Monday, January 17, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, January 17, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General Omar Bradley, commander of the Second Corps in Tunisia, had been appointed senior American General under General Eisenhower in the European theater. Speculation ran that he would therefore lead American ground troops in the invasion of the Continent opposite General Sir Bernard Montgomery, commander of the British troops.

In Italy, American and French troops of the Fifth Army confronted the Gustav Line along a 30-mile front on the Rapido River running through Cassino. U. S. infantry had captured Mt. Trocchio during the weekend, the last height protecting Cassino, two miles away. The French had captured Cardito and Mt. Croce, 9 to 10 miles north of Cassino along the Rapido. Other French units were within five miles of the town. The high banks of the Rapido were heavily fortified by the Germans, as were the hills on the other side.

American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force, flying from bases in Italy, struck the airplane manufacturing facility at Klagenfurt, Austria, producing Messerschmitts for the Luftwaffe.

In Russia, on the northern front, the Baltic Army was within 70 miles of the Latvian border, progressing along a six-mile front.

In White Russia, the Army crossed the Ippa River to reach a point 47 miles from the old Polish border after capturing Novoselki. The Pripet Marshes were said to be freezing now, affording firm ground for tank traffic.

In the south, the First Ukrainian Army, now 55 miles inside the old Polish border, were moving toward the highway junction of Rovno. The Army had killed 100,000 Germans during the previous three weeks. Berlin sources indicated that some Red Army units had reached the Bug River near Vinnitsa, twenty miles from the Odessa-Warsaw rail line which fed the German troops in the Dneiper bend area.

The State Department pledged to try to effect restoration of positive relations between Russia and Poland, just as the Soviets indicated they had interpreted a communique issued January 14 from the Polish government-in-exile as a rejection of the terms offered by the U.S.S.R. to establish the post-war border on the Curzon Line, the 1939 border, leaving Russia with the Ukraine and White Russia.

Pravda printed a rumor arising out of Cairo that two British officials had met with Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, to try to effect a separate peace between Germany and Great Britain. Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States, denied that the rumor had any substance.

In the Pacific, the Marines took Hill 660 to dominate Borgen Bay on Cape Gloucester on New Britain. Since the landing December 26 on Cape Gloucester, the American forces had lost 400 men, the enemy, 3,000. The airdrome had been taken December 30.

On New Guinea, Australian troops, taking Sio, advanced three more miles toward linking with the Americans at Madang.

The Supreme Court, in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Toledo P. & W.R.R., 321 US 50, ruled, in an unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Wiley Rutledge, that a railroad was not entitled to injunctive relief banning violence by striking railway workers unless the railroad had, per the Federal statute affording injunctive relief, undertaken all reasonable efforts to settle the strike. The railroad in this instance had not sought to mediate the dispute and thus had not undertaken every reasonable effort to settle the matter with the striking workers.

President Roosevelt, still recovering from the flu he acquired not long after returning from abroad in mid-December, was reported by White House Press Secretary Stephen Early to have lost ten pounds.

Hal Boyle relates a story passed to him by several war correspondents who claimed to have been led by a swarthy Italian to a fine restaurant on the east coast of Italy where they enjoyed an exquisite meal of chicken and wine, a welcome break from the canned food they were getting from the Army.

Afterward, their Italian guide led them to the home of a woman who stood 30 inches tall. She proceeded to tell them the story of her deceased husband. He had been drinking in a bar in Foggia when an American air raid began; he had not finished his drink and so, despite everyone else running for shelter, he stayed behind at the bar, all 29 inches of his height, and finished his drink.

He then walked outside, a little taller, and began walking leisurely, at his accustomed pace, across the street to the shelter, when a bomb hit him directly, leaving nothing of him behind.

The correspondents questioned among themselves whether the diminutive woman had been pulling their collective legs. Mr. Boyle questions whether the correspondents might collectively have been pulling his leg.

On the editorial page, "The Reds" reads in its opening paragraphs to be a sarcastic response to Dorothy Thompson’s reception of the Earl Browder speech at Madison Square Garden Monday as hearkening new, positive Soviet relations with the West, abandoning the old line of spawning proletarian revolt among the masses internationally. But, by the time the editorial reaches its conclusion, it agrees with Ms. Thompson.

"Ah, Grits!" remarks on the decision of the South Carolina Legislature, under pressure of war shortages, to accept for market unfortified grits and corn meal. Even if liable to cause a return to the time of high incidence of rickets and pellagra, many would greet the new diet with a sense of return to the good old days of tasty food, without all the nutrient additives.

"Ol' Chips" tells the saga of one half German shepherd, half husky, which was bravely fighting the war in Italy, to the extent that Chips had received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Distinguished Service Cross, the latter for bravely hitting the beaches ahead of the rest and routing an Italian machine-gun nest near Licata.

General Patton was said to be on his way from Cairo personally to commend this dog in person and shake its paw. The Army medics, however, had told the General to stay away, that the dog was not up to it. For it suddenly had come down with the jitters and had to be sent to the field hospital near the front suffering from shell-shock. It was, said an Army spokesman, for the General's own good that they managed to convince him to remain at Cairo.

