The Charlotte News

Monday, January 21, 1946

THREE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the steel strike had started at midnight, with a record-breaking 750,000 workers standing idle. There was unified striking and no sign of any non-union workers seeking to enter the steel mills. The average daily wage of steel workers was $8.69 and so it was estimated that the strike was costing the workers over 1.5 million dollars per dayŚmore like 6.5175 under inflationary trends and actuarial tendencies, with a multiplicity of factors thereto contributing.

Pickets held signs which read, "We want a fair deal, not a Fairless deal," referring to U.S. Steel president Benjamin Fairless. Undoubtedly, the slogan would lead to the name ultimately provided to the Truman domestic program, "The Fair Deal", also neatly rhyming with the program of Theodore Roosevelt, "The Square Deal", and suggesting a somewhat different approach from FDR's New Deal.

CIO head Philip Murray stated that the steel strike would continue until the steel industry met the President's recommended 18.5 cents per hour raise in wages, accepted by CIO, but declined thus far by U.S. Steel, stuck at an offer of 15 cents per hour.

There was no indication at present of any intention by the President to take over the steel industry. Six years later, during the thick of the Korean War, the President would controversially exercise what he deemed inherent executive emergency powers and take over the steel industry during a strike, only to be overruled in the attempt by the Supreme Court.

High Administration officials stated that the Government was considering seizure within a day or two of the meat industry in light of the continuing meatpackers strike which would otherwise lead to a meat shortage within days.

The President uniquely presented to Congress as part of the State of the Union message, not delivered in person, his proposed annual budget of 35.86 billion dollars, stating that for the first time since 1930, there would be no increase in the national debt within the budget. Military and occupation expenditures accounted for three-fourths of the amount. By comparison, the 1945-46 fiscal year budget was 67.2 billion, with a deficit of 28.6 billion.

The President asked Congress not to reduce taxes. He also stated that inflation was the prime worry of the country, advocating higher wages and lower prices as a remedy, and retention of food subsidies. Food prices in particular had not followed expected patterns of reduction by three to five percent since war's end.

The President stated that two million men, the projected military target for July 1, would still be needed in the Army and Navy at the beginning of 1947. He also indicated that if volunteers were insufficient, then the difference would need to be made up by an extension of the Selective Service Act. During the previous four months, the Army and Navy had taken in 480,000 volunteers.

The message generally paralleled the recommendations urged in his January 3 radio address.

Reconversion director John W. Snyder released a report stating that continuation of price controls coupled with increases in production were necessary to prevent an "economic Pearl Harbor". Unemployment was below that anticipated after the war, about three million compared to the predicted five to six million.

On the editorial page, "Complaint from Fort Mill" finds it remarkable that support for legal whiskey in Mecklenburg County should come from the Fort Mill (S.C.) Times, located just over the state border, the town supplying as it did a large quantity of the liquor consumed in Mecklenburg. The reasoning of the editorial was that Fort Mill was tired of being the bootlegger for Charlotte, harming the reputation of the town, as Fort Mill had become synonymous with the liquor trade.

Presently, there were only two liquor stores licensed in the town, but they had a thriving business, making their non-native owners wealthy.

The piece reasons that the Mecklenburg drys had effectively damaged the reputation of their southern neighbor. It was another aspect of the inevitable corruption following after the unenforceable law of prohibition.

"Measure of Failure" finds H. L. Mencken to have been guilty of overstatement in his diatribe against the World War II correspondents, labeling them "a sorry lot", divided between "typewriter statesmen" and "the human interest scribblers". Clearly, Hal Boyle, who had taken him to task on Thursday, did not belong in either category; neither did the late Ernie Pyle, whom Mr. Mencken had placed among the human interest scribblers. Nevertheless, it adds, there was some truth to the charge that adequate coverage of the war had been lacking.

Especially absent had been the illumination of errors in military strategy committed by American generals, as at the Battle of the Bulge. But it recognizes that even records from the Civil War which might tarnish the reputations of some of the officers remained top secret. So it was not surprising that the war news had not been complete when it came to criticism of American commanders.

It agrees with Mr. Mencken's statement that war correspondents generally have a duty to fight the system until it becomes dangerous, and that such a fight against arbitrary censorship was rarely waged during the war.

"'Like a Governor...'" reports that Comptroller General of the United States Lindsay Warren, a North Carolinian, was sounding as a candidate for Governor in a talk he had given in Raleigh. He stressed that the problems associated with expanding Federal Government were the result of state and local governments not shouldering their proper share of services to the people and that the Federal Government would continue to grow until a better State-Federal balance could be struck.

Many believed that Mr. Warren would not enter North Carolina politics, while others thought that, within a couple of years, he might run for Governor.

