The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 31, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House voted more than 2 to 1 to begin debate on the Case bill to impose stringent standards on collective bargaining and set up a labor-management mediation board to settle strikes. The vote appeared to forecast passage of the bill in the House. The opponents stated that their tactic to defeat it ultimately might be to leave it so strict that either the Senate would not pass it or the President would veto it. The bill would require mutual observance by labor and management of contracts, deny collective bargaining and re-employment rights to workers using organized boycotts or violence, provide for prosecution of management using violence against striking workers, deny employee rights of unions for supervisory workers, and repeal many of the anti-injunction laws. The bill was in lieu of the President's proposed legislation to establish fact-finding boards, a bill already watered down to eliminate the President's proposed 30-day cooling off period before a strike would be called.

The longest automotive strike in the nation's history, the G.M. strike, now in its 72nd day, continued, with renewed in-person negotiations taking place between G.M. and UAW for the first time since mid-December. G.M. stuck by its 13.5 cent offer, despite the fact-finding board of the President having recommended 19.5 cents earlier in the month.

Vice Admiral P. N. L. Bellinger, Naval air commander in Hawaii in December, 1941, testified to the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor that he did not learn of the November 27 warning from Washington until days after the attack on December 7. His only information on U.S.-Japanese relations had come from the Honolulu newspapers. He did not recommend at the time long-range air reconnaissance because his information did not suggest the need for it. Moreover he did not have the minimum complement of 150 patrol planes to undertake such an operation, which would have encompassed an arc 250 miles from Oahu. He had only 81 patrol planes in the entire area, stretching to Midway, and twelve were patrolling off Midway, while seven others were engaged in other types of patrol duty.

Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery was made chief of the Imperial General Staff in Britain, highest position in the Army, succeeding Field Marshal Lord Alan Brooke, who held the post for four and a half years.

Hal Boyle tells further of Chester Bennett, "the hero of Hong Kong". Mr. Bennett was imprisoned for five months before the Japanese executed him. He left a message for his partner in the spy operation, Marcus Da Silva, in which he stated that he did not give up information to the Japanese, despite being constantly tortured and starved.

Mr. Da Silva had been held prisoner for 47 days, but the Japanese could not prove his part in the conspiracy and he would not talk. Eventually a Chinese gendarme offered him freedom for $5,000, but Mr. Da Silva, through his wife, reported the incident to the chief of Japanese Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, who then ordered the gendarme arrested and Mr. Da Silva released. He then fled with his family to Macao.

The Japanese could never prove spy activity by Mr. Bennett but Chinese workers had informed of the money he had smuggled into the internment camp to the prisoners to enable purchase of extra rations from Japanese guards.

At the four-hour trial of Mr. Bennett and other defendants, the judge fell asleep and left the courtroom during testimony, then calmly announced the pre-determined verdict and sentence: guilty and death to all defendants.

A United Air Lines plane with 21 aboard was lost on Elk Mountain near Laramie, Wyo. Bad weather made approach to the crash site, buried in snow, impossible for the present. It was the first United crash in nearly four years.

For the first time since prior to the war, there would be dancing at the White House on the evening of February 7, the occasion being a party held by Margaret Truman for her friend, the daughter of Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, and her fiance.

In Lansing, Mich., Boy Scouts collected seventeen suits and coats from the front porch of a house for a clothing drive. The dry cleaner had left the suits earlier in the day. Police were now searching for the suits.

On the editorial page, "A Farmers' Strike?" reports of an implicit strike resolution drawn in Bamberg, S.C., by the County Farm Bureau by having demanded that Congress end the closed shop and union picketing. They further stated their intent in thirty days to recommend to the farmers of the state that they withhold their product from market unless the labor troubles of the country were resolved.

While farmers had the right to be outraged at the labor troubles of the country, their threat was empty. Industrial workers were organized; farmers were not. Withholding produce in Bamberg would do little unless the farmers in the next county also withheld their produce. Yet, the farmer's independence was also an asset because he was unpredictable politically and thus Congress had to anticipate his needs and meet them, as, for example, providing him food subsidies.

"The Candid Candidate" discusses State Representative John D. Long of Greenville, S.C., whom the Greenville News had suggested to be playing politics with his legislative agenda. Mr. Long, a candidate for Governor, had admitted the charge. And there was no shame in it as catering to the will of the electorate was how politicians were elected. The candor was refreshing.

A skillful politician could also lead the electorate to his position when he believed they were going astray, thus becoming a statesman. Regardless, all candidates for elective office were, by definition of seeking votes, politicians.

In any event, the piece says that it was weary of hearing the country complain of being led by politicians as if the word were necessarily pejorative.

