The Charlotte News

Monday, December 2, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Federal trial of John L. Lewis on contempt charges for violating the Federal Court's restraining order that he affirmatively call off the coal strike of November 20 and not declare the Government contract of May 29 void, continued in Washington, with the Judge saying that he would provide his own evidence the following day that Mr. Lewis had violated the order.

Meanwhile, the Court ruled inadmissible the Government's evidence of a newsreel comment by Mr. Lewis the previous spring that the coal agreement would last for the duration of the Government operation, as tending to show his willfulness in disobeying the order. The Court ruled, however, that the evidence might be admitted later in the trial. The defense objected that it was irrelevant as having been made six or seven months earlier. (Presumably, the newsreel contained a voice track of some of this footage.)

Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug announced that the Government was planning to initiate immediate movement of natural gas through the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines to the East Coast.

A Federal District Court in Chicago dismissed charges of violation of the Lea Act against American Federation of Musicians leader James Caesar Petrillo. He had been accused of violating the law by calling a strike against a Chicago radio station in support of a demand to hire additional musicians whom the station contended were unnecessary. The Lea Act prohibited broadcasters from being compelled to hire more employees than needed. The Court held, however, that the Act was void for vagueness in its definition of a criminal offense, violated the First Amendment by limiting picketing, and violated the Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments by its restrictions upon employment of labor.

At the U.N., the U.S. declared that the attempt by the Soviets to have the Security Council, with its unilateral veto held by the Big Five, in control of atomic energy, was too narrow and circumscribed. Senator Tom Connally stated that the U.S. opposed any right of veto over the inspection machinery for assurance of adherence to arms limitations. The Soviet proposal had also ignored poison gas, jet-propelled weaponry, and other weapons of mass destruction. The veto, he said, would assure absence of international control.

Former Vermont Senator Warren Austin, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., stated that the United States could make the San Francisco Presidio, an Army installation, available as the permanent site for the U.N., subject to approval by the Congress. He said that the Executive Branch stood willing to submit the proposal to Congress should the U.N. site selection committee approve it.

The U.S.S. Mt. Olympus set sail as the flagship of a 4,000-man, four-ship Navy expedition to the South Pole, scheduled to last four months. The expedition was commanded by Admiral Richard E. Byrd. The ships left Norfolk and was headed to Panama for the first leg of the 10,000-mile journey.

Burke Davis of The News begins a two-part series of articles on the prosecution of drunks in Charlotte. The previous Monday, dry Charlotte had a record number of 90 defendants being prosecuted for public drunkenness. Most paid their $8 fines and went about their way. About 10,000 such cases, one for every 15 citizens, had been prosecuted the previous year. By common experience, the number of those that were not prosecuted was even higher.

Police records showed that 90 percent of disorderly conduct cases had to do with drinking, not to mention the more serious crimes.

Sentences were rarely stiff, save the occasional 30 days on the roads for those who could not afford the fine. The judge of the court viewed alcoholism as a disease and he doubted that the courts could do much to halt the parade of drunks appearing daily. The police and the judge placed faith in the ability of Alcoholics Anonymous, but that organization could only reach a small portion of the drunk population. There was nothing being done to deter drunkenness.

Some drank canned heat juice and some ate shoe polish, others consumed rubbing alcohol.

The McDougle Law made two years on the roads a mandatory sentence for habitual drunks. But some court officials believed it too strict and seldom gave the habitual drunks the maximum.

There was one case of a Charlotte drunk who had appeared in court almost every month for twenty years. He worked hard at his jobs, but once a month went on a drunken tear. The courts were powerless in dealing with such an individual.

The County Police Chief believed that either prohibition should be strictly enforced or ABC stores should be approved by the voters. He placed partial blame on the dry forces for pushing for the law and then abandoning support of the officers left to enforce it.

Mr. Davis concludes that sobriety was something Charlotte and Mecklenburg County would have to get along without.

On the editorial page, "It's a Matter of Principle" discusses the contempt case against John L. Lewis. It suggests the presence of an advisory jury, but that had been reported waived by Mr. Lewis.

It favors teaching Mr. Lewis a lesson, that no one man could place himself above the interests of the people of the country and paralyze industry. The Government was following the only course it could.

"Notes on the Eisenhower Boom" discusses the rumors that General Eisenhower might be courting the favor of either the Democrats or Republicans for the 1948 presidential nomination, despite statements from his aides that he had no political ambitions. Neither of the parties was willing to discuss the prospect, as each was stocked with its own potential candidates. The Republicans had Governor Thomas Dewey, former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, Senator-elect John W. Bricker, Senator Robert Taft, and Governor Earl Warren. The Democrats had President Truman, the traditional heir apparent for the nomination, with a possible challenge from Henry Wallace.

General Eisenhower's greatest political asset was personality, his ability to be charming and say the right thing at the right time.

Ralph Ingersoll of PM disliked the General because he admitted that the British helped win the war. Conservative columnist Westbrook Pegler disliked him when he appeared before CIO recently and said that labor contributed measurably to the Allied victory.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop of the New York Herald Tribune—soon to come aboard as syndicated columnists regularly appearing in The News—contended that the General had no plans after retiring as chief of staff of the Army. But they saw him as a lightning rod for the hopes of both parties and revealed that many party leaders in each camp secretly hoped that the General might throw his hat in the ring.

