Friday, October 12, 1945

The Charlotte News

Friday, October 12, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President and First Lady had joined in condemning the Daughters of the American Revolution for their refusal to allow the use of Constitution Hall by Hazel Scott, wife of New York Representative Adam Clayton Powell. The President wrote Mr. Powell saying that he could not do anything to interfere with the D.A.R. action, based solely on race. The President implicitly, however, compared the D.A.R. policy to that of the Nazis, stating that one of their first acts had been to forbid public appearances by artists and musicians who were of a religion not acceptable to the Nazis.

Mrs. Truman had previously accepted a D.A.R. invitation to a tea and would not decline it after the matter surfaced, saying the two events were not related.

A similar episode had been encountered with the D.A.R. in 1939 refusing permission to Marian Anderson to perform at Constitution Hall. The Roosevelts responded by having Ms. Anderson perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939.

In Buenos Aires, the Cabinet of Fascist President Farrell resigned under pressure from the military and civilian groups after he had announced the day before that elections would be held April 7, a month after he had imposed a state of siege and suspended freedoms, including freedom of the press, and jailed several dissenting journalists. Former Vice-President Juan Peron had been arrested. A youth on a bicycle who shouted, "Viva Peron!" was pounced upon by an angry crowd of freedom fighters and beaten severely.

Democracy was obviously on its way to Argentina.

In Paris, General De Gaulle stated flatly that he would not consider providing a new trial to Pierre Laval, sentenced to death for treason. His attorneys claimed to have evidence that the Germans arrested him while he was planning to turn France over to De Gaulle in early August, 1944, some three weeks before the August 25 entry by the Allies to Paris.

The coal strike in the United States caused further layoffs in the steel industry, as 200,000 miners from 900 mines were striking. The number of idle workers nationwide stood at 460,000.

The OPA raised the ceiling on prices for tire and tire cord fabrics by 9.1 percent. The move accorded with the Bankhead amendment to the stabilization extension act, mandating higher ceilings for cotton products to meet higher wages ordered by the War Labor Board.

The Senate Finance Committee indicated through Senator Walter George of Georgia an intention to seek reduction of the 5.35 billion dollar tax cutting plan passed by the House the previous day. Specifically, Senator George thought it unwise to eliminate 12 million persons from the tax rolls.

General Jonathan Wainwright provides the fifth in his series of articles regarding his time in captivity after the fall of Corregidor in May, 1942, this time continuing the saga of the attack on the Philippines by the Japanese in the early morning hours of December 8, 1941. The raid on Clark Field was over in 14 minutes. More than half of the new B-17's which had just arrived were destroyed, along with all of the machine shops and hangars and most of the officers' quarters. General Wainwright organized the removal of 193 dead and wounded, of whom a hundred died.

Most of the planes had been on the ground, the few fighters which the Army had having been transferred the previous day to another field, also hit hard by a Japanese raid. The Japanese lost only two planes during the raid on Clark. The Americans had but two complete fighter planes left after cobbling together parts from the strewn wreckage.

The remainder of the day was spent trying to arrange for cover for the command structure at Stotsenburg and transportation for the Northern Luzon force, consisting finally of some ordinary passenger busses and cars. The only communications systems were the public telephone and telegraph. There was no Navy or air force beyond a few reconnaissance P-40's.

The General and his aide were informed by a representative of General MacArthur's headquarters on December 9 that they would be able to provide few of the needed supplies and that General Wainwright and his staff would have to improvise.

Then, the Japanese Army began landing en masse at Lingayen Gulf.

In San Francisco, a distraught "Enoch Arden" bride, that is a woman who had married another thinking her Navy husband dead when he had actually been a prisoner of war, tried to commit suicide by overdose of sedatives. It occurred as she was meeting with her current husband and her previous husband, both in the Navy, once having been shipmates, with the meeting going nowhere. She stated that she did not want to give up either husband and, as long as someone would have to be hurt, she decided it would be her. Fortunately, she did not succeed and was released from the hospital.

Since her husband had been declared dead, the woman had also been married one other time, in December, 1942, but had that marriage annulled in January, 1944 after a Tokyo radio broadcast indicated that her first husband was in fact alive, a belief which had disappeared, however, after no official Navy confirmation came of this report. It was then that she married her third husband.

The Sarawak Government in London announced that Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, known as the "White Rajah" of Sarawak, would soon depart London to resume his duties.

On the editorial page, "Another Milepost" suggests that, while the passing nearly unanimously by the House of the tax reduction bill, cutting 5.35 billion dollars out of the revenue, was good news for taxpayers, it also signaled the end of New Deal spending without any plan in place to replace the social programs with cheaper, more efficient versions.

