Monday, October 28, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, October 28, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Massaryk, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, urging the major powers to reach unanimous agreement that the smaller nations would have a better chance. He scoffed at the notion that an iron curtain had descended over his country and urged the delegates to visit the country to see for themselves.

China joined the U.S., Britain, and Russia in opposing any present re-writing of the U.N. Charter.

New Zealand declared its opposition to the Security Council veto and called for its modification.

John L. Lewis declared that the UMW contract with the Government would, in his opinion, be void on November 1 unless negotiations were opened by the Government. If that occurred, he would wait until November 20 to begin a strike. Otherwise, it would begin Friday. Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug, administrator of the mines during the Government takeover, had thus far refused to meet with Mr. Lewis. Mr. Krug had been given full authority over the matter by the President.

Pursuant to the Smith Connally Act, however, Mr. Lewis faced the prospect of jail and a fine for inducing a walkout during Government operation of the mines. He also risked becoming the flashpoint for new restrictive labor legislation when the new Congress would convene in January.

The AFL Union of Masters, Mates, and Pilots voted to approve the agreement reached between shippers and the union Saturday. Shipping was expected to resume the next day on the East and Gulf Coasts.

The Supreme Court, in a per curiam decision filed in Cook v. Fortson, 329 U.S. 675, voted 6 to 3 to dismiss the suits against Georgia's county-unit voting system which had resulted in the nomination of Eugene Talmadge during the summer in the gubernatorial race despite his lack of majority support. Though there was no opinion to support the decision, apparently the Court deemed the proceeding moot as the election had already occurred.

Justice Wiley Rutledge issued a dissenting opinion, asserting that the question of jurisdiction, determined by the lower court not to exist, should be postponed until a hearing could be had on the merits of the contentions. The other two dissenting Justices were Hugo Black and Frank Murphy, both of whom believed that probable jurisdiction lay.

In New York, meat prices suddenly dropped, with sirloin and porterhouse steak selling for 55 cents per pound, down from 95 cents a week earlier. Supplies of meat were plentiful. Customers only purchased what they needed and the lines were gone from the markets.

Also in New York, cotton prices again fell the limit of $10 per bale, after the same drop Friday had caused the exchanges to be shut for the weekend.

Burke Davis of The News begins a series on the government of the City of Charlotte and the County of Mecklenburg, and how they functioned. He informs that 160,000 people lived in the county, three-fourths in Charlotte, but that Charlotte residents were responsible for 88 percent of the taxes paid in the county.

News reporter Tom Watkins tells of the County Attorney leading a drive through the Charlotte Council of Churches to form a committee of laymen and ministers to prevent the Legislature's ending of the Mecklenburg Industrial Home. The City and County Governments wanted to convert the home from a facility which primarily cared for venereal disease patients to a reformatory for juvenile delinquents.

In London, a woman, upon being informed that her husband, a former Eighth Air Force captain, had stowed away on the Queen Elizabeth to join her, stated that he had been very foolish to do so as she and their daughter were trying to obtain passage to America and he would only have to sail back with her.

In Mineola, N.Y., a 15-year old boy pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering an 11-year old boy by stabbing him several times during a duck hunting trip in the woods. He was quoted by an attorney as saying that he "suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to kill." The boy was placed in a cell next to a 23-year old butler from Charlotte, awaiting resumption of his trial for allegedly murdering a Long Island socialite.

In New York, a thief stole a specially converted automobile for an amputee veteran, presented to him by the Government less than a day before. The veteran had lost his right leg fighting in France.

In Bishop, California, fire destroyed a tungsten mine, the officers of which included Randolph Scott, Reginald Owen, and the father of Shirley Temple. The mine was covered by insurance.

In Hollywood, actor Keenan Wynn had separated from his wife and the two were said to be going to Las Vegas to obtain a divorce. Mrs. Wynn was seeing Van Johnson but the two had no plans to marry. She stated that the rumors that they planned to wed were "absolutely ridiculous."

The following January, the divorce became final. The following day, the former Mrs. Wynn became Mrs. Johnson. They were all best of friends.

Later, she explained that MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer convinced her, on threat of not renewing Mr. Wynn's contract, to divorce him and marry Mr. Johnson. She agreed.

On the editorial page, "Insurrection in the Hills" tells of two men in Asheville being held on charges of "conspiracy to rebel against the State" and conspiracy to commit murder. One had formed an organization targeting the Asheville police, a meeting of which had included a plan to bomb the Buncombe County Courthouse "if necessary, to capture the police force." Similar to the mob action which had taken place in the spring at Athens, Tenn., he had led a mob of 43 veterans to police headquarters and demanded ouster of nine members of the force.

