Thursday, December 27, 1945

The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 27, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Moscow Big Three foreign ministers conference had ended with several successful agreements being reached, at least according to a knowledgeable inside observer in London. The unnamed individual reported that there had been agreement to submit to the U.N. in January, coincident with the beginning of the doctor-recommended visit to the U.S. by former Prime Minister Churchill, the U.S.-British plan on atomic energy, accompanied by the Western recommendations previously enunciated, all with the approval of Russia. Russia insisted, however, that it go only before the Security Council, with its unilateral veto accorded each of the five permanent members, including Russia, and not before the General Assembly, sure to vote against Soviet interests.

In short, such an agreement would have little chance of success unless the atomic secret were disclosed to the Russians.

Further agreement was said to have been reached on a four-power pact, the Big Three plus China, to govern the occupation of Japan. It was stated as being unclear whether General MacArthur would form a fifth unilateral power, with the ability to override anything determined by the other four.

On Korea, the insider also disclosed that the Big Three foreign ministers had agreed that it would remain a dependency of Russia and the United States, Russia administering the North and America the South until 1950, when the entire country would be provided independence. Korea had been occupied throughout the war by the Japanese.

It was also said that the procedure for drawing the treaties with Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, and Italy had been settled.

The question of ceding to Russia Turkish territory in the area of the Dardanelles to afford Mediterranean access was not settled. The Iranian question regarding Azerbaijan Province and the Russian refusal to allow Iranian troops to enter the rebelling province to re-establish Iranian control, was also apparently not stressed.

In Washington, it was reported that it was questionable whether G.M. would send representatives to the fact-finding board appointed by the President to try to settle the strike with the UAW. The UAW had already indicated its full cooperation. G.M. had balked because the President had authorized the board to examine G.M.'s books in an effort to determine whether their claim that they could not afford the demanded 30 percent wage increase was true.

The Interstate Commerce Commission, responding to a Federal District Court injunction obtained by nine Northern states, ordered postponement indefinitely of the scheduled increase in class rates for freight, ordered May 15, which had entailed a 10 percent increase of rates charged in Northern and Eastern states and a corresponding decrease for the South and West, to bring the rate structure into closer parity.

In Pineville, Ky., relatives and friends of the 30 to 50 trapped coal miners maintained a vigil in the cold beside flickering coal and wood bonfires. No one sobbed or expressed emotion but stoically awaited the verdict from the effort to extricate the miners following the explosion in the shaft.

One man told of his father, who usually took the day off after a holiday, having instead decided to work on Wednesday when the explosion occurred. Another man had been late for work and barely missed the mantrip into the mine, which became a mantrap.

A fuel oil and coal deficiency loomed for the winter in the country, according to Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, the result of the coal strike of the UMW and slack production on fuel oil because petroleum producers could get a higher price for gasoline.

In Manila, a collaborator who led nearly a thousand Filipinos to their deaths at the hands of the Japanese was sentenced to death for treason. The previous March, he had convinced the residents of the village of Lumband near Lipa in Batangas Province that the Japanese would provide them with safe conduct. The Japanese then killed all of them. It was one of the atrocities for which General Yamashita had been held responsible in his recent trial resulting in the sentence of death, which he was now seeking to challenge on jurisdictional grounds before the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Truman was wrapping up his Christmas trip home, stating that he intended to provide a radio address sometime in early January, outlining his proposed legislative agenda, in advance of the regular State of the Union message, his first. It was indicated that if he delivered the State of the Union in person, as he intended, then it might be covered by television, which would be a first for any President.

—Bob, when we make the announcement for the run next year for Congress, do you think this television would be a good means for doing it?

—Not many receivers yet? Yeah, yeah.

—Radio still is the best? Yeah.

—Okay, Bob. You know that we always rely on your media judgment. Radio it will be. You know those newspapers will probably give us the shaft.

—Yeah, I know. Always the way with the honest and decent and the hardest working. Well, get out there and sock it to 'em, Bob.

—Oh, by the way, before you go. Did you read about that butane truck in Santa Barbara?

—Yeah, yeah. Terrible thing. Do you think we might be able to use...?

—Too risky. Yeah. Well, keep it in mind anyway, Bob. We could get some real thugs in there for us and maybe put the muscle on the opposition next year.

—Italians. Yeah. You've got a point. It could backfire. But what about this Teamster fellow sometimes in the news out of Chicago?

The newspaper Libera Stampa in Rome speculated that the successor to Pope Pius XII might be someone other than Italian for the first time since Adrian VI of Utrecht in 1522. The reason for the guess was that the Vatican had just announced the appointment to the College of Cardinals of 28 non-Italian Cardinals out of the 32 appointed, providing now 42 non-Italians among the total complement of 70 Cardinals.

