Thursday, June 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Americans of the Fifth Army had advanced 3,000 yards east of Velletri to capture Mount Peschio Ridge of the Alban Hills from which they could see the Dome of St. Peter's in Rome. Other troops had taken high ground near the Lake of Nemi, northwest of Velletri. Still others had taken up positions during the previous moonlit night on Mount Artemision overlooking Velletri.

The latter operation, described by Associated Press correspondent Kenneth Dixon as being "strictly Hollywood", was unique to the Italian front for its having involved hundreds of men crawling along in dense forest, either bypassing enemy positions or silently dispatching German sentries, moving so close to the fire zone that tracers illuminated the sky overhead. The combined positions placed the Germans holding Velletri into a trap.

Likewise, it was reported that residents of Rome could see, hear, and feel the thunderous battle.

German troops were retreating along the Via Casilina above Frosinone as the Eighth Army took the town, 54 miles southeast of Rome.

The RAF struck targets the night before in central and coastal France, striking rail yards near Paris, dropping 2,240 tons of bombs. Eight of a force of 500 medium bombers failed to return.

Murky weather prevented American raids from England during the morning. By afternoon, however, a force of medium bombers were observed headed toward Boulogne and Dieppe.

In the area of Iasi in Rumania, where fighting entered the third day to counter a drive by the Germans, the Russians reported halting the drive and capturing or destroying 122 tanks while shooting down 164 planes.

From Northern Burma, it was reported that Chinese and American troops had captured Malakawng on the Mogaung Valley road, while other forces established a line south of Warong and Sharaw. Malakawng was described by Allied headquarters as having been the center of enemy resistance in the Mogaung Valley.

In northeastern India, Japanese troops were preparing defensive positions in the area of Kohima, less than a hundred miles from the Ledo Road, the Allied connecting route to the Northern Burma Road to enable resumption of the supply route to China by land.

Japanese troops were said to be amassing in Indo-China, preparing for a drive on the American airbase at Kunming on the Burma Road.

Bad weather, having stopped air operations and thus deprived infantry of cover on Biak Island off New Guinea, caused a lull in the offensive to take the three airfields, prime among which was Mokmer.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson declared that the United States had deployed 3,657,000 Army troops overseas in both theaters of war. He also stated that by the end of the year, the number would reach five million, with a goal of 7.5 million to reach full strength.

Berlin radio speculated that fifteen divisions it reported to be massed in North Africa were slated to attack Southern France in conjunction with the drive from the West.

All in good time, little Nazis, all in good time.

In St. Louis, 3,500 streetcar operators of an AFL union went on strike seeking greater overtime pay. Alternative modes of transportation included a tractor-trailer rig with its tailgate dropped by the driver to permit passengers to hop on and off at will, as the driver called out streets as they went along.

Hal Boyle tells his reader not to accept all of the staid imagery fed Americans re England. The ordinary folk, he reports, were garrulous once engaged in conversation, even if reticent initially. The Briton only wants to know that you are not after his pocketbook or invading his security by such an entreaty as inquiring of the time of day. The rule was even more readily borne out when talking to women than with men. One woman with whom Mr. Boyle chatted imparted her entire life history to him after only thirty minutes of preliminaries.

Barbers followed the international tradition of being gregarious. He patronized one on Fleet Street who attacked his head violently with a large pair of clippers appearing to be a few centuries old. He quotes the barber's conversation, which you may read on the editorial page to appreciate the full blush of it.


"Sit down, be comfortable and lat's 'ope the razor doesn't slip and take your 'ead off. We live in bloody days--and nights too. M-m-m-m-m-m--. That we do.

"Chilly dye, sir. Bit of weather we're 'aving. Must be awful 'ard on you sir. I guess the wind don't blow in New York. Leastwise not the same as 'ere."

Right. Quite Right. An alternative version might have gone as this.

On the editorial page, "Dr. Graham" comments on the decision by the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees to demand that Frank Porter Graham give up his duties on the War Labor Board and devote fulltime to his job as president of the University. There were apparently some internal problems in the operation of the institution resulting from delegation of authority. But those matters were not apparently known to the University or Dr. Graham, as 95% of the faculty and students supported his remaining in Washington.

The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper, reported that the problem had arisen because of opposition to Dr. Graham's liberal politics by conservative members of the Board who wished to provide him a choice of giving up his post as president of the University or that of his position on the War Labor Board, pitting him between his loyalty to his country and that to the University.

The editorial expresses the hope that Dr. Graham would remain as president and that the Board had acted precipitously in its demand, especially as Dr. Graham had indicated his intent to leave WLB on July 1 until the Montgomery Ward case had occurred in late April, indicating the great need for his continued presence in Washington. Whatever the correct course, the Board should have at least maintained the matter in private and spared Dr. Graham open embarrassment. That they did not suggested an ulterior motive.

"A Caution" supports the Charlotte city manager's suggestion to the Planning Committee that it make up its mind what post-war projects it could realistically achieve so that the money could be set aside for them.

"Pitfall" reports that Economic Stabilization Director, and future Supreme Court Chief Justice, Fred Vinson, had laid out a rosy picture at present for maintenance of wages and prices on food and clothing, but cautioned that after the war these prices would begin to rise, and planning to arrest that inevitability should be implemented.

The problem appeared to be one of public opinion: people presently were willing to suffer controls on wages and prices, but once the war would end, would be more reluctant to do so. Recognition of the potential problem was thus in order.

