Monday, January 7, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, January 7, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the six-year old daughter of a Federal employee of the Office of Price Administration in Chicago had been kidnaped from the family home and a ransom note left demanding $20,000 for the child's safe return. The OPA employee stated that he was not wealthy, that he and his family rented from an attorney and his daughter and so, apparently, the large home had provided the deceptive impression that he had money. He earned $7,500 per year, but issued a public statement begging the kidnapper to return the child safely, that he would pay the ransom upon instructions.

Another six-year old appears in a series of photographs, reminiscent of a series of photographs which had appeared in Life in recent months, wanting to remain with her mother after her father had won a custody battle. Such are the strains of divorce on small children.

The series appearing in Life, if we recall accurately, depicted the opposite situation in which the child, in the custody of the mother, had run to the father who then sought to make off with the child in the Manhattan courthouse, only to be restrained by the district attorney and bailiffs. But we cannot find that series right now.

Parenthetically, speaking of Life, a feature on former Prime Minister Winston Churchill's paintings appeared in the issue of this date. Mr. Churchill was set to visit the United States within a few days, based on his doctor's orders to take life easier. While in the United States, in early March, he would give his well-known "iron-curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Frank Fitzsimmons, the leader of the union to which 17,000 striking New York City Western Electric workers belonged, appealed to the President and Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach to intervene in the five-day old strike and appoint a fact-finding board. A sympathy strike of 200,000 telephone workers nationwide still loomed and, according to Mr. Fitzsimmons, could start as early as the following day. (Mr. Fitzsimmons, incidentally, appears to be a different labor leader from the Teamster executive of the same name, located at the time in Detroit, who took over as acting president of the Teamsters in 1967 when Jimmy Hoffa began his prison sentence for a jury tampering conviction in 1964.)

Meanwhile, newly installed Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York had entered the negotiations to try to avert a planned strike of Western Union workers in the city.

Fourteen oil companies indicated their desire to have direct negotiations with the union rather than continue to participate in fact-finding committee hearings which had been in recess for sixteen days during the holidays. Only two companies returned to the fact-finding hearing as it reconvened. The committee was headed by University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham, former member of the War Labor Board.

Correspondent Max Hall relates of the impending steel strike of 800,000 workers, set to begin on January 14. If finally called, it would be the largest single strike in the country's history. The workers were demanding a $2 per day wage increase across the board, and the steel industry stated that they could not grant it without the ability to raise prices, thus far denied by OPA. The workers did not oppose higher prices, as with the UAW strike at G.M., but left it as an issue to be resolved between the steel companies and the Government.

In Nuremberg, Waffen SS leader Lt. General Erich von Dem Bach-Zelewski told the war crimes tribunal that when the Germans began their attack on Russia June 22, 1941, they had as a goal to wipe out 30 million Slavs. The commanders on the Eastern front deliberately inflicted brutality on Russian partisans and, according to the general, the High Command could not have avoided knowledge of the violence. The general had commanded the SS troops who suppressed the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of spring 1943. He oversaw the systematic destruction of Warsaw during a 61-day period and was awarded the Knight's Cross by Hitler for doing so.

Prosecutors asserted that Bach-Zelewski had likely witnessed more atrocities than any other German witness who had thus far appeared at the trial.

Also covered this date were summaries of duties of the German High Command and the Nazi suppression of the church.

In Manila, 12,000 American soldiers crowded into the ruins of the Philippine Hall of Congress to protest the slow demobilization and discharge process. Enlisted men who spoke received cheers from the crowd. They jeered a written statement from General W. D. Styer, explaining that the slow-down was the result of a "changing international situation".

In Chungking, General Marshall met for the first time as mediator with General Chou En-Lai, representing the Communists, and General Chang Chun, representing the Chiang Government, and all parties reported that progress had been made during the three-hour conference toward resolving the civil war.

Before departing for London to attend the U.N. conference, Secretary of State Byrnes appointed a five-person commission to study controls and safeguards to insure that the United States retained for the present sole possession of the nuclear secret. The committee would be chaired by Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson and included former Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, plus General Leslie Groves, Dr. Vannevar Bush, and Dr. James B. Connant, the latter three having served in primary roles on the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb.

It was announced from London that the RAF would use a rocky North Sea island, Heligoland, for target practice, with its 500-pound bombs being used at the inception, ten-ton devices to be used subsequently.

In East Texas, 29 died from tornadoes which swept across the area causing 2.6 million dollars worth of property damage. Three more were killed in Arkansas, along with a mother and her nine-year old daughter near Greenwood, Mississippi and a three-year old in Indianola, also from tornadoes.

Hal Boyle, still in Manila, describes the city as the biggest boom town in the Orient, part Tombstone, Arizona, part Missouri country fair. The city was full of traffic and traffic jams, mostly from Army vehicles plying along uncertain paths, with streets still under repair from war damage. It was constantly cloudy, though there had been little rain. The city as a whole remained largely in disrepair from the shelling it had undergone earlier in the year when the Americans returned to take it back from the Japanese, in occupation since January, 1942.

