Wednesday, January 9, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 9, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that two janitors had been questioned, but had not yet been charged, in the death of the six-year old girl in Chicago whose dismembered body had been discovered in nearby culverts. One of the janitors worked in the building in which the basement room was used to dismember the little girl. The other janitor worked in a nearby building. Both buildings were within two blocks of the residence from which the little girl had been abducted on Sunday night and initially was being held for a $20,000 ransom.

The janitor who worked in the building containing the "murder room", as the police called it, lived across the street from the girl's home. He had allowed reporters and police to use his phone on Monday night in the initial hours of the manhunt after the grisly discovery. Both professed innocence of the crime.

The first janitor, to whom police planned to administer a lie detector test, was said by a neighbor to be "as harmless as a fly."

Yeah, we've heard something like that before.

In Nuremberg, evidence was adduced to show that former Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had ordered the lynching of all captured Allied fliers who had bailed out from bombing missions. The German High Command had declined to implement the policy for its being too drastic, approving death only for such tactics as low-level attacks on civilians, shooting of German parachutists, strafing of civilian trains or trains marked with a red cross. Herr Von Ribbentrop had also, according to documents, urged Japan, via Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima, to declare war on the United States. A week prior to Pearl Harbor, he had assured the Ambassador that British empire interests around the world would likely be divided between Germany, Japan, and the United States. He had informed Mussolini in 1940 that Spain intended to enter the war and that Germany would send troops and special weapons to assist in an attack on British-held Gibraltar.

Evidence was also presented this date against Alfred Rosenberg.

From Brunswick, Germany, it was reported that trucks moving supplies by night along the autobahn to Berlin had been robbed by highwaymen, prompting the British to halt all such traffic except during daylight hours. The order provided that all passengers be armed while proceeding through the area.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson announced proposals to raise the ceiling prices on butter and meat to encourage production, and, in the case of meat, to try to avert the meatpackers strike threatened to begin January 16.

Office of Reconversion director John Snyder and Office of Stabilization administrator John Collett, "Snuffy Smith", announced that the Administration would propose a $4 per ton price ceiling hike on steel to try to prevent the threatened steel strike of January 14. OPA director Chester Bowles remained opposed to the hike, having taken the position that $2.50 per ton was the maximum hike which should be allowed to avoid inflation. The steel industry wanted a $7 raise in steel prices before it would agree to the $2 per day wage increase demanded by the Steel Workers' union.

A strike of 8,000 phone installers in 42 states began in sympathy with the Western Electric strike of 17,000 workers in New York City. It would not affect telephone service until repairs were necessary. Service would likely begin to break down nationwide within a week to ten days.

In London, Secretary of State Byrnes announced that a disagreement in the U.N.O. American delegation regarding the disposition of the atomic secret had been resolved such that all delegates appeared now to be in agreement with the position of the Secretary, that adequate security measures would be assured prior to any disclosure of the secret to the U.N. and that the Congress must approve any plan recommended by the atomic commission of the U.N. The Secretary stated that the Big Three and Canada were in agreement that they would abide by any recommendation made for control by the U.N.

Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan stated his acquiescence to the plan, after initially having expressed reservations prior to the assurances of the Secretary regarding security.

In Washington, Army chief of staff General Eisenhower recommended to President Truman that there was no reason for disciplinary action against 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers in Manila who had demonstrated on January 6 and 7 in protest of slow demobilization. General William Styer in Manila attributed the protest to homesickness, aggravated by the end of hostilities.

Hal Boyle reports from Manila that behind the mass demonstration on Monday and Tuesday lay a suspicion among the troops that they were being retained in service for use in the Far East. The 86th Infantry Division had been informed that renewed training would soon begin, heightening the suspicion. They were being told that they were being retained to protect American property in the event of an uprising but many expressed the belief that no Americans should risk their lives in such a venture.

The problem was that while the officers stood ready to fight when told, civilian armies fought only those they hated with a passion, and, presently, there was no such target group on the radar of the troops.

The demonstrations had resulted from the War Department having stimulated hopes too high for quick demobilization after V-J Day. Thus far, the demonstrations had been orderly.

While the troops were well-fed, well-housed and entertained, they had little to keep them busy. Few low-point enlisted men were among the demonstrators, but the faster the low-point men could be sent home, the faster men with higher points could obtain their discharge. The junior officers appeared in sympathy with the enlisted men as they, too, wanted to go home.

Lt. Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, flying ace during the war, was married the previous day in Las Vegas, following divorce from his previous wife in 1941.

In Miami, Bernarr Macfadden, the 77-year old "physical culturist", was granted a divorce from a British beauty contest winner whom he said had sought to humiliate him by losing her trim figure after 33 years of marriage. They had been separated since Paris in 1930. Whether she wore blue and whether there were soldiers wearing black, was not indicated.

