Thursday, January 3, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 3, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British had hung "Lord Haw-Haw", William Joyce, for treason for his radio broadcast spewing propaganda for Germany during the war. The hanging occurred at Wandsworth Prison in London. Mr. Joyce had been paid $60 per week by Herr Doktor Goebbels to deliver his daily English-language broadcasts. Mr. Joyce had been a dedicated follower of Sir Oswald Mosley while a student at London University and a member of the Moseley-led British Union of Fascists until 1933 when the two reportedly quarreled and Mr. Joyce departed.

We have to question whether, no matter how despicable the speech, the mere broadcast of propaganda by Mr. Joyce and John Amery, also executed by the British on December 19 for similar broadcasts, could properly, in any just and objective system of law, divorced from subjective passions fueled by endurance of six years of harsh warfare, have constituted treason meriting the death penalty. We think not.

Indeed, we think it not even an imprisonable offense, and that British justice, much as some of the American justice system during the war became overwrought with emotion in charging sedition for mere expressions of free political speech, went much too far in obtaining retribution.

Based on the same standards, had Neville Chamberlain not died in late 1940, would he have, under the same standards, not been equally guilty, in some respects, of treason for delivering the propagandistic statement in September, 1938, "Peace for our time"? within a year proving itself fatally defective and false. If not he, certainly the Cliveden Set, his friends and political supporters, for actively encouraging the Nazis prior to the outbreak of war, as being the proper bulwarks in Europe to fend off the dratted Soviets and their Communism?

In the end, Mr. Joyce and Mr. Amery were simply symbolic scapegoats to satiate the public urge for vengeance at home, all the better given that Mr. Joyce was a U.S. citizen by birth even if Mr. Amery was of noble parentage, with his father a former Cabinet minister; and, in the meantime, hide a whole system corrupt to its core in Europe, inclusive of Britain, built on Empire dreams and war machines to support them.

Indeed, by the same standards, most of the "conservative" talk radio hosts at work in America today ought be hung for treason. Even though the urge to do so is often appealing, we cannot as they have the right under the First Amendment to make asses of themselves.

Admiral Harold Stark continued his testimony before the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor, stating that, as far as he knew, there had been no advance warning in Washington of the attack on Pearl Harbor, that such reports lacked foundation. He knew of no one in the Government who had lied or trapped the Japanese into attacking the U.S. to cause Congress to declare war.

General MacArthur stated in a report to the War Department that, thus far, he regarded his policy of using, not supporting, the Japanese Government and the Emperor to implement American occupation policy as being highly successful.

At General Homma's trial for war crimes in Manila, one of his staff officers, Maj. General Toshimitsu Takatsu, testified that General Homma must have seen the orders for brutal treatment of the Americans and Filipinos during the Bataan Death March in April, 1942, but chose to ignore them, as he showed "a very thin interest" in the treatment of prisoners. General Homma had even traveled twenty miles along the route of the death march while it proceeded. General Takatsu testified also that the death rate at the O'Donnell prison camp ran to 300 per day, mostly from lack of food and water. He had reported the conditions to Homma's headquarters but nothing came of it.

In Chungking, the Chinese Communists had accepted the Government's proposal to have General Marshall act as arbiter in the dispute between the Communists and the Chiang Government. The Communists also generally accepted the concept of a mutal ceasefire but were setting forth certain conditions before finally agreeing to it.

The strike in New York City of 17,400 Western Electric Co. workers began, with the prospect that a nationwide sympathy strike of 260,000 union members would follow, impacting in all 450,000 Bell system employees.

Threats of a steel strike to begin January 14 and the meatpackers union strike set for January 16, still loomed.

President Truman would deliver a half-hour radio address

In New York, 30,837 troops arrived home in cold winds, aboard eleven transport ships led by the Queen Mary, carrying 8,800 troops. It was the second largest shipment of troops home at one time since the end of the European war, the largest having been 31,455 troops on July 20. The carrier Wasp, with another 5,630 Army officers and men aboard, had been delayed by storms at sea and was supposed to have docked with the other ships.

In Detroit, a five-year old boy rode his tricycle around City Hall as he wore a sandwich board which read, "I'm no G.I., but, gee, I need a home." His mother accompanied him. Her estranged husband was with the Army in Germany. Their rented home was being sold to an Army veteran and they had to leave by January 31 with no place to go. The woman expressed understanding that the veterans needed housing but explained that she and her boy also needed a roof over their heads.

In Manville, N.J., a five-year old boy playing soldier with his father's hunting rifle accidentally shot his mother to death the previous night. The mother had chastised the boy at the dinner table for wielding the gun, and when his father sought to take it from him, the gun went off, sending a bullet through his mother's jugular vein.

