Tuesday, January 8, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 8, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the body of the six-year old girl, reported kidnaped in Chicago the previous day, had been found, dismembered. A parish priest related the tragic news to the little girl's parents. A series of photographs shows the little girl, the ladder used to abduct her from her bedroom in the family home, and her parents with detectives. A manhunt was on for the kidnapper and a total reward of $11,000 was offered for information leading to the capture.

The father had offered the previous day to pay the demanded $20,000 ransom but apparently never heard from the kidnapper.

At Nuremberg, the war crimes tribunal heard of the war crimes of Hermann Goering, whom prosecutors described as being in some ways more dangerous than Hitler as "the father of the Gestapo and the concentration camp". He had also arranged for the first million slave laborers to be brought to Germany from Poland.

Concluded assistant U.S. prosecutor Ralph Albrecht, "And so we submit that it may not validly be inferred that [the defendants] did not join the stream of the conspiracy with their eyes open, with scienter, as the conspiracy gathered momentum and developed into a rushing torrent," choosing to phrase the matter in the somewhat convoluted double negative for reasons of the burden of proof being on the prosecution to show beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the offense of conspiracy, including participation therein with knowledge of the criminal enterprise afoot.

The war crimes of former Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop were also set forth during the session. A statement from the diary of Count Ciano, executed son-in-law of Mussolini, had indicated that Von Ribbentrop told him that Germany wanted war in 1939, not just Danzig and the Corridor.

Of course, that would have come as no newsflash to many even before the invasion of Poland.

In Sydney, Australia, evidence adduced at a war crimes trial of 93 Japanese defendants was disclosing the various forms of torture utilized by the Japanese, which included beatings, balancing on one foot, holding a rock up in the air until it collapsed on the prisoner's head, and other such cruelty. In one instance, a 200,000-pound bomb storage depot had been located in the midst of a prisoner camp and when American planes bombed it, the bombs detonated, killing ten Australians, 27 Dutch women and children, and wounding 90 other Australians.

In New York City, 7,000 Western Union workers struck, isolating New York from cable traffic in the rest of the United States and from 40 percent of the international cable traffic.

The President stated that some increase in steel prices would likely be allowed to aid in resolution of the threatened steel strike set for January 14, which would impact a record-setting 800,000 workers.

The President indicated that the slowdown in return of soldiers home, prompting a large demonstration of G.I.'s in Manila, was the result of the need to maintain a certain number of troops overseas to effect the peace. The Army, he said, had released half its peak complement of 8.3 million and the Navy, about 1.25 million out of 3.5 million.

Hal Boyle writes from Manila of the resentment of enlisted men to senior officers "fat-catting", that is padding their lifestyles with special privileges as in pre-war days. Some examples were reserving to themselves high-priced cigars, watches, cigarette lighters, and fountain pens, all of which tended to go to the colonels and higher ranking officers, despite enlisted men sometimes being able to afford such items. Some of the officers had large homes with large staffs of Filipino houseboys, one reported to have 32 such employees. One lieutenant colonel had two luxury homes, to entertain "distinguished visitors", U.S.O. and Red Cross girls. One officer had a hundred Japanese prisoners repair a golf course for the officers, forcing an engineering battalion off the grounds to make way for a full eighteen-hole affair.

Whether he was able to achieve a hole-in-one on the back nine was left unclear.

On the editorial page, "The Killers Still Go Free" reports that the number of murders in 1945 in Charlotte, notorious for a high per capita percentage in past years relative to other cities of 100,000 population or more, had fallen to only 20, half the ordinary number. And even those twenty could not all be classified as murders, as some of the defendants had been freed and others charged with lesser crimes.

Only three of the homicides had thus far resulted in substantial sentences of seven years or more. Another defendant received a short term and another only a $1,200 fine payable to the widow of the victim. In five other cases, the defendants were acquitted or otherwise set free by the court. The remaining ten were still pending.

The piece shrugs its shoulders and finds it an old story for the city, the result of Solicitor John Carpenter refusing to bear down on killers, and the public apathy with regard to replacing him.

