The Charlotte News

Monday, December 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a United States ship had responded to a threat from Russian military officials, warning that it would have to leave the port of Dairen in Manchuria within twenty minutes or they would not be responsible for the consequences. The ship left. The Russians had refused to allow an American businessman of the Standard Vacuum Oil Co. and two American journalists on the ship to disembark, despite their having full credentials.

Interim French President Leon Blum stated in Paris that the situation in French Indo-China might worsen in the ensuing weeks. He was dispatching to the area General Jacques LeClerc, armored warfare specialist of World War II who had led the assault on Strasbourg. M. Blum promised a policy of firmness against the Vietnamese forces fighting French troops. He reported that French troops had captured Tourane and opened up a portion of Hanoi, the capital of Viet Nam, an independent republic formed by agreement with the French the previous March.

M. Blum stated that it was the French intention to preserve the lives of French citizens in Viet Nam and to maintain the independence of the newly created republic. He hoped to resume negotiations with a "free Viet Nam" after hostilities ceased. It was not clear whether he referenced the Government of President Ho Chi Minh or some other government.

In Japan, the death toll from the Saturday earthquake and ensuing tidal waves had reached 1,125, with thousands left homeless. Another 1,600 appeared missing or injured.

Also in Japan, it was reported by Japanese doctors that the presence of keloids, dense, fibrous skin tumors, remained a serious medical problem resultant of the Hiroshima atomic bomb of August 6, 1945, but had improved since October, having reached their peak of incidence in March and April of 1946.

Housing officials announced the new regulations to control housing, which included a 1,500-square foot limit on floor space and a prohibition against more than one bath. The regulations would take effect simultaneously with the end of priorities on building materials.

In Atlanta, a Grand Jury indicted the lessees of the Winecoff Hotel on three counts of involuntary manslaughter, one felony and two misdemeanor counts, for operating a "fire trap" for want of fire escapes. All three lived outside Georgia and had been operating the hotel since 1934. Why the indictment was limited only to three of the 119 fatalities from the fire was not stated. Presumably, the judgment of prosecutors was that seeking further charges would potentially confuse a jury or lead to acquittals.

The Supreme Court, in Gibson v. U.S., 329 US 338, in an opinion delivered by Justice Wiley Rutledge, unanimously overturned the convictions of two Jehovah's Witnesses for violating the draft laws, having claimed conscientious objector status as ministers and been denied the status by the local draft board. The lower court had tried the defendants as draft evaders, erroneously barring evidence that their conscientious objector status had been improperly denied. Both men had been sentenced to five years in prison.

In Eagles v. U.S. ex rel. Samuels, 329 US 304, and the related case of Eagles v. U.S. ex rel. Horowitz, 329 US 317, the Court, in a pair of opinions delivered by Justice William O. Douglas, unanimously reversed lower court findings that two men preparing to become rabbis were not entitled to claim conscientious objector status.

The Court refused to hear a case out of San Francisco of a man who claimed conscientious objector status during the war on the basis that he was a Socialist, claiming it to be a religious conviction.

The Court also refused to hear a petition claiming that a Tennessee poll tax was an unconstitutional impingement on voting.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was preparing to present to Congress a proposal for legislation to limit the amount of back pay which could be claimed by workers seeking portal-to-portal pay, time spent in preparation for the work day, awarded by the Supreme Court in the Mt. Clemens Pottery case of the previous June, reported at 328 US 680. The Chamber wanted a law to limit the back pay to extend no further than some period less than eight years and define which businesses were operating within interstate commerce such that they were subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Businesses had already paid out 450 million dollars in claims for the back portal-to-portal pay and it was believed might eventually have to pay six billion dollars worth of claims for the period since 1938, the effective date of the Act.

Senator Robert Taft of Ohio announced that he would seek the chairmanship of the Senate Labor Committee rather than that of the Finance Committee, of which he was also a member. He would remain as a member of the latter. Senator George Aiken of Vermont was the next senior Republican member of the Labor Committee and had been friendly to organized labor.

In Baltimore, a woman married to a veteran gave birth the previous day to quadruplets.

In Philadelphia, someone had stolen 25 strings of Christmas lights and ornaments from a community Christmas tree which Lions Club members had just spent five hours decorating. The person was nominated as the meanest in the nation.

Given the number of strangulations, axe murders, dismemberments, stabbings, shotgun blasts, lynchings, blinding, maiming, arson, and the like which had transpired during the course of 1946, that probably qualifies as a bit of hyperbole.

A Christmas tree had caught fire in Ottawa at a barracks converted to a home for veterans, killing four children, four to six years of age.

