Thursday, October 31, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 31, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. General Committee voted to include on the General Assembly's agenda the issue of arms limitation proposed by Russia two days earlier. The British proposed the matter be added to the agenda. The primary division was expected to be in the type of inspections which would be allowed and tolerated to enforce such an agreement among the nations.

The Committee also voted to include the question of the Franco Government in Spain on the agenda.

Cotton had reached its limit of $10 per bale change in price, but this time in the other direction, going upward, following the one-day suspension of the market the previous day.

The stock market also rose, with many issues rising $1 to $5, after trading the previous day had registered those amounts in losses.

The President was studying the cotton situation, but press secretary Charles G. Ross stated that no immediate action from the Government would be forthcoming.

The President headed home to Independence, Missouri, to vote on Tuesday in the mid-term election.

The White House directed OPA head Paul Porter to throw out price controls on shoes, and he complied. Shoe prices were expected to rise 20 to 30 percent as a result, before heading downward again. Controls on leathers and hides, also at White House direction, were likewise removed. Mr. Porter had not wanted to release controls on leather goods because of the shortage of leather and the consequence that release of controls would send prices skyrocketing.

In Washington, a group, dubbing itself "60-cent sirloin or bust", was organized to obtain support for boycotting steak until it reached that price.

The Washington hotel strike was settled after 22 days, impacting 18 hotels.

In White Plains, N.Y., a wealthy, prominent member of the community was charged with murder of his wife, shot in their bedroom in front of their six-year old son after an argument regarding the husband's drinking. The young boy, seeing the event, stated, "Poppy shot mommy. They were arguing and they got pretty excited and poppy said, 'I'll fix you,' and he went and got a gun and poppy shot mommy." The man claimed that he and his wife had been drinking during the day, she heavily. But, he claimed, he was not intoxicated at the time of the shooting.

In Detroit, the two women school teachers who had shielded a draft dodger-artist for five years during the war, one being his wife until she divorced him after two years of the ordeal, and the other his girlfriend, who then took over the shielding duties, were sentenced to six months and four months, respectively, for their roles in the crime. The man had already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to three years. He had said that his wife's big blue eyes had convinced him originally not to report for induction as he went to catch the bus in 1941.

News reporter Jeanne Marshall reports that the Charlotte Library suffered from the worst shortage of personnel in its history and would request therefore from the Board of County Commissioners salary adjustments to its budget. If not allowed, the library would have to start closing at 6:00 p.m., rather than 9:00 p.m. on weekdays. Make note.

Burke Davis of The News continues his series of articles on the separate City and County Governments in Charlotte creating waste. He tells this date of the early settlement of the community having been adequately served by the separate governments without overlapping services. But as the city had grown and spread out and the population increased, the problems began to develop. He explains the argument of the City for consolidation or of extending the city limits to be coterminous with those of the county.

The widow of Major Richard Bong, flying ace of the war in the Pacific, who had shot down 40 Japanese planes before dying in a test flight crash on August 6, 1945, the same day the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, was married anew the previous night.

On the editorial page, "Trial Balloon for Mr. Byrnes" reports of the Atlanta Constitution asking what was wrong with Secretary of State Byrnes as the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1948 in the event President Truman stepped aside. The piece thinks it a good question, that Mr. Byrnes was well qualified for the presidency and enjoyed far higher esteem than did Mr. Truman.

He also had been condemned vehemently by the Russians, placing him therefore in good stead with the anti-Russian voters. The leftist Negro Congress out of South Carolina had also criticized him, another feather in his cap in a negative campaign year, sure to be attractive to conservatives.

His candidacy would also remove foreign relations from the table as he had been a leading champion of bi-partisan diplomacy throughout his tenure as Secretary, always including Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan in his decision-making. He had become a hero of both parties.

His major drawback was that he was from South Carolina, seen, along with the rest of the South, as a political desert by party chieftains. As a favorite son candidate, he could not deliver electoral votes not assured to the Democrats anyway. Thus, the piece predicts, just as the case had been in 1944 when he was nixed for the vice-presidential spot on the ticket for his South Carolina heritage, he would also be nixed for the nomination in 1948.

"Questions for the Congress" remarks on the 80th Congress, which would be seated in January, having to face the question of redefining the right to strike, when not involving wages, hours, or working conditions. Did it include jurisdictional strikes and sympathy strikes? Did it include strikes undertaken plainly for political purposes?

