Wednesday, January 30, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 30, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House Rules Committee, by a vote of 8 to 3, had sent to the floor a far-reaching strike control bill. The chairman of the committee, Adolph Sabath of Illinois, stated that he would recommend that the House reject the bill. Representative Vito Marcantonio of New York stated that the bill was "baked in the oven of the Republican National Committee ... and salted and peppered by some of the distinguished members" of the Rules Committee. He thought it a bill to protect scabs during strikes. The bill had been introduced by Representative Francis Case of South Dakota.

The President urged Congress to approve the proposed 3.75 billion dollar loan to Britain to stimulate reciprocal world trade.

Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi stood ready to begin his first session of the filibuster against the FEPC, saying he intended to talk for thirty days, but in installments as in a movie serial, even if it wound up as Pearl White. He would begin by discussing the history of the filibuster since the Founding and then would tell of the Southern Conference on Human Welfare which supported the FEPC. He claimed that all of the black people of Mississippi, from Natchez to Gulfport, from the southern suburbs of Memphis to Meridian, were opposed to the bill because it would "just stir up race trouble".

The AFL urged the State Department to recognize the Spanish Republican Government in exile, recognized by Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Panama.

Navy Captain A. H. McCollum of ONI told the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor that, on December 3 or 4, 1941, he had drafted a proposed warning to fleet commanders that hostilities with Japan were imminent, but that Admiral Richmond K. Turner had decided against sending the message because Hawaii had already been warned on November 27. Captain McCollum then threw away the draft message. He had based the warning on his analysis of matters but had not received any "winds" message from the Japanese, indicating imminent war. He had been unaware at the time of drafting the message that the November 27 warning message had been sent from Admiral Harold Stark to Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel in Hawaii.

Not noted in the report, Captain McCollum also testified anent the intercept of the supposed "bombing plan" from Japanese spies in Honolulu, containing reports on the berthing of Navy ships in the Harbor prior to the attack, that he would not have necessarily regarded the Harbor berthing plan as a "bombing plan" unless he "had known Pearl Harbor had been bombed."

The statement sums a perspective in the entire investigation neglected by those former isolationists seeking to grind a political axe and using the attack to take the focus from their own recalcitrance in not giving the President his desired greater and earlier appropriations for defense and Lend-Lease and, with 20-20 hindsight, turn it instead onto the Administration and the military for lack of perfect foresight, for failing to see the emergent significance in messages received in the days preceding the attack, which messages were little different from those being intercepted for months prior to that time, from failing to see the spots on a couple of ears of corn indicative of disease when all the corn in the field had spots, determined previously to be innocuous.

In Manila, a Japanese colonel convicted of war crimes testified at the war crimes tribunal on behalf of General Homma. Col. Senchu Ohta stated that he was ordered by General Homma to observe the Bataan Death March of April, 1942 and prevent any mistreatment of prisoners. He claimed that Homma had established a policy of treating prisoners magnanimously with the aim of achieving their cooperation. He claimed that prisoners were provided water and food during the march, whereas the marchers had claimed they were denied both and that those who collapsed were bayoneted to death. Col. Ohta claimed to have seen only one instance of misconduct by Japanese soldiers, that being the pilfering of watches from the prisoners. He had reprimanded the men and made them return the watches.

Lt. General Kisio Kita Jima claimed that Japanese artillery fired 15 rounds on May 7, 1942, after General Jonathan Wainwright had raised the white flag of surrender on Corregidor the previous day, but that they had fired only for the purpose of clearing their guns and had fired north and south of Corregidor. General Wainwright had testified that the Japanese had fired on Corregidor itself. Another defense witness had claimed that no firing took place after noon on May 6.

Hal Boyle writes further of the "Hero of Hong Kong", Chester Bennett, beheaded by the Japanese. He recounts of Mrs. Bennett's memories of May 14, 1943, the day her husband was arrested at their home for espionage and sneaking hundreds of thousands of dollars to prisoners in the internment camp that they might purchase extra rations from the Japanese guards.

She and Mr. Bennett were able to secret the documents which would have proved that he had smuggled money to the prisoners. In consequence, the Japanese discovered no evidence probative of his guilt of the charges, but nevertheless took him into custody.

She never saw her husband again. The guards would not let her see him in prison and, though she regularly brought food to him, the Japanese stole most of it as they systematically starved him as part of the torture to try to extract information. The guards also continually told Mrs. Bennett that her husband was already dead and then laughed about it.