But, hey, hunting rifles are safe and need no control, until your boy decides to play Duke Wayne and shoot mommy in the neck.

From your cold, dead hands...

Hal Boyle reports from Corregidor that it had become a shrine to the military, having served as the final bastion from which the battle for the Philippines had been fought in 1942 before General Wainwright had been forced to surrender May 6.

The first thing one saw was a sign with a skull and crossbones, which read: "Attention to souvenir hunters. For a quick death, pick up ammunition on this island."

Thousands of veterans had visited the little two square-mile spit during the preceding months since the end of the war. Two Red Cross workers served lemonade and cakes to the soldiers.

Five thousand Japanese had died taking Corregidor. Many of the bones of the Japanese killed during the reconquest of the island by the Americans during the previous spring, were still visible along trails leading to Malinta Tunnel.

There were still more Japanese than Americans on the island, but the Japanese were now prisoners who spent their days clearing debris which Japanese shells had created. Originally, there had been 3,000 such prisoners, but now the number had dwindled to 250. The Americans guarding them numbered only 165. But a private told Mr. Boyle that the prisoners would not seek escape if they could. They behaved so well that they would soon be returned to Japan.

Before soldiers started streaming home, the island had been receiving 500 visitors per day. It was now down to 150 to 250 when the weather was good, as the island's so-called "Topside" afforded a nice, quiet area for picnics.

On the editorial page, "Sound, If Temporary" reports that during the first six weeks of the G.M. strike, the 175,000 UAW production workers had paid about 50 million dollars to back their demand for a 30 percent wage increase, soon to cancel out the benefits sought for the first year should the strike continue.

G.M. was taking out full-page ads to explain its reasoning in rejecting both a wage increase and the President's desire to examine G.M.'s books to determine its ability to pay the increase from profits. G.M. was campaigning against this move based on its interference with the right of free enterprise.

While a sound argument, the truth was that during the war, the economy had not been free but harnessed entirely to the war effort, at great profit to industry and worker alike.

As long as price controls remained intact to avoid post-war inflation, the President's approach of employing fact-finding committees to study the problems of wage increases appeared logical. Collective bargaining at the moment was an empty exercise, with industry pinned beneath a price ceiling. So, it was appropriate for the Government to have access to company records to help it adjust price controls and wages accordingly.

Both fact-finding and price controls should be abandoned at the earliest possible juncture, when supply and demand became roughly equivalent, enabling competition to arrest inflation. Getting rid of the controls ultimately meant accepting them of the moment to hasten the process of return to normal economic conditions conducive to their elimination.

"Five Bonny Candidates" finds the group of five candidates to run together for City Council to be a fitting lot to govern the heavily Scotch-Irish enclave of Charlotte, as there were among them three Mcs and a Sandy.

"They are a bonny group, indeed, and we trust that the voters, if they decide to replace them, will select five of the same dour strain, gentlemen who could turn up at the Court House wearing kilts without exciting too much comment."

"Let's Talk About Money" discusses the impressive numbers surrounding demobilization despite complaints of sloth from men in service. Fully four million had been demobilized since V-E Day, with the Army now reduced to 4.3 million men. Another 1.63 million were slated to come home by June. The Navy had released more than a million men, about a third of its strength.

Demobilization had turned out more formidable a task than original mobilization had been. Some of the problems had derived from confusion over the size of the peacetime complement the services desired to maintain: the Navy wanted 500,000 enlisted men and 58,000 officers; the Army wanted 1.75 million men in uniform, a huge complement by peacetime standards.

The figures would be revised as new chief of staff, General Eisenhower, received recommendations from his commanders, an ongoing task.

But the real issue was yet to come, that being the cost of maintaining this new peacetime force, yet to be disclosed. Once the figures were brought forth, the piece predicts, there would suddenly be calls for getting along with other nations rather than building an elaborate defense system to protect against them.

"And if enough people, for whatever reason, decide that we've got to get along with the rest of the world, we think we will find it surprisingly easy to do so."

Unfortunately, the piece missed the call on this one, the ultimate outcome proving that, just as with the good little Nazis during the thirties, any people, if sold enough propaganda that their national security was at risk from furriners, could succumb and provide as much of their pocketbooks as the Government wanted, to insure that such defense against the bogey du jour was in place, albeit quite understandable in the wake of such a horrible and costly war, which, while the United States had suffered least among the major nations, had caught the country in surprise attack, hurtling it into the war—an inevitability to avoid being vanquished by the two Axis empires slowly enveloping Europe and the Pacific in 1941, even had Pearl Harbor never occurred. Indeed, as those Republicans who sought to blame FDR for getting the country into the war, either deliberately or negligently, conveniently ignored, were it not for Pearl Harbor, the takeover of the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Hong Kong, Wake Island, and, by February, Singapore, would have, if America were not pushed to mobilize into the war, led quickly to an utter debacle which could have meant loss of that war in the Pacific, almost lost in 1942 as it was, and finally loss in Europe by the British, even with Lend-Lease, forcing a pact ultimately between the Russians and Germans to end the war on the Eastern Front. Would that have been a more desirable result for these Republicans?

