Thursday, December 14, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 14, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First and Ninth Armies had secured the fourteen miles along the Roer River's west bank from Linnich to a point within 1.5 miles northwest of Duren, moving the Armies to within 2.5 miles of Cologne. The 83rd Division gained two miles to occupy Gursenich, at the edge of Duren, pressing hard upon the areas directly across the river from the town, last major obstacle before Cologne.

Twenty miles to the south, the First Army, advancing about a mile along both sides of the river, took Kesternich, about two miles from the river. West of the river, only two small pockets of Germans remained, one in a castle east of Pier and another in a factory southeast of Mariaweiler. The 9th Infantry Division cleared Gey and Strass of both enemy troops and mines.

The Third Army had advanced a quarter mile into the Siegfried Line above Saarbrucken.

The Seventh Army had newly penetrated the Maginot Line to a point 3.5 miles from the northeast corner of the Saar region.

Russian advances on Budapest continued as the troops were within seven miles from the northeast, capturing Kisalag, and ten miles from the east, taking Isaszeg in the suburbs.

In Greece, the crisis between the British Army and the ELAS guerilla forces moving on Athens appeared at first to have passed. The prior 24 hours had been the quietest during the 12 days of turmoil. Communicated terms of surrender from the British included evacuation of Attica, surrender of ELAS arms, and disbanding of private armies. The ELAS had responded that they would accept the terms were they provided immunity from prosecution and were Papandreou to step down as head of the government.

A late report stated, however, that the lull had ceased and once again the ELAS army was shelling the center of Athens with 75-mm. cannon fire, apparently in response to the rejection of their counter-terms.

Reconnaissance showed that significant damage had been inflicted on the Hatsudoki aircraft factory at Nagoya by the B-29 raid of the previous day. Apparently, only one of the planes had been lost.

A raid of Super-fortresses took place on Thailand. Eleven B-29's also struck Rangoon in Burma during the afternoon, according to Tokyo radio, which also claimed, falsely, that five were shot down and that the other six were driven away.

The American 14th Air Force had begun action in Southern China in support of the Chinese counter-offensive, pushing the Japanese from Kweichow Province back into Kwangsi Province.

On Leyte, three transports full of Japanese reinforcements were fired upon from newly acquired shore batteries at Ormoc and sunk on Tuesday night. Apparently, the ships had not obtained the news that Ormoc was under the control of the Americans.

In ground action, the pincers from north and south, trapping thousands of Japanese in the corridor north of Ormoc, continued to tighten, with the Japanese fleeing into the mountains in complete disarray.

In a delayed report from October, it was stated that the Coast Guard had sunk a German trawler, captured another, and discovered a third abandoned, each of which had, in three separate stabs, tried to establish a fortified base on Greenland between July and October.

Next time, turn to the left, stupid.

In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, considering recommendation of confirmation by the full Senate of the six nominees to the State Department, Senator Joe Guffey of Pennsylvania declared his intent to change his vote to aye on Archibald MacLeish, on his nomination thereby, breaking a 10-10 tie. The other five nominations were approved handily.

Senators Claude Pepper of Florida, Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin, James Murray of Montana, and Senator Guffey each voted for a resolution to ask the President to reconsider the nominations, with which they were dissatisfied. The resolution failed by a vote of 12 to 4.

Lupe Velez, Mexican screen siren of the late twenties and thirties, was found dead of an overdose of sleeping powder in Los Angeles, having left a note addressed to her lover saying that she was ashamed of being pregnant with their illegitimate child, could not face giving birth and so chose her own and the unborn baby's death. She had previously been wed in the thirties to Johnny Weissmuller and had since married a second time.

A York County, Pa., golfing champion committed suicide by gas after learning that his 22-year old friend, a fellow golfing champion, had been killed in the service in a plane crash over England.

S. Clay Williams, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company chairman, stated to the Senate War Investigating Committee, trying to ascertain what in hell was going on with that there tobacco shortage, that a shortage of bright leaf burley was the cause of the disaster. Fully 25 percent more cancer sticks could be produced, he said, were aged tobacco available out yonder in the warehouse.

Adding a personal note, he said, he had his—excuse the coughing—own personal problems with the shortage, not just a problem as a manufacturer of the nicotine delivery devices marketed to children and teenagers to hook them as early as the tobacco gods of hell might permit.

He testified before God and Man that he had walked many miles just to buy his brand—and, by gosh, he'd rather do so than switch.

Yessir, you guessed it.

Said he, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel." That he did, buddy, believe it or not.

Excuse the blood being coughed up. It is sort of colorful at Christmas, though, ain't it? All over your nice green carpet there—or is that blue? Lost the sense of color perception long ago. Eyes are growing kind of dim with all the smoke.

He said he was luckier than most, having only failed on five or six occasions to obtain his Dromedaries. He allowed that he had a bit of advantage over the run of the mine public in that when he was down 'ere at the plant off Fourth Street in Wins'on-Salem, he could pick a pack right off the line.

That was what the man said.

