The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that John L. Lewis and UMW had filed notices of appeal from the conviction and sentence of the Federal District Court for contempt for violation of the restraining order preventing the coal strike and cancellation of the May 29 contract with the Government. The amount of the fines, 3.5 million assessed against UMW and $10,000 against Mr. Lewis, had been posted as bond pending the appeal. It remained unclear whether the case would take the standard appellate route to the Court of Appeals before a petition to the Supreme Court, or whether the high Court would directly take the case on an emergency basis because of the interests at stake.

President Truman would provide a radio address on Sunday night to appeal directly to the miners to try to get them to return to the job in the national interest.

There loomed the possibility of another contempt citation should the strike continue. The Court had assessed a fine at the rate of $250,000 per day while the strike persisted. There was also the possibility of prosecution under the Smith-Connally Act which forbade a strike against the Government and provided for jail and fines for aiding such a strike. No sign appeared that Mr. Lewis was ready to yield.

There still remained the trial on whether Mr. Lewis could declare the Government contract void, that trial set to begin the following Monday.

AFL president William Green called for a conference between the Government, bituminous coal operators, and UMW to try to resolve the dispute.

In Oakland, the general strike, which had lasted nearly three days, ended shortly before 11:00 a.m. Back to work orders were issued to 142 striking AFL unions, precipitated by the refusal of two department stores, Kahn's and Hastings, to recognize a union which the employees voted to form. Police then began escorting non-union delivery trucks to the stores, breaking the picket lines, prompting the general strike.

The strike ended after intercession by the vice-president of the Teamsters, future jailbird Dave Beck, who had described the strike as more a "revolution" than a labor strike. The police agreed pursuant to settlement terms not to break picket lines and City officials agreed to remain neutral in the labor disputes.

Traffic continued jammed on the Bay Bridge in fog and rain in the morning hours.

In Milwaukee, sixteen persons were arrested, and three police officers and a newspaper photographer, along with a picket, were injured during violence on a picket line at the Allis-Chalmers plant. There were an estimated 2,000 pickets present when the violence erupted, which included smashing of windows, badges ripped from two police officers, and the overturning of deputies' motorcycles.

In Jerusalem, a truck penetrated the largest and most closely guarded military post in Palestine, Sarafand Camp, and exploded, killing one to four British soldiers and injuring several others.

The U.N. Permanent Headquarters Committee was informed by the American delegation that President Truman was going to offer the Presidio in San Francisco as a permanent site for the organization. The Indian delegation favored the location.

Freck Sproles continues to inform of the annual Empty Stocking Fund drive sponsored by The News, to provide Christmas toys for 2,000 needy children in Mecklenburg County. Granny Forbes was a widow with a small income whose four grandchildren were orphaned when their parents had been killed in an automobile accident. Though she could barely afford to support herself, she took in her four grandchildren. She had received financial assistance from one of the social agencies in Charlotte. But she worried about being able to provide Christmas for the four. The Empty Stocking Fund would fill the void.

A list appears of contributors thus far. The fund was up to $487.50.

No need for concern, kids. It will go much higher. You are already up from a 9-cent toy yesterday to a 25-center today. You can get a lot of toy for 25 cents.

On the editorial page, "Council Has Another Chance" reports that the State Highway Commission had rejected the alternate plan approved by the City Council for the cross-town boulevard, which the Council had adopted in response to neighborhood concerns expressed over the original route, planned by experts, impacting private property. The piece suggests that the Commission had probably done a favor for the Council in rejecting the alternate plan.

The Commission found that the proposal did not take enough traffic from city streets, the reason for the boulevard in the first place. The route could not follow primary existing arteries or would only increase congestion. A perimeter route was also out of the question.

The Council needed to worry less about public outcry and more about having a highway which accomplished its intended purposes. At stake was 1.4 million dollars in Federal funding for the project.

"Ambassador with Tar on His Heels" comments on the appointment of former Governor and present Undersecretary of the Treasury O. Max Gardner to become the next Ambassador to Great Britain, replacing Averell Harriman who had been appointed in September as Secretary of Commerce to replace fired Henry Wallace.

Many North Carolinians were wondering why Mr. Gardner, having the previous May stated that he would refuse such an appointment, had decided to accept it. Mr. Gardner had been a major force in state politics for many years, helping elect Governors John Ehringhaus, Clyde Hoey, J. Melville Broughton, and Gregg Cherry, the previous four Governors since he had been in office, between 1929-33. He had served each Governor as an unofficial adviser. The High Point Enterprise wondered whether he could maintain such influence from so far away in his new post.