The piece remarks, with doubt, that it was another sign on the road to "normalcy".

"Routine Matter" suggests that the fact that former Governor J. Melville Broughton could deliver an address to the Presbyterian Synod at Davidson on racial discrimination and its potential for amelioration from the Christian Church, without incurring anyone's wrath, indeed, receiving apparent support from the Synod, was not routine as had seemed to be the case of its reception, but rather signal of progress in the country in race relations, that the subject was now capable of being discussed openly without endangering a prominent politician's career or risking reprisal.

Racial prejudice was still evident, as real as the weather, but even if past attempts to improve the lot of the nation's second-class citizenry had failed, progress was being made.

"Our Virtue" suggests that, while the Republicans were having difficulty in finding appropriate candidates for Congress in 1946, surely they could do better than seeking discredited generals such as General Patton, sought by California Republicans as a candidate for a 1946 House race.

General Patton was a resident of the district of Congressman Jerry Voorhis and it was this race which the California Republican State Control Committee chair Leo Anderson sought General Patton to enter. He said the General was able and colorful.

"Well," responds the piece, "he'd be colorful all right, so colorful it might be necessary for the Republicans to arrange stag campaign meetings in order to make the best use of his purple rhetoric."

As to his ability, if the Republicans believed it probable that a couple of tank columns would be necessary for taking the assault to Washington Democrats, then Patton was the man for the job.

The editorial found it possible that the General might accept the challenge and, if so, it would be the most cynical politics since the recruitment by the Republicans of Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. Based on his military record in terms of public relations, says the piece, General Patton was among the least qualified for American political life. He was unable to distinguish between a Republican and a Nazi. His only political virtue was that he might win, enough for California Republicans.

Whatever might have been the case, we know that General Patton would be killed on December 21 in an automobile accident in Germany. So, instead of General Patton running for the Republicans for the seat in Congress occupied by Mr. Voorhis, it would be Richard M. Nixon, an obscure attorney from Whittier who had attended law school at Duke and served honorably, if without great distinction, in the Navy Air Transport Command during the war after a short stint with the Office of Price Administration where he got his only taste, a bitter one, regarding New Deal politics. And the rest, as they say...

Perhaps, we now understand better why it was that President Nixon stated in 1970 that his favorite war movie was "Patton". Indeed, Henry Kissinger recounts at page 1200 in his memoir, White House Years, that the President, on May 15, 1972, spoke of the "unconventional brilliance of Patton and MacArthur" and "lamented that the military, abused for years by civilian leadership, proved unable to respond imaginatively when given a freer hand." He granted that Al Haig "certainly is an exception."

As told by Time on October 6, 1952, General Eisenhower, in the latter stages of the 1952 campaign for the presidency, compared Senator Nixon, in the wake of the campaign scandal known as Checkers, accusations of gifts for influence, to General Patton, having been forgiven for his slapping the soldier in Sicily and various impolitic remarks. Of course, General Patton was never accused of influence peddling or any form of corruption.

It should not pass notice that one of the contributing factors, at least among more conservatively oriented persons, though by no means at all the real issue in Watergate, was the revelation of the President's great penchant for four-letter words, even if in private, a silly basis for judging him, antithetical to democracy in fact. But, in his case, his sins went far beyond cussing. It was there that the motivation for his impeachment derived, long before the presence of the tapes was known at all, revealed in late July, 1973 during the Senate Select Committee hearings by Alexander Butterfield, a White House assistant.

Regardless of whether Patton might have run for the seat, it is an interesting tidbit of Nixoniana, one of which we had never heard or read until today. Potentially, had General Patton lived, we might never have heard of Richard M. Nixon.

But then again, according to the popular accounts of General Patton, he loathed politics and so it remains only a in the realm of speculation as to whether he might have been induced to run, especially for such a position as a member of the House, where he would have been but one of 435 voices.

And, of course, John F. Kennedy, who would also enter the class of 1946 in the House with Mr. Nixon, would, in 1952, defeat Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Vice-President Nixon's running mate in the 1960 election.

"Postponement" recommends nurturing first the high ideals of one world put forth at San Francisco before venturing into universal military training as recommended by General Marshall in his biennial report. The present Army would suffice for a decade in terms of trained soldiers at the ready. Thus, there should at least be delay for that time before implementing an unprecedented peacetime draft.

To do so would be practical, to enable use of the atomic bomb and a large extant military to achieve diplomatic ends, an armed truce rather than mutual cooperation as vowed at San Francisco. And the path on which the nations were thus far traveling since war's end appeared to necessitate the former stance, in derogation of the latter.