In Tampa, a veteran who had constructed his own home suffered its loss in a fire only a few days after moving in, but it had been rebuilt by volunteers, who had just started the job the previous Tuesday. The family's furniture and Christmas presents had also been consumed by the flames. But all had been restored.

The Empty Stocking Fund is still missing, kids. We are getting very worried now. But an encouraging report came our way this date from an impeccable source, Drew Pearson. He stated that he had run across secret information which would probably lead to the responsible culprit or culprits being nabbed, and that the revelation was imminent, probably sometime... Wait, here it is, hot off the wires. Don't worry. Those $2.53 toys from Santa may yet still arrive, come Christmas morning, provided the Army can intercede in time. A strategic plan for assault on the ship harboring the Fund is being considered by the Joint Chiefs as we speak.

In addition, a lead has come to our desk that some of the culprits who took the Fund may have joined belatedly Admiral Byrd's cruise to the South Pole, casting away while posing as Navy men on the expedition. A carrier equipped with a helicopter full of Marines has been dispatched to the expeditionary force to recover the booty taken. An XS-1, strapped to the belly of a B-29, also aboard the carrier, with an extra long flight deck, will fly the recovered loot back to base and thence to Charlotte by special courier flying non-stop on EAL.

If all of these efforts fail, and Santa's bag is not again full by the late night hours of Christmas Eve, there is always a solution.

On the editorial page, "An Epitaph for Eugene Talmadge" suggests that while many would celebrate the passing of Governor-elect Talmadge in Georgia as a welcome Act of God, many in the Georgia back country, including small farmers, cotton-mill hands, tenant farmers, and other workers, would mourn his loss. Others higher up the socio-economic scale would also regret his passing, as he had been perceived as a preserver of the status quo, even if ready replacements would be available for the purpose.

Governor Talmadge, who had previously served for six years, had been a race-baiter and an alien-baiter, giving his followers a scapegoat for their ills. He also had given them hope that tobacco and cotton prices would rise and work days would become shorter, that paved roads would replace the Georgia red clay. These people had believed in Governor Talmadge and no amount of national opinion to the contrary could shake their faith.

"And they have lost something, those Georgians, something as real in their fancy as it was false in fact."

"A Cheap and Childish Trick" questions the ethics of the Drew Pearson column published Friday, regarding the Gridiron Club banquet speech of John W. Bricker and the retort of President Truman to it. The newsmen present had recorded the comments, usually allowed to remain confidential.

And of course, to our eyes today, that is all a bunch of hokum. If Senator-elect Bricker, as Mr. Pearson stated, had broken with tradition and provided a serious harangue of the Administration and the President for 22 minutes rather than the usual light-hearted badinage attendant the Gridiron Dinner, then the country had the right to know about it, as Mr. Bricker was a leading candidate for the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Pearson was doing his job and doing it well. There was no "official secrecy" involved as the national interest was certainly not at stake.

What possessed the editors to come up with this one is beyond us. Normally, the editorials were reasonably astute. Perhaps, Mr. Ashmore, the Associate Editor, and Mr. Dowd, whose days as Editor were coming to an end with the sale of the newspaper to Mr. Robinson slated for early January, had taken the week off for Christmas and left it in the hands of junior, just out of high school.

If not...

"A Visitor a Giftie Gies Us", (and so help us, we had not ere this date read that header, afore writing our little verse last Wednesday—downright ghostly, at times, it is, as we have said before), suggests that as part of the editorial effort to "keep on the side of the angels", it was the custom to measure Charlotte against Utopia. To that end, it comments on the series of articles presented the previous week by Katherine Lawrence of Chester, England, giving her views on Charlotte, finding her tactful in her presentation, even if perceiving rosy pictures where the residents looked with depressed eyes upon the same drab scenes of traffic snarls and lack of civic planning.

Mr. Ashmore, presumably, as he comments on seeing England after the war had ended, having been a lieutenant colonel on the front lines in France, says he finds Ms. Lawrence to be talking about another city, possibly Xanadu.

When the Friday installment expressed her astonishment at the amount of business transacted at the courthouse, the piece elaborates, "Astonished and appalled."

It could be somewhat akin to that furniture from Jordan Marsh... If not, the hatrack out of Ulysses.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Of Alley Cats and Yawls", tells of a Trenton, New Jersey, newspaper with a want-ad saying that the placer's two-year old daughter could not tolerate her in-laws and, in consequence, they needed a two-bedroom apartment or house for the family, three white mice, an Arizona chameleon, four dogs, a "refined alley cat" and an uncaged canary. It added candidly: "Noisy and inveterate drinkers. We entertain constantly and have no regard for neighbors."

A person had placed a want-ad in The Saturday Review of Literature, saying that it was desirable to express poetically a description of the cottage being advertised for sale, but would have to let it go for $7,000 as the placer lacked adequate words to make it worth more.

