Saturday, January 12, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 12, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that G.M. had refused to accept the fact-finding board recommendation for an 18 percent wage hike or 19.5 cents per hour on average, saying its December offer of 13.5 cents remained intact. The UAW had announced their intent to accept the board recommendations.

The telephone strike remained unresolved despite efforts by Labor Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach to enter the negotiations. Government seizure of the phone service remained a possibility.

In Atlanta, a state judge issued an anti-picketing injunction which ended picketing in front of Southern Bell facilities, permitting employees to return to work without crossing picket lines set up by three unions.

Negotiations to avert the looming steel strike of 800,000 workers, set to begin Monday, had reached an impasse on Friday, prompting the President to invite the president of U.S. Steel and CIO president Philip Murray to the White House to try to work out a resolution. The steel workers had expressed willingness to reduce their $2 per day wage increase demand to $1.60. U.S. Steel had discontinued its stand that no wage increase could occur without a corresponding allowance by OPA of a rise in price ceilings on steel, and offered $1.20 per day in wage increases.

The fact-finding board in the oil workers dispute recommended an 18 percent increase in wages, from $1.20 per hour average wage to $1.40, and there was hope that the dispute might be resolved. The Government had taken over 53 refineries on October 4 and still operated 36, after 17 had accepted terms in the interim and resumed regular operations.

In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the citizens celebrated the coup by a three-man military junta deposing the five-year dictatorial regime of President Elie Lescot. The celebration included widespread looting and arson, and 15 to 20 persons had been killed and a hundred injured. A liberal civilian-led committee of public safety, however, refused to accept the rule of the junta.

Correspondent Jack Bell reports more from the statement of Admiral Kimmel received by the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor, prior to the start of Admiral Kimmel's live testimony on Tuesday. The Admiral had told the Army Board of inquiry in July, 1944 that he had indicated his desire to survey the Gilbert Islands, including Tarawa, subsequently taken by the Marines in a bloody battle in trying to land amid the jagged coral reefs in latter November, 1943. But the Navy Department in Washington had refused permission for the operation, stating that any interest shown in the islands could arouse the Japanese.

Admiral Kimmel had told the Roberts Commission in early 1942 that Japanese spy operations in Honolulu were of excellent quality compared with the intelligence he received from the Navy Department. On December 1, 1941, he had been informed by the Navy Department that, based on the movements of the Japanese fleet, Thailand appeared in danger of imminent attack.

He also indicated that he had received messages consistently from Washington, from January, 1941 onward, that the situation with respect to Japan was "very grave", and the messages in the two weeks prior to the attack were little different from the preceding ones. He said he was never informed of any special alarm during that latter period immediately prior to the attack.

In Chicago, some 50 law enforcement personnel were still searching for the slayer of the six-year old girl, kidnaped and murdered Sunday night. A coroner's report indicated that she died of strangulation within a short time after the abduction, at around 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. early Monday morning. Her dismemberment had been performed after death, in a manner consistent with someone who understood anatomy or was skilled in butchery or hunting.

In New York, the first military parade since the end of the war was in preparation. The parade was set to consist of 8,000 members of the 82nd Airborne Division and an additional 5,000 members of the 101st, the 13th and 17th Airborne Divisions. It was scheduled to start at Washington Square and proceed up Fifth Avenue to 86th Street.

Walter Mason, substituting for Hal Boyle, reports from Sasebo, Japan of the intense feeling exhibited by former Chinese internees toward their former Japanese captors. The Chinese and Koreans to be repatriated to their homelands were maintained along with Japanese at Hario Assembly Camp, where a heavily guarded barbed wire barrier had to be erected to prevent the Chinese from attacking the Japanese.

He describes life at the camp.

Red Skelton picked up a hitch-hiker in a soldier's uniform and during the ride, told him that he had always wanted a .38 caliber pistol, whereupon the hitch-hiker told him he had one he would sell. Mr. Skelton stated that he had only $51 at the time, whereupon the hitch-hiker pulled out the gun, robbed Mr. Skelton, and left the car.

God bless.

