Wednesday, January 2, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 2, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that to add to the country's labor woes to start the new year, 200,000 United Packinghouse Workers, meatpackers, elected to go on strike January 17. The strike would affect both large and small meat companies, in all 147 plants in cities across the nation, from Los Angeles to Texas to Chicago to New York. The union was demanding a 25 cents per hour increase in wages, but would accept 17.5 cents per hour immediately, with an agreement to negotiate the remaining 7.5 cents. The union represented 95 percent of all meatpackers. The union president stated that the union was opposed to having a fact-finding committee appointed by the President study the matter unless the procedure were first approved by Congress.

Efforts were being undertaken to try to prevent a strike of telephone workers at Western Electric in New York City, with the prospect that a sympathy strike nationwide would follow. The strike was set to begin at 4:00 p.m. the following day.

In China, a battle was brewing between Communist and Government troops for the Inner Mongolian province of Jehol, into which Government troops were streaming. The Communists promised resistance. The Government countered that there had been no Communist troops in Jehol prior to the surrender of Japan and the Government was introducing its troops as a matter of course to establish order.

Admiral Harold Stark, chief of Naval operations at the time of Pearl Harbor, testified before the joint Congressional committee investigating the attack that he had not seen a message intercepted from the Japanese and decoded on October 9, 1941, indicating that spies in Honolulu were being asked to observe and report on the movement of ships in and out of the harbor, suggestive of planning for an aerial bomb attack. The message was followed by other such messages in early December. The Admiral stated that it was possible that he had seen the latter messages, but that he did not think so.

The committee meanwhile named Washington attorney Seth Richardson as new counsel to the committee, replacing William D. Mitchell who had resigned because of the extended time and scope of the hearings. Mr. Richardson had been an assistant attorney general under the Hoover Administration, from 1929-33.

In Nuremberg, the war crimes trial of 21 defendants resumed, with the presentation of a secret order of Hitler issued October 18, 1942, directing that all members of Allied commando missions be slaughtered to the last man, whether combatant or non-combatant. The order came in the wake of the failed Canadian-British commando raid on Dieppe on the northern coast of France in August, 1942, considered a dry-run for Normandy. The order stated that even if the commando raiders were prepared to surrender, they should be handed immediately to the SS and killed. Hitler threatened to hold responsible under military law any commander who refused obedience to the order.

In Yokohama, A Japanese interpreter testified at the war crimes trial of Lt. Kel Yuri, commander of the Omuta prison camp, that he had ordered the starvation to death of one American prisoner and the bayoneting of another. Two American officers confirmed the latter testimony. The prisoner who had been starved to death, according to the interpreter, had been deemed a troublemaker by fellow internees, and two were said to have written notes asking that he be killed. The interpreter stated, however, that Yuri gave strict orders not to beat the prisoners.

In the separate trial of Lt. Chotaro Furoshima, a private from Charlotte testified that he lost all of his toes save one to frostbite while being confined in a guardhouse without food during December, 1944.

Both the House of Lords and the Home Secretary in Britain refused to grant a reprieve to convicted traitor "Lord Haw-Haw", William Joyce, originally of South Carolina, scheduled to hang for treason the following day for his pro-German, anti-Allied propaganda broadcasts during the war.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Chatwin v. U.S., 326 U.S. 455, unanimously set aside the kidnapping convictions of two men and a woman, entered under the "Lindbergh Law" in Federal Court in Salt Lake City, for asporting a 14-year old girl from Utah to Mexico for immoral purposes, to become the polygamous wife of one of the defendants. Justice Murphy delivered the 8-0 opinion, stating that the Act was designed to prevent kidnapping across state lines and not to prevent transportation for immoral purposes, among offenses covered by the Mann Act, used to prosecute six members of the cult. The element of the kidnapping offense, requiring that the abductee be held for "ransom or reward or otherwise", was not satisfied by the contention of the Government that the kidnapping was intended for the benefit of the defendant who planned to cohabit with the victim prior to marriage.