The successor, in 1958, would be Pope John XXIII, Italian. Not until Pope John Paul II, in 1978, Polish, would there be another non-Italian Pontiff.

The Chinese Communists delivered to the Government of Chiang Kai-Shek at Chungking a proposal for an unconditional truce by both sides in the civil war, settling peacefully all issues in the war, and sending inter-party and non-partisan observers to the various fronts to assure that the terms of the ceasfire were maintained.

Greece turned down as inadequate and unjust reparations, determined by the Inter-Allied Council, of an estimated 10.5 billion dollars from Germany. Greece had sought fourteen billion dollars from Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. The Council had determined the previous Friday an allocation of reparations to 18 nations from German assets based on percentages. The actual monetary total was only being estimated.

Also in Greece, rioting broke out in the suburbs of Piraeus, the port of Athens, when a mob tried to free two members of the extreme left-wing KKE from jail, arrested for allegedly disarming a police officer. Police were able to hold off the crowd.

It would appear that the Greek rebels had been reading too much about America during its earlier period before the war and wanted to emulate the behavior in reverse. Whether KKE was Kappa Kappa Epsilon or some other fraternity, we cannot say.

Samuel Duncan, 84, father of "Topsy and Eva", famous for their musical of the same name, died in Rosemead, California.

Incidentally, we neglected to mention that Congressman Joe Ervin, while an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega. We mention it only collaterally, because it was the house of that same fraternity on the U.C. campus in Berkeley, still extant, which was used in the film "The Graduate". It is said, though we have no proof, that some of the interior shots for the film were made in Chapel Hill in a campus studio between the Scuttlebutt and Smith Building, because of a strike in Hollywood which prevented use of interior sets. Whether apocryphal or not, it came from a reasonably reliable source back in the ancient times of the early 1970's, when Greeks were Greeks and fought each other on the fields of battle with real swords in real armor, Spartan versus Trojan in the Attic lands, not computerized virtual versions as today's pampered youth are wont to do, to their own limitation of experience.

In Pekin, Illinois, a fourteen-year old boy, Dickie, had been found in Chicago by the police after a five-day Christmas spree during which Dickie spent $500 of the $1,500 he had taken from his grandfather's savings. Dickie still had $1,000 remaining when caught.

He claimed that he left home because the family stepped too much on the tail of his part-Angora cat, Cookie, who he took with him in a shoebox on his sojourn. Dickie's mother Mildred, however, said he took the trip because he was crazy about trains and simply wanted to go for a ride, but when he discovered how much money he had actually taken, was afraid to return home.

When he got back home, his grandfather said that it was all forgotten.

Dickie had bought Christmas gifts for his mother and grandfather—with his grandfather's pilfered money. Under the tree were gifts the family had bought for Dickie, plus catnip and two toys for Cookie.

It was not disclosed what gifts the family had bought for Dickie, perhaps a one-way ticket to Palookaville on a train of his choice.

Dickie stated that at first during his adventure everything was swell, but then he became concerned. He had spent a lonely Christmas, call it blue, in a Loop hotel, attended one ballet, presumably "The Nutcracker", always a favorite in the Big City around Christmas, and several movies.

We hope he got to see "The Lost Weekend", just for future reference.

Now, Dickie, you and we both know that you did not spend $500 on presents for your grandfather, your mother, four or five nights in a Loop hotel, a ballet, a few movies, and a train ride. We know, Dickie, that you were doing something else with grandfather's savings. Cookie was just an excuse. You woke up, fell out of bed, grabbed the comb, the macassar oil, Cookie to make it look good, and went on a spree because the family was stepping on your cat's tail.

But her name was not Cookie. We both know that, though she may have been part Angora, at least for ahora. Pretending to be an innocent little fourteen-year old boy with a crush on your cat simply won't cut the mustard anymore. We want a full accounting of your Chicago perambulation by Monday or we shall send you to juvenile hall and let them deal with the issue, or issues as the case may be.

After that, we both know that it is no Harvard for you. Champagne only, since you wish to be so urbane.

Confidential? Yes. Hush-hush. On the Q.T. Trust us.

Our name? Guido. Father Guido, to you.

Porsche? No, you can't have one. Those are for gentlemen and scholars.

Alfa Romeo, maybe.

On the editorial page, "Front-Step Opinion" reports on the result of a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Denver, finding that 58 percent of those interviewed believed that big business was making more than its fair share of profits, while only 29 percent viewed their profits as fair. Only three percent, mostly among the wealthy, believed that big business was not doing as well as it should and blamed Government controls for the failing. The lower income group overwhelmingly believed the opposite was the case. Of the middle class respondents, 49 percent held the majority view.

It was so despite a raft of anti-union propaganda hurled at the public by big business as well as union propaganda from labor. The result demonstrated the lack of effect of such industry propaganda on the public, especially the middle class.

