Wednesday, March 29, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 29, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Red Army had taken Kolomea, 30 miles northeast of the Czechoslovakian border on the Lwow-Czernowitz railway, on the north bank of the Prut River in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in old Poland.

Other Russian forces pushed on from captured Nikolaev toward Odessa, advancing along a 175-mile front. To the west in Bessarabia, parts of the Second Ukrainian Army were eight miles from the Odessa-Tiraspol-Iasi railway, the last major means of escape from Odessa. The Army had captured rail junctions at Slobodka and Voronkov in the area north of Odessa.

In Italy, Indian Gurkha troops clinging to Hangman's Hill, just below the peak of Monte Cassino, were withdrawn by the Allies as mortar fire aimed at their positions by the Germans had made the offensive on the peak futile. As well, New Zealand troops were withdrawn from Hill 202, also on the slopes of Monte Cassino. It had become impracticable to supply the troops except by air.

In Cassino, Allied artillery shelling of the Continental Hotel continued in an effort to root the Germans out of the stronghold blocking Allied access to Highway 6.

An American bombing raid hit the area over Westphalia in Germany, one German report indicating that the bombers struck Berlin. Other American bombers struck at Pas de Calais in Northern France.

General James Doolittle announced that the Eighth Air Force flying out of England had brought down 2,100 German planes during the previous eight weeks.

The Nazis were reported to be flooding the lowlands of Holland, in preparation for Allied invasion of the Continent.

Thoburn Wiant, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, reports from the Burma front, with Chinese troops under the command of General Joseph Stilwell. The general's philosophy was that "guts, push, speed, and surprise", not weapons, won battles. The modern soldier, he believed, carried too much equipment, violating a primary rule of war, simplicity. Both the Union and Confederate soldiers had fought in the Civil War with only one rifle, one blanket, some ammunition, and one pouch.

In Commons, Prime Minister Churchill, to cheers, declared that an amendment placed in a bill before Parliament, to provide equal pay for men and women teachers, would be stricken by the Government. Should Commons not provide majority support for the deletion, the Prime Minister determined that it would constitute a vote of no-confidence in the Government, thus providing for general elections. He stated that there was no dividing line acceptable between support for domestic policy and the policy of the war.

Why was the Prime Minister seemingly opposed to equal pay for men and women teachers? Well, the answer appears obvious.

A victory for a Democrat, William Stigler, in a special Congressional election in Oklahoma was hailed as a vote of confidence for President Roosevelt. Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky had campaigned on behalf of Mr. Stigler in the state, calling for a vote on his candidacy as a referendum on the Roosevelt Administration--which, in the wake of February's conflict between FDR and Senator Barkley over the veto of the tax bill could well have backfired, without any clear interpretation emerging as to the meaning of the vote. As it was, it was somewhat muddled by the varying interests at work for the Democrats. Did they vote for FDR or did they vote for Mr. Barkley's willingness to back the President down?

Regardless, Republicans blamed rainy weather for keeping their party faithful from the polls, suggesting implicitly that Democrats didn't mind the rain which Republicans did--in which case, if that was in fact the reason for the loss, it is no wonder the Democrat won.

The defense counsel for Charlie Chaplin in Federal District Court in Los Angeles sought without success to obtain a directed verdict to dismiss the two counts against him alleging violations of the Mann Act by transportation to and from New York the 23-year old Joan Berry, alleging that she was a woman transported across state lines by a male for the purpose of illicit sexual relations.

The defense offered that Ms. Berry voluntarily took a trip to Oklahoma and returned to New York on her own before Mr. Chaplin engaged in sexual relations with her. (Whether the purpose of her trip to Tulsa was to provide moral support to the Republican or Democrat running for the Congress--probably, if so, the Republican, as they seemed to be in need of a rainy day woman--was not indicated.)

