Friday, December 15, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, December 15, 1944


Site Ed. Note: On the day before the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, the front page reports that the Seventh Army launched two offensives across the German border in the Karlsruhe corner, near Wissembourg and Scheibenhard, the latter point being 3.5 miles west of the eastern tip of France, representing the furthest eastward penetration thus far on the Western Front. The Seventh Army was the fourth American army and sixth Allied army to enter Germany. It occurred four months to the day after the Seventh had come ashore in Southern France, 425 airlines miles to the south.

Three divisions crossed into the Palatinate of Bavaria before 6:00 p.m., two west of Wissembourg, and the 79th Infantry Division, forming a bridgehead over the Lauter River near Scheibenhard. In the latter area, fighting still continued. The 104th Infantry Division, crossing west of Wissembourg, cleared Climbach, Cleebourg, Keffenach, Birlenbach, Drachenbronn, and Bremmelbach. The remaining division was not identified.

The First and Ninth Armies continued perched along the Roer River's west bank, fifteen miles beyond Aachen, and the harshest fighting there appeared on the wane.

The appearance, unfortunately, was a deception.

The Third Army continued its house-to-house drive on the left flank of the Seventh, within the Saar region.

The Canadian First Army and the British Second Army also were slightly within Germany, respectively, at Geilenkirchen and Dewyler Forest, six miles from Kieve.

The French First Army, not yet in Germany, were, however, on or near the Rhine along the line from Strasbourg to the Swiss border.

The RAF struck targets in Western Germany and at Hannover and Kassel, while American bombers out of Italy hit various targets in southern Germany.

The Second Ukrainian Army had engaged the Germans in fierce battle along the Ipoly River north of the Danube bend, 85 miles east of Bratislava. The attack was conducted in coordination with the Fourth Ukrainian Army seeking to cut off the German escape route from Eastern Slovakia into Austria. The aim was to take Bratislava and then enter the Vienna plain.

A Swiss newspaper had reported that the Germans were dismantling factories within Vienna.

Tokyo radio reported that in the Philippines, a large American convoy moved westward through Mindanao Strait into the Sulu Sea while carrier-borne aircraft hit Japanese air and ground installations on Luzon. As yet, there was no American confirmation of the force. Admiral Nimitz, however, stated that on Wednesday, American planes had hit Luzon airfields, destroying 91 enemy planes, 77 on the ground.

In fact, the battle for Mindoro Island was now underway.

Prime Minister Churchill, in one of his most important addresses of the war, stated to Commons that he supported Russian territorial demands in Eastern Poland along the Curzon Line, and virtually abandoned the presently constituted Polish government-in-exile in London. He stressed the need for unity among the United States, Russia, and Great Britain to achieve the goal of post-war permanent peace in the world. To compensate Poland for the loss of Lwow and territory proximal to the Ukraine, areas of East Prussia south and west of Konigsberg as well as Danzig would be taken from the Germans and provided Poland. Mass transfers of German and Polish populations in those regions would be effected to avoid future tensions in the ceded areas.

The Prime Minister also expressed disappointment at the failure of an early, pre-Christmas meeting between himself, the President, and Premier Stalin, and coupled it with the hope that a meeting would soon occur.

He further indicated that the greatest battles of the European war still lay ahead for the spring and summer, and that, thus far, six to seven million Germans had been killed in the war on both fronts.

Secretary of State Stettinius deferred comment pending further study of the Prime Minister's statements regarding Poland, as well as the statements the prior day by Labor Minister Earnest Bevin, indicating the President's approval at Quebec of a longstanding agreement between Russia and Britain providing spheres of influence in Europe, Britain receiving charge of Greece, and Russia, Rumania.

The President nominated as Admirals of the Fleet, the first such ranks in the history of the Navy, Admiral William Leahy, the President's personal chief of staff, Admiral Ernest King, commander in chief of the Fleet and naval operations, and Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet.

The rank of Generals of the Army was bestowed on General George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff, General Douglas MacArthur, commander in the Southwest Pacific, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and General Hap Arnold, commander in chief of the Army Air Forces.

The Los Angeles coroner demanded that the district attorney begin an investigation into the manner in which the Beverly Hills Police Department had performed their duties at the death scene of Lupe Velez. Specifically, he complained that the suicide note, stating that she had taken her own life because she could not stand the shame of being pregnant with an illegitimate child, was not delivered to the coroner's office until several hours after the note was in the possession of the police.

Not yet reported, Major Glenn Miller disappeared this date in a flight over the English Channel from an airfield near Bedford, bound for Paris to lead a concert for the troops. The single-engine plane took off in bad weather and was never heard from again. No remains of the crash have ever been found. Mr. Miller was 40 years old and was considered the foremost bandleader of the day.