On the editorial page, "Wrong Number" finds no sympathy for the sympathy strike of telephone operators refusing long distance connections, in sympathy with the 17,000 striking Western Electric workers in New York. The sympathy strike was not seeking higher wages and had as a prevailing mood a giggly, holiday spirit, seemingly designed to disconnect the citizenry from sympathy with the aims of the strike, a likely prospect in the end.

"Another Optimist" suggests that the tendency of many to try to resolve the crisis of confidence among builders through professing optimism and an end to anxiety about prospective conditions reminded of the Hoover Administration approach to the Great Depression. It was not just a matter of getting everyone to go back to work and stop belly-aching. No one was interested in just a fair profit, presently obtainable, but looked forward to a great post-war boom.

What was needed, opines the piece, was probably more spreading of fear, to induce the realization that the elimination of OPA and its price controls would bring about the collapse of free enterprise in the resulting chaos of inflation.

"Necessity Clause" comments on the broken and strained pair of New Year's resolutions made and reported by Editor W. G. Hazel of the Pee Dee Advocate. His first resolution was broken in the first day of the New Year, that being to work less, when the Colonel, apparently the name given to the linotype machine, stopped working and Mr. Hazel—who, by the second column of the piece, becomes transformed somehow into "Mr. Beasley", apparently confusing him momentarily with Monroe Journal editor R. F. Beasley, who miraculously popped into view yesterday from latter 1944 in relation to the latter's piece on Dr. Mordecai Ham, and so, in light of the piece on Dr. Ham of the previous day in The News, prompting our reference to the piece of Mr. Beasley—computer technology is fine, but old fashioned human memory is always more fun and revealingly interesting—and so probably unconsciously causing the editors to slip in "Mr. Beasley" for Mr. Hazel, unless there was another machine at the Advocate named "Mr. Beasley", or Mr. Beasley was the Colonel—had to go into the linotype room where the Colonel was located and fix it himself, causing him to come near to breaking his second resolution, to stop cussing.

But, Mr. Hazel confessed, while so far maintaining that second resolution, it was being daily put to the test by the news of additional striking bustards—which he notes to his printer to print as printed, rather than as intended, for "bustard" was a good word for a type of goose.

The News congratulates Mr. Hazel for his fortitude, but believes that the continuing strikes of geese at the factories would soon render his second resolution likewise kaput, and cause the office of the Advocate to be "filled with sulphur and brimstone right around the clock."

A piece from the High Point Enterprise, titled "On Law Enforcement", discusses the liquor transportation laws of the State and the report by a local judge that he found them "silly", and another report from local law enforcement that they were "unenforceable".

The piece agrees with these remarks, citing a law that if a car with five adults had 25 fifths of unopened liquor aboard, it was legal, whereas if the same group were found with a couple of pints, one of which had been opened, it was illegal, subjecting all occupants to being hauled in.

The Legislature needed to take action.

Drew Pearson discusses the prospect of higher steel prices and how it had come to be, to accommodate the steel industry demands in order to provide demanded wage increases of the workers. OPA director Chester Bowles had sought to persuade steel not to demand price increases, that it would ripple through the economy and produce demands for higher prices in other industries, in turn producing more demands for higher wages to keep pace with rising costs of living, setting up an inflationary spiral, as after World War I. He suggested that the manufacturers wait six months after granting a wage increase and then determine how their profits would be with lowering prices of scrap iron and elimination of overtime pay from wartime hours. OPA could then reassess the situation and grant price increases if necessary. Mr. Bowles had offered a price increase of $2.50 per ton. But the steel manufacturers refused to be swayed by his persuasive talk.

Office of Reconversion director John W. Snyder had already told them that the Administration was prepared to provide a price increase and thus had undermined the efforts of Mr. Bowles, taking away Administration bargaining power. He had planned to announce the price increase, until the CIO intervened and prevailed successfully upon Secretary Schwellenbach to withhold the announcement to avoid the strike set for Monday. For Mr. Snyder had planned to announce the price hike without commitment from the steel industry on how much increase they would allow in wages.

Secretary Schwellenbach got Mr. Snyder to return to the manufacturers and first obtain a commitment on wages. But meanwhile, news of the scheduled price hike had leaked to Wall Street causing stock prices to rise.

