The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President was returning this date from his Florida vacation to take personal command of the legal fight against John L. Lewis. Government officials stated that the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines might be utilized during the emergency to carry natural gas to the East Coast.

A dimout of unnecessary uses of electricity, including Christmas lights, was ordered by the Civilian Production Administration in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The order was more extensive than even in wartime. The coal strike, it was predicted, would darken half the country's Christmas trees should it last long enough. The ban also extended to movie theater marquees.

Representative Sam J. Ervin wrote the President a telegram urging that he call a special session of Congress to deal with the coal situation, and determine "which had the greatest vitality, John L. Lewis or the American Constitution."

We hope and trust it was a mistranscription either by the reporter or the telegrapher, that Mr. Ervin plainly intended the sentence to have read "the greater vitality" between the two.

The Foreign Ministers Council was facing several issues as it concluded its third week of meetings in New York. France was insisting on internationalization of the German Ruhr and that the German political situation first be determined before its economic problems were solved. The British and American proposal to have voluntary limitation of the use of the veto on the Security Council was likely to be opposed by Russia. The structure of the government of Trieste and the schedule by which American and British troops would be withdrawn remained also as issues.

In Meirengen, Switzerland, it was reported that the eleven Americans, six soldiers, four women, and a child, aboard a crashed C-53 transport plane were all alive. A rescue party of sixty people representing four nations had reached the location of the crash, across heavy snow drifts on a glacier at an 11,000-foot peak. Preparations were underway to bring the survivors out of the mountains. They were expected to be brought out the following day. The crash had occurred the previous Tuesday.

The Senate War Investigating Committee announced that it would begin on December 12 public hearings on Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo and his connection to receipt of substantial cash payments and gifts for funneling war contracts to constituents.

The Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee would begin its hearing on December 2 to determine whether Senator Bilbo attempted to prevent black voting in his home state.

In Pittsburgh, a 52-day old hotel workers strike ended with acceptance of a compromise wage offer of a $7 weekly increase for bartenders and a 50-cent hourly minimum for hotel and restaurant workers.

In Peoria, Ill., nine lions and two tigers ignored their trainer and engaged in a free-for-all for five minutes the previous day, battling one another until exhausted and two young lions lay dead. The trainer, with only a chair and stick for protection, escaped without injury despite being in the middle of the fighting beasts. The situation was touched off by an old lion striking a new tiger, which then struck back, and "all hell broke loose". The trainer was able to restore order.

In Atlanta, an Assistant Attorney General for Georgia engaged in a physical altercation with Emory C. Burke, president of the Columbians, Inc., the racist organization which was being sued by the State to revoke its charter for having gone beyond its limits. The Assistant Attorney General struck Mr. Burke, dropping him to the floor, bloodied, after saying he had taken all he was going to take from the racist. A heated argument preceded the fisticuffs. Mr. Burke had insinuated that the Assistant Attorney General was not "an Anglo-Saxon American". He said that he would pay Mr. Burke's hospital bill. Mr. Burke shook his finger at the assailant and stated that he would answer for what he had done. The judge was considering action against both men.

In San Diego, a legless prisoner escaped custody via his hip platform with roller skate wheels. He had been serving 30 days for intoxication. He escaped from the police pistol range where he was assigned a cleaning job. He traveled 200 yards, over a six-foot fence, and across a stream to a highway where he apparently hitched a ride.

In Huntsville, Tex., a prison guard of Lovelady, Texas, was beaten to death with a hammer and left in an apartment by two escaping convicts. One of the escapees was from Deaf Smith County, Texas, and the other was from Shelby, Ohio. Both were imprisoned on burglary convictions. The men had gone to the apartment to effect a telephone repair with the guard as their warden.

For three hours, people in the Eastern United States witnessed a partial solar eclipse with sunspots visible, climaxing at 12:26 p.m. Augusta, Me., registered observation of the largest eclipse viewed in the United States, 64 percent. Greenland observed 78 percent obfuscation. The sunspots were expected to create problems in radio transmission, telegraph and telephone lines for the ensuing two days.

In Greenville, S.C., the Greenville High School band was entertaining Charleston and spelled out a greeting on the football field in front of the Greenville stands. The greeting read: "OHELL".

The astonished drum major rushed to the group forming the front letter and urged them to move where they ought.

They probably had it about right without the change.

On the editorial page, "The Committee of the South" comments on the formation of a committee under the auspices of the National Planning Association, a nonpartisan organization devoted to planning American agriculture, business, labor and government, to study and plan the economics of the South. It would be headed by former North Carolina Governor J. Melville Broughton and would be a businessman's committee with only secondary interest in social problems.

Since social ills stemmed largely from economic ills, no one likely would take issue with that emphasis.

The committee was examining familiar but important ground, industrial expansion, diversification of agriculture, absorption of workers displaced by mechanized farming, adjustment of national policies to stimulate Southern development, and a continuing survey of Southern resources.