The fact that General Eisenhower was being considered as a possible candidate, it says, shed light on the absence of leadership coming from Washington in both parties.

"Here Comes Another Debunker" reports of Professor E. Sculley Bradley of the University of Pennsylvania urging English teachers to stress American literature, that of Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, and Walt Whitman, rather than Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats, and other English classicists.

The proposal assumed superiority of American literature to English literature, as preposterous a notion as the opposite. Literature should be weighed without regard to the nationality of the author.

With certain notable exceptions, America had only recently begun to make any first-rate contributions to literature and if it was too soon to pass judgment on their merit, the only resort was to the English masters.

The American authors the professor favored deserved a hearing in American schools but not to the exclusion of their English cousins.

Drew Pearson discusses the efforts behind the scenes of John L. Lewis to settle the coal strike. He held secret meetings with U.S. Steel's coal operations director and a Cleveland banker, head of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, seeking the latter as a liaison with the Government. Mr. Lewis said that he wished to make a deal but desired to postpone the legal contempt proceedings for violating the restraining order against the strike. U.S. Steel held more captive coal mines than any other company and Mr. Lewis suggested that it make an agreement with UMW to keep the steel mills running. U.S. Steel management was split as to whether to make such an agreement, however, and so it was not workable. Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis attempted to enlist the support of other big operators.

Reconversion director John Steelman agreed to discuss with the President the possibility of calling off the legal proceedings in exchange for assurance of no further strikes before spring, 1948. Mr. Lewis rejected that proposal.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis continued behind the scenes efforts with the operators to form a contract.

Mr. Pearson reports that the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice were at odds over the contempt proceedings, with Interior charging that Attorney General Tom Clark was reluctant to prosecute the case because he was overly impressed with his old friend who was legal counsel for John L. Lewis.

Samuel Grafton discusses the route of the proposal before the U.N. on troop strength disclosure. The Russians originally made the proposal the previous August, seeking disclosure only of troops in friendly foreign countries, excluding Germany, Japan, and their satellites during the war. The U.S. countered that it wanted both foreign and domestic troop disclosure, aimed at obtaining Russian troop strength along borders in Eastern Europe.

The British wanted any disclosure tied to discussions of disarmament.

The Russians countered the American plan with a desire to have atomic strength and jet propulsion data disclosed. It agreed to drop that plan, however, if the proposal were limited only to foreign troops.

Ultimately, the Political and Security Committee of the U.N. voted to have full troop disclosures, both foreign and domestic.

Mr. Grafton suggests the circuitous route to get to that point was emblematic of the way debates transpired in the U.N. Decisions on weighty matters devolved to picayune disputes. He ventures that it would be better to leave to the Big Three heads of state the important matters to be resolved at a conference.

Harold Ickes discusses the coal strike, setting forth figures suggesting that strip mining, performed by 21,000 miners producing 100 million tons of coal per year compared to 370,000 underground miners digging 500 million tons per year, could, with the addition of natural gas being pumped to the East Coast and the coal mined by the Progressive Miners union, meet most of the basic energy needs of the country, thus alleviating dependence on the UMW and the lock which John L. Lewis was able to exert over the country. The strip mines could be operated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Seabees, without resort to union miners.

Strip mine coal had limited usefulness, but could be utilized by railroads and utilities.

The Government, he recommends, should perform a study to determine the accuracy of these figures and set about putting such a program into action, including development of the St. Lawrence Seaway and other hydroelectric power projects. The mere threat of such a plan would put fear into John L. Lewis and cause him to back down from his arrogant stance.

The industrial economy would suffer during a period of adjustment to new energy sources, but it would be nothing compared to the periodic halt in production occasioned by the redundant UMW coal strikes.

He hopes that the Government would never again take control of the coal mines.

He lays the current trouble with the UMW at the doorstep of Reconversion director John Steelman, a friend of Mr. Lewis, and suggests to the President that he fire him.

A letter responds to a previous letter regarding Henry Wallace and his qualifications for the presidency, opining that FDR had sent the working men to war, taxed the middle class, and allowed the rich to become richer, that Henry Wallace therefore would not want to take up where FDR left off, but rather where he started.

The writer defends FDR against the attack and seeks to distinguish the actions of the Government from the Chief Executive.

There had been times of prosperity prior to 1933, as the previous writer had suggested, but the plight of the working man between 1930 and 1934 was not so good as he had recalled.

A letter from losing Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder responds to the editors' comment on another letter appearing November 16 regarding the efforts of the Government supposedly to revive the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the editors wryly commenting that it was news to them.

Mr. Burkholder says that the Government was planning to reduce the acreage of potatoes because of the previous year's bumper crop. The Government was also restricting sugar production.

He concludes by saying that after twelve years, the New Dealers ought realize that they could not grow potatoes from an office in Washington.

However shallow and short-sighted the bulk of what he says may be, at least he could spell "potatoes" correctly.

The editors respond: "You're whipping a dead horse, Mr. B. Don't you remember? We've had a Republican landslide."

A letter writer favors building up the merchant marine and explains why it is valuable to the country.

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