So, even if industry ultimately managed to prevent a substantial wage increase in the labor dispute, it would finally lose in the public perception, and the public perception, especially that of the middle class, was critical as it was coincident with the customer base.

"Opportunity to Donate" compliments Dave Clark's Textile Bulletin for its proposal that the textile industry donate some of its large profits during the year to the three regional textile schools, N.C. State, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. It would not be a charitable act but one designed to increase industrial efficiency as the three schools turned out the technical advisers for the industry who eventually became the executives of the textile firms. The Bulletin had asserted that the time to make the donations was when profits were high, as the cycle would inevitably dip down again.

The advice, counsels the piece, was sound, not only for its benefit to the textile industry, but also as a tax deduction while doing so.

"A Frigid Coonjine", oddly enough, and we again stress that we do not read ahead unless we point it out, comments on a poem written by Olive Carruthers of The Chicago Sun, in bidding her adieus to Carl Sandburg, moving to Flat Rock, N.C., near Asheville, to take up what would be his final residence in life.

She had penned the lines: "You will hear the darkies chanting a lazy coonjine/ To the thrum of hummingbirds like an old banjo." She also stated that he would see "crocus-gold sunshine" in "North Car'lina", the piece noting parenthetically that the apostrophe was "her's", not theirs.

"Reading these lovely words today," it goes on, "while icicles dangle outside our window and our ears are smitten by the traffic noises the late W. J. Cash once termed 'the most fiendish sound outside of Hell, or possibly the Chicago Loop', we are strangely bemused."

It did not know what a "coonjine" was and indicates that it had been a long time since hearing a hummingbird thrum. "The darkies in Henderson County," where Mr. Sandburg would take up residence, "could hold a convention in a telephone booth, and there probably hasn't been a banjo in Flat Rock since Jan Garber played a dance there in 1928," it adds.

Ms. Carruthers had urged Mr. Sandburg to take with him from Chicago a song "timed to a tempo of hope and a dream undreamed." The editors respond that they would welcome any song he wished to bring and that such a song would not be out of place at Connemara, his new residence.

But they urged that, along with any song, he bring some red flannel underwear.

Well, we say that it is somewhat interesting that this little piece crops up just now, as we just referenced a few days ago a note which in turn referenced the pieces of February 4, 1940, one of our favorite day's editorials of all of them, and so we reference it again. Why Cash's analogy, fairly oblique to the subject of the piece, was specifically brought to mind, you will have to discern on your own.

Incidentally, the online version of Merriam-Webster's defines "coonjine", in its verb form, as "to walk, dance, or carry with a sidling waddling shuffle", with its origin unknown. As a noun, it is either "a step or dance suggestive of the rhythmic shuffle of riverboat loaders" or "a song accompanying the coonjine", "jine" being pronounced to rhyme with "shine", maybe connotative of shinny, as a coon shinnies up a tree.

So, precisely how one would "chant" a coonjine, as Ms. Carruthers suggested, except as the song accompanying the coonjine, is not readily within our grasp to comprehend, which is not to say it would not be possible if one stretched the case of the imagination to include within the confines of "chant" some sort of walk. But, in 1945, to be hip to that jive, one would likely have needed to reside for awhile in the Big City's bee hive, rather than in the relatively tame Hornet's Nest of Charlotte, or the surrounds, populated by Confederate ghosts, out in Flat Rock.

Whether the genesitic conception for the piece found its seminal foundation in that on Mr. Tidnab of December 20, we leave strictly to your swingin' low sweet imagination.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "On Governmental Efficiency", regards the Senate rejection of the increase in pay to Government officials. A debate at length took place on the level of pay not attracting the best personnel versus Senator Robert Taft's remark to Senator Sheridan Downey of California that Government officials were receiving three times what they could make in private enterprise.

It fed the critics who regarded the Government, especially the military brass hats, as bungling idiots. But, it points out, these same brass hats and Government officials had won the war.

Senator Downey had responded to Senator Taft by saying that the level of inefficiency in the Government was about that which was present in the office of an average lawyer or doctor, in industry, or in the Senate.

The piece supports Senator Downey's view, provided that the Senators and Representatives would resist the temptation to hand out jobs under the political spoils system.

Drew Pearson imparts the story of persistent Congressman Albert Engel of Michigan who had gotten the lowdown on various forms of Army inefficiency during a recent fact-finding trip to India. Once called the "gadfly" to the War Department by General Marshall, Mr. Engel had insisted on talking to a group of young Air Corps officers at Karachi, despite the tour liaison officer, General George Richards, seeking to hurry him along to the awaiting airplane for the next stop on the tour. Eventually, after heated words, Congressman Engel told General Richards to take his "damned plane and go", that he was going to talk to the officers.