"It seems a slender chance, but we should nurture it carefully during the brief time left us before we have to accept General Marshall's judgment that the only way to preserve the peace is to stand ready to fight."

It should be noted that the new Associate Editor Harry Ashmore had been a lieutenant colonel in the Army and Editor J. E. Dowd, an Annapolis graduate, had been stateside in the Navy during the war. So regardless of the source of this editorial, inevitably it came from studied approaches to the recent war seen up close from within the services.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has House Ways and Means chairman Bob Doughton of North Carolina commenting on a published report in the Washington press attributed to Dr. Michael Miller that Congressmen and members of the State Department drank too much. Dr. Miller had immediately contacted the wire services and stated that he had never made such statements.

Mr. Doughton says that his own investigation had confirmed that Dr. Miller had never uttered such calumnies, that he had only replied to a young U.P. reporter that he had no knowledge of the drinking habits of members of Congress and that she should seek out the members for elucidation on the topic. The reporter then misquoted Dr. Miller.

Mr. Doughton says that, in fact, Dr. Miller was of the opinion that the majority of Congress was opposed to excessive drinking and had no firsthand knowledge of their personal habits.

Drew Pearson assesses the first six months of the Truman Administration, finding on politics the President outshining FDR, able to steer a course between Southern reactionaries and big city liberals, preserving unity and leaning over a great distance to please Congress, nearly too far. Eventually, that unity would end as he could not please both sides indefinitely.

Mr. Pearson asserts that the new Truman Cabinet was better than that of Roosevelt, that he believed in delegating authority rather than centralizing it as with his predecessor. But a central weakness to the new Cabinet was that most members had served in Congress and spent too much time therefore politicking, distracting from administrative duties.

Mr. Truman was given to more immediate decision-making than FDR, occasionally getting him into trouble as with the enunciated policy of forgiving Lend-Lease payments, a statement subsequently retracted by Secretary of State Byrnes.

A potential stumbling block lay in the fact that he placed loyalty to friends above principle, the reverse of his predecessor. Edward McKim, a Nebraska insurance man, had gotten Mr. Truman into some hot water, as would likely George Allen, another insurance man.

Many of the Roosevelt New Dealers in the Administration, in the Justice Department, in the Treasury Department, were dropping out because the spirit of fighting the liberal fight had been perceived as having taken flight.

The President, when chair of the Senate Investigating Committee, had gleaned great insight into the troubles of the Army and Navy leading to inefficiency, but had thus far not been willing to clean house as President. It promised to cause some degree of problems with G.I.'s.

His greatest difficulty was the drifting foreign policy with respect to the Russians. Otherwise, he had done a good job with foreign policy.

Mr. Pearson next reports that some observers on Capitol Hill were concerned about the appointment of former Attorney General William D. Mitchell to be counsel for the Congressional investigation into Pearl Harbor. As Attorney General to President Hoover, he had whitewashed the sending of the Army under the command of General MacArthur, of which Dwight Eisenhower was also a part, to drive from Washington the 15,000 of the Bonus Army in 1932, a major controversy of the time. Mr. Mitchell had been sent by President Hoover to the Portland, Ore., American Legion Convention to speak on the matter and had been accused of gross distortions in the presentation. It was wondered now whether he might also produce a whitewash with respect to Pearl Harbor.

The column next presents a series of "Capital Chaff" items, among which was the revelation that the Texas cotton brokerage of which Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton was a partner had asked permission of the War Department to resume its cotton business in Osaka, Japan, and the War Department had forwarded the matter to the economic section of the State Department, headed by Will Clayton.

Samuel Grafton suggests that some of the strangest theories in troubled times for the country had arisen out of a press conference conducted during the week with the President on the banks of the Mississippi River. He had responded that strikes were a manifestation of inevitable problems resulting from a let-down at the end of the war.

Mr. Grafton found this approach to be an abdication of responsibility for the nationwide labor problem—which had developed increasingly since late August, beginning with the Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Co. strike, which began over three employees, and had now had the ripple effect of causing some 460,000 workers to be idle. He suggests that to ascribe the problem to inevitability undercut the President's authority to push his own proposal for full employment and unemployment compensation to Congress. The President's counsel of patience, to allow the crisis to pass, would be quite acceptable to Congress, enabling it to do nothing.

A similar approach to foreign policy was adopted by the President when he attributed the problems which had developed between the United States and Russia to a mutual misunderstanding of language. He denied that the source of difficulty lay in the fact of the sole possession by the United States of the atomic bomb. Mr. Grafton found this latter notion preposterous.