The piece thinks the latter question had to be answered in the negative. Recently, longshoremen refused to load an UNRRA ship headed to Yugoslavia, occurring shortly after the August 9 and 19 incidents involving the shooting down of two American planes by the Yugoslavian forces. While many might agree in principle with the refusal, the longshoremen had used their strength to impose their will on the Government, which had approved the UNRRA shipment.

In Portland, Maine, striking seamen picketed a newspaper in protest of its criticism of their union. Truck drivers then refused to cross the picket line and, in consequence, the newspaper was not delivered. Thus, the Constitutional right of freedom of the press had effectively been denied by a union upset with the newspaper.

These were clear-cut examples of unions interfering with entities with whom they had no contract and thus no right of collective bargaining. But other situations were more difficult. The time had come for stricter definition of the right to strike.

"A Problem Comes Home to Roost" agrees with the per curiam decision of the Supreme Court the previous Monday in dismissing the case seeking to enjoin the results of the Georgia election on the basis of the unfairness of the county-unit voting system, leaving the lower court ruling in effect. Essentially, the Court side-stepped the issue, finding no jurisdiction over the matter, that the manner of elections, at least in state elections, was the province of the states to determine.

It left in place an unsavory result, the nomination and assured election of Eugene Talmadge as Governor, though there was no question of the undemocratic nature of the county-unit voting system which gave deference to less populated counties against the more populated areas. Mr. Talmadge had lost the popular vote.

It properly distinguishes the electoral system nationally, based on population, from the county-unit voting system, not based on population. One vote in the smallest county in Georgia was equal to 106 votes in Atlanta.

It also led to anomalous situations such as in the Congressional race of incumbent Helen Mankin, defeated by the county-unit system though winning a majority of votes in her district. The party leaders had implemented the system with the intent of defeating her after the district had for years voted on the basis of popular majority.

The responsibility to correct the system was now with Georgians, and, it ventures, that might be a blessing, since the state could no longer rely on the Federal courts to intervene to undo unfair results.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "A Genuinely Fateful Conflict", discusses the issue of freight rate discrimination and the petition of nine Northern Governors to enjoin the Interstate Commerce Commission order roughly equalizing rates between the North and the South, taking away decades of discrimination in freight rates between the two regions.

The piece finds it ironic that the North was complaining now that the shoe was on the other foot and the discrimination which had beset the South for so many decades was now being erased. The North was suddenly proclaiming itself to be a victim of a form of discrimination.

Drew Pearson tells of the basis for the firing of Assistant Attorney General O. John Rogge on direct orders of President Truman because of Mr. Rogge's public discussion of the report he had compiled in Germany based on the statements of the captured Nazis and war crimes tribunal defendants. Indirectly, the orders came from Senator Burton Wheeler, a friend of the President, upset about Mr. Rogge's public statements about the contents of the report, anent the Senator having made isolationist speeches at the behest of the Nazis. John L. Lewis also was reported to have had a role in the dismissal, based on the same reason, support from the Nazis in his effort to defeat President Roosevelt in 1940.

Mr. Rogge had discussed his Swarthmore College speech on October 22 with Attorney General Tom Clark in advance and received approval for its contents. He had also cleared it through one other Cabinet member. Two days passed after the speech and nothing had happened. On October 24, Senator Wheeler went to the White House for a two-hour conference with the President. Mr. Wheeler was not only a friend of the President but was also an ally of John L. Lewis.

After the conference, the President ordered Mr. Clark to fire Mr. Rogge immediately. Mr. Clark issued the termination letter at midnight.

Mr. Rogge, he notes, had one of the best records in the Justice Department, having helped in the prosecution of Boss Tom Pendergast of Kansas City, having convicted Governor Richard Leche of Louisiana, part of the Long gang, and tried the pro-Nazi seditionists in the country.

He next tells of RNC chairman Carroll Reece remaining mum about a link between the Republicans and pro-Communist Vincent Longhi, a candidate from New York's Twelfth Congressional District in Brooklyn. Mr. Longhi had failed to report for induction to the Army, but when he joined the Merchant Marine, prosecution for draft evasion was dropped. He was the office manager of the Joint Anti-Fascist League, a pro-Communist organization, and was also an officer of the National Maritime Union, with strong leftist leanings. He also was affiliated with L'Unita del Popolo, a Communist newspaper. Yet, Mr. Reece, despite freely placing the all-embracing Communist label on Democrats, supported Mr. Longhi without reservation.