The hearings entered their second full day after a day of discouraging statistics on the first, the previous day, when Army and in-dustry witnesses could deliver up no skull-duggery—save that of the millions dead since not long after the Civil War, more dead, partner, than ever died there in the War Between the States, that's for dang sure—producing the shortage.

The problems, the committee ascertained, just as reading the day before Marquis Childs could have as easily instructed them as wasting the taxpayers' money for two days on this idiotic, ridiculous fool's errand during world war, were the numbers sent to the troops, the increase by 15 percent in civilian demand, and the hoarding practices domestically. The Army was planning to buy even more cigarettes in 1945 for the troops, diminishing supply by that much more.

So, let's get this war over with, what ye say, by maybe April so we can't get back to puffing at will.

In any event, Mr. Williams was probably lucky to be able to escape the Capitol without having his pockets ripped off by eager seekers of their hourly fix.

Purdy near Marshall, Arkansas, a' Big Flat, a man hunting for deer mistook his hunting companion, wearing a red cap and perched in a tree, for a raccoon, shot, and killed him. He was cleared of any negligence in the homicide.

We hope he didn't go hunting down at the train station, too.

On the editorial page, "The Other Foot" discusses the renewal of problems occurring earlier in the spring with Montgomery Ward and its chairman Sewell Avery. Workers in the company were striking for the failure to comply with a War Labor Board order for maintenance of membership contracts, that is one requiring that once a worker joined the union, he had to remain a member for the duration of the contract.

Mr. Avery, as in the spring, had refused compliance with any WLB orders, contending that they were only advisory. The situation in the spring cooled off after Mr. Avery was bodily carried out of his office by two Army soldiers acting under direction of Attorney General Francis Biddle and the President, who had ordered the plant seized. Matters were resolved only hours before the Federal District Court was set to render its decision on whether Montgomery Ward was sufficiently involved in war-essential work to be subject to WLB orders and, in defiance therof, plant seizure by the President. The order prepared by the judge was then shredded at his direction.

While the WLB spokesman admitted that, technically, the Board's orders were only advisory, it had issued orders in more than 10,000 cases and in only 24 of them, Montgomery Ward being one, had any company refused compliance.

The piece concludes that the reason for the strike was the truculence of Sewell Avery.

As we pointed out previously, the matter would drag on for years in the courts.

That underlying "St. Vitus Dance" on May 6, incidentally, is now here; that beneath "Thinker" is now here. We have our Sheriff, too.

"In Harmony" applauds the City Council's endorsement of the proposed City Planning Commission to plot in an organized manner the future of the city's growth and development.

"The Inquisition" comments on the air having been let out of the balloon which had preceded the expected show before the Senate regarding confirmation of the State Department assistants. Foreign Relations Committee chairman Tom Connally of Texas had steered proceedings away from controversy, and the Senators, for their part, were entirely polite as were the responses completely disarming.

The only hotly tempered question had come from Senator Joe Guffey of Pennsylvania who wished to know whether the State Department intended to follow the lead of the British in Europe and the Far East, to which Mr. Stettinius replied that he believed the Roosevelt-Hull policies had served the country well thus far and should be continued.

Joseph Grew had denied support of the Japanese imperial government during his tenure as Ambassador to Japan. Nelson Rockefeller had denied the charge that he put through college men being groomed for diplomatic work. Will Clayton denied that he was in favor of cartelization of the world markets. Archibald MacLeish denied that he was a Communist or had ever favored Communism.

The piece thought Moscow and London would be amused at the tenor of the inquiry.

Kentucky Senator Happy Chandler deferred to the Senate floor his more probing questions "about these birds".

Concludes therefore the piece, "We'll get at the bottom of this plot against the people yet. Happy's going to flay 'em."

It could not have known just how pointed the prick was in that particular, even if the Happy involved was not Mr. Chandler. Indeed, neither could Mr. Rockefeller.

"Self-Healing" reports of movements again forming in Georgia and Virginia to abolish their poll taxes. Only six other Southern states still retained the practice, plainly antithetical to the Fifteenth Amendment, passed and ratified in the wake of the Civil War.

Virginia was in process of amending its state constitution to afford the vote to 230,000 members of the armed forces, effectively disenfranchised in the late election because of failure to pass appropriate absentee ballot legislation, left to the individual states by an ultimately abstaining Congress, following several months of intense debate in the country regarding the President's proposed Federal bill on the subject, to make absentee balloting in Federal elections uniform among the states.

Many Virginians, Republicans and Democrats against Senator Harry Flood Byrd's conservatism, were pressing for repeal of the poll tax.

In Georgia, Governor Ellis Arnall, a progressive Democrat, had asked the State commission studying revision of the constitution to re-examine the issue of abolition of the poll tax after they had voted 9 to 7 for its retention.

Governor Broughton of North Carolina, which had abandoned the poll tax in 1920, informed that the state's electorate had increased by 136% by 1936 and had not impaired thereby Democratic Party control of the state, always the fear of those defending the continued viability of the discriminatory tax—a tax which, as W. J. Cash pointed out in The Mind of the South, as often discriminated against poor whites as against blacks.