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "The Prominent Chanticleer", comments on the recent prominence of the gallina, also known more commonly as the cock or rooster. One had paraded about and posed for photographers after its head had been severed; another was reported out of Nashville by U.P. to have swum the Cumberland River in six minutes to avoid capture by two hounds on its trail.

The piece could not readily recall such prominence enjoyed by roosters in recent times. A generation earlier, the playwright Rostand had a romantic lover of the hen-pheasant in one of his plays, establishing box office records. There had been the "cock that crowed at morn, that waked the parson all shaven and shorn." And there was the one whose triple crowing caused Simon Peter to weep bitterly, giving rise, undoubtedly, to the legend that the "bird of dawning" around Christmas was likely to crow at midnight, or, as Shakespeare had it, "all night long".

It concludes that he is a "doughty fowl and not unworthy of the honor paid him by the French, who have made him their national symbol."

It neglects to include in its roster of rooster memorabilia and prominence, the cocks of South Carolina and of the Democratic Party of Alabama, as the latter was subsequently underscored by future Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1952, Senator John Sparkman of Alabama.


Drew Pearson discusses two house-keeping problems of the President, John W. Snyder, head of the Office of Reconversion and demobilization, and Secretary of State Byrnes, seeking to reorganize the State Department but , in the process, causing some friction with the President. With the latter, the problem was one of personalities. But with Mr. Snyder, the issue was his recurring mistakes in reconversion, and so the more urgent.

Mr. Byrnes, as "assistant President" during the last two years of President Roosevelt's life, had become accustomed to acting often without obtaining in advance the President's advice in placing matters before the Congress, creating problems of authority with President Truman. He had released his important policy declaration on Germany, just before going to Moscow, without consulting the President and had caused irritation. He had said just before returning from the London conference in September that he would give a radio address, also, without first consulting the White House, to the consternation of the President. He had done so again upon his return from the Moscow conference.

Moreover, many presidential advisers did not like the style of Mr. Byrnes. Thus, predicts Mr. Pearson, there was bound to be a clash between the President and his Secretary of State during 1946.

And, within a year, Mr. Byrnes would be out at State, replaced by General Marshall.

With Mr. Snyder, the President had different issues. He was a friend from Missouri, even if he grew up in Arkansas, who had trained with him in the National Guard before American involvement in World War I. The President had asked press secretary Charles Ross, DNC chair Robert Hannegan, and adviser Sam O'Neal not to speak to him anymore on the subject of getting rid of Mr. Snyder, so persistent had their entreaties become.

But Mr. Snyder had so eviscerated the power of the War Labor Board that when the President sought the members to remain, they had refused. He had also abolished the Office of Economic Stabilization and fired its director Will Davis. When it became necessary to reconstitute the Office, he brought in as director Judge John Collett of Kansas City, who had only thus far managed to earn the nickname "Snuffy Smith" after the Barney Google character. The President had received the blame for this blunder though he had opposed Judge Collett since he had bolted the Roosevelt-Truman ticket in 1944.

Added to the list was that Mr. Snyder had eliminated controls on building materials only to have to re-implement them after prices soared, preventing veterans from obtaining housing.

The last straw may have been the news that Mr. Snyder had eased Bob Nathan from the Reconversion office. The President had shown open exasperation at losing such an able man, but could not convince him to stay even in a 45-minute discussion at the White House. Mr. Nathan was replaced by former America Firster Richard M. Bissell, future troublesome Director of Plans for the C.I.A. beginning in 1958, orchestrator in that role of the infamous Bay of Pigs operation to try to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba, until he was fired by President Kennedy from the post along with Director Allen Dulles in the wake of the failed operation of April, 1961.

Mr. Pearson predicts that Mr. Snyder would be out as director of the Office of Reconversion before the end of the winter.

Mr. Snyder would become Secretary of the Treasury beginning in June, a position he would retain for the remainder of the Truman Administration. He replaced Fred Vinson who would be appointed and confirmed as Chief Justice at the resignation of Harlan Stone from the Supreme Court.

Marquis Childs comments on the mixed-bag American delegation headed to London for the first meeting of the U.N. They carried extra clothes and blankets, as well as food and drink because of warnings of cold weather and lack of food. They would stay, however, at the well-stocked Claridge Hotel, maintained specially for foreign visitors.