"A Protector, Resigned" finds the resignation of the United States from Java by ordering "U.S." removed from the arms and supplies used by the Dutch Marines trained in the United States to be an hypocritical denunciation of the Four Freedoms provided by the Atlantic Charter of August, 1941.

But, it was, the piece sighs, the way of it historically in war and peace, that once victory came, the victors suddenly became too busy with weighty affairs of state to be too much bothered by struggles for independence in small nations against empire interests, in this case, the Dutch and British in Java.

"This Here Culture" comments on the House Republican negative reaction to the State Department's plan to establish a program of cultural relations with the world. They appeared to mock the program, but, it turned out, they were actually afraid of it.

They had put the quietus on one bill to put out cultural information, and found another to ring of Assistant Secretary of State Archibald MacLeish and his poetry. "A poet!" responds the piece. "What would a poet know about culture, or good neighbors?"

The Republicans believed that the bill was broad enough to allow the State Department to start buying its own media outlets and produce propaganda as it wished.

Though generally supportive of the notion of exporting cultural good will, to this latter reservation, the piece expresses like concern and wished to know more of the bill before rendering an opinion.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Waste & More Waste", finds the British demobilizing more slowly than the Americans, indicative of a general policy disfavoring shrinkage once an institution had been established. The British situation had been cited as a ground for not reducing the American military apparatus, a flawed argument for the British being an empire, seeking to prevent independence of its colonial interests in Asia and Africa. The United States harbored no such goal, had promised independence to the Philippines during 1946, in fact to come in July.

Thus, it was not understandable why the Army had just enunciated a policy to slow down demobilization, from 800,000 per month to 300,000 during the ensuing three months. The piece reasons that the slowdown was to provide support for the proposed program of universal military training to supply a ready turnover of troops, as the draft and voluntary enlistments had been insufficient, according to the Army, in supplying replacements.

The Army wanted a peacetime force of 1.5 million men, with 335,000 consigned to Europe, 375,000 to the Pacific, and 87,000 in other areas, leaving 787,000 in the United States, with 360,000 of these men in training.

But, the piece reasons, without another Hitler on the world stage, an impossibility, or the failure of the U.N., which only the militarists anticipated, the number of troops needed after July 1 would be much smaller. The presence of such a large force within the continental U.S. would be a waste of manpower and government resources to maintain it.

In addition, the Navy planned to have a 500,000-man force and the Marines another 200,000 or more.

The total thus would be in the area of 2.25 million during peacetime, an extraordinary and unnecessary force by any measure of probable need. The editorial—from the newspaper which former Secretary of the Navy under President Wilson, Josephus Daniels, came and to which his son, former adviser to FDR, Jonathan Daniels, had returned the previous spring to resume his duties as editor—concludes that the military's demands were "indefensible".

While Jonathan Daniels had not publicly stated his position on universal training, his father had testified in June to Congress his opposition, viewing the unprecedented move as one tending to spawn war.

Drew Pearson remarks on the apparent amnesia of General Marshal and Admiral Harold Stark in their testimony before the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor, at least insofar as the occurrences of the night of December 6. Neither remembered what he was doing during those hours. General Marshall, however, had recalled that on Sunday morning, he had gone horseback riding, per his usual habit.

The committee had not been able to obtain records to clarify their whereabouts.

The significance was that it coincided with the time when Colonels Bratton and Sadtler claimed that they were trying to contact high officals in the military to alert them that the Japanese were planning an attack the next day at 1:00 p.m., Washington time. The attack on Pearl Harbor began at 1:20.

This "report" turned out false. Col. Bratton would testify ultimately to the committee:

"I can state most positively that no execute of the winds codes was ever received by me prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I find it hard to believe that any such execute message could get into the War Department without passing over my desk.

"It is inconceivable to me. I might have missed it but I had some assistants who were on the watch for it, and there were some people in the Army SIS who were also on the watch for it. They couldn't all have missed it. It is simply inconceivable to me that such a message could have been in the War Department without some one of us knowing about it or seeing it." (cf. Committee record, p. 12089.)