Governor Broughton's statement, suggests the piece, should have answered some of the qualms expressed in the two states regarding abolition of the practice. To examine the matter, a Committee of Editors and Writers of the South had formed, a committee which included Virginius Dabney of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jonathan Daniels, former editor of the Raleigh News & Observer, now White House aide to the President, Mark Ethridge, publisher and editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Dr. Frank Porter Graham, president of the University of North Carolina, and Lillian Smith, co-editor, with Paula Snelling, of the North Georgia Review and author of the 1944 ground-breaking novel Strange Fruit--of which W. J. Cash was awarded by Ms. Smith in March, 1941 a read of an early draft, finding it "moving stuff" and telling her to finish it "at all costs". The committee's membership, being all Southern, promised recommendations from within the context of the problem.

Poll taxes would not finally succumb completely, however, to modern times until the Congress passed the 24th Amendment in 1962, ratified in early 1964. At the time, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia still retained the infernal devices to keep people down on the farm and reservation and away from the polls, with which they had no business being the least bit attentive.

Drew Pearson assesses each of the pending appointments to the State Department, beginning with future New York Governor and Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller had once cancelled passage on a Potomac steamer when his black servants were not allowed aboard, had provided a special house for Latin American visitors in Miami when hotels refused their admittance. He had also sought better working conditions in Latin America for tin and mineral miners, providing the funds himself.

Yet, his name carried to the people of Latin America the specter of Standard Oil and the concept of Yankee imperialism ineradicably tied with it, even if the grandson of John D. was a completely different individual. That, predicts Mr. Pearson, would be a drag to his effectiveness in the position of Assistant Secretary of State.

Joseph Grew, former Ambassador to Japan and Turkey, and appointed as Undersecretary, having earlier been Undersecretary to Frank Kellogg from 1924-29 during the Coolidge Administration, had, while in the latter position, bungled relations with Nicaragua and Mexico and nearly caused a war. It took future Secretary of State under President Hoover and present Secretary of War Henry Stimson, being appointed at the time as special envoy, to clean up the Grew mess.

He had also run afoul of Congress during that tenure when he was appointed to oversee establishment of State Department career service, by elevating persons of aristocratic background and creating strata within the Department between career officers and non-career functionaries. Eventually, in response to criticism by Congress, he straightened out that problem, but moved on to become a first-rate Ambassador to Turkey. His diplomatic service had far outshone his tenure as Undersecretary.

Marquis Childs states that only a rash prophet would have predicted three years earlier that the Allies would be so far along by December, 1944 in both prosecuting the war and setting forth plans for the peace.

Yet, the situations in Greece, in Belgium, in Italy, had been complicated by British insistence on maintenance of governments which were echoes of the past under Nazi and Fascist rule. Such a policy virtually assured the rise of Communism in these countries, not, as being sold, standing as a bulwark against it. The people of these countries would never accept a return to the past before this harsh war, with either monarchic or semi-totalitarian forces prescribing their level of freedom. They demanded popular determination and democracy and would get it.

Samuel Grafton again examines the Stettinius statement of American foreign policy favoring freedom of self-determination for all the liberated nations of Europe, this time with an eye toward its ancillary effects, some of which were not salutary. It had, for instance, kindled the old fires stoked with notions of Perfidious Albion among those fire-breathing isolationists unslaked for the previous three years.

Yet, Mr. Grafton stops to assure that he supported the thrust of the Secretary's statement and believed it to have had a beneficial impact on the future of world democracy. He merely explained the likely reason why so many conservatives had voiced support for it, despite its liberal message.

The post-war peace organization, with international cooperation, had to be built, but then, out of the Bretton Woods monetary conference and the Dumbarton Oaks U.N. structural conference would have to come a resolution to live within this organization, once established. That work yet had to be accomplished.

Dorothy Thompson finds Churchill's warning of the possibility of liberated countries in Europe, specifically referring to Belgium and Greece, being taken over by armed left-wing insurgent guerrilla forces, to be not without reality behind it. But, she argues, the reason for such revolts, which would inevitably be as disastrous for democracy as rightwing governments, was that there was widespread popular dissatisfaction with the Pierlot Government in Belgium and the Papandreou Government in Greece, both backed by Britain.

To be shed of such revolts, there had to be in place popularly determined and supported governments, free from foreign constraint, and especially free from Nazi taint.

In France, the Allies had for long, prior to D-Day, hemmed and hawed over De Gaulle as leader of the Free French. But, finally, the right decision had been made and De Gaulle, with the confidence of the bulk of the French people, had been installed as the leader of the provisional government until elections could again be held. The result had been to incorporate the factions of dissent within the country into the government and provide them a voice. Such was the anodyne to ward off revolt from within, instead, by contrast, providing it a stake in preservation of that freely and popularly determined collectively.

Are you listening carefully to Ms. Thompson, 2011-12?

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