Friday, December 10, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, December 10, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the nine-day "Battle of the Clouds" had concluded with the taking of Mount Samucro, after the Fifth Army had penetrated about three miles and cracked German mountain defense lines at Mignano on both sides of the road to Rome, the Via Casilina. The German defense lines had been intended to last through the winter. The Army was now penetrating secondary defenses in the direction of Cassino, the remainder of the road to which was still covered by high ground held by the Nazis.

On the Adriatic, the Eighth Army, led by Canadian tanks and artillery, were proceeding forward along an eight-mile front across the Moro River from the point of the second crossing.

In Russia, after infantry had closed in on three sides, finally supplemented by paratroops, the Red Army captured Znamenka, vital rail link between the Dneiper Bend and the area south of Kiev.

"The rolling thunder of Moscow's guns saluting the stronghold's capture was heard over the Moscow radio here at 4 P.M. (11 A.M. EWT)."

The next objective of the Russians was Kirovograd, in the path of the forces seeking to outflank the manganese and iron ore mining center at Krivoi Rog.

It was announced from China that the 40-day battle for China’s "Rice Bowl", climaxed by the re-taking by the Chinese of Changteh, had resulted in 40,000 Japanese casualties, including 15,000 killed. The Chinese, originally defending Changteh prior to its fall December 3 to the Japanese, had lost all save 300 men of the 57th infantry division, thus approximately 15,000. Bitter fighting to the north and northwest of Changteh still persisted.

Under escort of twenty Lightnings and Spitfires, the President's C-54 Douglas four-engined troop transport plane touched down in Malta on the way back to the United States from the Cairo and Tehran conferences. He assured his audience of British defenders of the bomb-riddled island, key Mediterranean staging ground for bombing raids on Italy and supply stepping stone for the British in North Africa during the dark days of 1940-42, prior to the invasions in July and September of Sicily and Italy, that the U.S. would "stand staunchly" with Great Britain and the other Allies after the war to make the victory worthwhile.

Malta would be the site of one of the last two conferences of Allied leaders which FDR would attend, beginning in latter January, 1945, a meeting only with Churchill, just prior to the Yalta Conference in the Crimea joined by Stalin, ending two months before FDR's death April 12.

The President signed the bill passed by Congress providing pre-Pearl Harbor fathers, that is fathers of children born prior to September 15, 1942, with low priority in the draft, below that of single men and non-fathers. The bill was signed despite Manpower Commissioner Paul McNutt's recommendation to FDR that he veto it as compromising the availability of sufficient manpower to meet draft quotas. General Lewis Hershey, Director of the Selective Service, had stated the day before in a speech that as many as a million pre-Pearl Harbor fathers would be needed by June 30, 1944 to fill draft quotas. The signed law provided discretion to General Hershey to violate the principle of the bill to avoid disruption of an orderly draft call-up. The general opinion from Capitol Hill was that the law would delay the call-up of fathers by about two to three months.

The Senate Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the full Senate a bill to provide mustering-out pay of between $200 and $500 for honorably discharged soldiers, amending the previous bill sponsored by Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky to provide a flat payment of but $300. The amendment came after testimony by a 21-year old veteran who had lost his leg in a commando raid in Tunisia, stating that $300 was scarcely enough to enable veterans to sustain themselves and their families until they could find civilian work, that, indeed, dishonorably discharged men received civilian clothing while the honorably discharged retained only their uniforms.

Hal Boyle relates of an Army pilot who decided to take a parachute jump himself after ferrying paratroopers over drop targets for two years. Dubbed "Glamour Boy" by his fellow pilots, Captain Wilfred Reiss wound up landing in the middle of a vineyard, with a stiff neck and sore muscles to show for it. He did not remember the landing, however, as he knocked himself out. He had previously banged up his head and feet as he jumped from the plane. Nevertheless, he said, "I found out that it wasn't as tough as I thought it was. Parachute jumping would be all right, though, if everything went all right."

He found out.

Next, Mr. Boyle turns his attention to the pet peeves of Private James Girolamo from Yonkers, whose job it was to drive a jeep, made, however, into a miserable occupation by all the petty finable offenses being implemented, he carped, by the "eight old colonels". They were fining for speeding, for not wearing dog tags, for being out after 11 o' clock curfew, for not tucking in neckties, you name it, pal. But Girolamo had never been fined, he told Mr. Boyle. He obeyed all the regulations—as he nearly ran down two Arabs delivering the reporter to the airport.

Finally, the roving reporter relates of two Southern-accented Army nurses shopping in an Italian coastal town. One selected some silk and pronounced her intent, after returning home after the war, to "sit me down in my rocking chair and just feel this silk the rest of my life."