The information was purported only to have been received second-hand on December 5 at around 9:30 a.m. and then never confirmed, the Navy also denying any receipt at O.N.I. In any event, the second-hand information had stated that the "winds" execute message received was "Nishi No Kaze Hare", "West Wind Clear", indicating war with Geat Britain, not "Higahsi No Kazeame", "East Wind Rain", indicative of war with the United States. Had there been a confirmed intercept of such a message warning of imminent war with Great Britain, the implication would have caused special attention to be directed to defenses at Singapore, Hong Kong, and the East Indies, not to Pearl Harbor. Any American facilities to be placed on special alert would have been much closer to the area in imminent danger, the Philippines. Of course, all of those areas were actually under threat, with the southward moving Japanese decoy Task Force diverting attention from the Task Force moving toward Pearl Harbor from the northwest, all initial targets, including the Philippines, Wake Island, and Guam, being finally struck within the first six hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Pearson next discusses the successful efforts of Senator Joe Guffey of Pennsylvania to oppose a Federal judicial appointment of a sitting U.S. District Court judge to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, not because of personal opposition but for Senator Guffey having his own favored candidate. The President, consistent with the tradition of courtesy to Senators in this regard, had thus far gone along.

He next imparts of two NLRB members seeking autographs of the President for their children, whereupon the President turned to a third member present and asked him what he needed. He presented a blank check, which Mr. Truman then signed, putting on the back, "without recourse", saying that he had no money in that bank.

Nebraska Senator Kenneth Wherry had introduced a bill to eliminate the inequity in sale of surplus Army shotguns only to officers. Under the bill, they would be available equally to enlisted men and the general public. Mr. Pearson states that it was expected to pass the Senate and the House, soon to become law.

Thanks. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Marquis Childs again writes of the atomic bomb and the preservation of the secret, focusing on the Senate committee investigating atomic energy and its questions posed to General Leslie Groves and Secretary of War Robert Patterson regarding the location of the bombs, the number manufactured in each process, the sources of uranium, and the agreement with Great Britain on the original Manhattan Project, as well as foreign press reaction to the U.S. continuing to store and manufacture the parts for the bomb. General Groves had provided some of the answers publicly but stated that some of it could only be answered in closed session. An argument ensued with the Senators as to what could be answered publicly.

Correspondent Martin Agronsky then gave a radio broadcast regarding the refusal of the War Department to provide certain information and the committee's indignation in response. Secretary Patterson then told President Truman that a leak apparently had occurred from the committee to Mr. Agronsky, demonstrating that the committee could not be trusted with secret information. But Mr. Agronsky had not revealed which questions General Groves had answered and which he had refused.

The President supported the position espoused by Mr. Patterson, that it would be imprudent to reveal information on where the bombs were stored, how much atomic material was being produced, and the extent of uranium deposits and their location, as well as information relevant to the agreement with Great Britain. Even foreign press reaction was not revealed, deemed by the committee to be relevant to assessment of the likelihood of an arms race. While the latter information could be obtained through the Library of Congress, it could have saved the committee time to obtain it from War Department files.

The question remained whether General Groves was making policy or, as Secretary Patterson contended, was only an implementer, with policy-making responsibilities reserved to the Secretary. The other question was whether the civilian Government could take over nuclear energy or whether, for its nature, it was relegated to the oversight of only a small group of experts.

Dorothy Thompson favors a "principle-finding committee" rather than a fact-finding committee to resolve the strike at G.M., to determine the principle on which wages would be set rather than G.M.'s ability to pay from profits. Collective bargaining could not work in this instance because there was no meeting of minds on basic principles of bargaining, as both sides had rejected the other's foundational theories.

She posits that the UAW was seeking information on profits which was not already available to the Government through tax statements, that is past and accumulated profits during the war, and so irrelevant to a determination of wages, as these profits had been based on Government contracts and not production for consumers, as would be the peacetime status quo. The profits retained from this extraordinary period would be devoted to reconversion and should not be made available to labor for increased wages.