On the editorial page, "Second Motion" reports that the Mecklenburg County Grand Jury had recommended appointment of a special commission to study juvenile delinquency and to undertake a legislative agenda to ameliorate problems which gave rise to it.

Three years earlier, a committee had been appointed to study the Juvenile Court and had made recommendations for which money was allocated by the City Council for implementation of them. Yet, nothing happened, on the premise that the Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations Court were by state law joined at the hip and implementation of the committee's recommendations would need await a legislative separation.

"Wage Boost" indicates that Congressman Vinson of Georgia was seeking to introduce a bill to raise the salaries of members of the House from $10,000 to $15,000 annually, a subject kept off limits by the House generally for its political ramifications with the public. He also proposed a raise for the Speaker from $10,000 to $20,000, along with the Vice-President and Cabinet members, each of whom currently received $15,000. Moreover, he sought an increase for the President from $75,000 to $100,000 annually.

The piece states its willingness to go along with the proposal, as the current salary structure had been in place for three decades, provided that the President's salary increase would not be made retroactive, to provide FDR $25,000 per year for each of his twelve years thus far in office.

With 20-20 hindsight, however, the editors might not have balked at the notion a few years down the pike.

"Boys and Noise" tells of the arrest of four boys for violation of the city ordinance against setting off firecrackers, a tradition in the community at the time around Christmas. They had been fined and placed on probation.

The piece asks rhetorically whether the ordinance against ordnance was being overly protective of youth and ears of hapless bystanders or just playing plain Scrooge during the holidays.

It comes down on the side of just and equitable warning to those willing to take their chances, urging practice of safety and provision of a good lookout for the cops.

"New Assault" informs of the efforts by the 150,000 members of the Southern Electoral Reform League to overturn as unconstitutionally obtained the elections of the 79 Congressmen hailing from the states of Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina, on the basis that those eight states still retained the poll tax. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment prescribes that denial of the right to vote by any state would result in a proportional reduction in that state's representation in Congress equal to the proportion of voters out of the electorate who were so denied the vote.

The piece thought the challenge unlikely of success, but wished the advocates well, and believed, in any event, that it would hasten the day that the insidious practice of collecting poll taxes on the right to vote would cease completely in the nation.

It would not, short of the ratification of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment in 1964, which finally abolished all poll taxes, still then extant in all of the above states except Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia.

"Good Democrat" determines that Will Clayton was a good democrat for his having seen to it that his wife contributed equal amounts to the campaigns of FDR in 1936 and 1940 as he had to opponents Alf Landon, $7,500 in 1936, and Wendell Willkie, to whom an unstated amount had been contributed in 1940. You could not beat the notion of assuring that the household canceled one another out on contributions to both presidential camps.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record finds Representative Everett Dirksen of Illinois, eventually Senate Minority Leader for the Republicans down the road a ways, speaking re the proposed hike in pay for members' clerks from $6,500 to $9,500 annually, a proposal coming under criticism for the likelihood that it would increase the inevitability of the practice of nepotistic appointments to staff and kickbacks to members from their clerks to make up for low Congressional pay.

Mr. Dirksen spoke in support of the bill, finding that, historically, the Congress had been too niggardly in their care for themselves, citing a pension bill being considered a few years earlier which had provided Mr. Dirksen all of $137.50 per month in prospective pension pay, an amount which any insurance company, he said, could better.

He favored better wages across the country, more social security benefits for the people, and also believed the Congress should openly inform the public of their need for higher pay. He cited the high cost of living in Washington and the expenses burdening a Congressman to be conditions calling for more than $10,000 per annum. "There are millions of men carrying dinner buckets today who are infinitely better off than Members of Congress...," he contended.

To do less than candidly report of the situation to constituents, he said, was to fail in the task of insuring efficient government.

He wisely and judiciously refrained, however, from any comments about his wife's cloth coat or their old Oldsmobile, or the like.

Drew Pearson tells of the frantic search by Secretary of State Stettinius for a Jew to complement his new State Department. The Department had the reputation of being anti-Semitic and, thus far, there was no Jew in a single important post. Herbert Feis, grandson-in-law to President James Garfield, President in 1881 until his assassination that year, had quit the Department and moved over to the War Department. He had been the only high-ranking Jewish officer at State.

Mr. Stettinius had urged the Senate not to support a Palestinian homeland for Jewish refugees of the war.

To assist in the hunt, Mr. Stettinius sought the advice of James Byrnes, seeking his attorney Ben Cohen for the position of State Department assistant legal counsel. Mr. Byrnes thought it an insult as he believed Mr. Cohen should be made chief counsel.