The main thoroughfare, the Escolta, had once been the Madison Avenue of Manila, but now was converted to a series of honkytonks with "bar girls, tinpan pianos and one peso a shot whisky".

American goods were streaming into the city and filling the shops. Kentucky bourbon at $40 per quart was scarce in August; now, it could be had for $7.50.

Clothing was still scarce. Children ran around naked. Mr. Boyle had his shoes shined for two bits by a small boy wearing a bag. When he bent over to shine the shoes, observable on his back were the stenciled words, "Overseas Ham".

On the editorial page, "A Rational Approach" finds that the Raleigh correspondent for the newspaper, Lynn Nisbet, had presented an excellent analysis of North Carolina's liquor control laws, concluding that they added up to chaos. Some were too stringent, enacted at the behest of prohibition forces; some were too lax, enacted at the behest of the wets. Both sides were at polar extremes from one another and needed to find some common ground, even if not likely to be achieved in a conference. Rather, a special legislative committee, it recommends, should be impaneled, with equal numbers of wets and drys in its membership, and, after hearing arguments on both sides, recommend amendments to the statutes.

"The White Hope" comments on the prospect of Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York as "the white hope" from the Republican Party for the fact of his support of continued price controls, consistent with the President's position, seeking extension of controls beyond June 30. The Governor had stated his intention to have a New York rent control board should Federal rent controls be abandoned at the end of June.

But Senator Robert Taft had responded to the President's Thursday night fireside chat by alluding to Communism in the same breath as price controls and had suggested that the President was being motivated by the CIO Political Action Committee rather than by the will and voice of the people.

The piece thus posits that Governor Dewey might, as titular head of the Republican Party, visit with Senator Taft and seek a change of direction. Otherwise, it appeared that Senate Republicans and Southern Democrats would form a coalition to block much of the President's program for reconversion, just as they had in the previous four months.

"Abandoned Dream" comments on the statement of the head of the department of economics and rural sociology at Clemson, seeking to deter ambition to return to rural life, as the good land was not enough in abundance to support new agrarian ventures and modern farming had become so specialized that only the best-trained farmers were wanted on the land. He urged continued development of urban industry as a solution to employment of returning veterans and displaced war workers.

The piece finds surprise in the statement, given the source, but agrees with it, not only for South Carolina, to which the professor spoke, but also with respect to the whole region of the South.

W. J. Eulenspiegel had, of course, said as much in 1938, remarking of Jim-John and Sally Lou.

A piece from the High Point Enterprise, titled "Too Many Judges?", comments on Governor Gregg Cherry's annual report on the judiciary, indicating that North Carolina's 100 counties held 213 terms of court during the year, presided over by the State's 21 regular elected judges, six appointed judges, and two emergency judges retired from the bench. (Each "term" of court in North Carolina is usually the equivalent of a week, or until all trials or hearings begun during a given week are complete.) When three of the specially appointed judges' two-year terms expired in the summer, the Governor re-appointed only three, saying that not so many judges were necessary to conduct court business.

The article ventures that no Superior Court judge held court for more than 18 weeks during the year and most were on the bench for less time than that. While recognizing that judges had other duties than appearing in court, it recommends to the Governor and the Legislature that appropriate adjustments be made in the number of judges versus work to be done.

Drew Pearson first discusses Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, while maintaining ties and good relations with the President, venturing out on his own to make speeches and maintain his liberal political ties as well. He had recently made a speech to a black fraternity in Washington which, while getting little notice generally, was covered favorably by the Negro press. DNC chair Bob Hannegan worried about the black vote since the episode in October in which Hazel Scott, wife of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell of New York, had been refused by the D.A.R. access to Constitution Hall to sing and Mrs. Truman nevertheless refused to cancel a prior invitation received from the D.A.R. to appear at a function.

Mr. Wallace would next appear in St. Paul on January 11 before a ten-state farm meeting, his first speech on agriculture in two years, the Secretary having been head of the Agriculture Department prior to becoming Vice-President in 1941. He would thereafter make three or four speeches a month, and, while planning to resign from the Cabinet in June, was set to go on the campaign trail for liberal Congressmen with the blessings of the White House, an area in which the President was weak.

He stood opposed to the Administration-backed program of having a 30-day cooling off period for labor before a strike would be called and would probably resign from the Cabinet before June if he were called to testify before Congress on the President's proposed labor bill.

Mr. Pearson next tells of Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson having started his adult life with aspirations of becoming a writer, to that end, having submitted several pieces to The Saturday Evening Post and received in return as many rejection slips before giving up. Now, he had gotten even as he was recently approached by the Post to write one article per month on agriculture but had to decline for being too busy.

Mr. Pearson notes that one of the better guest columns appearing during his vacation period in the the latter part of August was that of Mr. Anderson, apparently appearing August 28, missing from the microfilm.