In any event, despite the cart not being before the horse in the case, the judge accepted the Assistant U.S. Attorney's argument that the break in the chain of transportation was of no consequence--presumably based on the law of intent, that conjunction of the act ultimately with the original intent would, if proved, complete the element of the crime requiring intent. The focus of the law was on the intent of the male in transportation of the female, regardless of when and even whether the sexual act occurred.

At that time, thinking about it was good enough to get a black man lynched in the South, or a white man prosecuted for a felony anywhere in the country, should he cross state lines with the woman in tow.

The Mann Act was of course one of those silly laws which tried to legislate morality and wound up causing plentiful egg to be splashed on the face of the judicial system, especially since, as with most such laws, it was used selectively to get at persons law enforcement and prosecutors decided mercurially had become too big for their breeches, or were otherwise deemed unpopular.

In the end, the entire justice system suffers from such outrages to humanity. Mr. Chaplin did nothing wrong, morally or otherwise, except to make people laugh sometimes at dumb coppers and little dictators.

And, in Windsor, Ontario, a wealthy Toronto contractor, Harry McLean, who liked to give away his money, opened a window in the Prince Edward Hotel and threw out amid traffic 5,000 one-dollar bills, upon which 500 people lit as locusts to acquire, snarling traffic for blocks. He repeated the stunt later in the day from a window of the Norwood-Palmer Hotel.

Earlier in the day, Mr. McLean had walked into a police station and presented the desk sergeant with a check for $5,000 for the police burial fund. It is likely a good thing. Had he neglected this bit of preliminary largesse, he might well have been shot as a nuisance for the traffic snarls he caused--as he should have been anyway. No one got more than ten dollars out of the melee.

With, however, more eleemosynary vigor proferred the swarm of proletarian philistines, an exception to the good sir knight for the untoward exigency caused by the interruption to the orderly procession of the traffic queue might be discovered to exist--say, if his devise to the masses had consisted instead of 50,000 hundred-dollar bills.

On the editorial page, "The Charter" reviews the August, 1941 agreement between the United States and Great Britain, eschewing territorial aggrandizement and assuring the Four Freedoms to all nations of the earth pledged to democratic principles. The Charter was signed by the Soviets in September, 1941 and accepted by the United Nations in January, 1942.

President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull had stated consistently and recently that the Charter meant what it said and applied to all nations which pledged themselves to democratic principles. Foreign Minister Sir Anthony Eden had stated likewise.

But Prime Minister Churchill appeared to differ, declaring that the Charter was intended only as a broad statement of principles and goals, not to be regarded as a treaty between nations, that it did not imply the dissolution of the British Empire, did not affect the British interests in India, the Middle East, or Africa, and was not meant to be applicable in any manner to Germany after the war.

When setting forth the 17 points of American foreign policy recently, Secretary Hull had affirmed America's intent to adhere to the Atlantic Charter.

The editorial offers no comment, merely setting forth the differing views.

Why did the Prime Minister cling to the notion of the British Empire as traditionally salutary to the island nation of Britain, even in a modern age ruled by the airplane? The answer appears rather obvious.

"Sound Track" comments on Sunday's speech to the British people by Prime Minister Churchill, in which he had praised the enormous sacrifice and effort of the Russians to win the war in Europe and lauded the great progress being made in the Pacific war.

The editorial echoes the praise: everywhere, save in Burma, the enemy was on the retreat.

The piece, in setting forth the great strides being made in the Pacific, the great bombing campaign over Europe, and the huge Soviet gains, having pushed nearly all of the German forces from the 1940 Russian borders, and pressing now into old Poland and Bessarabia, to the borders of old Rumania and Czechoslovakia, neglects to point out the stalemate encountered in Italy. A front page piece, however, explained the previous day that Allied leaders were not distressed over the stalemated situation there, that the ultimate goal, to tie up substantial German troops and funnel them away from the Western coast of France and from Germany proper, had been accomplished.

--Blondi, why do they hate me and plot against me? I only wish peace for all Aryan brothers against the Jew who would despise them for their gentility. You, Blondi, you understand.

