The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the country appeared to be going to the polls in record numbers in the first peacetime election since 1938, with 35 million of the 60 million registered voters expected to cast their ballots, a record for a midterm election. Many cities, including New York, Kansas City, and Chicago, reported exceptionally heavy voting in the morning hours. Observers were predicting that the Republicans would take the House and the Democrats would retain the Senate.

In New York, attention was on the gubernatorial race between incumbent Thomas Dewey and Senator James Mead, with both predicting victory. Mr. Dewey's camp was hopeful of a sweep of New York offices, thereby placing him as frontrunner again for the nomination for president in 1948. The Senatorial contest was between former Governor Herbert Lehman and the Republican Leader of the State Assembly, Irving Ives.

It would prove later an historic election day as two future Presidents would be elected to public office for the first time, both elected to the House.

White Russia registered an objection with the U.N. regarding the site of the organization, asking that it be changed from the United States to Geneva or elsewhere in Europe, that the costs in New York for housing and the inadequate transportation facilities made it inhospitable to the foreign delegations.

The Netherlands asked the Big Four nations, in separate notes delivered to each foreign ministry, for 700 square miles of Germany in reparations for damage done to Holland during the war. It desired removal of certain bulges along the border with Germany, reducing its length by one-third to 220 miles. The territory contained 119,000 Germans.

The Big Four Foreign Ministers Council entered its second day of discussions to finalize the five treaties to which agreement had been reached in Paris. They first considered the Italian treaty, and Foreign Commissar Molotov again raised the question of the borders of Trieste, seeking territory for Yugoslavia in the city. The other foreign ministers objected to the matter being raised again after agreement had been reached in Paris on the question of the borders, but agreed to allow Yugoslavia to raise the issue without acquiescence to reconsideration of it.

In Jerusalem, eight Jewish leaders of the Jewish Agency, including the head of the agency's political department, Moshe Shertok, were released from a detention camp where they had been held since June 29 along with 120 others, soon to be released.

In Madrid, Spanish leftists were blamed for 14 bomb blasts in front of food stores. The violence was meant to coincide with discussion before the U.N. of the Franco Government. Police were raiding Communist Party headquarters and 200 had been arrested.

The national debt dropped by half a millions dollars versus the same point in 1945, the first such drop recorded since 1930. The primary reason for it was the redemption of two million dollars in Government securities on November 1.

Dick Young of The News reports of the possibility being discussed by the Charlotte Planning Board of consolidating City and County Governments and a study being suggested. Reference at the meeting had been made to the previous week's series of articles by Burke Davis on the subject.

In Charlotte, the attorneys for S. P. Stacks, former city and county police officer and night manager of the Barringer Hotel, found guilty in the killing of the hotel garage manager, occurring in October, 1945, withdrew his appeal to the State Supreme Court, scheduled for argument the following day. Mr. Stacks had shot the man, claiming self-defense. He was sentenced to 15 to 20 years. (Whether he was found guilty of murder or manslaughter has never been indicated.) The attorneys stated that after combing the record of the trial, they could find no legal error and Mr. Stacks decided that it would be too costly to pursue his appeal.

You better read that again, because you will not find that occurring these days. The lateness of the withdrawal suggests that the primary consideration was the attorney fee rather than the merits of the appeal.

If Mr. Stacks ever receives competent representation, he will likely have good grounds for an habeas corpus petition, for ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal.

The heaviest fog of the season had fallen over southern England and Ireland, disrupting transportation. In some parts of London and the Thames estuary, visibility was limited to two yards.

—Evening, Gov'nor.

—Evenin' to yuh, sir.

—What the Devil...?

—Sorry, sir. It being fogged this evenin', I could not help but help myself. Hope you won't miss your neck too much.

In Colorado, a three-day blizzard had preceded election day, with temperatures at 6 degrees in Leadville and 19 in Denver, reaching 35 in the mountains. The storm left eight dead, four of whom died trying to start stalled cars in snowdrifts. Crews were busy clearing runways at Stapleton Airfield in Denver. Beets appeared safe in the ground, with 75 percent already harvested.

On the editorial page, "It Looks Like the GOP's Day" finds the polls predicting that the Republicans would take the House and very likely the Senate from the Democrats. The polls would be correct.