We note, by the way, two stories which have come to us from Utah today, one involving the banning of a high school presentation of the Broadway play "All Shook Up", based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, utilizing in some manner the song made famous by Elvis Presley, but, somewhere along the line, offending school board standards in the district for some "suggestive" lyrics, whether in the song "All Shook Up" or otherwise, not being made clear. The school board responded to the complaint of one parent. We have not been privileged to see or hear this play but can imagine, based on having heard the songs and having seen Twelfth Night performed, as well having read it.

And so we have to wonder whether the parent's complaint was in the nature of the Dickens Harassment, also known as the Bah-Humbug Syndrome, a catching virus, said to be caused by consuming excessive Red Herrings, spreading across the land in recent years, especially rampant since September 11, 2001, a virus which has as an incident a high and persistent fever which causes the patient to suffer the delusion that he or she is the victim of terrorist threats and harassment by Dickens, or whomever happens to fit the bill of the moment, then having to impart the fever's symptoms to authorities, who, increasingly, seem to be suffering themselves from the Dickens Harassment, and so react as if the complaints had some form of reality behind them rather than being simply the delusions accompanying the Syndrome, obvious to any rational individual not laboring under the Dickens Harassment.

We recommend to the students that they write up a new play of their own, based on this Syndrome, and title it simply, "The Dickens Harass".

Also out of the Beehive State comes another story, apparently likewise centered on an old Elvis song. A Highway Patrol officer, it appears, was pulling over motorists on suspicion of driving while impaired and arresting them for the charge despite their passing field sobriety tests. The practice became so bad and blatant that the prosecutor's office began refusing to prosecute cases handled by the officer. This situation may be another incident involving the Dickens Harassment.

We think, incidentally, that the gentleman, one of the arrestees of the officer, who was quoted in the story as saying to the officer when pulled over that she was "making the biggest mistake of [her] life" was lucky that he was not charged also with threatening a police officer and consigned to jail on that charge as well. In many jurisdictions these days, it would have taken far less exercise of free speech, deliberately misinterpreted, to land someone in the pokey.

While on the subjects of the pokey and free speech, we note another recent story, though out of Michigan, not Utah, involving a woman arrested for contempt for cussing to herself in frustration as she left the clerk's office after getting the run-around on a traffic ticket she was attempting to pay, then was left in jail under a no-bail warrant for eleven days during Christmas, until the ACLU convinced another judge of the jurisdiction that the first judge had exceeded his discretion in refusing bail to the woman on the ground of her lacking proof of a permanent residence. We recommend to this foul-mouthed woman that next time, she should refrain from exercising her right of free speech in the courthouse in such a filthy, despicable, and contemnacious manner, exhibited in the face of Royalty, and instead refer the court personnel to the Note accompanying The News of December 15, 1945, and succinctly wish them "Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men".

It may not stop or prevent further spread of the Dickens Harassment, but at least they cannot then throw you in the pokey, except with a long, complicated explanation which may well wind up sending them to the pokey, or the booby-hatch, where, in all probability, they more properly belong.

Just say you read it in The News. Thank you.

The President returned from a four-day cruise on the Potomac aboard the yacht Williamsburg and was putting final touches on his radio address to be broadcast the following night. He had not yet made up his mind whether the State of the Union message would be delivered to the Congress in person, in which event it was to be televised for the first time.

Near Blaney, S.C., a Seaboard Air Lines East Coast Meteor passenger train derailed, killing two and injuring another fifteen. The two dead were a mother and her infant daughter, on the way with her husband to Florida to establish a new home. A "terrible cracking noise", according to one passenger, preceded the train's derailment.

In Birmingham, England, a two-headed baby girl was born to the wife of an American soldier. The child was quite feeble but both heads were perfectly formed, each attached to a separate neck, with two sets of lungs. According to doctors, her chance of survival, however, was minimal.

Kid, all we can say is that we know the feeling.

On the editorial page, "Salute for Mr. Barrentine" compliments the outgoing president of the Charlotte Real Estate Board for foresightedness in convincing Charlotte realtors that they had a stake in ridding the city of substandard housing.