Finally, he tells of General William "Wild Bill" Donovan, who had in 1942 organized the OSS, being upset with Governor Thomas Dewey over being snubbed as the Republican Senatorial candidate from New York, in favor of an obscure Cornell dean, Irving Ives. General Donovan had sought Governor Dewey's crucial support but was given the brush-off. His staff believed that the Governor made a deal with labor to have the pro-labor Mr. Ives be the candidate. While General Donovan was being a good sport about the matter, managing the Ives campaign, his staff might retaliate against Governor Dewey in 1948 when he would again seek the Republican presidential nomination.

Marquis Childs discusses Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, up for re-election though not having set foot in his home state during the campaign for the fact of his duties as an American delegate to the Paris Peace Conference in the summer and presently the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. He was nevertheless expected to win.

The Senator had undergone a transformation from an isolationist to an internationalist in recent years, convinced that cooperation was the only way to achieve permanent peace. His friend, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, another convert, had recently assured Senator Vandenberg that he was behind his foreign policy completely.

If the Republicans were to gain control of the House, then Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, a narrow-minded nationalist, would become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, able effectively to block foreign policy measures. Both Senators Vandenberg and Taft well understood this possibility.

Senator Vandenberg could be relied upon to try to bring the isolationists among the Republicans into line with his views.

Samuel Grafton discusses the incipient recession, predicted for the spring, as being the most important issue in the campaign. Yet, most candidates were not talking about it, stressing instead how they would raise prices for the farmer while lowering them for the consumer, and cut taxes while balancing the budget.

The debate on the subject was consistently appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Journal of Commerce. But it was absent from the lay press and the campaign. The result was that the electorate would proceed to the polls the following Tuesday uninformed of the most salient issue at stake.

Even though farm prices were likely to decline steadily into the future, the Midwestern farmers would likely cast their vote for the Republicans because they had stood against ceilings on food. There were no longer scarcities of food, only manufactured goods, and thus abundant supply would send prices lower. A question for the farmer was whether the Government would continue to spend enough on relief and public works programs, key New Deal components, to enable consumers in the cities to go on buying farm products when the recession hit.

The Democrats did not want the blame for the prospective recession and the Republicans did not want it to seem that abandoning price controls had precipitated the downturn. Thus, both parties simply steered clear of the issue.

Some would cast their ballots against the Democrats because of the strike waves since the war. But a Republican Congress, though likely to pass anti-labor legislation, would not be able to impact the coming winter round of strikes, as it would take years for any new legislation to be determined in the courts, just as it had for the Wagner Act.

The Democrats, in dealing with a recession, would likely stress relief and public works, while the Republicans were likely to let the slump take its course as a corrective measure to inflation. Mr. Grafton posits that this difference should be informing the debate. Instead, the candidates sounded "like members of a high school class exchanging talks on how they spent their Summer."

A letter from Sarah Orr finds the City Council's decision to allow debate of alternate routes for the cross-town boulevard to be an admission of lack of proper preliminary study of the route before it was proposed by the Planning Board. More discussion would only lead to a belief that the route ultimately to be chosen would be arbitrary based on which group of citizens exerted the greater political clout to keep it out of their neighborhoods.

She finds the whole matter simply to be resolved by paying fair remuneration to property owners whose property would be acquired for the highway right-of-way, as well as to owners whose property value would be reduced.

The editors explain that an expert appraisal board would appraise property values to determine compensation for both the property actually taken and property depreciated by the presence of the highway. The City, it points out, had rarely had to invoke its right of eminent domain to take property, as the appraisals had almost always been accepted by the residents without contesting them through the court system.

A letter from Inez Flow responds to the editorial of October 28, "Bootlegging Also Brutalizes Consumers", setting forth facts that showed the liquor trade in dry Mecklenburg County had resulted only in high-priced bootleg liquor and depriving of the community of the revenue from its legal sale.

The letter writer wonders how the police chief could have compiled the statistics on liquor consumption without being able to incriminate the bootleggers. It suggests calling in the SBI to break up the ring if the police could not do it.

The editors respond that ABC stores would not increase the amount of liquor circulating in the community but would do away with the demand for the illegal trade and its concomitant crime, including murder, while providing revenue to the public coffers rather than to the purses of bootleggers.

A letter from a man 72 years old from Wadesboro says he admired those who were not so much slaves to meat that they would pay "sucker prices" for steak and pork chops. In the previous two weeks, he had eaten a pound of frankfurters, a pound of hamburger, no chicken, no butter. He was living off canned milk and cereals, worked hard, felt fine.

A letter from Harriet Purser, associated with the Mecklenburg County Girl Scout Council, thanks the newspaper for its editorial urging volunteer leaders for the Girl Scouts, the shortage of whom had produced a waiting list of a thousand girls for entry to the organization.

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