"Ah, Spain!" contrasts the President's enunciated position with respect to Generalissimo Francisco Franco and that of Prime Minister Churchill in his recent speech to Commons, which Dorothy Thompson addresses in her column. The President expressed dissatisfaction with the continued level of shipments of goods by Spain to Germany and refused any change of attitude toward Fascist Spain. The Prime Minister had expressed his approval of the Generalissimo's decision to restrict trade of tungsten to Germany by 90%, to expel all Axis agents from Spain, and to bring troops home from the Russian front, all in return for renewed trade in oil from the Allies.

Mrs. Roosevelt had underscored the President's opinion and that the United States would not be bound by the Prime Minister's remarks.

The piece concludes, in light of Dorothy Thompson's asserted opinion that Franco would fall with Hitler and thus could not be a player in the post-war world, that the Prime Minister's remarks were likely canny.

Ms. Thompson relates of the speech not only having caused raised eyebrows among many Americans for its seeming endorsement of Franco, but also generally for its cautious tone with respect to post-war alliances. She provides that the speech had expressly recognized its varied audience, comprised of Britons, the Empire, the Allies, the enemy, and the occupied nations and satellites of the enemy. Thus, she reckons that the Prime Minister had to adjust its tone and substance to the varied listeners. The friendly gestures to Franco were not intended as endorsement but merely to placate Spain to avoid an unstable situation with Allied invasion of France nigh. Franco was perceived not likely to last after the peace and thus friendliness toward him had few repercussions for the future.

The situation in the United States, with election year politics having produced no firm stand among Republican candidates endorsing the post-war concept of an international police force, with Governor Bricker of Ohio, the only declared candidate for the Republicans, having expressly opposed it, together with the hesitancy of the Senate to endorse the plan, had sent tremors of uncertainty through Britain, with the consequence that a somewhat restrained attitude was being postulated re post-war relations to avoid problems with the Soviet Union.

The Prime Minister clearly favored a strong alliance with the United States after the war and, foreseeing that, did not mind sea and air superiority being held by the United States. But with the uncertain political path of the U.S., possibly to lead to a renewed policy of isolationism, British policy with respect to the Soviets had to account for this prospect and proceed accordingly. It would be better and more stabilizing of international relations should the Senate endorse the State Department's recommended plan.

Samuel Grafton again examines the pre-invasion stance of the Allies in allowing General Eisenhower free reign to select who would lead the liberated French until a proper government could be popularly determined. Mr. Grafton asserts that it appeared a purposeless policy, as one could imagine no group in France which was without opinion as to its favor for either Vichy or De Gaulle. If no such middle group existed, there was no reason to include them in the potential mix of leaders for liberated France. Surely any group of anti-Fascist Frenchmen could be united under the De Gaulle tent.

In Greece, by contrast, Georgios Papandreou, grandfather to Greece's current Prime Minister, had been chosen by the Allies to lead a united front of Greek interests against the Nazis, despite the fact that no one contended that he represented all factions. The same logic, opines Mr. Grafton, should be applied to the situation in France.

Marquis Childs addresses the Bankhead Amendment to the price-control bill in the Senate which would enable 90% of all cotton goods manufacturers to make profit on all their wares. That mandate differed from ordinary practice in which certain goods were loss-leaders and either turned no profit or resulted in a loss while other goods made up the difference by greater profits. The result would be that already high prices on cotton goods, five times higher than before the war, would rise to fifteen times the pre-war price, causing consumers to have to pay an estimated 450 million dollars in increased prices, setting off an inflationary spiral.

The object of the amendment was to raise prices for cotton farmers, but the result would only likely hinder the market and bring little or no additional income to anyone other than the manufacturers. The better way to help the farmers was to increase subsidies.

The Southern coalition of Senators had joined with the Republicans, seeking to embarrass the Administration in anticipation of the election, to get the amendment through the Banking and Currency Committee.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President's eldest child, Anna Boettiger, wife of Major John Boettiger, had established residence in the White House together with her five year old son, while the Major tended to his duties in the Army. Speculation ran that the President's special fondness for Anna had prompted his physician to recommend the family company for the sake of the Presidentís health.

He next turns to the bill introduced by Senator Harlan Bushfield of South Dakota which had, by its title, evoked unrestrained laughter on the Senate floor when the Clerk announced it: "Senate Bill 1602 for the relief of Winnie Left Her Behind".

The nonplussed Senator Bushfield promptly stood in defiance of the laughter and explained that Winnie Left Her Behind was an Indian woman, about 50 years old, who lived on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and owned about 160 acres given her by the Government in 1912. Her blind husband, 66, could not work the land and so she wished to sell it. She could not readily do so for a Government prohibition on alienation of Indian land to speculators. She and her husband lived in a teepee on the reservation and could afford few provisions. The bill would allow the sale of the land for about $300.

Senator Bushfield also felt compelled to point to the fact that, since three relief bills had just been passed for persons named Pokluda, Buby, and Paluck, the Senate should not pass judgment on the meaning of Winnie Left Her Behind, that it might have been merely in reference to her youthful status or from some other derivation. Regardless, that was her name.

The bill then passed and Winnie Left Her Behind was able to alienate her land.

Her third cousin, however, Winshie Left His Behind, was said to wish to make claim on part of the money.

The ultimate reason in back of the relief bill might have been that Winnie Left Her Behind was an early part of Lend-Leese, but that may be pushing the envelope.

Whatever the case, had the bill failed, Winnie Left Her Behind might have gone into the courts of the land claiming that among the privileges and immunities of the Fourteenth Amendment and the rights inherent under the Fifth Amendment was that of being free from restrictions imposed by the Government on alienation, that every citizen is and shall be free to alienate as he or she pleases, and that the Government's restriction thereon amounted to a taking of a property interest such that just compensation was in order for any put trio restriction on the right of alienation.

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