The former Congressman would instead continue to serve as Comptroller General until 1954 and later served two more terms in the House, but never ran for Governor.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Deficit of Diplomats", expresses the hope that Sam Ervin, in filling the House seat of his deceased brother Joe, would be able to pass the bill championed by his brother to establish a West Point-type academy for diplomats. Judge Ervin had already stated his support for the bill and that he would give it special emphasis if elected.

The piece states that it was necessary to improve the diplomatic corps, that it suffered in world affairs. It makes reference to General Patrick Hurley's lack of diplomatic experience before taking the post in China from which he had recently resigned. With such a school for diplomats, it suggests, the country would not have needed to resort to someone like General Hurley to fill such an important post.

Drew Pearson discusses the Pearl Harbor investigation. After three months, all the facts showed that Japan would have attacked elsewhere on December 7 if not at Pearl Harbor, and if not on that date, on another date.

In the meantime, various documents showed that American munitions makers were either accidental or deliberate partners with the Japanese in their military build-up over a period of years prior to the attack.

It was important to understand this latter point to prevent in the future similar aid to potential enemies.

The original blueprints for the Zero, while significantly modified by the Japanese, came from an American company, Chance Vought, a division of United Aircraft. Chance Vought violated no law at the time, even though Japan was already at war with China and Baron Tanaka had bragged of Japanese intent to conquer all of Asia. Henry Stimson had attempted to rally the League of Nations to stop the Japanese conquest of Manchuria. The United States had also signed the Nine-Power Pact, assuring territorial integrity to China.

Chance Vought acted with the imprimatur of the Army and Navy, which therefore acted contrary to the established foreign policy of the country. The company had actively sought the business of the Japanese and offered a price reduction on the plane which became the Zero. The column prints the text of a letter from the company to the Japanese in May, 1938.

So, Mr. Pearson suggests, the Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor ought delve into this aspect of Japan's build-up of its war machine, to provide a basis for preventing a like occurrence in the future.

Dorothy Thompson discusses further the "iron curtain" of censorship regarding American occupation forces in Europe, pointing out that censorship can occur by killing information at the source, as well as by direct censorship. The Government was not releasing information crucial to informed decision-making by the American people. American intelligence and diplomatic sources knew the conditions in the Russian zone east of the Elbe River, but were not imparting this information about the "iron curtain" to the American people. A report compiled by a presidential envoy who had visited Bulgaria and Rumania had been thus far withheld, leading to the worst inferences.

The press was being restricted informally in countries with rigid censorship by the threat of revocation of passports should reports displease the governments. Sometimes, journalists would tell other journalists that which they knew but could not write, but then the journalist with the hearsay information could not prove what he or she wrote. And the journalists imparting this information informally might have to denounce the hearsay journalist to preserve his position in the foreign country.

Ms. Thompson wonders at what price should unity of the Big Three be maintained, whether keeping the people in the dark was appropriate. She also wonders whether keeping the peace at any price would ever succeed for long. The price of secrecy was that the public would assume that matters were worse than they actually were.

A letter writer wants the Charlotte Police Department responsible for hailing taxis should a citizen be found waiting for a ride in excess of 45 minutes.

Another letter writer wants the veterans sent home and those who had enjoyed deferments for work during the war sent abroad in their stead.

Bertram Benedict points out that Congress was usually stirred to act on anti-labor legislation when strikes were abounding in the country, and calmed down when strikes were at a minimum. He cites the aircraft factory strike in California in June, 1941, prompting Senate passage of the Connally bill to allow Government takeover of strike-bound essential industries, followed a month later by House rejection of the same bill after resolution of the California strike. A similar situation ensued when the coal miners struck in October and November, 1941, causing the House to pass the Smith anti-strike bill. By the time it reached the Senate, after Pearl Harbor, the President was obtaining the no-strike pledge from labor for the duration and the Smith bill died aborning. Then, in spring, 1943, when the coal miners again struck, the Senate passed the Connally bill once again, and the House passed a revision of the tougher Smith bill, eventually resulting in the compromise Smith-Connally bill, vetoed by FDR, but passed over his veto.

Mr. Benedict points out that of the Senators who voted on the override of that veto, twenty were no longer in the Senate, twelve who voted to override and eight who supported the veto.

Marquis Childs champions increased production for industry to effect reconversion without inflation. He points to Alcoa having granted to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation free use of its patents for extracting cheap alumina from bauxite as a good start toward that end, clearing the way for competition in the aluminum industry, allowing twice as much aluminum production during peacetime as ever before. That would be good news for the auto industry which some believed would switch to aluminum in some products as substitute for steel. The deal had been worked out by Surplus Property administrator Stuart Symington.

Such a change in industry would put pressure on steel to resolve the labor disputes.

It was a victory for both business and the consumer, brought about by skillful Government intervention, making the free enterprise system truly free.

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