The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 16, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Solid Fuels Administration froze all soft coal supplies in anticipation of Wednesday's bituminous coal mine strike. Another order also froze transit of coal.

It was possible that the Smith-Connally Act, providing for up to a year in jail, would be invoked against John L. Lewis if he did insist on the strike. A special session of the lame duck Congress might also be convened to pass a law to prevent a strike in such a vital industry.

A special report from Library, Pa., tells of the coal miners not eagerly looking forward to a strike but also not wishing to work without a contract.

Obviously, they paid attention solely to John L. Lewis and ignored entirely the Government. They thought Mr. Lewis foolish to have dealt with the Government in the first place, that operators ought be running the mines.

Everything in the world ought be perfect; but it's not.

In Birmingham, Ala., twelve men were jailed for taking part in a cafe strike for violating a court order preventing the strike to continue.

In Atlantic City, a committee of six CIO representatives, equally divided between the "left wing" and "right wing" of the labor organization, met to try to iron out differences.

France and China agreed with Russia, Britain, and the United States, in opposing the move by some of the smaller nations, led by Cuba and Australia, to abandon the unilateral veto of the Big Five in the Security Council of the U.N. All members except Russia, however, favored a self-imposed limit of the use of the veto, reserving it for rare cases. The French delegate stated that the Security Council had not worked very well so far and it was proper to be concerned about the overuse of the veto.

The State Department issued a fourth note to Rumania, encouraging a free election the following Tuesday. There was no indication of sanction for violations. Previously, the State Department had been using revocation of loan commitments as leverage to encourage democracy.

The President told Naval Academy cadets at Annapolis that they should remain alert for any duty necessary to keep the peace in the world.

The Federal Reserve Board ended all controls on credit except for installment purchases of automobiles, radios, furniture and nine other types of durable goods.

Charlotte Mayor Herbert Baxter was studying the possibility of using G.I. loans to veterans to enable private construction of badly needed additional housing units in Charlotte, as demonstrated by the fact that 1,300 veterans and their families had lined up earlier in the week to register for 404 temporary dwelling units at Morris Field.

Tom Fesperman tells of the first family to move into the Morris Field units. They had been living in a tent. Another couple were moving from a single room with their three children. Another young family had been living in a chicken house.

In Malden, Mass., a young woman celebrating her 19th birthday heard two gunshots in the kitchen of the family home, entered to find both her parents shot, her father having fatally shot his wife and then himself. The World War I veteran, said neighbors, had been in good spirits the previous night.

In Spencer, Indiana, an earlier reported story of a murder the previous March of a woman and a man who owned a stone company, the murder having occurred at a stone quarry near Bloomington, concluded with the guilty plea of a man for one of the murders and a sentence to life imprisonment. The other murder charge was dismissed in light of the plea. The man said that he came upon the couple involved in a love tryst and surprised them, bashing in the man's skull with an iron bar and strangling the woman with a rope, then throwing both bodies into a sludge pit. Both the man and woman had been churchgoing members of their community and were involved in the church choir.

In Philadelphia, safecrackers who had broken into an exterminating firm early in the day accidentally set off four DDT bombs and may have inhaled the fumes. Police alerted hospitals.

That isn't going to affect anything. We used to play in the DDT every Thursday night in the summertime.

In the Los Angeles area, the mountains recorded six feet of snow in the most severe November storm on record, threatening Southern California's citrus belt.

Also in Los Angeles, police were conducting a mass hunt for a missing three-room house, which a woman reported stolen from a lot in the San Fernando Valley. If you see the house moving down the highway, approach carefully.

The story could have been the result of a mangled transmission on the wire, maybe from another life cost the cat in Kewanee, that a San Fernando Valley woman from whom a lot had been stolen had contacted police, pursuant to which they were conducting a house hunt for a missing three-room moose, or even a free-boom mastiff. Approach that one also with care.