The political GI faction in the county had dissociated themselves from this group. Several of its members had assisted in the case against the two men charged with rebellion. The ringleader of the group had never served overseas, only served a few months stateside before being given a medical discharge.

The piece reminds that "veteran" was an all-inclusive term, and did not necessarily mean that the individual had faced combat. Most who served did not. Most of the real fighting men of the war appeared the least trigger-happy afterward.

"Bootlegging Also Brutalizes Consumers" corrects its previous estimate of a three-million dollar bootlegging business in Mecklenburg. More recent figures from the police chief showed gross profit at more like 5.74 million per annum. Overhead was low and taxes, non-existent.

Moreover, a great deal of legal liquor was brought into the county a gallon at a time from South Carolina.

The facts suggested the failure of prohibition in Mecklenburg.

A question might be asked, it says, as to why, when the police chief could compile such accurate statistics, he could not curtail the trade. He supplied the answer before the Kiwanis Club by urging cooperation. Many who patronized the bootleggers, including some of the best people in town, condoned the practice.

It concludes by asking whether public morals were improved by funneling millions of dollars which might be taxed into the hands of criminals.

"The Girl Scouts Need Leaders" tells of National Girl Scout Week and the organization's dependence for survival on the Community Chest drive. The Girl Scouts had been formed in Charlotte in 1920 and had a thousand girls in its membership. Another thousand were on a waiting list, in need of volunteer leaders. Its value was incalculable given the juvenile delinquency rate in the community. It urges adults to volunteer.

A piece from the London Times, titled "'Of a Very Great Man....'" comments on the passage through Commons on October 11 of a bill, supported by both Prime Minister Attlee and Winston Churchill, to erect a statue to President Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square in London, to be sculpted by Sir William Reid Dick. The square would also be converted to a public garden. The cost of 40,000 pounds necessary to support the project was to be obtained through small public subscriptions, in keeping with the spirit of the man and his memory.

The piece comments that FDR's voice had brought comfort to England in its time of peril, second only in importance to that of Mr. Churchill.

Grosvenor Square was an appropriate site as having been the location of the home of John Adams while serving as the first U.S. envoy to Britain. Walter Hines Page, of North Carolina, had established his Embassy there while Ambassador during World War I, and John Winant had done so while Ambassador during World War II.

It was also a happy coincidence that the bill had passed while General Eisenhower was being honored at Cambridge during his return visit.

The statue would stand both for the friendship extended to Britain by "a very great man" and the firm assurance that if a nation during its most diffiult times would adorn the mantle of dignity and freedom, it would find "'great allies'".

Drew Pearson tells of there being 53 separate items on the agenda before the U.N. General Assembly. The most explosive was the Cuban-Australian proposal to end the veto in the Security Council. Cuban Ambassador Guillermo Belt was the person primarily responsible for it.

He had been elected Mayor of Havana at age 27 and had run unsuccessfully for president against strong man and former President Fulgencio Batista. Sr. Belt had stayed in Cuba even though most of the Batista opponents fled to Miami. He boldly walked through Havana without bodyguards. Impressed by his courage, Sr. Batista eventually offered him a Cabinet position which he declined.

At the San Francisco Charter Conference of April through June, 1945, Sr. Belt began his attack on the veto. He had waged the battle ever since. Some Western powers did not want a roll call vote on the issue. Most of Latin America favored the proposal. Eleven other countries had also expressed approval, providing 41 votes of the 51 member nations.

That Russia might walk from the U.N. if the veto were abandoned did not bother Sr. Belt. He explained that his father was a hard-shelled Yankee trader from Boston and so he stood his ground.

The column next explains that singer Kate Smith was so excited at the prospect of her visit to the White House to begin the annual Community Chest drive that she misplaced her hat and nearly forgot her gloves. The drive's emblem was "The Red Feather"—as featured on the header of The News. They had a march to go along with it.

Ms. Smith told the President that she was from Washington and he replied that such was a rare find as he had been told that most people in Washington were now Missourians.

The Army and Navy had determined not to use Hollywood talent anymore in the making of training films. The contract difficulties had steered them away. Hundreds of films made during the war had been blocked from use by educational institutions, unions, and civic groups simply because they contained some copyrighted music or film. Some 5,000 films could not be shown to the public. With a contract pending to make a thousand new films, the Army and Navy insisted that they would use no Hollywood talent unless there was an agreement that the copyright holders would waive rights for use by non-profit groups.

He next explains that one reason for the slump in cotton prices was Senator Elmer Thomas having opposed OPA controls on speculation through margin buying, and another was cotton hoarding, awaiting a price of 50 cents per pound. The final straw had been the maritime strike, which prevented cotton from being shipped abroad.

