The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 3, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that John L. Lewis and the UMW were, as expected, found guilty of contempt of court for violation of the Federal Court's temporary restraining order preventing the November 20 cancellation of the Government contract and strike. Sentence was deferred until the next day at which time the Court indicated its desire to hear the views of both sides on a recommended sentence.

Mr. Lewis's lengthy written statement, complaining that the Norris-La Guardia Act of 1932 prohibited injunctions against strikes, is printed on the page. In it, he complains of the "ugly recrudescences of government by injunction."

Yet, between 1938 and 1941, he did not have any hesitancy at all in dealing on a friendly basis with a recrudescent Devil in Germany.

The Southern coal operators accepted the resignation of their president, former Nebraska Senator Edward Burke, who had favored quick resumption of negotiations with John L. Lewis regarding formation of a contract. The operators did not wish to discuss contract terms while the Government contempt case was transpiring or until the strike ended. Notwithstanding his latest stance, Mr. Burke had been adamant in his opposition to the formation of the May 29 contract between UMW and the Government. He had refused to reopen direct negotiations with Mr. Lewis in September at the urging of Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug.

In Oakland, a general strike by AFL trade unions held up all commerce. Newspapers even ceased publication. Commuters remained at home. The strike was in retaliation for police escorts being provided to non-union trucks carrying merchandise to two picketed department stores, Kahn's and Hastings. The Bethlehem Shipyard in Alameda was open, but its 3,000 employees did not report for work.

MacArthur Boulevard, the main artery to the Bay Bridge, was clogged with cars, with mass transportation down. Movement of traffic was in inches at a time and the entire scene was as a giant parking lot.

Don't worry. Come the 1950's, they will build modern autobahns on pillars above the street, roads which will take all the traffic the population can possibly put forth for decades to come and remove it from those city streets, funneling it onto modern, fast-moving concrete ribbons of highway, stretching in every direction, with easy, unhindered travel at all hours of the day and night. Your burden of traffic snarls will not be for long. Keep the faith, 1946.

Friends of former North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner, presently serving as Undersecretary of the Treasury, reported that he had been offered the position as Ambassador to England, to replace W. Averell Harriman who became Secretary of Commerce in the wake of the firing of Henry Wallace in September. Mr. Gardner declined comment when asked if the reports were true.

The reports were true and he would be appointed Ambassador, but would die in early February before assuming his duties. Mr. Gardner had previously stated to the press that he would not accept the position if offered. He would be the second North Carolinian appointed to the position of Ambassador to the Court of St. James, publisher Walter Hines Page of Page, Doubleday having served in the position under President Wilson.

Istanbul newspapers reported Josef Stalin to be seriously ill. He would live until 1953.

In Easton, Pa., two parents were indicted for involuntary manslaughter for negligence involving the death of their two-year old son, by denying him medical treatment after he fell into a can of boiling water in September. They did so out of a religious conviction which eschewed medical treatment. Doctors stated that the boy would have had a 50-50 chance of survival if properly treated.

Burke Davis of The News provides his second article on Charlotte's public drunkenness cases clogging the local courts. One defendant appeared who was described by his attorney as having spent twelve of the previous fourteen years on the roads. Every time he got out of jail, he would be drunk again within 24 hours. One year he drew sentences totaling thirteen months. The judge sentenced him to 30 days on the roads.

As so many such defendants, he needed medical and psychiatric attention, not jail. He was but one such sot in the most drunken county in the state, with 35 arrests for drunkenness per thousand, nearly twice the rate of Durham, for instance, where liquor was legal.

The present attempt at prohibition had proved farcical. Most of the arrests for drunkenness occurred in the downtown area of Charlotte. Most were chronic drinkers.

The County Police Chief opined that some drivers, in the days before breathalyzers, were being falsely accused of drunken driving. He favored the method of the Berkeley, California, police who filled out complete charts on the appearance of the arrestee at time of arrest to substitute for medical examinations. The arrestee was also asked to copy a complicated drawing on an official form. The Chief urged also the establishment of a medical examination for arrestees, as larger cities employed.

But the judge asserted that a jury would not be impressed by medical testimony. He also did not favor a light sentence for first-time offenders. Seven hundred arrests for drunk driving had been made in the previous year.