A committee of the AFL, comprised of George Harrison of the Railway Clerks, George Meany and Harvey Brown of the Machinists Union, Daniel Tobin of the Teamsters, and Mathew Woll of the Photoengravers, met with John L. Lewis to consider his application on behalf of the UMW to join the AFL. Action was not expected in the near future.

Love is Blue.

And a German-controlled Vichy radio station indicated that it had learned that Soviet Marshal Klementi Y. Voroshilov, who had attended the Tehran Conference with Premier Stalin, was planning a visit to Gibraltar, near Spain, in the near future.

Presumably, the report actually referred to Klement E. Voroshilov, later President of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1960; but there's no need to cleave the kitchener over it.

On the editorial page, "Vice Front" reports on the inconclusive meeting the previous day between the Army and city officials anent the problem of venereal disease being spread to service personnel by prostitutes of the city. The meeting had actually consisted of no more than a report by the Army. The piece concludes from statistics on arrests and convictions that more diligent police work and more strict prosecution were in order to stem the problem and obviate the necessity of the Army having to invoke the May Act to stem it by martial law.

"A Secret" reports that Premier John Christian Smuts of the Union of South Africa had stated that the most important matters determined at the Cairo and Tehran conferences had not yet been released to the public, that these conferences were the most important international colloquies held in modern times. As an insider, suggests the editorial, Premier Smuts could be interpreted to imply that the end of the old world empire interests was at hand, and that a new age of self-determination for all nations was beginning.

It is, indeed, an irony of ironies that such a statement issued in 1943 from the Premier of what would become one of the last stubborn vestiges of the modern British empire, apartheid, and absence of self-governance.

"Rebuttal" presents the argument made by the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by North Carolina’s Bob Doughton, against the Administration’s proposal to raise taxes by 10.5 billion dollars. The argument states that with the pay-as-you-go tax plan implemented finally in the summer, combined with the Victory Tax and surtax, an annual income of $100,000 had but $23,400 left after Federal taxes, even before state taxes, and that a five million dollar income would fall $45,750 short of paying the Federal taxes. Said the Committee, per capita taxes, when including state and local taxes, were actually higher in the United States, $357, than in either Great Britain, at $291, or Canada, at $261.

Thus, the poor $100,000 and five million dollar wage-earner of 1943 simply could not stand any more taxes.

Sounds like a sound argument to us.

Raymond Clapper again examines the conflict between Office of War Mobilization Director James Byrnes and the Congress, in its bending to lobbying groups to allow higher prices on certain food commodities while banning subsidies, refusing to pass substantially higher taxes, and voting for a wage increase to railway workers. He implicitly suggests that Mr. Byrnes viewed that portion of the Congress thusly advocating such inflationary measures to be Pistol Packin' Mamas.

Perhaps, however, the former Supreme Court Justice and future Secretary of State used the less colloquial term, that is, "Mothers".

Samuel Grafton remarks on the calculated hypocrisy demonstrated by the likes of Senator Robert Rice Reynolds of North Carolina in championing the principles of the Atlantic Charter to assure that Poland would be restored its rightful territory after the war in relation to Russia, and of reporter John O’Donnell of The New York Daily News, who had found sudden interest in insuring that the Four Freedoms were maintained, finding freedom of the press to have been violated at Cairo on the presumed basis that the press might have elicited conflict between Churchill and Chiang regarding the future of Hong Kong and whether it would, when liberated from the Japanese, revert to the British, or be returned to its original sovereign status as part of China.

All of this sudden tenderness for the rights of small nations, the Atlantic Charter, and the Four Freedoms by former isolationists such as Reynolds and O’Donnell, argues Mr. Grafton, was analogous to the cry raised domestically over States' Rights. Just as the latter was by design to chill Federal power, so, too, was the cry anent foreign policy by such persons for maintenance of the Atlantic Charter principles and the Four Freedoms, merely acting as a stalking horse behind which could proceed a covert intent to inhibit the Big Four from having power to act on arranging the post-war world in Europe and Asia to avoid future world conflict.

Drew Pearson predicts that, in the wake of the Tehran Conference, Russia would take a pause in fighting for the ensuing several weeks, in part because of the soggy weather conditions on the front, but primarily to prepare for the expected winter offensive to begin by the Allies against Germany, with a Russian move from the east to complement the expected drive from the west and south by the Americans and British, all to be coordinated and timed in concert.

He then relates of Representative Homer Ramey of Ohio, upon seeing an elderly lady carrying two large suitcases through his apartment building to a train, offered his helping hand, whereupon she offered him 35 cents and said, politely, "Thank you, George." The Congressman then politely instructed that George was the building porter and not he.

Thank you, Gracie.

Well, they all look alike, don't they?

Whatever the case, Dorman Smith contended that the buck just kept getting passed 'round and 'round.

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