"From Betty to Savvy" notes the correspondence between Admiral Harold Stark and his subordinate officer, Captain Cook, in June 1941, made a part of the record of the Congressional committee, pushing for U.S. entry to the war at that point and expressing the hope that the Russians and Germans would exhaust one another, for Europe, he had opined, would be no better off under Communist control than under Nazi control.

The piece ventures that many of the Navy brass still held Admiral Stark's opinion of the Russians, but the record demonstrated the futility of the Republicans in trying to pin the blame for Pearl Harbor and the war on FDR. For Admiral Stark had expressed in the correspondence adduced in the hearings his considerable irritation with the President in trying to avoid the conflict, while the admiral was eager to find an incident which would "create war psychology".

It wonders what sort of reaction might be occasioned among Americans if it were disclosed that a Russian admiral had been sending communications to his officers expressing his desire that America and Japan would fight it out in the Pacific to the point of mutual exhaustion, and that a region governed by either one would be equally bad.

It was unfortunate that no one on the committee had asked the admiral how he felt about the Russians at present, for his opinion would aid in enabling understanding as to why the Russians continued to remain distrustful of American motives and suspicious of claims that Americans were a peace-loving people.

"The Defender's Kudos" comments on the annual honor roll of persons named by The Chicago Defender as having contributed positively during the year to race relations. The honored included Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, the president of the University of Chicago, Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago, Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, and Walter Winchell.

But it was noteworthy, finds the piece, that among the 21 names was not a single white Southerner. It attributes the oversight to the idea that The Defender rejected Southern compromise on race and looked with disdain on any form of discrimination, both social, as well as economic.

But there had been many people of the South who had worked to eliminate poll taxes, to abolish lynching, to establish job equality, even if they stopped short of promoting racial integration and social equality. These efforts, it posits, were more important than those of Danny Kaye in having a radio program which featured "a Negro and ignores racial stereotypes", as his accolade had read.

Most of those honored contributed to the theory of race relations while those who contributed on a practical level were ignored. President Hutchins of the University of Chicago could champion race relations with no loss of prestige. It was not so with Frank Porter Graham, president of the University of North Carolina.

"...[F]or he is grappling with the reality of the Negro problem while those given kudos by The Defender are tilting in a remote, intellectual field, and they are not likely to be struck down by anything more deadly than an unkind word."

As mentioned previously, new Associate Editor Harry Ashmore, coming aboard The News October 6, 1945, would receive a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for his editorialization in the Little Rock Gazette regarding the Little Rock school integration crisis of September, 1957, promoting community acceptance of integration.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Challenge for Reservists", seeks to summarize the gripes of enlisted men coming out of the war. They bore a grudge generally against officers and the caste system promoted by the branches of the military. It suggests that the nation could not build an Army and Navy of credit as long as enlisted men held such an attitude.

It suggests that the reserve officers, some of whom had borne their authority with greater arrogance than the worst of the West Point and Annapolis graduates, should bear a particular obligation to work to eliminate "those little inequalities that rankle, those small injustices that antagonize young men who have been brought up on democratic principles."

Drew Pearson comments on the bright economic forecasts for 1946, with high profits, high wages, full employment, and high production all being predicted, with few strikes in the bargain. If it lived up to advance notices, President Truman would enjoy the easiest time of any President since Calvin Coolidge in the mid-Twenties.

He next reports of State Department counsel Ben Cohen having become dismayed at the Moscow conference at the sight of the British with a neatly indexed and bound volume of transcripts of the Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam Big Three conferences, such that their representatives could readily reference all prior commitments. He quickly wired the State Department to send along the transcripts in similar form to supplement the scattered and incomplete notes which the U.S. delegation had brought along. The State Department replied that they had not seen all of the transcripts themselves and so could not comply.

Finally, he tells of White House adviser George Allen having an argument with his wife on whether, with his bad cold, he should accompany the President on the four-day cruise of the Potomac. When he informed his wife that there was a doctor aboard, she warned him that before the cruise was over, he might not only avail himself of the doctor's services but also those of a priest.

Marquis Childs looks back at 1945 briefly and finds the country during the post-war months to have squandered an opportunity to use the momentum from the victory in the war to effect resolutions for lasting peace, notably with respect to control of nuclear energy. It was as if the people had been overcome by the fast hoof beat of developing events, one on another in rapid sequence, from the death of FDR to the end of the war in Europe, the dropping of the atomic bomb and the end of the war in the Pacific.