Some states allowed a person who drove for a living to retain his business driver's license and revoked the driving privilege for private use. Under such a system, juries were more likely to convict.

The overall fault was that the system had not come up with any method to check the rampant drunkenness exhibited in Mecklenburg County.

Furman Bisher, in "Bish's Dish" on the sports page, names N. C. State coach Beattie Feathers as Southern Conference football coach of the year. His team, which finished third in the conference with an overall record of 8-2, was headed for the Gator Bowl—which they would lose to Oklahoma 34 to 13, winding up 18th in the Associated Press poll.

N. C. State, incidentally, tying with North Carolina for the A.C.C. championship in football in 1963, with an overall regular season record of 8-2, would play in the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia on December 21, losing to Mississippi State 16 to 12. The Gator Bowl of 1946 had been their last previous appearance in a bowl game.

On the editorial page, "Stockings Are Still Empty" comments on the beginning of the annual Empty Stocking Fund drive sponsored by The News, to provide toys for needy children in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County at Christmas.

You better enjoy it while you can, kids, because next year it will be Mr. Robinson's neighborhood. He is from New York.

"Problem for Political Scientists" informs that Senator Arthur Vandenberg had reported spending over $25,000 on his Senate re-election campaign, the most thus far reported of any Senate candidate. Many Southerners, including Senator Bilbo, had spent nothing on their campaigns. Outside the South, the low expenditure in the Senate campaign was $1,613 reported as spent by Edward J. Thye of Minnesota.

But those figures represented only individual candidate expenditures. Party expenditures were something else. In New York, for instance, the Republicans spent $300,000 to obtain victories for Governor Dewey and Senator-elect Ives. The Democrats had spent the same amount in their losing effort by former Governor Herbert Lehman, running for the Senate, and outgoing Senator James Meade, running for Governor.

The bulk of the contributions came from wealthy contributors who expected something in return for their contributions.

To end this system, inviting graft and rule by special interests, suggestions had been made to have the Federal Government appropriate sums to fund the campaigns. The attempt to limit contributions had always failed.

Something needed to be done. The candidate who was truly independent of moneyed interests would have a difficult time being heard, as he would lack the means for mass advertising.

The safeguards to the electoral system had grown up in the horse and buggy days and were obsolete. It leaves it to the political scientists, however, to plot a solution.

"Information? Publicity? Propaganda?" comments on the probable answer to be given these questions in the next Congress by Congressman John Taber of New York, to become chairman of the Appropriations Committee, that they were synonymous. He saw no difference between information and publicity and propaganda when it came to Government dissemination of information. He planned to target Government information specialists in cutting appropriations.

The piece suggests that he should broaden his scope to the private sector and attack junk mail propaganda. The News received 50 such offerings daily, compared to few Government pamphlets. It lists several organizations which regularly sent brochures, some sending six at a time in separate envelopes. The Government never used the tactic which some of the private information distributors utilized, that of placing their propaganda in an unmarked envelope.

It remarks that it would miss the Government propagandists, most of whom were former newspapermen, and one day it might get around to reading some of their brochures to see what they had been trying to convey for the previous 14 years.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Charlotte's Non-Existent Industry", comments on a recent News editorial which reflected on the modernization reported in bootlegging, the equipping of each car with a two-way radio to enable deliveries from the field in dry Mecklenburg. The editorial comments that all of this trade, estimated by one law enforcement official to be 5 million dollars worth annually, was taking place without any tax revenue being generated for education and municipal improvements, as would be the case under an ABC store system.

Drew Pearson tells of a top-secret telegram from General MacArthur to the War Department banning several publications from Japan. They included the New York Herald Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle, PM, and the Daily Worker. General MacArthur accused the publications of "quackery" and "dishonesty". The ban came in response to the War Department asking that General MacArthur provide press organs with a tour of Japan, as they had recently received a tour of Germany. He reluctantly accepted after cajoling by the Department, but rejected the above publications. The War Department was surprised at the inclusion of the conservative organs on the list and the nonpartisan Monitor.