Finally, he comments on the feud between Admiral William Leahy, presidential chief of staff, and Secretary of State Byrnes. Admiral Leahy was upset with Mr. Brynes's radio statement on return from Moscow and told the President that his agreement was tantamount to Munich. The President, however, had met with Mr. Byrnes during the New Year's weekend while the President sailed aboard the presidential yacht on the Potomac and they wound up seeing eye to eye on the policy established at Moscow.

Admiral Leahy now contended that Mr. Byrnes was seeking to oust him as chief of staff. Mr. Pearson ventures that though the Admiral had wished for some time to retire, he was so upset about the outcome of the Moscow conference and relations with Russia that he might remain.

Bertram Benedict discusses the 1946 election year and the prospects that the Republicans might, as they would, take control of the House from the Democrats. He considers the 57 to 38 majority for the Democrats in the Senate unassailable. But, in fact, the Republicans would also win the majority in the Senate, by a margin of 51 to 45, a shift of 13 seats to the Republican column.

He points out that the Republicans had gained 46 seats in the last previous mid-term election, 1942, and needed only to gain 27 this time to obtain the majority. They would in fact gain 57 seats, to hold a majority of 248 to 185 going into 1947 and the 80th Congress.

In 13 of the 19 mid-term elections since the Civil War, he informs, the party not controlling the White House had lost at least 25 seats in the House.

He states that one of the variables in the election would be the returning veterans. Fully 4.6 million had been released from service since V-J Day.

Marquis Childs discusses the still absent policy on control of atomic energy, five months after the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6. It still remained under the control of military men for the purpose of manufacturing weapons rather than being devoted to peaceful purposes, as the President had expressed in August that it should be. Mr. Childs saw the lack of policy as a continuing failing of both the Executive and the Congress. Allowing the military to remain in control of the destiny of atomic power was akin to fascism.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson had admitted at a Cabinet meeting in November that he had left the entire atomic arsenal up to General Leslie Groves and did not even know where the bombs were stored. He believed all responsibility for preservation of the secret should vest with General Groves and the Army. But, following discussion, the Cabinet was of the opinion that Mr. Patterson should become aware of where the bombs were being kept, and so he obtained that information.

It was believed that the stored bombs were enough to destroy every industrial center in the world and that bombs could now be manufactured which were a thousand times more powerful than those dropped on Japan in August. It was unknown, however, whether any such bombs were yet being produced.

The bomb material in storage would last 1,900 years.

Thus, the world was in trouble, at least until 3846.

Sorry. We aren't there quite yet. But, the good news is that there are only 1,833 more years to go.

A letter writer, a corporal from New York who was currently in Hamlet, (the town, not the play), adds to the comments responding to the letter of "A Working Young Lady" from December 27, who had denounced striking workers as unpatriotic. He finds her in good company with Hitler and Mussolini and their abolition of labor unions. Criticism was fair but not the violent denunciation he perceived from the woman.

He asserts that the young woman, as many citizens, could not distinguish fascism from democracy. He urges the newspaper to begin a campaign to educate the public of the differences in systems and how, in minute detail, democracy works.

Well, we applaud the idea, and, you may have noticed, dedicate a good portion of this site to that very function.

The "Young Lady", who had quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson in her letter of December 27, perhaps should have read the entirety of "A Nation's Strength" a bit more carefully and paid special attention to two verses preceding her quoted passage:

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

The editors note that the corporal was soon leaving North Carolina to return to his native New York as he was set to be released soon from the Army, that his "eloquent voice", often appearing on the pages, would be missed.

Candidly, we do not recall his name appearing on any of the editorial pages, but, presumably, he was having contributions printed on the overleaf page on occasion, or, perhaps, in the statewide edition which sometimes differed in content.

Another letter writer, a captain at Fort Jackson, S.C., bristles at a headline above a story which had appeared in The News, reading, "Hunt Negro For Attack", calling the account of a woman who had been assaulted "dubious" and thus finding the headline racist, contrary to what he describes as his experience with the newspaper, which had "frequently decried bigotry".

The editors bristle at the letter's suggestion, see no reason to doubt the word of the assault victim, and state that the headline was entirely appropriate as a description of the assailant, as much as providing height or weight, white or Chinese.

But, did not the letter writer make a valid point? It depends on whether similarly sought suspects who had been described as white were so headlined. We simply do not know the answer and so cannot render judgment. The note asked rhetorically whether "Hunt 150-Pounder For Attack" would have been a better means of description to improve race relations. But does that not establish the letter writer's point? For describing the man simply as "Negro" provided nothing of note toward narrowing down the population from which he could be discovered.

Of course, one cannot blame the newspaper, as denoting the race of an at-large criminal suspect was not only the convention of the day nationwide among news organs, but remains so, as nonsensical as it is in fact, at least without further identifying characteristics.

The assailant was probably Sam Wood, or a cheeseburger, with onions.

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