The coming year, he asserts, had to find a way to deal with these pressing issues of peace.

Samuel Grafton appears to be attacking the column of the previous day by Dorothy Thompson, in finding fault with the critics of the Moscow agreement. They had griped primarily anent the four-power council to administer Japan, taking the attitude that it deprived General MacArthur of his rights to oversee the whole program of occupation. They criticized the section on the Balkans for the exact opposite reason, that it ought include control by all Allied nations. The section on the peace treaties was deemed bad because it did not take into account nations which were not involved in the fight; it found wanting the section on the Far East because it included many nations within its scope which did fight.

The inconsistencies did not end there: the critics now found fault with Mr. Byrnes for bringing back an agreement, whereas they had given him praise in September for not compromising at the London conference. They praised failure accomplished by intransigence. They condemned success had by compromise.

"Nothing could be more indicative of the distorted world in which the opposition lives; a world in which any statesman who brings about harmony among the nations is a failure, and in which a man who fails to bring it about is a success; a world in which the opposition smiles and feels safe when the nations fall out, but promptly buttons up its coat and shivers and blows on its fingers when the nations agree; men startled by the sound of peace, frightened by the strange look of sunlight."

Dorothy Thompson tells anecdotally of how during her attendance of the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in April, a British woman stood and yelled that the "performance" should stop, for as the Archbishop paraded in his "costly robes", the children of Europe were starving. Ms. Thompson states that she had smiled at the display, so characteristic of the nonconformity of the British.

But now it was no longer a smiling matter, as the children of Europe were starving. She blames not only the six years of war but also the "lunatic Potsdam policies" for the debacle.

There she goes again: "frightened by the strange sunlight".

The British, she continues, had appealed to the people to cut down consumption so that food could be released to German children. The Economic Advisory Commission had been frustrated in attempting to implement the Potsdam terms because Germany had lost a quarter of its arable land through the unilateral actions of Poles and Russians driving Germans and German-speaking Czechs back into truncated Germany, causing the American zone alone to increase by 24 percent in population, while 85 percent of the food crop east of the Oder and Neisse had gone unharvested.

Some had put the blame on French opposition to a unified German economic policy. Military officers reported to journalists appalling conditions of starvation and wandering mendicants in Germany, predicting that in six months large sections of the country would be without shelter. Many of the truckloads of Germans being transferred from Polish and Czech territories arrived as corpses, many of them children.

She remarks that such disastrous results did not accord with the principles on which the war was fought, to secure the Four Freedoms.

A veteran writes a letter in response to the December 27 letter from the "Working Young Lady", saying that as a veteran of four years, with 2.5 years overseas, he did not like reading the editors' note following the woman's letter, stating that he had fought for the right to strike. He believed that the other veterans felt likewise.

The editors again insist, however, that the fighting overseas in which the letter writer had participated, like it or not, guaranteed the right of the G.M. workers to strike and the company's option to reject their demands.

"Funny thing about freedom—it is the God-given right of those who don't share our prejudice as well as those who do."

Another letter writer calls attention to the sub-heading, "Jew-Arab War", appearing over a story on the front page of December 28, obviously a different edition, regarding Jewish violence in Palestine. The letter takes issue with this characterization, as it was the British police headquarters which had been attacked by Jewish dissidents, not Arabs. The writer suggests that selfish British policies had played as much role in stimulating the violence in Palestine as had Arabs.

The editors agree and duly apologize for "an unwitting error".

Well, while bad enough, it was not nearly so bad, at least to our 2013 eyes, as the headline which accompanied the President's Christmas visit to Independence the other day and the one this date about the fatal train wreck in South Carolina. But, we suppose, we cannot blame the editors for lacking foresight in how our language has become twisted by various forms of intrigue and inducement by inveiglements, their own of that day having undergone a fair working-over already in now-defunct forms of vernacular and argot, as is any wanton age wont to have.

In any event, so it was on the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Second Day of 1946.

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