Previously, the principle of wages had been based on a compromise to enable the smaller producers to stay in business alongside the more efficient and larger producers, not to set wages, as labor now sought, on the basis of the larger producers' ability to pay. G.M. thus was correct, she ventures, in saying that the principle now sought by UAW would result in monopoly, forcing smaller producers out of business for their inability to pay the higher wage sought from the larger producers. The smaller producers would have to raise prices or produce inferior product to stay in business.

So, she stresses again, the issue was one of the principle to be used in setting wages, not the fact of ability of G.M. to pay from profits.

Ms. Thompson, however, appears to misunderstand the position and strategy of labor in seeking its increases, that while based on the ability of each company to pay, they were not being sought necessarily on an industry-wide basis, and were stated as percentages of present wages, not flat increases as, for instance, sought by the steel workers at $2 per day across-the-board wage hikes.

While generally, it was true that the UAW sought 30 percent wage increases from the auto industry, its view, completely rational, was that each company had the burden to prove any contention, as made by G.M., that it could not pay the demanded increase without a commensurate hike in prices. While it was also true, as pointed out by Ms. Thompson, that the extraordinary profits during wartime were by no means guaranteed in the post-war consumer market and thus could lead to false indicators of "ability to pay" from profits, there was no harm in revealing the figures as a basis for negotiation, with pre-war profits and expected post-war profits factored into the equation, perhaps with adjustments to be made after the first year of production. The concern of the workers was being able to keep pace with rising costs of living in the post-war environment, especially in housing, on significantly reduced wages, by 30 percent, based on a return to the 40-hour work week rather than the 48-hour work week with overtime during the war.

It was a complex puzzle which Ms. Thompson attempts to simplify with semantics, ultimately to no avail. What practical solution did she actually offer? She seems to be rather cynical in suggesting that principles had to be clarified rather than facts, in the end, appearing to tell the workers to get lost and go back to work. That was an easy proposition to advance perhaps for someone who earned upwards of $100,000 per year writing a syndicated column, not so for an assembly line worker in Detroit.

A letter writer discusses the Thursday night fireside chat of President Truman re Congressional sloth in enacting his domestic policy designed to generate full employment and speed reconversion. The author supports the President and believes he was on the right track, that he understood the distinctions between the Communist system in Russia, the socialist system in Britain, and the capitalist system in America, and was seeking to provide a strong foundation on which American free enterprise could flourish.

Samuel Grafton remarks that while many American journals, such as the Chicago Tribune, worried that Secretary Byrnes had given away the store at the Moscow conference, the British believed that the United States had come out of the conference with too many concessions, the Manchester Guardian proclaiming that Secretary Byrnes had planned a settlement on the four-power commission to govern the occupation of Japan in such a way that only the appearance of a multilateral commission would be presented while the U.S. retained actual power.

The British were concerned that some of the rifts in Soviet-American relations had been closed at Moscow, with American recognition of the Soviet-backed Balkans governments and the Russian recognition of U.S. dominance in Japan.

The British were concerned also regarding the agreement to recognize the independence of Korea in 1950, fearful that it might arouse the Burmese likewise to seek independence from the British. All effort to set up a free China was harmful to British trade interests.

But the reasoning behind these moves was to eliminate colonialism, not to harm British interests.

The British were trying to win support in the Arab world by severely limiting immigration of Jews to Palestine. They were demanding special concessions and war reparations from Siam, the latter in the form of rice to feed India and Burma, to shore up their interests in those two countries. The U.S. had sought to reduce the reparations from Siam, not to oppose the British but to eliminate colonial interests.

The News prints its reply to a telegram from the American Institute of Public Opinion out of Princeton, N.J., seeking newspapers' opinions on the permanent home of the United Nations Organization, whether Hyde Park, Philadelphia, Boston, or New York, the choices having been narrowed to those four locations. The News favors Hyde Park for sentimental reasons, but for practical reasons, Philadelphia.

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