Wednesday, January 23, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Department of Agriculture would seize and operate the meat packing plants of the nation beginning Saturday in response to the nationwide strike which threatened a meat shortage within a few days.

There were still no plans, however, to seize the steel industry. There was also no plan, according to White House press secretary Charles G. Ross, to bring Henry Kaiser in to try to settle the strike, in light of Mr. Kaiser having, the previous week, accepted the 18.5 cents recommended by the Government to settle the strike with CIO.

Meanwhile, a new strike began in the coal mines, with 45 mines shut down in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, consequent of the three-day old steel strike. The coal mines provided coal for the coke furnaces of the steel mills.

The Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen authorized a strike vote among its 215,000 members. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers likewise authorized a vote for its 78,000 members. Wage negotiations continued between the railroads and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers.

General Walter Short told the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor that Major General Sherman Miles, head of Army intelligence, G-2, had indicated two days prior to the attack that he did not believe a rupture in relations with Japan was imminent, only that relations were "strained". Some committee Senators, Scott Lucas of Illinois and Homer Ferguson of Michigan, believed the message to be crucial in the committee's determination of responsibility for lack of preparedness for the attack.

As the French opening statement continued at Nuremberg, defendant Julius Streicher suffered a heart attack and had to be hospitalized.

In London, the Big Five of the United Nations Security Council failed to reach agreement on a candidate to become Secretary General of the U.N. The U.S. delegation was said to be backing Lester Pearson, the Canadian Ambassador to the United States. Russia wanted Trygve Lie of Norway, whom Russia had also favored as president of the General Assembly.

The Big Three agreed to divide the German fleet, including merchant ships, among themselves. The remaining fleet contained no battleships, all sunk during the war, and 30 U-boats, 100 of which surrendered at war's end having been scuttled in November. The ships going to the United States included the cruiser Prinz Eugen and seven destroyers.

The House Interstate Commerce Committee approved legislation to restrain Musicians Union boss Caesar Petrillo from coercing radio stations not to play foreign music by musicians not members of his union and other such attempts to get stations to play only the music of members of the union. The legislation carried jail time of a year and fines for infringement.

Spencer Davis, substituting for Hal Boyle, writes from Kalgan on the Mongolian steppes leading into Northern China. He reports that the city had become a thriving quasi-industrial center under Japanese occupation, but lacked technicians. It was presently under the rule of the Chinese Communists. As the machinery left behind by the Japanese began to fail, there was no immediate way to repair it or to obtain replacement parts.

He describes life in the city where the old crumbling city walls met new light industry established by the former occupiers.

The Chinese Communist general in charge, Nieh Jun-Chien, stated that the Communists were not of the Soviet type, but believed in autonomous democracy. He had not sought to establish collective farms because the peasants were too backward to make the system work.

In Chicago, the accidental discharge of a tear gas bomb inside a vault caused Internal Revenue workers to have to evacuate the building.

Scotch whiskey would remain scarce for another year.

Late afternoon cotton prices were 20 cents per bale lower to 60 cents higher.

On the editorial page, "The Tender Promise" finds the State of the Union message to have been mostly standard proposals already made by the President. But the new budget, offering for the first time since 1930 spending without a deficit was genuinely a surprise.

Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, however, questioned the President's figures. He believed the country would wind up ten billion dollars more in debt in the coming fiscal year.

It was more usually than not the case that budget estimates, being as they are prepared six months before the beginning of the fiscal year, were wrong, as both expenditures and revenues had to be predicted. FDR had correctly given a budget only once, in 1940.

Regardless, it was refreshing to hear a President calling for a balanced budget after so many consecutive years of deficit spending. Yet, it was premised on the continuation of high taxes, and the reality had to be borne in mind that in still paying for the war into the future, the advance payments for the next one would soon also have to be included in the budget.

"Stringfield & Briarhopper" comments on the strain placed on the small minority of concertgoers to the Charlotte Symphony who objected to having any truck with a hillbilly band as an infringement on classical taste. An arrangement had been made between composer Lamar Stringfield and the Briarhoppers to play with the Symphony, led by conductor Guy Hutchins.

The piece finds the promise of the music inviting and expansive of the tastes of the community, that the idea advanced that it was a from of pandering to popular tatstes lacked merit.

It concludes: "Hit it Hutch! Take it away, Pappy Briarhopper! Send us, Stringfield!"

"Friends of the Public" predicts that when the filibuster was ended regarding the FEPC bill, there would be a fight in Congress between the extremists on the labor issues regarding revision of the Wagner Act.

A calm, dispassionate review of the law was a good idea, to clarify the status of labor unions, not to punish either side for the current labor problems.

The labor unions now had acquired political power as strong as had the employers prior to 1933. An example was a member of the New York City Council, Michael Quill, head of the transport workers union, having threatened to call a strike unless the issue of acquisition by the city of power plants was put to a referendum. The Mayor had reluctantly agreed, to avoid the strike. The editorial found the situation intolerable. So had The New York Times.

The piece hopes that there would be moderate voices in between the two extremes, the anti-labor voices and the pro-labor voices, that too much accumulation of power on either side was not healthy for society at large.

A piece from the Anderson (S.C.) Independent, titled "Those Professional Sponsors", comments on the Society for the Prevention of World War III, heavily staffed by leftist "committeemen". It wishes the organization better success than its pre-war forebear, the National Council for Prevention of War. But it remained wary, given its left-hand column of "committeemen".