The Republicans, as they admitted, were riding the crest of a negative wave, beneficiaries of the public frustration with Government control. The Republicans had promised nothing more tangible than freedom from that control.

The piece thinks it a good thing to give the GOP control of the Congress, to make it responsible rather than merely critical of the Democrats. The Democrats needed a breathing spell. The Republicans would have to make up their program as they went along, having provided no plan. Congressman Joe Martin of Massachusetts, to become Speaker, had only said that his party would open every day with a prayer and close with a probe.

He wasn't whistling Dixie.

The piece thinks it a good thing now. We shall see how it thinks a year or so down the road.

It adds that it would be happy, however, if the results came out differently and rendered the prediction unduly pessimistic.

"Progress—the Hard Way" recalls the reorganization plan undertaken during the gubernatorial administration of O. Max Gardner in 1931, giving the Governor authority over the State budget, transferring to the State authority over county roads under a State Highway Commission, providing the State with authority over the public schools, and consolidating the State-supported insitutions of higher learning into a single University system operating under a single budget.

The plan had come out of the need created by the fiscal crisis which had reduced revenue. Its major goal was to reduce taxes by wiping out the State's operating deficit, while expanding essential services.

In 1946, inflation, not deflation, was the fact of the day, and there were surpluses, not deficits. Most of the expansion of services was going to be accomplished from the surplus in the General Fund, and not much talk was taking place about reorganization and consolidation to bring more efficiency to government.

Governor Gardner had said in 1933 that if the cycle of extravagance and social demoralization had continued from the period 1925-29 for another decade, the country would have become "morally bankrupt". The piece finds the statement to have been prophetic and sound, and suggests a parallel to the present postwar period. It finds the country seemingly fated once more to misery and poverty before it could obtain the necessary perspective to motivate efficiency and reorganization.

"OPA Local Boards Disband" tells of the last of the OPA local boards ceasing to exist. They had never had a chance to win friends, but had done a necessary job for the country to prevent inflation. In time, it suggests, the people would come to appreciate the OPA personnel, many of whom had been volunteers, as having served the public well and would treat them properly as home front heroes.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "How to Live Long and Like It", tells of the passing of Confederate veteran Robert L. Thompson of Wake County at the age of 102, just prior to his birthday. He had attributed his longevity to three glasses per day of buttermilk, abstinence from coffee for the previous 76 years, and having smoked only one cigarette.

Another veteran, Charles S. Riggan of Warren County, who had fought at Gettysburg, was 104, attributed his long life to "pretty flowers, pretty women, and good music." He enjoyed cigars and drank liquor whenever he felt like it.

The editorial decides that the latter case was enough to bring into doubt the account of Mr. Thompson. His recipe, it says, could cut you off in your prime, at 103.

Drew Pearson reports that the President had stated to Senator-elect John Sparkman and Governor-elect "Big Jim" Folsom of Alabama that the Democrats would retain both the House and Senate. That was so despite newspaper reports of the political cognoscenti predicting a GOP House and a tough race to hold the Senate. Mr. Sparkman agreed with the President, predicting that the Democrats would hold 231 seats rather than 235 in the new House and 53 rather than 56 seats in the Senate. The President predicted that Missouri Senator Frank Briggs, who had been appointed as his replacement in 1945, would win re-election.

Governor Folsom was also optimistic, believing the Republicans were losing ground because they refused to take a stand on anything, choosing instead a negative campaign.

Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia had provided a pessimistic Democratic forecast for the election. He would wind up being correct.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the cotton price decline having been predicted by then Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles the previous March, recalling the sudden rise and then fall of cotton in the wake of World War I. Mr. Bowles had recommended increasing the margin requirements for traders to reduce speculation and prevent rising prices. Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, however, refused to listen, striving to maintain high prices for the cotton farmers. He had also been investing in the cotton market through his family members. When the bottom fell out of the market, as Mr. Bowles had accurately predicted it would, after climbing to a near-record level of 39 cents per pound, many were hurt, including Senator Thomas. Yet, he blamed the speculators when it was primarily his own intransigence in the face of sound advice which had led to the debacle.