Mrs. Macfadden had accused her husband of dipping one each of their seven children in cold water on a daily basis and forcing them to dance in flimsy garments in the open air on cold winter days.

Producing a photograph of Mr. Macfadden standing on his head in earlier times, she had previously stated that he would still be standing on his head were it not for her business acumen having put him on his feet.

The air transportation industry recommended that the airmail postal rate, at 8 cents, be reduced to a nickel per ounce. The rate was set to go down to 6 cents by virtue of the end of the war.

On the editorial page, "Passing the Housing Buck" discusses the failure in Charlotte thus far to resolve the housing shortage since the end of the war, that all of the groups to which the responsibility fell had managed to duck the issue by explaining what they could not do, but no one had asserted what they could do. So, the editorial makes concrete suggestions, including obtaining from a Federal program "demountable housing" and using the barracks at Morris Field for temporary housing as soon as title to it passed to the City.

"Can This Be Henry?" tells of the change in perception of former Vice-President and present Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace since the summer of 1944 when he was unceremoniously dumped from the ticket by the party chieftains and supplanted by Harry Truman as running mate to FDR. While he had been opposed a year earlier in his nomination battle for the Commerce position, the criticism had died down after his confirmation and he had scarcely been heard from since, had surfaced as the perceived friend of small business.

And now it was reported that he had purchased a large country home in Duchess County in New York, near FDR's Hyde Park estate, placing him in position to run for Governor of New York in 1946 against Thomas Dewey. The piece speculates that he might do so, appealing to the Labor Party in New York which had provided the balance of power in the state in recent elections.

Mr. Wallace would not, opting instead, after leaving the Commerce Department as planned in September, to run a third party campaign under the Progressive Party banner in 1948, along with cowboy singer, Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho as his running mate.

"The Old, Old Chorus" finds a piece in the Steuben Society News of New York, the German-American newspaper, to be maintaining its old line of defending Nazism as merely another credo which was a little flawed and excessive in its practical implementation. The editorial disdains the sentiment it expressed in finding Justice Robert Jackson in the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal to be "unable to look beyond the cold legalistic formulae inherent in the Anglo-Saxon conception of Crime and Punishment." It treated the defendants as merely dutiful patriots to a cause, not war criminals guilty of vast atrocities.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Two Kinds of Leaders", expresses lack of thanks to a good portion of the Negro press of the day for improving race relations in the country, citing the current issue of the Pittsburgh Courier for an editorial in which it had found the effort of 200 black Atlantans to establish a training center for domestic workers to be worthy only of derision.

By contrast, the piece found the Atlanta Daily World, also part of the black press, to be speaking out against the high murder rate in Atlanta, rising from 50 in 1944 to 76 in 1945, 49 of the victims having been killed by blacks and only two by white civilians, four by white police officers.

The piece asks which approach would likely bring good will to the black community.

Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution writes of the contest between wet and dry areas of the country, stating his personal belief that liquor taken in excess was harmful and dangerous, but also understanding that Prohibition had proved a "farce and a corrupt evil".

He observed that during the New Year, the rise in crime, while disturbing, was nothing like the period of gang activity during Prohibition. And police were making arrests, another contrast with that earlier era of police corruption and pay-offs, some even acting as liquor traffickers, some even operating their own stills.

The only three dry states at the time were Mississippi, Kansas, and Oklahoma. But in Mississippi there were 2,000 Federally licensed liquor dealers, though licensed in spite of the prohibition law on the books. It was tolerated because it generated 1.5 million dollars annually in state tax revenue.

Oklahoma also was not wanting for liquor despite the law. Mr. McGill retained a prized clipping from V-E Day in May, quoting a police captain in Oklahoma City that he was asking for cooperation from the bootleggers in keeping the people sober during celebrations. The "booticians", as Mr. McGill dubs them, had promised to keep their doors closed on V-E Day.

A similar situation prevailed in Kansas.

All of it indicated, he concludes, how prohibition under local option or state determination worked.

Drew Pearson tells of the President's initial anger with Secretary of State Byrnes upon his return from Moscow December 27 for not having provided him advance notice of the deal made with the Russians regarding joint occupation oversight of Japan on the four-power commission, including Britain and China. The President had been opposed to the idea.

Advisers told the President to fire Mr. Byrnes immediately, but he resisted, saying that he wanted to speak with the Secretary first. And after the discussion, the President was convinced that the deal was not so bad, as the United States retained veto power on the commission.

Later reports, however, had surfaced that the President was still not settled on the issue of U.S. recognition of the Balkans, made by Secretary Byrnes as part of the quid pro quo for the veto power on the four-power commission.

Mr. Pearson next comments that while musicians union boss Caesar Petrillo might succeed in his attempt to ban all foreign music from the airways for not being played by his union's musicians, the Alien Property Custodian James Markham had found it difficult to release 600 German films to the American public because they contained subtle Nazi propaganda. The previous summer, he had decided to sell them to the public for exhibition, but the resulting protest caused him to abandon the effort.