Mr. Pearson then publishes the telegram. He adds a note that Secretary of State Byrnes had recently told the Senate Investigating Committee in closed-door session that while General MacArthur was doing a good job in Japan, he was also a prima donna. He stated that he had known the General for thirty years.

The column next tells of a visit by a Congressional delegation to Korea. Army censorship had hushed up the fact that there had been serious rioting in Korea, with 50 civilian policemen killed at Taegu by mobs protesting police brutality. Factories were idle because of lack of supplies and transportation. Part of the civilian population was on the verge of starvation. Various factors appeared responsible, including the Russians occupying the northern part of the country and Lt. General John R. Hodge, the commanding officer of the U.S. forces in Korea, occupying the southern section.

A feud was ongoing between General Hodge and the American Military Government head, Maj. General Archer Lerch, who claimed that General Hodge had not given him adequate supplies, food, and vehicles to conduct occupation properly. One of the two probably had to be removed before the situation would improve. Insiders contended that it ought be General Hodge who had left General Lerch in the lurch.

Harold Ickes—possibly Marquis Childs under a left-over by-line—discusses the Republican effort during the late campaign to smear liberals and Democrats as Communists, proving the most potent weapon in the campaign contributing to the shift in power in Congress. Lending credence to the campaign had been J. Edgar Hoover, claiming before the American Legion on September 30 in San Francisco that for every Communist in the country there were ten or more fellow travelers and sympathizers, especially within the labor movement, but also within every walk of life, including Hollywood.

A rumor, which turned out false, circulated that the the FBI Director had claimed that there were thousands of Communists within the Government. That rumor had prompted DNC chair and Postmaster General Robert Hannegan to ask Attorney General Tom Clark to investigate the statement. It had long been felt that Mr. Hoover and not the Justice Department was setting policy on law enforcement.

The effort could be a prelude to the type of witchhunt, suggests Mr. Ickes, which had taken place after World War I under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, in which a broad net was cast and swept up not only Communists but many innocent liberals defending traditional liberties.

Mr. Hoover would be able to obtain from the new Republican Congress all the appropriations he wanted for the purpose of hunting Communists, as the Republicans had always been more sympathetic to him than the Democrats. Representative J. Parnell Thomas, to become chair of HUAC, was preparing to launch a full investigation into Communist activities in the country and again many innocent people were likely to become caught in the broad net cast.

The danger was that the mounting resentment against strikes and strikers would fuel a "witch-burning that could do great harm to our democracy."

Samuel Grafton ventures that there was a greater gap between the rich and poor than a year earlier. There was a report of a decline in meat consumption in the low income groups, the first time in five years when available meat was not being consumed. There was something close to hunger again at the bottom of the economic scale. Stores were loaded but home kitchens were in shortage because of inability to pay high food prices.

A theory had arisen that the consumer was buying selectively, turning to cars and refrigerators and passing up clothes and fancy foods. But Mr. Grafton believes that these were two different consumers. People were not buying cars instead of meat. Cars were selling for a thousand dollars in many cases over list price and so few could afford them in the lower income brackets.

The market had shrunk for consumer goods and the theory of selectivity merely reflected that shrinkage. He predicts therefore large industrial production for a small market. The country might be moving toward an atmosphere similar to the boom time of 1928, when there was trouble in the lower income brackets while upper income brackets enjoyed luxury.

The solution to the problem was for those who had favored inflation as a remedy to slow production. The last time they tried to solve a downturn in the economy, they got in return Franklin Roosevelt.

A letter from a regular writer suggests that no matter which side would come out on top in the UMW contempt case, the law would be disserved. The Governmment was seeking to force a contract on the miners for the duration of Government operation. And Mr. Lewis was seeking to abrogate the contract made with the Government. He proposes a formula for general wages based on profit sharing.

A letter proposes that wages be adjusted to the cost of living and should be high enough in all industries to attract adequate numbers of workers. Getting tough with labor would not solve the problems.

A letter asks for the hours and wages of coal miners prior to the strike.

The editors respond that it was a basic wage of $44.25 per week for 35 hours. A miner could not be forced to work more than 40 hours but could do so voluntarily and receive overtime pay up to $75.25 for 54 hours. The average weekly wage of miners in August had been $62.37 per week.


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