One matter which was troubling the delegation, which included Mrs. Roosevelt, was the determination of the permanent home for the U.N., already limited by a vote in December to a city in the Eastern United States. The delegation did not want their desires to leak and thus potentially prejudice the selection. A growing move to locate it at or near Hyde Park in New York was troubling to Republicans who wished to stop the trend, even if it meant speaking up in the presence of the former First Lady. They reasoned that the retreat to isolationism in the country would be accelerated by locating the U.N. too close to the late President's home, making it appear as a monument to him.

Yet, Hyde Park also met many qualifications for the desirable locale, being close to New York, yet away from the city, and within an hour by plane from Washington from New York. It was unlikely, however, given the Republican objections, that it would be chosen.

One of the primary considerations in choice would be economy as many of the smaller nations could not afford to maintain two diplomatic delegations, one in Washington and one at the U.N. In recognition of this reality, the choice of site would be restricted to being within a short traveling distance from Washington.

The eventual locale, of course, would be Krum Elbow, a little known fact to this day.

Hush-hush. On the Q.T. A-Okeh.

Samuel Grafton discusses the concern of many Senators that the United States might leak to the Russians a nuclear formula or two, based on the Moscow agreement, in advance of the Russian agreement to allow inspections of Russian factories to insure that nuclear energy was being devoted only to peaceful purposes.

Many American politicians were treating the bomb as a the supreme gadget for preserving world order, consistent with the pattern long existing in the country of finding a gadget which worked as the ubiquitous panacea for one sort of problem or another, whether it be economy or national defense, such as the belief in between the wars that the Neutrality Act could keep the country out of war. So it was that much effort was being expended by these politicians to maintain the bomb as the exclusive secret of the United States.

But the effort, he posits, was misplaced: what kept the country great was the technological advances which had produced the bomb in the first place, not the bomb itself. Eventually, another nation would obtain the secret and be in a position to develop the bomb, whether the United States sought to maintain the secret or not.

Britain feared America, not because of the bomb, but because of the economic position which it had acquired from the war. So shrewd politics meant using this position of pre-eminence economically in the world to win diplomatic victories, not by virtue of the bomb.

Yet, the country was not utilizing this new position on the world stage in such countries as Italy, Indonesia, and India, countries which also, like Britain, would respond to the notion. Rather, it concerned itself with places, such as the Balkans, where the influence of the United States was slight.

A piece from the Hendersonville Times-News responds to the News editorial on December 27 regarding the Chicago Sun poem of Olive Carruthers saying farewell to Carl Sandburg as he moved to Flat Rock, N.C. to take up residence at Connemara. Ms. Carruthers had implied that Mr. Sandburg would hear "darkies chanting a lazy coonjine to the thrum of hummingbirds like an old banjo". Hendersonville, near Flat Rock, responds that the banjo picking of the country did not resemble, in their ears, the hummingbird, any more than there were sufficient "darkies" to take up coonjine chanting.

But it also finds The News wanting of information as well by insinuating that the last banjo players in Flat Rock had been among Jan Garber's band which had played there in 1928. It hastens to correct the error by pointing out that banjo players even lived in Flat Rock.

They stood insulted, and could even explain to The News what a coonjine was. And further they were not sure that the population was desirous of having any songs or "undreamed dreams", as The News had expressed, come their way even via such a talented writer as Carl Sandburg, whom they nevertheless welcomed to the area. They had such reservations because they feared the song of Chicago would resemble what they heard on the radio, but also added that no imposition of restrictions would be sought on Mr. Sandburg's personal dreaming.

A perennial letter writer writes a short story, surely precognizant of the Cold War to come and the Kennedy Administration's efforts to arrest it before nuclear annihilation could preempt the effort. The story tells of the tribes of monkeys on a tropical island being at war with one another for generations over scarce food, until one tribe accidentally cracked open a cocoanut on a piece of coral. But before the food would be shared to stop the internecine conflict, the monkey tribe which had fortuitously breached the shell hiding the recondite mystery decided to use it in their war with another tribe and then, after being successful, preserve it against all comers.

"Today on the tropical island there are no live monkeys—only piles of cocoanuts, and the cracked skulls of many monkeys. Monkeys are so stupid!"

We don't know whether Pierre Boulle ever received any inspiration from this little story contained within the letter to the editor or whether it was just a popular conception of the day which grew, but there it is.

Another letter writer, also perhaps exhibiting a degree of augury, presents an open letter written to Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, advocating that America pull its forces out of China before they would become hopelessly embroiled in the Chinese civil war at the behest of economic interests in the country. He advocates a like policy with respect to all of the areas in the Pacific previously occupied by the British, French, and Dutch.

Such were the foreboding chants, monkeyshines, portents, and fabular chanticleers, juxtaposed to suspicions of dreams, which populated the news of the Tenth Day of Christmas, the Third Day of 1946.

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