In Detroit, a three-year old girl returned home after being hospitalized since September. Her father had returned from service in Japan and Christmas gifts awaited as well. She had never known her father as she was only six months old when he left to begin service. She had an inoperable malignant tumor and her time, said doctors, was short, though her parents had not told her of the condition.

In Baltimore, in response to a warning by a magistrate, a retired engineer living on a twelve-acre farm was forced to give up fifteen of his seventeen mongrel dogs, resultant of complaints by neighbors that they were destructive. He gave them to the SPCA.

The President would speak this evening for five minutes via radio to the nation to celebrate the birthday of the late President Roosevelt and indicate the continuing need to find a cure for polio. In 1952, before the end of his term, Jonas Salk would discover the vaccine.

The Lockheed P-80, the Shooting Star, would in March seek the world speed record for an airplane. The record was currently held by the Glosier Brittannia, a British jet plane, which had flown at a speed of 606 mph on November 7, 1945. The P-80 had averaged 585 mph on a 2,470 mile trip from Long Beach to New York the previous weekend.

An 82 mph wind swept across Britain, the strongest in a year according to the Air Ministry, causing two deaths and damage to buildings. A large oak tree fell on an Army hut.

A photograph appears of Winston Churchill painting a scene at the Surf Club in Miami Beach.

On the editorial page, "The Debate Opens" praises the intervention by Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland in the Senate filibuster on the FEPC to urge that closer scrutiny should be paid to the reasons why the U.S. was maintaining its Army and Navy intact and Russia was maintaining its Army intact, that it was to prepare for World War III against each other or against Britain or France or China. He had criticized the U.N. as being unable to cope with the world problems before it and that the President should call a world disarmament conference, with focus on survival, not national sovereignty.

That Senator Tydings had raised the issue for the first time was important and brought a matter into the open which most Americans appeared to be dodging.

"The Great Victory" suggests that there were two sets of business statistics, those doleful figures brought forward when the subject turned to giving higher wages to workers, and the rosier picture which emerged in the reports to Wall Street.

Despite G.M. and U.S. Steel claiming that they could not pay the demanded wage hikes to workers, the stock market had entered a halcyon period not experienced since 1928. The Dow Jones average had reached a high not achieved since March 27, 1931 and had its most active day in six years. G.M., Bethlehem Steel, and U.S. Steel were leading the way in the stock market boom.

The reason for the boom appeared to be the celebration of the Big Business victory over the Truman Administration regarding some lifting of price ceilings to accommodate wage hikes. Wall Street perceived it as a preservation of wartime profits.

The editorial suggests that OPA administrator Chester Bowles be burned in effigy in the well of the Stock Exchange. As fuel, they could use the pamphlets being sent out by G.M. and U.S. Steel to the newspapers warning of the Revolution should labor succeed in its wage demands.

"Another War Casualty" begins by remarking that it would have been the 64th birthday of FDR. Americans were remembering him by giving to the March of Dimes, which he had founded—the reason, we note again parenthetically, that the dime bears the likeness of President Roosevelt.

The piece finds the occasion also to be remindful of the bitter hatred against the late President, even surviving his death, with a virulence aroused by no other President save Andrew Jackson, although leaving out Abraham Lincoln as an obvious competitor. And it was so though many other Presidents had been a far greater threat than FDR to the established economic system.

It also haunted and strained Eleanor Roosevelt and the late President's aids and associates such as Harry Hopkins, the latter having just died the previous day at age 55.

The editorial goes on to lionize Mr. Hopkins as having earned a substantial place in history for his contributions during the previous 13 years, finding that he had earned also a position among the war casualties. He had remained faithful to FDR through long, tedious hours and times and had left a hospital bed to attend to vital international missions, primarily to go to Yalta a year earlier and then in May and June to Moscow in aid of President Truman.

It concludes that those who contributed to the March of Dimes despite having no affection for President Roosevelt or his program, were, by so contributing, effectively acknowledging that they had been wrong in their "endowing the late President with Lucifer's horns and hooves."

It hopes that some of the compassion, if that is what it was, would be reserved also for Harry Hopkins at his passing.

Drew Pearson discusses Labor Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach and his little mistakes. For instance, he had recently attended a White House conference and had to read a memo prepared by White House labor adviser John Steelman, whom Secretary Schwellenbach had, now to his regret, brought into the Administration. The President liked short conferences which were well prepared, but Mr. Schwellenbach had not read the memo and so could not summarize it as the President desired. Another mistake had been his attendance of every session of negotiations during the coal strike, wearing him out.