Marquis Childs, in New Orleans, examines the politics of the South heading into the election and beyond to 1948. Southerners were wondering whether Harry Truman would head their party's ticket at the next quadrennial election. Southerners controlled both the Senate and the House on the Democratic side and thus could determine the party nominee. Some might favor someone else, but it would be contrary to tradition to dump the incumbent President. It was possible that the President would step aside, but that would be an admission of failure, harmful to the party. It would also stimulate a feud between the two wings of the party.

It was likely that Mr. Truman would be contested for the nomination, probably by Henry Wallace, backed by CIO PAC money.

Louisiana had, with the exception of Huey Long, always had a conservative tradition. The Long gang had left the state in shambles politically for its notorious corruption, even if it built schools, hospitals, and roads which brought unprecedented progress to the state. Many remembered only the edifices and the roads and so looked upon the demagogue as a kind of demigod to the state. There was hope that his son Russell, out of the service with an impressive war record, might become a political light one day, rekindling the spark of progress lit by his father.

The state, however, was still recovering from the corruption of the elder Long and his coterie of coffer robbers. Native pride had helped the recovery program. New Orleans was serving as a gateway to trade from Latin America and, to that end, had built a club to entertain visitors. Other cities of the South might emulate the example. The cure to the South's problems, poverty, poor education, lack of primary facilities, was progress in these areas. It would be the only way to avoid another dictatorship such as that of Huey Long.

If the country were to become too reactionary, the result would be counter-reaction, and a Huey Long might step before the public as a viable alternative, not just on the state level, but nationally.

Harold Ickes writes an open letter to Robert Littlejohn, War Assets Administrator, in which he sets forth his ideas about sale of the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines which had carried the oil from Texas and Oklahoma to the East Coast during the war when shipping was both too dangerous and needed elsewhere. Now, the pipelines were standing full of water and in disuse. Mr. Ickes had proposed the two pipelines while Secretary of Interior.

He warns of the designs of John L. Lewis to use coal and the cooperation of railroads and private utilities to take the Government to the cleaners, to render the two pipelines not saleable. The power interests had tried to do the same at Muscle Shoals after World War I. Meanwhile, billions of cubic feet of natural gas was being burned off as waste in Texas.

He hoped that the Texas members of Congress and those of New England would realize the potential for harm to their respective areas of the country.

A few months earlier, bids were solicited and some bid cash as high as 80 to 100 million dollars, a fair price. Mr. Lewis was seeking to pressure the Government into holding a new round of bids, and in the meantime, a Republican Congress might be elected. In that event, Mr. Lewis hoped that the pipelines would be buried in committee and never be sold. If Mr. Lewis had his way, there would be no bids for awhile and when they occurred, the bids would be far below those currently on the table.

When Stuart Symington had become War Assets Administrator, he received a letter from Bernard Baruch which counseled that when in doubt, "sell, sell, sell." Mr. Ickes thinks that sound advice.

A letter objects to the proposed route for the cross-town boulevard as appearing to come close to several schools in the community. The writer wonders if that fact had been discussed at a recent meeting to air alternative routes.

The editors respond that it had been, but not stressed enough. Some proponents of the route, however, asserted that it would relieve congested city streets and so funnel off from school areas dangerous traffic. And pedestrian underpasses would be provided whenever the boulevard passed within a mile of a school.

But you know what will happen in those pedestrian underpasses. You will get more bootlegging than you ever dreamed possible. Those kids will go to hell in a handbasket in those underpasses.

A letter from former Mayor Ben Douglas of Charlotte, now State Highway Commissioner, thanks Pete McKnight for his series of articles on the proposed cross-town boulevard.

A letter from the chairman of the Charlotte Planning Board likewise thanks Mr. McKnight for the series.

A letter from the Chamber of Commerce thanks the newspaper for its series of articles on aviation in Charlotte, as well as that on the cross-town boulevard.

A letter finds it hypocritical for Justice Robert Jackson to recommend to the President prosecution of the German politicians, diplomats, and industrialists while not prosecuting the politicians of the United States. She wants them prosecuted by Mr. Jackson as traitors.

She is a little confused about how things work in America.

A letter from a Caldwell County teacher thanks the newspaper for its report of the meeting of the South Piedmont District teachers on October 18 and expresses support for a $1,500 to $3,600 annual salary for teachers.

A letter expresses the belief that Sunday professional football violated the Sabbath, and that the only way to maintain the country in prosperous condition was the Christian religion.

That was surely what Jesus said: No Sunday football. Keep the country prosperous and great.

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