Another in the same publication had advertised a plot on Fire Island for $3,500, candidly stating that it was equivalent to the price of the yawl he wanted.

The piece concludes that with such ingenuity being expended in advertising the sale and acquisition of housing and land, things had to be tough.

We might add to its list of peculiarities this one: "DARING YOUNG MAN, weary of Babbitry, desires stimulating correspondence with literate homo sapiens. Box 584-S." Ms. Lawrence of Chester might have another ready-made correspondent.

And unto these, we recommend: "COARSE JOLLY WOMAN, learning to read, wants letters from men. Box 291-Q."

żBien, por que no?

Porque es imposible, Porque. Mi esposa dice, "Porque, no."

Drew Pearson comments that President Truman should likely read the mail reaching the White House regarding housing, especially those letters from veterans. He publishes excerpts from one of them.

Next, he states the chronology of the showdown over Argentina with Ambassador George Messersmith, summoned to Washington for consultations on December 15, initially denied by the State Department, saying he was only coming to visit his doctor, then admitted by Secretary of State Byrnes, saying that Ambassador Messersmith was returning for official reasons. The issue was whether the United States was going to cooperate with the Fascist Peron Government, the only Fascist Government in the Western Hemisphere.

Mr. Messersmith had become an apologist for Sr. Peron while Argentina was withholding meat and wheat from Bolivia and Uruguay to break their anti-Peron regimes. Mr. Messersmith had accurately predicted the trouble with Germany and Austria during the 1930's, and the State Department now had to assess whether to trust his judgment with regard to the Peron regime.

Marquis Childs regards as Pollyannaish the forecast by the President's Council of Economic Advisers that there would be only a slight downturn in the economy the following year. The report hedged its bets, saying essentially that things would go forward if they did not go backward.

The report was at variance with the Wall Street Journal, the New York Journal of Commerce, and many economists who were predicting instead retail cutbacks, farm surpluses, and the like. The Council took the approach that everyone ought be reasonable and cooperate. The bottom line was that it predicted that if there were no strikes, the coming year would be prosperous, tending to lay therefore all of the blame for any downturn on labor. The White House was thereby avoiding reality.

There were other problems besides labor. Department stores were slashing prices at Christmas, were not buying new merchandise, being concerned with overproduction and becoming stuck with a large inventory. Those concerns had nothing to do with fear of strikes.

Farm prices had drifted downward, with economists warning that a 26 percent drop would cause many farmers to fail financially, another situation divorced from labor.

There were other such conditions also, and the sum of it was that the Administration was placing too much emphasis on labor and not enough on the broad picture of the economy.

Harold Ickes examines the political arm-twisting being brought to bear by Thomas Dewey on the House of Representatives, to do his bidding with respect to selection of a Majority Leader in the new Congress. His tactics had resembled that of Boss Pendergast of Kansas City and other such bosses. Governor Dewey wanted Representative Charles Halleck of Indiana for the position, favored also by big money and big business.

When Mr. Halleck was chairman of the Finance Committee of the Congressional Republicans, he distributed campaign money to Congressmen with the proviso that each was expected to exhibit personal loyalty to Mr. Halleck and his friends, who included Mr. Dewey. The candidates who had been elected were being told that they were expected to support Mr. Halleck for Majority Leader. Failing to do so could lead to a purge or not obtaining a choice committee assignment.

Mr. Halleck denied that he was fronting for Mr. Dewey, but it was obvious that it was the case. Having a Dewey supporter as Majority Leader in the House was an important step toward securing public acclaim and thus the nomination again in 1948. Most of his opponents for the nomination were Senators and thus untouchable for the nonce, leaving it to the Republican House to block their proposals.

Mr. Ickes reminds that the electorate voted for a Congress to legislate, not to be concerned with the nomination of a President.

A letter from Inez Flow, per her usual intercourse, commenting on liquor, commends State Representative J. B. Vogler of Mecklenburg for opposing a proposed act of the Legislature to allow a vote on controlled sale of liquor to supplant the dry condition which then obtained.

A letter commends Ms. Flow for her steadfast opposition to wetness, does not appreciate Burke Davis's previous series comparing wet counties to dry ones in terms of crime statistics and revenue, finding the wet counties on the positive side of the ledger on both accounts. He thinks drink would be the death of all of them if the county were to become wet.

A letter responds to a letter from the previous Wednesday, taking issue with the author's stance that keeping liquor as a taboo made it attractive, favoring therefore controlled sale. This writer finds the argument spurious, and believes that things would get worse, not better, with legal alcohol sale.

A letter advocates forcing the various power companies in the South to sell electricity at the same low rate as TVA, a profitable rate.

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