"John L. Comes Home" comments on the return to the AFL by John L. Lewis and his UMW. Since he had left it, he had made CIO a more powerful organization than AFL. He had abandoned CIO when it refused his absolute rule. But he would likely be happier in AFL as he was never comfortable among the more politically leftist CIO, being a free enterprise man without any collectivist sentiments.

For awhile he would be more a problem to AFL leader William Green than to the nation. The editorial expects Mr. Lewis eventually to assume the leadership of the organization and displace Mr. Green.

The Atlanta Constitution had found a Chinese proverb which fit the plight of Mr. Green. It went something like this.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "The Carpenter Verdict", comments on the coroner's report regarding the death of Mecklenburg-Gaston solicitor John Carpenter as being from a "cause undetermined". There was no autopsy performed and no indication of the circumstances of his death. Nor was there any medical testimony or coroner's jury report. The investigation into his death was considered closed.

The editorial wants to know the reason for the official secrecy and why the coroner had not performed fully his obligations to the public.

Drew Pearson comments on the great sympathy for steel workers on strike across the steel states, in large part because of Philip Murray having taken his time in calling the strike and having made clear to the public the steel workers' position before it was called on January 21. Essentially, Mr. Murray had taken a four-month cooling off period, not just the thirty days recommended by the President's proposal to Congress.

He notes that the Government had reported that the steel industry would pay out 160 million dollars in additional wages if they raised the hourly wage to that recommended by the President and accepted by CIO, 18.5 cents. Under the $4 per ton increase in prices promised by the Government, the steel industry would have additional profits of 252 million dollars, more than enough to cover the wage hike. Moreover, if steel only broke even for the year, it would be entitled to a carry-back of excess profits taxes of 149 million dollars.

Mr. Pearson next compliments Brig. General Charles Milliken of Camp Crowder for his efficiency in insuring prompt discharge of the men under his command and his maintenance of an open channel of communication with the men.

He next reports of Admiral Royal Ingersoll having sent his personal plane to Washington to bring the chief chaplain of the Navy to San Francisco to perform the wedding of the Admiral's daughter on Treasure Island, and then return him to Washington. With transportation for returning military personnel scarce and plenty of chaplains available locally for the ceremony, it was a wasteful venture. To add to the problems, sixteen Marines used to park cars during the ceremony were displeased with their assignments.

Marquis Childs comments on the hidden losses in the ongoing strikes resulting from absence of production. For instance, the meat-packing strike not only caused a meat shortage to consumers but also resulted in the farmers not sending cattle to market and so produced also a feed shortage, cutting into reserve grain and wheat supplies, in turn affecting the amount of wheat which could be sent to foreign countries in Europe, complicating the world food supply. While the U.S. had enjoyed a good year in 1945 in wheat production, many other countries had experienced drought, curtailing crops.

A letter writer comments that the Charlotte Observer had on January 28 stated in an editorial that a local merchant had been shown 40,000 men's suits being hoarded by a jobber and found in another hearsay instance that there was hoarding of 420,000 men's shirts by a major dealer in men's shirts, both awaiting higher prices. While the practice, he says, was socially immoral, it was not illegal. It would be difficult for the consumer to swallow the eventuality that he should pay higher prices to save the hoarding dealers.

Another letter writer, an attorney, urges the newspaper to print the FEPC bill being filibustered in the Senate. He did not like the filibuster but wanted to read the bill to be convinced that it was not as bad as being represented.

The editors note that the bill was too long and complex to print, but instead they offer up discussion of the bill and the political maneuvering behind it from Editorial Research Reports. As the bill and the filibuster have been covered here extensively, we leave it for you to read.

Samuel Grafton suggests that the secret part of the mind in which the snark could suddenly become the boojum was stimulated by the news that the armed forces were going to detonate atomic bombs against ships off Bikini Atoll. The press was carrying stories which suggested that as much as 100 million degrees of heat would be generated and a wind of a thousand miles per hour, with waves a hundred feet high, plus radiation. But, also assured the reports, there would be no chain reaction set up which would cause the atmosphere to explode. Nevertheless, the experiment was frightening.

A man named Virgil Jordan had written a tract call "Manifesto for the Atomic Age", in which he had posited that the atomic bomb would render the entire population serfs to the State, well fed but robotic and without will or individual thought.

He had neglected to realize, says Mr. Grafton, that the industrial age which he cherished had produced the atomic bomb as its most potent accomplishment.

"One wonders by what sign we shall know the new atomic man when he appears; and the thought that comes up is that we will know him by his very joy. Atomic energy will not make him cry; it will not occur to him that it is a problem; he will say, look, and look, again, and see what we can do with it, and millions of people, shifting toward him, will leave lonesomely behind them the sages of the last age, clinging determinedly to their sorrows. We shall know him because the little books will shrivel in the heat of his words, less though it be than a hundred million degrees."

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