The editorial posits that he could, because his influence had been primarily personal, not reliant on a machine. His only handicap would be a lack of first-hand information. But as to whether he so desired to continue to wield such influence was a question which the Enterprise had answered with a question mark. And The News agrees. At 64, Mr. Gardner was entitled to the life of a quiet elder statesman.

But he had announced his retirement from politics in 1933 after his term as Governor, and then promptly joined the Administration of FDR, an old friend. The appeal had been that his nation needed his services and it would always be effective on Mr. Gardner.

He would be unable to shake the tar from his heels even in London. His own explanation for accepting the appointment had been that he always reserved the right to change his mind when conditions changed.

As indicated, he would pass away on February 6, prior to assuming his duties in London. The piece, incidentally, misstates that Governor Gardner had served two terms. At the time, North Carolina Governors could not run for successive terms and so he had served but one four-year term.

"More Than a Law Has Failed" wonders whether the pair of Burke Davis articles on the annual spate of public drunkenness cases, numbering 10,000, would spur the community out of its complacency. Charlotte's rate of arrests for drunkenness exceeded by two times that of its closest competitor, Durham County, with controlled sale of liquor.

The police might be blamed for lack of enforcement of prohibition laws, but they could not be blamed for the thousands of people in the county who had the "liquor habit". Alcoholics Anonymous worked on a small scale. But the main effort at preventing alcohol consumption was prohibition, which plainly did not work. Nevertheless, many believed that the law would work to save souls.

Everyone in the community, it suggests, bore equal responsibility for the problem. Every drunk in court was evidence that the law had failed, along with every institution in the county. The effort used to promote prohibition needed to be turned toward attacking the problem of 10,000 chronic drunks in the community.

Drew Pearson states that the Treasury Department was analyzing the tax returns of John L. Lewis in relation to his payment of $300,000 of miners' dues to an Illinois mine operator in 1937 to cease operation for two years so that the rival Progressive Miners union members whom his company employed would be forced out of business. In 1943, the payment had been investigated but it was determined that no prosecution would take place. Mr. Lewis had reported the expenditure but the mine operator had not reported it as income. Mr. Lewis then covered for him by making the transaction appear as a loan. Treasury officials thus accused him of conspiracy to aid the operator in avoiding taxes. The reason Treasury determined not to prosecute was to avoid the perception of persecution of Mr. Lewis. Now, they were taking a second look.

CIO president Philip Murray was concerned about the coal strike for its putting thousands of steel workers off the job and also for cutting into production, reducing profits which Mr. Murray had hoped to use as the foundation for demands for higher wages.

Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden was insisting that Ambassador to Argentina George Messersmith should be fired for being too friendly to Argentine dictator President Juan Peron. Mr. Messersmith had written numerous letters to American newspapers and State Department officials denouncing Mr. Braden and State Department policy toward Argentina. If Secretary Byrnes did not fire Mr. Messersmith, then Mr. Braden would resign.

President Peron had sent a letter to New Orleans boat builder Andrew Higgins indicating his intent to try to force Mr. Braden out of the State Department, and so it would be an achievement for the dictator should he resign.

Questions were being raised as to why Mr. Higgins was being commissioned to tour South America as an unofficial ambassador. He had gotten behind in 1944 on income tax payments by a million dollars. After Treasury agents began pressuring his company to make the income tax payments, Mr. Higgins balked on making a speech for FDR and promised to switch his allegiance to Thomas Dewey. Secretary Henry Morgenthau then relented, and the tax matter was subsequently worked out on a payment plan. Mr. Higgins had hired a law firm to work out the payments, whose leading partner had been counsel to the Truman Investigating Committee.

Marquis Childs reports that the President had been encouraged to enlist both General Eisenhower and Secretary of State Byrnes to engage in making direct appeals to the miners to return to the pits, but had refused as long as the Federal District Court case was proceeding in Washington against Mr. Lewis and the UMW. The President was considering his own appeal by radio but was relenting as long as the contempt case continued. The silence of the President left a feeling that the Government was without a leader in time of national emergency.

As the front page reports, the President would speak Sunday night.

The miners themselves were said to be puzzled over their legal standing in the strike. The miners had lost 59 days of pay in the strike the previous spring and were feeling the pinch of higher prices on their higher wages. They were in a sullen state of mind as a result.

The prospect of a private settlement with the operators appeared unlikely.

In Britain, where mines had not been modernized and production was less than in the United States, the Labor Government was slated to take over the coal mines on January 1 under a nationalization program. Recently, Labor Party leader Herbert Morrison had stated that coal was the key to peace in Europe, to enable Europeans to get back to work. He urged increased output by the British industry, which, he said, had increased its production by six percent in the previous eleven months. If it continued to increase, it might outstrip the U.S. in production, a fact which would not be pleasing to John L. Lewis.