The President had cited retention of the B-29 data as precedent for retention of the atomic bomb secret—and, of course, subsequently, had announced from Reelfoot Lake on Tuesday that the atomic bomb secret would definitely not be shared with other nations beyond Great Britain. The policy would, suggests Mr. Grafton, backfire at the point when another nation developed the secret on its own and consequently owed nothing to the United States for the development.

"The President is being humble, and casual; he is decrying his own importance and powers; he is citing laws, customs, circumstances and precedents, but there is something in it like a surrender, something like a sigh and a letting-go."

Dorothy Thompson reports that John Foster Dulles, future Secretary of State to President Eisenhower and former foreign policy adviser to both presidential candidate Thomas Dewey in 1944 and the Republican delegation to the United Nations Charter Conference at San Francisco in April through June, had stated, prior to departure from the London Foreign Ministers Conference which he attended, that the atomic bomb had hung over the heads of the delegates the whole time. It had been reported that one of the primary irritants to the Russians was the refusal to share the atomic secret with all of the Allies.

As the conference had dissolved over the differences regarding Russia's desires for a sphere of influence in the Balkans, access to the Dardanelles at the expense of Turkey, and its desire that the peace be preserved by the Big Three to the exclusion of the smaller nations, the division between Russia and the West had ultimately occurred from mutual fear. If true, affording all of Russia's desires would do nothing to alleviate the tension.

The Russians regarded Potsdam as a treaty, as Stalin was capable unilaterally of forming such accords. But the United States and Great Britain had respectively to have ratification by Congress and the Parliament before an agreement could become a treaty. Thus, from the perspective of these two nations, Potsdam was only valid as long as President Truman and Prime Minister Attlee remained in power.

With the intervening fact of the atomic bomb, (though Ms. Thompson leaves out the secret test at Trinity on July 16, just as the Potsdam Conference got underway, and President Truman's communication at the time to both Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin of the successful test), she regards the London conference as "ridiculous"—even if it was planned at Potsdam after all of the Big Three were aware of the existence and successful test of the atomic bomb.

She regards the idea of security zones, as desired by the Soviets, to be rendered obsolete by the atom bomb. The object of planning now was mutual survival on the planet, the prevention of an atomic arms race, which, should it happen, "will certainly result in war and end civilization."

Parenthetically, while Ms. Thompson was proved wrong in this fatalistic premise, the costs to both sides of the arms race in checkmating one another to prevent war was enormous through 45 years, a national debt from which both the United States and the former Soviet Union, and, arguably, Britain, still suffer. So, in a limited sense, she was correct. The other costs of the tension, the psychological damage to the nations by the nuclear arms race and the damage to the planet itself, is incalculable but real, as anyone who lived through the Cold War as a sensate being or observes the impact on societies historically can readily attest.

There was, she assures, no defense to atomic weaponry. If relations between nations became so strained as to hearken nuclear war, then the concept of first-strike would be the only viable theory of war. No one would be deterred by the outcome at Nuremberg as the race would be on to insure most effective delivery of the first strike and thereby eliminate the other competing nations entirely.

Ten atomic bombs of the size dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would destroy New York. Some planes presently would get through radar screens, and in the future, the delivery device would be via rocketry. And the bombs used over Japan were already outdated.

None of the several atomic scientists with whom Ms. Thompson had talked believed that the atomic bomb was a secret, that it required either high industrial development or a great deal of money to develop, or that Russian physicists would not soon be able to produce such a weapon. The control of its use would lie in the establishment of international scientific commissions governing every mine and factory on earth, a concept capable of being implemented.

It was that which she posits the foreign ministers should be discussing, not the outmoded concepts which were bandied about at the London conference.

"It is ridiculous that an international conference should descend to a controversy over whether Mr. Bevin is a proletarian and Mr. Molotoff out of the middle classes. Like all the rest of us, they will one day be dead—let us hope from natural causes."

A letter writer asserts that the controversy which led to General Patton's transfer from command of the Third Army to the Fifteenth Army in Germany, his sloth in implementing the de-Nazification program, was emblematic of a broader problem with the treatment of Germany thus far after the war. The loosening of the non-fraternization policy to allow intermarriage between American soldiers and Germans was a primary problem, thinks the writer, which would lead to former Nazi sympathizers coming to American shores and settling down within the population.

"And so it will go until one clear Spring day in 1968, our kids will leave the classroom and say, 'Well, here we go again, boys.' "

The writer finds it no accident that the Germans invented the myth of Lorelei.

As to the Side Glances...


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