page, "The Tourists" quotes General Mark Clark in Italy complaining of the too numerous visiting dignitaries, most recently Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, interrupting his ability to prosecute the war.

Burke Davis draws historical analogy to a similar plaint echoed by Generals Stonewall Jackson and Joseph Johnston during the Civil War and by the generals in France during World War I just prior to Foch assuming command. He recommends that the Government adopt a strategy for the winning the war by limiting the visits of its own personnel to the battlefronts.

"Dummy King" reprises the story of King Vittorio Emmanuele of Italy, the King who had been propped up and accepted by the Allies despite his prior support for Mussolini and the Fascists and consequent rejection by the majority of the Italian people. New parties had formed around the issue of the monarchy. The Blue Party supported the House of Savoy, but not Emmanuele, instead electing to favor the enthroning of Prince Umberto and the abdication of Emmanuele. Yet, the Administration continued to favor the King and the House of Savoy.

You know that what you eat you are.

"Snoopers" finds Senator Butler of Nebraska wooing a likely ally in former isolationist Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota in his fight to stem spending in South America.

"Free Mail" favors a proposal coming from within the Post Office Department to provide the Post Office with a profit in lieu of the fourteen million dollar deficit it had suffered in 1942: put an end to free Government mail worth 72 million dollars in 1942. The proposed Burch Bill to make the proposal law, says the piece, would not only provide a profit to the Post Office, but would encourage fiscal responsibility by each department and bureau, forced to keep track of their mail budgets.

Samuel Grafton returns to the subject of the release by the British of Sir Oswald Mosley, BUF'er, from nearly three years imprisonment, released ostensibly because of phlebitis in his leg. Mr. Grafton asks whether it might be a test case of the continued viability of Fascism. For British Home Secretary Herbert Morrison had added to the reasoning for early release the contention that Britain was no longer threatened by Fascism to the degree it had been in early 1940.

Mr. Grafton takes issue with the confidence exuded in the statement, finds it problematic in light of the continuing London street demonstrations against Fascism, replete with as much fervor as those of three and four years earlier.

Raymond Clapper contests the conventional wisdom offered by incumbent Congressmen to newcomers to insure re-election: vote for all appropriations but vote against all tax measures. Chances, advocates Mr. Clapper, ought be taken, especially in time of war. Taxes were needed and affordable.

But the Democrats and Republicans were involved in a "love feast" to recommend, not the 10.5 billion in new taxes requested by the Treasury, but rather a paltry 2.5 billion.

While it was true that war expenditures had slowed somewhat, causing the projection for war spending to be slightly less by June, 1944 than originally stated, still the necessity of more taxes loomed to pay off the 194 billion dollar projected war debt.

Moreover, the country could well afford higher taxes. Consumer spending had increased by 20 to 50 percent across the country over the previous year, as demonstrated by commensurate increases in purchases at the nation's department stores. Wages had increased substantially, some as much as doubling, during the previous two years since Pearl Harbor. Executive incomes had shot through the roof.

Taxes, he thus concludes, could be afforded and should be raised to pay for the war as it was fought.

Drew Pearson examines the nation's growing lobbies and their adverse effects on the country's stability, stimulating inflationary trends. He summarizes the constituency and leadership of the most powerful lobbies: the cattlemen’s lobby, 200 strong; the tax lobby, probably the most powerful of the lobbies in Washington; the real estate lobby, having the goals of resisting slum clearance and breaking rent control; the powerful railroad wage lobby, led by George Harrison; the soft drink and tobacco lobby, with its North Carolina and Georgia friends on Capitol Hill to lead fights against excise tax proposals, fighting against Director of Economic Stabilization Fred Vinson, from a region in Kentucky which was the second largest tobacco growing area in a state which produced the most whiskey; and the oil lobby, which lacked much organization for its friends already in Washington in the persons of Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes and Congressman Wesley Disney of Tulsa.

And a well-meaning, but probably naïve letter writer thinks that a cure to the problem of vice and prostitution in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, being, he argues, the fault primarily of licentious soldiers, might derive from requiring an oath to be sworn by all soldiers to treat all women as they would their sister or daughter.

In that event, sisters and daughters, look out.

The answer, incidentally, to the young lady's query at the bottom of the column is, "Dubious."

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