On the editorial page, "The Lions in the Path" comments on Josephus Daniels having returned from Washington to write an editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer, appalled by the serious talk among Democrats of going along with a Republican "honeymoon period" of cooperation. Such an invitation, he pointed out, had been put forward by a new Republican Congress in 1894 to President Grover Cleveland if he would abandon his stand on low tariffs, his hostility to imperialism, and adherence to the Monroe Doctrine. Such a friendly hand had likewise been extended at the start of the second Wilson Administration, when Mr. Daniels was Secretary of the Navy, and it had led to America's isolationism and ultimate necessary involvement directly in the war as a consequence.

Such a honeymoon in 1947, he predicted, could lead back to more isolationism and a repeat of the debacle following World War I.

John Foster Dulles, Republican foreign policy adviser, wanted the Atlantic Ocean turned into an "American lake", a move which Mr. Daniels found to equate to Russian, British, and French imperialism, "the three lions in the path of peace".

The piece thinks Mr. Daniels, if somewhat partisan in his approach, well-qualified to venture such predictions, and heed to the warnings was due. It was a reminder that American foreign policy was being shaped as much by forces within the country as without.

"The Baptists and Gene Talmadge" comments on the fact that most Georgia newspapers had inveighed against the gubernatorial candidacy of former Governor Eugene Talmadge since the spring. The Atlanta Constitution and Journal had led the way with the salvos. He did lose the popular vote but won the primary election based on the county-unit voting system, weighting the advantage to the less populated rural counties.

To his followers he became a martyr because of the attack by the newspapers, a fact he brandished before them consistently.

The previous week, 600,000 white Georgia Baptists, meeting in their annual convention, invited Georgia's black Baptists, also meeting in convention, to join them in a joint session. The black Baptists passed a resolution declaring a day of prayer for Governor Talmadge, praying that Christianity would prevail in the state. The white Baptists also passed a resolution, condemning hate groups and discrimination based on race, creed, or color.

The three acts, says the piece, amounted to a slap in the face to Governor Talmadge, and it doubts that he would dare launch the same kind of attack on their credibility as he had so successfully done against the newspapers.

Governor Talmadge would soon die, before taking office.

"'This Flurry of Declarations....'" tells of the Richmond Times-Dispatch a few months earlier having questioned the validity, and even the existence, of the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775, claimed as the first such declaration in the colonies. Thomas Jefferson had also questioned its validity.

A researcher of Forksville then came up with evidence that South Carolinians had drafted, ratified, and adopted the Liberty Point Declaration 20 days before Mecklenburgers got around to their declaration.

Then a researcher from Richmond stated that in 1772, East Tennesseans, then considered Virginians, had formed the Watauga Association which put forward the first constitution out of the colonies.

The piece corrects the researcher, explains that Watauga was at the time in Western North Carolina and became part of Tennessee only in 1796.

Drew Pearson, as the previous day, looks at John L. Lewis. Many legends had grown up around him, such as the one in which he had supposedly knocked out a mule with one blow of his fist. He had in fact once knocked to the floor with one blow 250-pound Bill Hutchinson, head of the carpenters' union, at an Atlantic City labor convention. Both men remained nevertheless close friends and supporters mutually of the Republicans.

A myth that he ate three beefsteaks for breakfast appeared belied by the personal experience of Mr. Pearson who had lunched with Mr. Lewis and found him eating only one beefsteak.

Another myth was that he would not hesitate to resort to violence to accomplish his ends. In June, 1922, 400 miners at Herrin, Ill., surrounded 19 steam shovel operators who were strip-mining with modern methods, and shot them to death. Mr. Lewis had sent a telegram to the union local telling the miners that they had the right to treat the steam shovel operators as any scab, and so was blamed for spawning the violence.

He once enjoyed lavish Washington parties thrown by Evalyn Walsh McLean, but in recent years had curtailed his social activities.

Most of his neighbors in Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac, liked him. One woman whose home was, as that of Mr. Lewis, an historical landmark and on an annual tour of historic homes, eventually withdrew her home rather than share the tour with Mr. Lewis. His second historic home was a mansion where Light-Horse Harry Lee made his famous oration at the death of George Washington.