Drew Pearson comments that the appointment of Stuart Symington to be Undersecretary of War was one of his better appointments thus far out of Missouri and one which might lead to his becoming Secretary in place of Robert Patterson. Mr. Symington was known for his fairness and would seek to provide the G.I.'s a fair deal. He had proved himself in the job as Surplus Property administrator and his deal worked out with Alcoa to spread its patents around to generate competition in the aluminum industry.

Behind the scenes, the latter deal took a great deal of maneuvering to achieve as Alcoa had long held a monopoly in aluminum production in the country. It had combined with the Germans to limit magnesium production, necessary for the airplane industry. The Justice Department had brought an anti-trust suit as a result, still pending. And it was this latter issue which Mr. Symington used as leverage to work the deal with Alcoa on patents.

Reynolds Metals Co. was willing to take over some of Alcoa's war plants but needed its patents to operate them for aluminum production. A recent meeting of Alcoa representatives with Attorney General Tom Clark had resulted in rejection by the Justice Department of a deal suggested by Alcoa whereby the anti-trust suit would be dropped if Alcoa shared the patents. Also rejected by Mr. Symington was the offer that the war plants would be made available to competitors along with the patents for a hefty royalty payment. He told Alcoa that the Government could use the patents anyway, without Alcoa's permission. Eventually, Alcoa submitted and agreed to share the patents.

Mr. Pearson next relates of the effort of Senator Robert Taft of Ohio to control appointments to the faculty of his alma mater, Yale, having gone awry. He had sought, to no avail, to prevent a professor with New Deal connections from joining the faculty.

Marquis Childs discusses the President's hasty response to questions of international importance on three different occasions, each time leading to misunderstandings abroad the world. The first had been his offhand remark to journalists at Reelfoot Lake in western Tennessee that the United States would retain the atomic secret unto itself. The second had been his comment that there would be no more Big Three meetings and all international issues would henceforth be resolved in the U.N. The third, most recently, was that the U.S. intended to retain all bases in the Pacific which were needed for security.

In response to the third such remark, a group of Senators, Eastland, Byrd, Tobey, and Capehart, comprising a subcommittee of the Naval Affairs Committee, determined that U.N. approval should not be obtained to retain these bases as trusteeships, even if the approval would be forthcoming. All four had attended the San Francisco Charter Conference to assure that the Pacific island bases were not internationalized.

These same men were the most adamant in criticizing Russia for maintaining satellite governments in the Balkans and in seeking buffer zones in the Middle East, also for its defense.

While the press conference in America had been compared to the question and answer sessions of the Prime Minister in Parliament, the difference was that answers were carefully prepared in Parliament, especially when they affected world affairs.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the tendency of some to find it inapropos and tactless of Iran to bring before the first meeting of the U.N. the question of Soviet assistance to the Azerbaijan Insurgents against the Iranian Government troops who sought to disarm the movement. It violated, she says, not only the U.N. Charter, but specifically the Tehran Conference agreement of December, 1943, in which the Big Three promised the Government of Iran respect for its territorial integrity and economic assistance after the war.

Now, it appeared more important to preserve the balance of power between the Soviets and the Anglo-American bloc than to adhere to the obligations thus set forth. Iran, being important strategically to Great Britain and for insuring the independence of Turkey and the Dardanelles, and also important to Russian expansionism, stood as an embarrassment to fulfillment of these principles.

It was tantamount to the situation following Munich and the Russo-German neutrality pact which had preceded the invasion of Poland, leading in turn to the invasion of Russia by Germany in June, 1941.

If Iran were to become partitioned between Britain and Russia, then it would say a lot about the peace which had been made.

Samuel Grafton finds it typical of Soviet thinking that the Soviets had proposed that the World Federation of Trade Unions be provided a consultative seat in the General Assembly of the U.N. and an actual voice in the Economic and Social Council. Many of the Western delegates had been taken aback by the proposal as the organization was one of nations, not organizations.

The conflict was one between the legalistic approach and the materialistic approach followed by the Soviets. The West had countered that bridge clubs could then seek admittance to the U.N., to which the Russians countered that bridge clubs were not labor federations.

The same forms of legal objections, for violating sovereignty of nations, characterized the Western reaction to the proposal of Czechoslovakia that the world's armaments be placed under the control of the U.N.

But the U.N., he opines, ought have a greater role than merely umpiring disputes if it was to have a lasting place in preservation of the peace. A statement by the United States of a definite date by which all colonialism in the world ought end would be powerful.

Mr. Grafton concludes that there was too much focus by American delegates placed on victories within the General Assembly, forgetting about the world outside.

A letter writer, an "American of Italian descent", laughs and gets mad all at the same time in response to the "silly letter" of January 19 by the individual referring to "Dago Jews" and their plot with the Communists, indicating that the Germans had a good idea in wiping out the Jews, that America ought do likewise, that what America needed was a "big American-type smile, with God in our mind". The responding author gets mad about the previous letter's comments on Jews but laughs at the author's statement that he was not elected to the House in 1944.

He would fight any attempt of the previous letter writer to bring about his ideas of Americanism, as the contrary was why World War II had been fought.

The editors note that the author of this letter was a fighting man, both in the war and now in the prize fight ring in Charlotte.

Another letter writer wonders why the back page of The News was not better laid out so that each columnist represented there could be neatly clipped and saved in scrapbook form for generations hence.

The editors respond that "immutable typographical laws" prohibited a different arrangement, but that, in time, they might seek to find a way.

Though we do not present you the back page of the newspaper, you may obtain it, quite neatly for your scrapbook, wholly and in electronic form, from Wilson Library in Chapel Hill.

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