The column next tells of how Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago had been instrumental in getting the meatpackers to agree to return to work once the Government seized the plants the previous Saturday. The meatpackers had balked at returning to work because of a change in policy whereby, having been promised by Mr. Schwellenbach that they would be given retroactive wage increases to the point of seizure, as recommended by a fact-finding committee, the Justice Department and the Budget Bureau had overruled him, causing the unions to perceive the reversal as a stab in the back.

Moreover, a cold, legalistic telegram had issued from lawyers in the Agriculture Department warning of jail sentences for interference with the seizure. Despite Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson having intervened and indicated to the unions that the telegram was just a formality, the unions nevertheless had been further irritated.

At that point, Mayor Kelly called the White House and urged that an agreement be made per the promise of Secretary Schwellenbach, and the White House agreed. All of the 253,000 meatpackers in consequence agreed to return to work.

Marquis Childs thinks it good that the atomic bomb had returned to the front page with the announcement by the Navy of a planned series of tests off Bikini Atoll during the summer. The tests would answer the questions of the continued importance of Navy vessels in the future of warfare, enabling adjustment of the defense budget accordingly.

Mr. Childs advocates allowing foreign observers, perhaps all members of the proposed atomic energy commission to be appointed by the Security Council, a move which was being contemplated—and as already announced by Secretary of State Byrnes would occur, with all members of the Security Council of the U.N. to be represented, plus other nations.

There was a movement on in the United States to establish a joint military-civilian atomic control commission or one which would be entirely civilian, as opposed to the complete military control thus far since the development of the atomic bomb. That move plus the determination to create the U.N. commission on atomic energy stood as positive indicators that the atomic secret would be used for peaceful purposes and not be made a weapon of war for the future.

Bertram Benedict writes of the pending strike vote set for Friday by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Eighteen of the nineteen other railroad unions had agreed to submit to arbitration. Only the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, claiming a sixth of the railroad employees as their members, had likewise refused to participate in arbitration and were also in the process of taking a strike vote.

The railroad unions were governed separately from the rest of labor, under the Railway Labor Act and the Adamson Act, the latter fixing hours at eight per day. Most of the unions did not enforce a closed shop. Railroad rates were fixed by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

In December, 1943, the Government had temporarily seized the railroads to avert a threatened strike and the men were given a 9 to 11 cent per hour wage increase without any rate increase being allowed to the railroads. The ICC, in May, 1945, had ordered a 10 percent freight rate reduction in the South and the West to try to equalize freight rates with those of the North, but the courts had blocked thus far the implementation of those rates pending the outcome of legal challenges.

Robert C. Albright of the Washington Post writes of the sissy filibusterers of the modern era, opposing the FEPC. In the old days, it had been common for Senators to hold out in such circumlocution from morning until night without stopping, 12 or 14 hours of non-stop jabberwocky being fairly common. The record was held by Senator Robert La Follette of Indiana who talked in 1908 from 12:40 p.m. until 7:03 the next morning, 18 hours and 23 minutes, to defeat the Aldrich-Vreeland financial bill. He was aided by the convention of calling for a quorum, eighteen times finding no quorum present, thus able to take a spell and sit down.

Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, without the benefit of quorum calls, had lasted 15 hours and 30 minutes in June, 1935, holding the floor for the second longest continuous time, filibustering in his "one-man orgy" against the National Recovery Administration, implemented in 1933.

The closest competitor to them in the present Senate was Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana, a protege of Huey Long, who had spoken against the anti-lynching bill in 1938 for four and five hour stretches during each of six consecutive days, with Senate adjournments each day. Senator Ellender had not yet taken the floor in the FEPC filibuster.

The Senate was concluding business each day at 6:00 p.m. and so no one was terribly taxed by this filibuster. Most of the Senators were speaking for relatively short stretches of time, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia having spoken the longest thus far, four and a half hours.

And, on top of it, the stories they told lacked color. There was not a single freebooter, or even a fribustier, worthy of the name among them. Spectators went home empty-handed.

These Southern Senators were simply sissies.

A letter writer decries the column of January 14 by Leonard Hall in which he had berated the U.S. soldiers as cry babies for being homesick and demonstrating in Europe and Manila. The woman correspondent had been without her husband for three years while he served in the military and had served as a Navy Wave herself, stated that Mr. Hall should stick to topics he understood, such as labor strikes, and leave the G.I.'s alone.

Another letter writer, from Blowing Rock, accuses the press of being remiss in not reporting the story from Europe of the eviction of twelve million Germans from Prussia, Silesia, Swabia, Bohemia, and the Sudetenland, many starving and homeless. She suggests it as "one of the greatest atrocities in human history".

There was a reason or two causing most not to care about that too much, madame.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.