The Republicans had no great affinity for him but did not wish to snub him either, preferred that the Democrats do it. They hoped the Democrats would settle the coal strike so that they did not have to wrestle with it.

The American public recalled that Mr. Lewis was the only major labor union leader to call a strike during the war and so the Republicans were loath to embrace him too closely. He was aware also that if he did call a strike this time, the new Congress would pass restrictive legislation.

Mr. Lewis had called a strike in fall, 1941, which had indirectly aided the Nazi cause by impacting 250,000 workers, including 200,000 sympathy strikers, adversely also impacting the steel industry and thus munitions and armament manufacture. He had used his influence in 1938-1940 to arrange for the sale through William Rhodes Davis of the expropriated Mexican oil to Nazi Germany. He also discussed with a member of the German Economic Ministry a plan to swing labor votes to Wendell Willkie in the 1940 election.

Marquis Childs, (not, as by-lined, Harold Ickes), indicates that if John L. Lewis were to obtain all for which he was asking for the coal miners, it would open a can of worms in the country, triggering a new round of strikes. All CIO unions would follow his lead and seek even greater benefits because of the competition with AFL. But those unions would be facing private companies who would refuse to yield. Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug had informed the President of this status.

Mr. Krug believed that the Smith-Connally Act could be invoked in the event of a strike, to obtain an injunction and potentially send Mr. Lewis to jail for calling the strike. Attorney General Tom Clark agreed.

Some believed that Mr. Lewis was simply trying in the present dispute to wreck CIO because of his hatred for Philip Murray.

Reconversion director John R. Steelman was a friend to Mr. Lewis, and also close to the President. It remained to be seen whether he would intervene on behalf of UMW.

Mr. Krug was adamant in his position and had made a good impression in his tenure at Interior since taking over in March from Harold Ickes. He had done more traveling than Mr. Ickes during his 12 years in the position. Mr. Krug had also received several lucrative offers from the private sector and so it was conceivable that he might leave the Government if the coal dispute was not settled to his liking.

Mr. Krug's primary goal was to turn the mines back to the private operators. While the chess game between Mr. Krug, Mr. Steelman, and Mr. Lewis played out, the President would be vacationing in Florida, scheduled to leave a week hence.

Samuel Grafton comments on the country not getting along very well at present. There was inimicality between the housewife who was resisting higher prices and the producers wanting to charge them.

In some sections of industry there was also a purchasing agents' strike against higher prices.

Meanwhile, farm prices were dropping as prices of manufactured goods rose. While true that farm prices had already risen while prices on manufactured goods had not to the same degree, the fact did not ameliorate the 20 to 50 percent increase in some products, such as shoes and soaps.

There was also tension between management and labor as both waited to see what would transpire in price increases and the potential thus for demanded wage increases.

The country would now determine whether the Republicans intended a program for domestic peace or domestic war.

A letter from a regular writer suggests that the liberal Democrats would await the return of the prodigals who had chosen to elect a Republican Congress. They would learn soon enough that their confidence in such catch-phrases as "free enterprise" and the branding of Democrats as Reds would profit them nothing but more reliance on trickle-down, as in the days of the Hoover Administration.

They would, he confidently predicts, return.

And, two years later, they would. They always do.

A piece from the Fort Mill Times by William Bradford, who had written articles before in that publication on the vagaries of booze trafficking between Fort Mill, S.C., and Charlotte, indicates that he had never before actually been to Fort Mill on a Saturday night to examine the source of the liquor flow among the "darkies", but had the previous Saturday night. Blacks from Charlotte, he reports, came in by droves on buses and bought their legal limit of liquor for resale at a tidy profit either to bootleggers or other consumers in dry Charlotte. Many would go from rags to riches, he was told, within 15 to 20 days in the trade.

A letter suggests that there was afoot an attempt to revive the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to limit the crops of farmers.

The editors respond that it was news to them.


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