Recently, however, former trustbuster of the Justice Department Thurman Arnold had argued for their release, but was opposed by Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas of California and Emanuel Celler of New York. Mr. Arnold argued that censorship was contrary to the American way of life and that little or no direct propaganda was present in the films in any event, that most of them had been shown in the country during the war without arousing any incident. Ms. Douglas argued in response that during the war, the Nazis in the country were quiet. But now they were re-surfacing and the viewing of the films could produce a reaction that the Germans really were not so bad after all, just "a little German waltz, a little beer and pretzels; a little dancing and cozy country life", as depicted in the films.

Congressman Celler had written up a bill to ban the films, but it was unlikely ever to reach a vote on the floor.

Any such law was bound to infringe the First Amendment, propaganda or not within the films.

Samuel Grafton comments on the fight ahead between the President and Congress to achieve his proposed domestic program, finally being joined by the President after hesitating through the fall.

President Truman, having been a member of Congress, unlike FDR, loathed the prospect of such a confrontation. But it was necessary to be an effective Chief Executive.

The choice was now clear: the President's proposed plan for full employment and reconversion while maintaining price controls until demand and supply could become roughly equivalent; or the peril of not pursuing such a plan which could lead to disastrous inflation and depression, severely dividing the country.

Marquis Childs again addresses the controversy regarding disposition of the nuclear secret, stressing the testimony of General Leslie Groves before the Senate committee on atomic energy. He had asserted his opinion that no system of international inspection to assure use of a shared atomic secret only for peaceful purposes was practicable. He believed that the U.S. could maintain the lead in any ensuing arms race involving atomic weaponry, whereas the nuclear scientists had testified that it would only be another four or five years before the Soviets had the secret and that within 20 years they could be ahead of the United States in nuclear capability.

But General Groves assessed the period as being more likely to be 40 to 50 years in the future, given that it would be hard to recruit scientists willing to take the risks and make the mistakes necessary to develop a bomb. Moreover, the cost could prove prohibitive, requiring that they borrow from the United States "to build these plants with which to attack us."

Mr. Childs states that a secret document prepared by former Secretary of War Henry Stimson for the President in September would, when released from its top secret status, stand, according to those who had read it, as one of the great state documents of the time.

In that memorandum, dated September 11, 1945, Mr. Stimson told the President that it would be unwise to use the atomic secret as a carrot and stick to obtain from the Russians promises of reform to provide individual liberty in Russia, that such an effort would be so antagonistic as to defeat the purpose, and that the better approach would be to share the secret, despite the police state extant in Russia. Otherwise, he contended, with accurate foresight, "a secret armament race of a rather desperate character" would be stimulated, that such an effort in Russia to develop the weapon appeared already to have begun.

He anticipated that the attempt to achieve amicable relations with the Soviet Union would be dominated by the issue of the atomic bomb, made vitally emergent by the sudden advent of the bomb on the world stage, a weapon possessed of destructive power far beyond anything previously imagined by mankind, with such devastating potential as to occupy the field of international concern.

Having the bomb "ostentatiously on our hip" would inhibit rather than enhance the likelihood of successful diplomatic negotiations with the Soviets.

He stood by the maxim that to make a man trustworthy, he had to be trusted, and that the surest way of making him untrustworthy was to show open distrust of him.

He recommended a direct approach to Russia on the issue rather than working through an international organization, and that such a proposal would have as its core the mutual assurance of use of the bomb for peaceful purposes, eschewing all use for war unless with the concordance of the Big Three. After agreement on these basic points had been reached among the Big Three, there would be time to bring in China, France, and the rest of the U.N.

Essentially, this policy was being implemented publicly by the United States, Britain, and Russia at this juncture, with the key limitation that sharing of the technology would be contingent on reasonable assurances of security and inspection, with authority over it vested in the U.N.

A letter writer, identifying himself as white, writes in response to an article appearing from the Hickory Record titled "Dr. Carver Day"—which apparently appeared on the third anniversary of his death, January 5, and so absent from the available microfilm. He comments that he had met Dr. Carver many years earlier after a speaking engagement in Charlotte. The author had introduced himself and found Dr. Carver a modest and gracious man.

He had thought to erect a small monument to him along a partially improved road leading into a black section of town across from his own residence and so fashioned a sign which read "Carver Road". It was quickly removed, however, and upon inquiry, he found that none of the blacks living in the area had ever heard of George Washington Carver.

A letter writer comments on a piece in the newspaper on the cat's purring, explains her experience that the cat purred when contented and that there was little problem to be recognized in it. "So it goes right back to nature and nerves after all."

The editors respond, after having the unmitigated gall to fashion the heading for the letter, "Just as Purr Our Report": "Just what we always say, Mrs. B., just what we always say."

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