Should he continue his ruthless tactics, he might make the coal industry in the United States virtually obsolete, both domestically and on the world stage.

Samuel Grafton reports from Mexico City of the 3,000 girls of Tehuantepec prostrating themselves in the sun as little lambs or angels. The impression was one of sweetness, which he encountered wherever he went in Mexico. The occasion was the inauguration of Miguel Aleman as President. B-29's from the United States were flying overhead in honor of the celebration. The whole experience seemed as something out of an eighteenth century print.

Mexico was a mixture of the old and new. "One goes into any of the good hotels, say the Reforma, and sees, among high blondes, the promoter-type characters who are always here looking for 'deals' and opportunities. But just a few blocks away a small Italian boy, not more than six or seven, squats on the sidewalk, and sings in the darkness for coins, a song in which one catches only the word 'dolorosa.'"

The bulk of the population of the country were small, gentle people, with faces made great by suffering, contrasting markedly with the faces of the foreign visitors.

Mexico needed foreign capital. One could understand at the bullring why former President Lazaro Cardenas and labor leader Lombardo Toledano had hated and fought against bullfighting. Some 50,000 people "who have fought so long with life stare entranced at the spectacle of men walking across the sands to bow gravely to death."

A letter decries sectional political solidarity of the South as being disintegrative of the United States as a union, as surely as any regional solidarity of the type would.

A note on forensic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy relative to the single-bullet theory, a sine qua non for there to be one shooter: Last night, we ran across this interview with the late Senator Arlen Specter in which he reminds that the Warren Commission did not have autopsy photographs of President Kennedy in performing its analysis of the evidence. Thus, it was left with drawings of the President's wounds to determine its theory, including the long-debated single-bullet theory, regarding the supposition that one bullet struck President Kennedy in the back, or as Commander Humes drew the point of entry, inches higher, at the base of the President's neck, then exited the President's throat, entered Governor Connally's back and coursed through his chest, exited below his right nipple, struck his right wrist and then ricocheted into his left thigh. In theory, the bullet was the mysterious "pristine" bullet found on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital which was thought to have been used to bring Governor Connally into the trauma room from the limousine. While Senator Specter stopped short in the interview of stating that the actual autopsy photograph of the back wound on the President, showing the wound lower and to the left of the placement in the drawing by Commander Humes, would have altered the single-bullet theory, he did concede that the photographs would have helped the investigation.

In fact, the photograph of the President's back wound makes it impossible for the bullet to have entered the President's back from a downward angle from the right and exited at just below the Adam's-apple. Assuming a shot from the sixth floor southeast corner window of the School Book Depository, the Warren Commission calculated the approximate downward trajectory of the first bullet to strike the President to have been 1743'30'', consistent with the placement of the rear wound at the base of the neck, but not where the wound actually occurred, as evidenced in the autopsy photographs, further down on the President's upper back and two inches to the right of midline. The President was sitting erect when his first visible reaction is observed, either at frame 205 of the Zapruder film, just at the moment he disappears behind the highway sign, or at frame 225, just as he emerges, slightly over one second later, the Zapruder film running at about 18.3 frames per second, assuming it to have been fully wound before operation was initiated that day.

The reason the Warren Commission felt constrained to accept the single-bullet theory was because of the timing of the shots and there not having been enough time between the shot which hit the President and the shot which hit Governor Connally for a single shooter to have fired two shots to make the wounds. The Commission determined that the minimum time to work the mechanism on the rifle, aim, and fire was 2.3 seconds or 42 frames of the Zapruder film. The Governor thus should be reacting to a shot no earlier than 42 frames after the President, at between frames 247 and 267, if he had been shot by a different bullet fired by the same shooter who shot the President the first time, at frames 205-225. But after frame 240, the Warren Commission determined, and visual inspection of the film corroborates, Governor Connally began to turn back to his right to look at the President, turning in 1.3 seconds all the way around by frame 263. During the period of a little more than a second between frames 247 and 267, he could not therefore have been hit by a bullet from the right and to the rear which caused his wounds, as he was turning around and not in position for such a trajectory to strike him. Thus, for there to be only one shooter, there had to be the single-bullet theory to explain it.

The only other explanation was two shooters from the rear, one firing the shot which hit President Kennedy between frames 205 and 225, and the other firing the shot which hit Governor Connally between a third of a second and up to nearly two seconds later, that is between frames 231 and 240, bearing in mind that Governor Connally believed originally he was hit only after turning and seeing that the President had been hit, which equates clearly to the frames after frame 240, but also at a time when he was not in position to be hit from behind and to the right. Thus, presumably, Governor Connally was wrong in his original recollection of events, that he turned completely around before being hit and saw that the President was hit, and apparently his later belief, after viewing the Zapruder film, that he was hit between frames 231 and 234, was the more accurate.