Congressman Wright Patman of Texas was trying to obtain copies of the report of recently fired Assistant Attorney General O. John Rogge, fired at the insistence of President Truman for disclosing in an address at Swarthmore the activities amicable to the Nazis in which Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana and UMW leader John L. Lewis had participated prior to Pearl Harbor, the former making speeches written by Nazi agents and the latter helping to arrange the W. R. Davis oil deal with the Reich and agreeing with Hermann Goering, through Mr. Davis, to help defeat FDR in 1940. Mr. Patman wanted from the report a list of American firms which had assisted the Nazi-controlled industrialists before Pearl Harbor, together with secret treaties formed between the Reich and Spain, Italy, Russia, and other countries.

Secretary of State Byrnes and Assistant Secretary Will Clayton were having a dispute as to whether to cease credits to nations within the Soviet orbit. Mr. Clayton thought it would drive them further toward the Russian sphere of influence. He also wanted Russia to participate in the world trade conference in London.

The American Army had trained 22 Chinese armies, 707,000 men, to fight against the Chinese Communists. It was four times the number of Chinese soldiers trained by the Americans during the war with Japan.

The State Department had disapproved a deal with Argentina to sell the surplus corvettes and landing craft from the war, out of fear that they could be used to foster aggressive warfare.

Marquis Childs, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, tells of that state being solidly Republican, as much as the South was solidly Democratic. Being nominated in the primary meant sure election in the fall in a one-party system. The economy was doing well in the state, with corn and hogs and cattle in plenty, awaiting good markets.

On his way from Clinton to Cedar Rapids, he had passed a small airport containing eight private planes, signal of the local prosperity. The thriving countryside looked as something out of one of Grant Wood's paintings.

The prosperity was new. Many had to struggle during the twenties and thirties to maintain their farms. In 1931 and 1932, enraged farmers had banded together to prevent foreclosure sales of their properties. Corn was selling at a fraction of its current price. And all of those times came in the thick of Republican Administrations, the latter of which of a President born and raised in Iowa.

Now, amid prosperity, the subjects of conversation were the evils of the New Deal, government intervention, and Washington bureaucracy. The Republicanism was remindful of 1920.

If commodities prices started slipping, however, the reaction would be subject to question. The Southern conservative Democrats, against price control, had raised the cry for Government help as the bottom had fallen out of the cotton market in the previous couple of weeks. Thus, the same might occur in conservative Iowa should prices of corn, cattle, or hogs start falling.

The cost of the Republicanism of 1920 which led to the depression of 1931-32 had been so high that Iowa went Democratic for several elections in a row. He implicitly warns of the same possibility in cycle again.

Samuel Grafton discusses the sudden tendency of the consumer to withhold his purchases given high prices. Some people had money and some did not. The eagerness with which the new goods were greeted in the earlier part of the year had passed and no longer were there hordes of eager buyers.

The people had come back to reality and the conservatives, riding high at the start of the year, had suddenly come to realize that again the hordes of people were individuals concerned about feeding and housing themselves and their families.

Mr. Grafton does not know whether this change in attitude would be reflected at the polls, but believes that there would be cryptic anomalies exhibited which would baffle "some of those political primitives who made easy reputations for themselves during a time when everybody had money, and no worries."

A letter writer cautions against placing much confidence in the new Soviet proposal for worldwide disarmament, that as long as Russia remained in its expansionist mode, it was not to be trusted. He thinks it better that Russia concentrate on building its own country and abandon Communism and expansionism.

He probably needed to be reminded that Russia had lost some 20 million people in the war and had suffered devastation to all of its major cities and industries, while America was without physical damage and had lost about 300,000 of its citizens in the war. The different perspective and the consequent desire for territorial buffer zones had quickly been forgotten, though constantly reprised by columnists during the latter stages of the war when the Soviet sacrifice was daily on the front pages.

A letter from the Charlotte Teachers' Association reprints a resolution from its last meeting, mourning the loss of Dr. Julian Miller, former Editor of The News and Editor of The Charlotte Observer at the time of his sudden death from a heart attack on July 28. He had been a member of the Mecklenburg Board of Education and the State Board of Education, had aided the state in educational progress.

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