Dorothy Thompson returns to discussion of the auto strike, clarifying her position that she believed the UAW stance was essentially correct but that G.M. had no obligation to pay a wage increase based on profits alone, that average production should ultimately be the basis for wage increases.

She recommends that labor ought take into account the impact on the entire economy of such a wage increase if it meant finally a hike in prices to the consumer. Moreover, if wage standards were set by the most efficient producers, it would tend toward establishing a monopoly, squeezing out the smaller companies for inability to pay the increased wages without reducing the quality of the product or raising prices to such an extent that they would no longer be competitive in the market.

She finds the assertion of the right to strike or the right of management to make arbitrary decisions to refuse demands of labor to be equally silly positions. What was needed was an integrated formula to determine wages, a formula based on productivity, not profits per se. And productivity should be gauged not by temporary conditions such as wartime.

She urges elimination of large bonuses to executives based on profits, unless also shared with the workers. She recommends a system of profit sharing, which included sharing of losses as well, with commensurate decline in wages during off years.

To avoid the prospect of the workers voting to allow takeover of the company by the State, the company had to become flexible and provide greater security and equality of status to workers.

Marquis Childs states that the Army was in serious trouble regarding deployment of troops in the Pacific, particularly in the Philippines. The G.I.'s abroad were growing increasingly weary and restless, wishing to sleep in a normal bed again and live a normal life.

Another source of the problem, he ventures, was the failure of the Army and Navy to explain adequately the purpose of occupation in the Pacific. The citizen soldiers were able to accept in wartime the need for military discipline, but no longer.

He cites the example of a lieutenant assigned to command an LST transport to ferry both former Chinese internees in Japan back to China and Japanese prisoners of war from China back to Japan. He described the Chinese civilians as unable in most cases to speak English and unaware of the simplest behavior and sanitary conditions necessary onboard the boat. The Japanese soldiers, by contrast, were disciplined and could comport themselves appropriately during the four-day voyage. The lieutenant could not understand why the U.S. military had the responsibility for repatriating the Chinese civilians.

Mr. Childs suggests that an explanation of how the Chinese internees came to be as they were and why it was necessary to return them home would have filled the gap of misunderstanding. The men of the Army and Navy were thinking citizens and had to be treated as such, not just told to obey orders.

Samuel Grafton places some of the blame for the G.I. uprisings in Manila and Frankfurt on the Congress for giving the impression that reconversion was every man for himself. The bi-partisan opposition bloc of Republicans and Southern Democrats had chosen at the end of the war simply to "kick over" the wartime apparatus rather than strategically dismantle it step by step.

Poor national morale was adversely impacting military morale. If there were a sensible plan in place at home for reconversion, then the soldier could be motivated to endure his conditions abroad a little longer. As it was, no one could blame the soldiers for following the national trend.

Those in Congress most visibly advocating the acceleration of demobilization were the foes of Administration efforts to effect reconversion through full employment, national health insurance, and maintenance of price controls until demand and supply could be equalized. If these Congressmen had their way, the G.I. returning home would find rampant inflation and no place to live. These Congressmen were simply using the frustration of the G.I. for political reasons, not to assist him practically with programs designed to make his return easier.

A letter writer from East Rockingham advocates putting men into political office who would not sell their support to the highest bidder, suggests that some of the returning veterans who had fought for the country would make good candidates. The Congress had fought FDR tooth and nail when he proposed programs for the working class and they would fight President Truman also.

She states that the first settlers came to the country with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other, that the two seemed to go together. The way for the working people to advance was to put the two together again and take the men out of office who were there for personal gain.


But, madame, we think they tried that once before, in 1861, and it didn't accomplish the goal.

A major in the Air Corps writes a letter to compliment an ad which had appeared in the newspaper on December 22, 1945, promoting the sale of Victory Bonds, with a picture of a wife embracing her soldier husband, and addressed to "Jane Jones-Wife First Class".

The major says that he hoped to find a Jane Jones. His wife, he explains, had left him for a married colonel in Kunming, China.

Whether the colonel in Kunming was a bustard, is not indicated.

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