The Congressman then elicited several facts from about 75 lieutenants and captains who flew supplies back and forth into China over the perilous "Hump" of the Himalayas. They had flown 750 tons of cotton to China for the British, worth 15 cents per pound, at a cost of transportation of between one and two dollars per pound. They had flown bedding, furniture, and toilets for the ranking officers into Karachi from Khartoum via Cairo, a total distance of 5,000 miles. One officer had his Austin automobile flown from Karachi to New Delhi and then shipped back to Karachi because he disliked the paint job. Tile had been shipped from Bombay to Karachi for a patio for the Officers' Club, built after V-J Day. A large amount of material had been shipped from Africa to India, only then to be burned, including large numbers of flying gloves, parachutes, flying jackets, beacon lights, 20 Pratt and Whitney engine cylinders and ten airplane magnetos.

Congressman Engel discovered also that a load of empty Coke bottles had been flown from China to India, as well as a printing press weighing four tons, from Karachi to Agra, then to Gaya, where it was left unused.

Marquis Childs discusses the first session of the 79th Congress, showing a record of considerable accomplishment in foreign affairs, ratification of the U.N. Charter and especially the final speed with which was undertaken the recent approval of the delayed final payment due on the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration appropriation to prevent starvation of Europeans during the winter, especially needed for Italy. He compliments Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas and Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan for having steered the legislation in the latter case through channels in each chamber.

But he takes considerable issue with the domestic record of the Congress during 1945, the worst of it in his estimate being the defeat in the Senate, by a vote of 31 to 30 with 35 absent, of an amendment to extend the President's powers under the War Powers Act for a year instead of six months or until June 30, 1946. It was especially critical with regard to price controls, the elimination of which six months hence promised widespread inflation. Six Democrats had voted against the amendment, Senators Bilbo of Mississippi, Hoey of North Carolina, Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia, McClellan of Arkansas, Tydings of Maryland, and O'Daniel of Texas.

Another Southern conservative, Representative Carter Manasco of Alabama, had been chiefly responsible for so weakening the President's full employment bill as to make the result out of the House worth little toward achieving its aim. On several other issues, including the decision to turn the U.S. Employment Service back to the states and the proposed increase in unemployment compensation, the Congress had either turned down the proposals or so eviscerated them to render them virtually useless.

While the President was responding to the Congress, there was so far no evidence that he could bring them into line.

The president of the Charlotte chapter of American War Dads writes a letter condemning the lack of governmental concern being shown for housing for returning war veterans in light of the severe housing shortage. He favors as a local step the use of Morris Field barracks as temporary housing, as suggested by a series of articles in The News by reporter Reed Surratt.

"A Working Young Lady" of Charlotte writes an open letter to strikers questioning whether they considered themselves proud, loyal Americans to be striking during the effort of the country to undergo reconversion, answering her own question in the negative. After berating the strikers further, she quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson in furtherance of her emotional tirade.

The editors add a note that they had followed the woman's wishes in not printing her name, because they understood why she would not wish to do so. They printed the letter only because it was representative of a large number of earnest citizens suffering "the strange mental blackout" of blaming strikers for the country's ills when the entire country was proving selfish in the post-war period, and that among other things for which the men fought and died in World War II had been the right to strike.

Samuel Grafton discusses the indicators that some of the younger Republicans, principally Harold Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota, would seek in 1948 to psuh aside the traditional leadership of the party, represented by Senator Taft and Governor John Bricker, both of Ohio, much as had Wendell Willkie in 1940.

Whether this effort would gain traction depended in large part on whether President Truman could effect unity again among Democrats, now torn asunder between the Southern conservatives and the Northern liberals. The better the Democrats functioned as a liberal party, the more the Republicans would be required to try to be progressive to compete. If labor and the internationalists were not going to vote solidly Democratic again, then the Republicans would not be motivated to change.

In the past, once the Democratic liberal wing lost power, so, too, did the Republican liberals.

In the end, there would be also the threat of a third party formed from disgruntled liberals—which would occur to a degree with the Progressive Party of former Vice-President and now Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace and his running mate in 1948, the singing cowboy of Idaho, Senator Glen Taylor.

Mr. Grafton, seeming to predict Watergate and the Plumbers Unit of the White House of 1971-72, states that the conservatives of the South and the Republican Old Guard appeared to forget that "the old channels turn out to be too constricted and narrow to hold the flood. Sometimes the spillage and leakage are greater than what remains in the vessel, and then you have a third party, or Whigs turn into Republicans, etc."

Organized labor, the disaffected internationalists, and the Republican Willkie bloc represented at present just such spillage, seeking a new reservoir in which to reposit their political strength. He concludes that if he were a traditional party leader, he would pay close attention to political developments in this time and wonder whether it was good politics "to try to contain a river in a teacup."

Or, perhaps Scotch tape on a door latch...a flag in a flowerpot...

In any event, that was the news for the Third Day of Christmas, 1945.

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