"Disaster?" questions whether the Nazis could make another stand in Russia, or whether, if they made full retreat into Rumania, they would become trapped there without good supply routes. Their supply lines were already lengthened rather than shortened by the zigzagging defensive line into which they had been forced by the tremendous offensive effort of the Russians.

"Expansion" agrees with Governor Sparks of Alabama that the South after the war would turn to industrial development in a big way; the editorial disagrees, however, with the conclusion of the Governor that industry would finally surpass agriculture as the South’s principal provider of product.

Raymond Clapper discusses the dichotomy in the Pacific war, that there were really two wars: the Central Pacific war against the islands north of the Equator, the Gilberts, the Marshalls, under the command of Admiral Nimitz; and the Southwest Pacific war, under the command of General MacArthur, in New Guinea, New Britain, and the northern Solomons. Between the two wars were Admiral Halsey’s South Pacific Fleet which worked with both command structures. But the command of Admiral Nimitz was not working in close coordination with that of General MacArthur. For there to be victory ultimately in the theater, Mr. Clapper asserts, these command structures would ultimately need join in close cooperation as the two campaigns, the one moving north out of New Guinea toward Truk, and the other moving west out of the Gilberts toward Truk, would ultimate meet.

High ranking Army and Navy officers were arguing for consolidation of all the forces under a Department of Defense after the war, to replace the current structure whereby the Army and Army Air Force were under direction of the War Department and the Navy and Navy Air Force under the Department of the Navy.

Example of the inefficiency of such a wieldy structure was that ordinarily to obtain passage to Guadalcanal from New Britain, one could not simply fly the direct path, but had first to return to Australia and board a separate transport to get to Guadalcanal, that because the former was under the command of General MacArthur and the latter within the South Pacific command structure of Admiral Halsey.

Samuel Grafton finds without substance the flap which had arisen regarding the Polish border issue, with proponents of the Polish claim to the pre-1939 border in the east with Russia having been waving in the face of the Soviets the Atlantic Charter's provisions contra imperialism, even promoting in the Hearst columns war as a solution to the issue should Russia not capitulate to the Polish demands.

But, says Mr. Grafton, the reality was that of eleven million people living east of the 1939 Curzon Line, only 2.5 million were Poles, most of the rest, Russian. The claim of the Poles to the land therefore was at best tenuous, both historically and in terms of its ethnic composition. Now, even the Polish government-in-exile appeared ready to work out a solution acceptable to the Russians. Those who had raised the Charter as bar were left with egg on their faces as the world moved on.

The piece was written, however, before the day's report that the Russians had rejected the tendered solution by the Poles, as being a rejection of the proposed Russian terms.

Drew Pearson reports in detail on the security arrangements undertaken for President Roosevelt at Tehran, in the wake of the warning issued by Stalin to FDR and Churchill that an assassination plot by the Nazis had been uncovered just prior to the arrival of the three leaders. Thirty-eight Nazi paratroopers had landed near Tehran, of whom twenty-six had been captured, leaving twelve at large. Since the American Embassy was a mile from the adjacent British and Russian embassies, it was determined that the only safe means of accommodating the three leaders was to have them stay under the same roof at the Soviet Embassy. To get FDR to the Embassy, however, required some special planning. The ordinary route was packed with 40,000 or more people anxious to see the President. To avoid this crowd, American military units were sent to man the streets to supplement the Iranian police. The people, seeing the extra security, assumed the President would pass their way. Meanwhile, he was hurried along deserted streets through another area of the city, arriving at the Embassy without notice or fanfare. He left by the same method.

Concern had arisen over the quality of the drinking water as the Tehran water source was tainted with sewage. The Russian and British embassies, however, had their own water supply.

Mr. Pearson next discusses the contentions of the Midwestern oil men, pleaded before Economic Stabilizer Fred Vinson, that the Midwestern farmers needed more West Texas oil, the supply having been siphoned off to the East. In principle, Judge Vinson agreed, until the oil men asked for a subsidy of 90 cents per barrel to offset increased costs of transportation brought on by the war. Judge Vinson, ordinarily in favor of subsidies, had to ask the oil men, ordinarily against them, why they suddenly should be receiving that which they normally disfavored.

The column next discusses the high attrition rate among Japanese pilots, compared to the low rate of loss of American pilots in the Pacific, a harbinger of good things to come in that theater of the war in 1944.

Finally, he discusses the claim for $10 granted to a farmer by the Comptroller General, Lindsey Warren, for the fact that the farmer had loaned his jack for the iron grey mare to produce a colt. Having done so, the government initially refused to recognize the claim on the colt for the fact that the FSA had loaned money secured by the farm of the owner of the mare and, after a default, had taken the farm and all its contents, including the mare. The Comptroller General ruled, however, that under state law, the owner had a lien on the colt which superseded the FSA lien on the mare. Thus, he was entitled to his $10 stud fee.

Moral: If you've got the jack in Oklahoma, you have the trump card, even over the colt of the Government's mare.

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