"School Row" finds the situation at East Carolina Teachers College confusing, based on a report appearing in the Raleigh News & Observer. The president of the college had been cleared of misappropriation of funds, but was now being considered for a grant of broadened powers to deal with discipline and morale problems among students and faculty arising incident to the charges against him.

It appeared from the hearings that some of the evidence against the president may have been impugning of his integrity, but the Board which considered it had instead criticized itself for incompetence, giving in the process the president a pass, leaving the fact of his guilt in the abstract unsettled.

The editorial opines that the best resolution to provide clarity for the future of the institution was for the president to tender his resignation.

It was, perhaps, not unlike this subsequent situation.

For some, the number 37 simply proves unlucky, especially when it is doubled, double-toiled, coiled, and troubled. Ssssss.

Such as with the number 11 for others.

Ah, Greensboro Airport, ' all became rather clear, as water down our drain.

Come down off those towers, gentlemen.

El Dorado.

Samuel Grafton discusses two bureaucrats who performed their jobs well. James Eastman, recently deceased, had efficiently overseen the nation's railroads at the Interstate Commerce Commission. David Lilienthal had run the Tennessee Valley Authority with aplomb. But in the latter case, Senator McKellar of Tennessee had found TVA so well run that he wanted to have Mr. Lilienthal henceforth beholding to Congress directly, requiring him to request approval before even minor decisions could be made on TVA spending. The Senate had agreed, if trimming back some of the regulatory provisions of the bill as proposed. But, still, the House had to be heard and the bill would have to go to the President for signature.

Regardless of the outcome, predicts Mr. Grafton, someday, the American people would come to realize that not all government bureaucracy was a bad thing, that some provided necessary services in an efficient manner, that the rhetoric of Thomas Dewey, proposing to abolish virtually all of it, was an extreme position which would do violence to benefits conferred upon the people by their government.

Marquis Childs continues to examine the Willkie campaign in Wisconsin, comparing Mr. Willkie's speaking technique to that of William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee in 1896, 1900, and 1908. He had, says Mr. Childs, significantly improved his style and delivery from his campaign in 1940. His campaign, however, lacked money.

He was aiming at the independent voter, realizing that his liberal message was not going to carry well with Old Guard Republicans, bent on destroying the New Deal and ending the war quickly, even if it meant a negotiated peace with Hitler and Tojo.

Drew Pearson discusses the failure of Averill Harriman, Ambassador to Moscow, to report to the President, prior to the press obtaining news of six different problematic moves by the Soviets, compromising feelings among various ethnic and religious groups supportive of the President in the United States. For that reason, Mr. Harriman had been summoned home from his mission, in all likelihood, says Mr. Pearson, not to return to Russia.

The six problems were the failures to report in advance: the rumors printed in Pravda that the Russians had sought separate peace talks with the Germans; Izvestia's a reproof of the Vatican for not being enough pro-Allied in its pronouncements; the withdrawal by the Russians of recognition of the Polish government-in-exile, anent the controversy regarding the 10,000 slain Polish officers discovered by the Nazis in Katyn Forest near Smolensk in spring, 1943; Pravda's declaration that Wendell Willkie was pro-Axis, a simple misunderstanding in translation of Mr. Willkie's actual statement regarding his fellow Republicans' isolationist views, criticizing them, not affirming them as Pravda believed; the Soviet determination to grant limited autonomy to its sixteen republics, interpreted as a move by the Soviet to multiply itself and its consequent impact at the peace table; and the failure to report in advance of the public pronouncement the intent of the Soviets to grant diplomatic recognition to the Badoglio Government in Italy.

He also explains that Vice-President Wallace's meeting with the small businessmen of America had been quite successful, even if spawning a mild controversy regarding where the substantial money had derived to pay for 500 recordings of the speech which were then distributed about the country. It turned out that the source was a furniture manufacturer out of Chicago.

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