Mr. Stettinius then sought from Oscar Cox, chief counsel for the Federal Economic Administration, a list of Jewish attorneys who would be qualified for the position. The list was in preparation.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the mixed bag among the State Department's new assistants as to their loyalty to the Democrats and FDR. Will Clayton and Nelson Rockefeller, as well as Undersecretary-designate Joseph Grew, were all Republicans. Mr. Clayton had been an avowed Roosevelt opponent during the thirties while Brig. General Julius Holmes, appointed to be the liaison to the armed services, had been an out and out Roosevelt-hater. Mr. Rockefeller had given money to Thomas Dewey in the 1944 campaign.

Most Southern Senators were opposed to Will Clayton for his conduct as partner in the country's largest cotton exchange out of Texas. Mr. Clayton had taken his enterprise to Brazil and produced there cheaper cotton than in the South, to compete on world markets for the trade with Germany and Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. His firm had been responsible for the trade of huge quantities of cotton to Japan, even after July 26, 1941, when, in the wake of the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, the United States had officially severed trade relations with Japan and sought to stop all trade from U.S. companies flowing to the Empire.

Even after Pearl Harbor, on December 11, 1941, Mr. Clayton had sought and obtained from the State Department an exception to the prohibition against trading with enemies to unload on Japan substantial quantities of cotton held in Mexico.

Mr. Pearson might also have pointed out, as he had previously, that the source of the so-called threatened Texas electoral revolt, stimulated in large part by the Allwright Supreme Court decision of April, requiring that all state-sponsored primary elections be opened to black voters, had led back to Jesse Jones, Secretary of Commerce, his nephew, and Will Clayton, Texans all. The revolt was to take the form of transferring all of the Texas electoral votes to Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd or some other Democratic candidate, regardless of the popular vote outcome in the state. The threat of the revolt had quickly spread during the late spring to other states, including Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Perhaps it was in gratitude of the fact that the revolt was quelled at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in July, from which the President was physically absent to accommodate his trip to the Pacific at that time, that the President ultimately made the appointment of Mr. Clayton as Assistant Secretary of State, notwithstanding his previous apparent perfidy, at least as threatened, but never actuated in the end. Mr. Clayton knew better, as did Mr. Jones's nephew, we gather. Moreover, they had gotten shed of Henry Wallace as Vice-President, about to be appointed in the stead of Mr. Jones, and obtained the good graces of Harry Truman, plainly a good ol' boy segregationist. But they had no worry. Truman would be defeated in 1948 by Governor Dewey.

Marquis Childs quotes from a letter sent to him May 10 by Wendell Willkie, at the time thought to be under consideration to succeed deceased Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, stating that he believed that anyone of conscience could not accept such a position from outside the Navy Department for the fact of the tumultuous and determinative times extant, that he doubted that he was under consideration, but if so, such would have been politically motivated as an olive branch to unity, and, in any event, he would decline it.

He quotes the letter of the deceased 1940 Republican nominee and failed 1944 candidate for the presidency by way of criticizing some of the recent presidential appointments following the election, notably the unqualified Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa for a position on the Surplus War Property Board, and Governor Robert Hurley of Connecticut for another such position. Both had been defeated in the election and thus were in need of a job. Both were generally well-qualified public servants but were not specially qualified to dispose of 50 billion dollars worth of war surplus property.

Samuel Grafton predicts that it was apparent that, in the end, the resolution of the conflict in Greece necessarily required inclusion of the dissenting factions of the EAM. All of the principals, he states, had to be aware of that singular fact and it was boring that they appeared to dodge it.

The same scenario had played out in Yugoslavia and in France. Greece and Belgium would inevitably wind up the same way, as with recognition finally of Tito and De Gaulle as popular leaders in those other countries. The Allies, so inured were they to the practice, appeared oblivious to this now routinized pattern of diplomatic bumbling.

The result was the absurdity of the British fighting the ELAS who had, for years, fought the Fascists. The claim that they had acted precipitously was to be dismissed, as the same could be said of the House of Savoy in Italy and the former Vichy collaborationists behind Darlan in North Africa two years earlier. Yet the British had backed the latter two regimes to the hilt.

It appeared that the Allies were only keen about stopping the anti-Fascist guerilla popular movements, not in permitting to take form popularly determined democratic governments in the wake of liberation.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh addresses again the Time piece which he referenced first on October 27, having begun the discussion on the other side of the plane, the upwind side, October 21.

As to the Side Glances of the day, it is perfectly obvious what the girl's father was about to utter, is it not? Monk_______ _____ delight. Decorum prevents our filling in the blanks.

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