It suggests that the committee might be of utmost importance in freeing the South from the status of an economic colony. Recently, Governor Broughton had stated that the South needed fewer demagogues and more cows. The statement might provide the basic foundation for the committee.

"The Cheerful Vacationer" suggests that in the midst of a coal crisis, it was obviously prudent to retreat to Key West where it was warm, as had the President. But it was also bad press.

It might be that the President, who a few months earlier was the ridiculed object of the phrase, "Don't shoot the piano player, he is doing the best he can," could direct policy as easily from Key West as from Washington in an age of fast communication. It might also be a good ploy to show that the President did not need to alter his plans to accommodate John L. Lewis. But many would question whether the Presidency had sufficient prestige left to be worth protecting.

The manner of his departure, cavalierly waving off the impending coal crisis as not important as Mr. Lewis would not dare defy the Government, and the fact that he had appeared on Tuesday in a picture as a happy vacationer wearing a floppy linen cap and broad grin, had exacerbated the situation, when then came the headlines of Thursday showing that the miners had walked off the job, alongside the story that the President had gone barracuda fishing with Admiral William Leahy.

A few pictures of the President gravely pondering the crisis would have been sufficient to allay public concern, but there was none of that.

He had announced the previous day that he was returning to Washington as scheduled, to take personal command of the legal campaign against Mr. Lewis, but that was anti-climactic.

The piece wonders whether the President's press secretary, Charles G. Ross, was in the pay of the Republican Party.

"The Omniscient Representatives" comments on a recent conversation reported as having occurred at the U.N. between delegates Eleanor Roosevelt and Senator Tom Connally. Mrs. Roosevelt stated that she did not feel competent to comment on the subject of narcotics which was before the committee of which she was a member. Senator Connally had advised her that she did not need to know anything, that she only needed to raise her voice and pound the table that much harder to make her points.

The piece finds it not that funny, though intended as a joke. It was the way of things in Washington. It suggests that perhaps if the electorate expected less omniscience from its elected representatives, then they might begin calling on experts to tell them what was going on before rendering decisions which impacted important policy.

A piece from the Milwaukee Journal, titled "The Buying of Athletes", finds it heartening that a high school athletic league in Texas was decrying the buying of athletes for amateur competition. The piece agrees, finding that alumni of colleges and universities had, since the war, begun a campaign of subsidization of athletes. The trend was getting progressively worse.

It suggests that it could get so bad that as soon as promising babies were born, there would appear an alumnus or football coach offering a wad of money for early recruitment.

Drew Pearson reports that Secretary of State Byrnes was attempting to direct the Senate Investigating Committee away from investigation of the situation in Germany, the reported breakdown of American troop morale and the secret flirtation of some American businesses with Nazi cartels. Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan supported Mr. Byrnes in his position. Recently, committee chairman Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia and other members of the committee had met with the Secretary in New York regarding the issue and Mr. Byrnes remained adamant in his opposition to the investigation.

Mr. Byrnes favored having General Lucius Clay come before the committee rather than having the committee go to Germany. Committee member Senator William Knowland of California, whose family owned the Oakland Tribune, asserted the belief that the press was being shown only what the Army wanted it to see in Germany. Since the press had been taken on guided tours, the Senators should have just as much privilege to see the situation for themselves.

Senator Owen Brewster of Maine brought up the rumor that Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal's old banking firm, Dillon, Read, had representatives working in Germany to arrange tie-ups with Nazi cartels. Dillon, Read, said the Senator, had been rumored to have been a great factor in pre-Hitler Germany in the twenties, and were seeking to establish a similar role again. Secretary Byrnes disavowed knowledge of any such relationship.

Secretary Byrnes also expressed that any attempt at secret meetings in Germany would result inevitably in leaks to the press, that Drew Pearson was able to get any information he wanted to get, including the fact of the meeting of Mr. Byrnes with the Senators in New York and the substance of the meeting.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas and Senator Vandenberg remained loyal to Secretary Byrnes and asserted that such a Senate investigation would make the United States look bad in the eyes of the Russians. The Investigating Committee would make the final decision.

Marquis Childs tells of a report from the London Daily Express revealing that Britain had requested atom bombs from the United States, the first British source to report that story.

When the rumor first erupted that America had provided a stockpile of atomic weapons to Britain, Bernard Baruch, American delegate on the U.N. Atomic Energy Committee, had to convince the Russian delegate, Andrei Gromyko, that the rumor was false, following ascertainment of its untruth from the President and Secretary of War Robert Patterson. Mr. Baruch favored equal access by all nations to atomic energy and so had the rumor been true, it would have run contrary to his stated policy.

Britain had argued that they were entitled to atomic weapons for having worked on the bomb during the war.

Canada supplied most of America's uranium and India, its thorium. No sooner than the request of Britain was denied, the Maharajah of Travancore in India cut off that province's supply of thorium to the U.S., contending that he believed his own people should be allowed to develop the ability to produce nuclear energy. The British stated that he was a sovereign ruler of the province and they could not intercede.

The fact pointed out the problems with respect to nuclear energy and the attempt to have sole possession of it. Eventually, it could lead to war. It was the weight under which the U.N. delegates labored to try to effect international control.

Samuel Grafton finds the prospect of Senator Robert Taft being the leader of the left-wing of the Republican Party the scariest news to come along since the reported existence of the Loch Ness monster. Senator Taft was co-sponsor of the long-term housing bill, did not favor drastic anti-labor legislation, and did not want to cut everyone's taxes by twenty percent as favored by the Republican conservatives. So, he stood as the most left-wing offering the Republicans had.

Speaker-to-be Joe Martin of Massachusetts was getting the Republicans ready for fast action on tax cuts. Mr. Taft believed in some degree of restraint.

The New York Herald-Tribune recommended that the Republicans use experts to study the budget before beginning its program of cutting, albeit placing experts in between hash marks to suggest contextually some folly in the enterprise.

It might be too late to obtain restraint from the Republicans, that after fourteen years out of power, there would be a "Walpurgisnacht" of wild release rather than demonstration of reason. Calling in experts would suggest restraint.

Only since victory in the election had this split in the party developed. The Republicans had been forced by the victory to face reality.

A letter from a veteran with a home dissents to the plan for the cross-town boulevard in Charlotte, questioning its need and why it should not be in any event along a route of existing streets with little change to them. He provides the suggested route.

He thinks the two million dollars to be spent on the project would be better devoted to housing for veterans. The veterans who had been stationed in the Pacific islands, he apprises, had drawn pictures in the sand of the houses they dreamed of owning when they returned home.

A letter from defeated Republican candidate P. C. Burkholder responds to a letter which had suggested his former statement would be a boon to "harrassed" high school English 2 teachers. He finds the letter writer's use of the term "rhetorician" to have missed the reader. Mr. Burkholder had asked fifteen people to define the word and only one could. None could pronounce it.

"During the campaign I was an itinerant, but in no jactation do I try to jargon you. This is not exactly a jeremiad, but I should have isometric in juxtoposition so that my lucubrate was not in vein." He goes on vainly in the same vein for several juxtaposed, interjaculatory paragraphs.

Such filthy talk is obviously why Mr. Burkholder did not catch fire with the voters. Moreover, his supporters were obviously idiots, too.

A letter finds Drew Pearson's column of November 15 on John L. Lewis to be stating the case appropriately, thinks the "low-brow Communist" should be deported to Moscow.

He also thinks Mr. Lewis ought take over the Thomasville Chair Co. as there had been a strike there of 1,600 employees since July 26 at the behest of Mr. Lewis. The author had worked for the company and found the management very easy to get along with, paying proper wages. Everything was fine until John L. Lewis organized the employees of the furniture manufacturers.

The editors correct the writer, saying that Mr. Lewis had nothing to do with the strike at Thomasville, organized by the CIO, rival of Mr. Lewis who was now with the AFL. "And he is not a Communist, but a Republican."

A letter comments that the Disabled American Veterans wanted draft board files on public record to show slackers and believed that slackers ought be prosecuted, just as war profiteers, for war crimes. She agrees. Disloyal people had no rights in the country.

This day in 1963, a rainy Saturday in the South, saw, for the first time in the history of television, all normal programming suspended, as it would be for the ensuing two days through the time of the President's funeral on Monday. Condolences poured into Washington from all over the world, as the President's body lay in State in the East Room of the White House, to be moved to the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday for public eulogy by Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, and Speaker of the House John McCormack, and to enable the public to file past the casket.

Expressionless, quiet, somber shock remained the general demeanor and mood of the people.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke on Saturday of unmerited suffering being redemptive and that he, also, stood ready to die for the cause of justice.

Representatives Hale Boggs and Gerald Ford, both to be appointed by President Johnson the following Friday to the Warren Commission, reacted on Saturday to the President's death, as did former Vice-President Nixon, reading from a brief, prepared statement.

As the nation grieved on Sunday, a live national television transmission was being broadcast from Dallas showing accused assassin Lee Oswald being moved from the Dallas city jail to the county facility. Local nightclub owner Jack Ruby frequented the police department, was friendly with the police, had been present Friday night at a brief press conference with Oswald, and so had drawn no suspicion when observed by officers in the basement garage of the jail amid journalists covering the transfer. As Oswald, escorted by Dallas homicide detectives, stepped into the garage area at 11:15 a.m. to an awaiting car, Ruby suddenly stepped around, lunged forward, and shot Oswald once in the stomach. He later died at Parkland Hospital without ever regaining consciousness. The shooting had occurred an hour and fifteen minutes short of two days after the assassination of the President ten blocks away.

The country waited for the next shoe to drop.

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