In the frames preceding frame 234, incidentally, Governor Connally can be seen clutching his Stetson hat in his right hand, the right wrist being eventually struck by the bullet which coursed through him, and thus evidencing an inconsistency with any possible wound to the right wrist prior to frame 234, further lengthening the gap of minimum time between the President's first wound and the wounds of the Governor, stretching the minimum time to between a half second, nine frames, and 1.6 seconds, 29 frames, too long for reaction time to be the indeterminate factor, as the President would have demonstrated a similar reaction time, i.e. 21 frames, if he had been hit at frame 205 and one frame or an eighteenth of a second, if he was struck, as more probably, at frame 225 or an instant before it.

Moreover, the Warren Commission found that the view of the President from the rear would have been obscured by the foliage of the live oak tree in front of the Depository from frame 166 until frame 210, save for a fleeting instant at frame 186. The Commission thus concluded that the President could not have been shot prior to frame 210, and was probably hit by frame 225, .8 of a second after frame 210. Indeed, the President does not appear fully to react, with his right hand being suddenly brought to his throat, until frame 226, as the Commission found. Thus, the President's reaction time was no more than 15 frames in duration, from 210 to 225, and, in any event, the Governor should have been reacting simultaneously, at frames 225-226, if he was hit by the same bullet, not between a half and 1.6 seconds later, all the while turning in his seat to look at the President. The Commission found that a bullet which was traveling after exiting the President had an estimated speed of 1,700 feet per second. It does not take a half second or more therefore to enter and course through Governor Connally. The bullet could otherwise theoretically be seen in the intervening frames between 225 and 234, coursing through midair. Governor Connally's reaction time should have been precisely coincident with that of the President if they had been hit by the same bullet. Visible reaction of the Governor should be evident therefore by frames 226-227. It clearly is not.

The foliage evidence, incidentally, is usually ignored by the single-shooter theorists seeking to justify the Warren Commission findings by lengthening the time frame from the first shot to hit the President. But that cannot have happened under the other evidence as the Warren Commission found it. For the questions then arise, when viewing the Zapruder film, as to why the President did not begin to react for at least another second, until frame 205, more probably over two seconds later, at frame 225, after being hit by a bullet at frame 186 which coursed through his neck. Frame 186 shows the President waving and plainly not showing any visible reaction for the next several frames until a blur begins at about frame 197 after which the movements of the President are ambiguous or indiscernible until frame 225 when he emerges from behind the sign. Some seek to say that the trees in front of the Depository have grown during the intervening years since 1963, increasing the foliage, but the Warren Commission obviously conducted its analysis within months of the assassination.

The theory that one shooter shot and hit President Kennedy prior to frame 166 likewise has to be discarded as being too long for the President's visible reaction to occur at frames 225-226, or, at the very earliest, 205. That would mean at least two seconds for the President to react after being hit by a bullet coursing through his neck. And it becomes further complicated by the even slower reaction time then required for Governor Connally to have been hit by the same shot, albeit allowing then sufficient time of 42 frames for the possibility of a second shot from the same gunman to have hit the Governor. But the ultimate problem is that it does not square with the visual evidence. The President appears clearly undisturbed and is waving and looking at the crowd between frames 178 and 197. For the ensuing eight frames, the film does not show exactly what the President's movements were, though he appears still to be looking in the direction of the crowd as he disappeared behind the road sign at frame 205.

In an interview in the 1960's, then Philadelphia District Attorney Specter suggested such an early-shot scenario, that the first bullet could have struck the President at frame 186, precisely when the President was for one instant in view through the foliage, prior to frame 210, leaving enough time for a second shot to hit Governor Connally more than 42 frames later, within the sequence at frames 231-234. For the reasons, however, of too slow reaction time to such a shot when the President appeared quite fine and waving to the crowd at frame 186 and thereafter through the time he disappears at frame 205, a second later, the President could not have been hit at frame 186, or within the split second thereafter. Some visible disturbance to the President would have been immediately evident in the frames ensuing 186 from a wound which coursed instantaneously through his back and neck at that point.

It is conceivable that the President was hit in the back by a bullet making a shallow wound, at some point between frames 140 and 166 or between 210 and 225, a wound to which he did not immediately react. But that would have to presume a second shooter, to make the throat wound on the President, presumed then to be a frontal entry, as there would then be no other rear entry wound which could correspond to a frontal exit wound. In other words, because of the first clearly visible reaction of the President having occurred at frames 225-226, it is necessary that a single bullet hit both the President from the rear and Governor Connally from the rear for there to be only one shooter. There is no other explanation available. For Governor Connally was plainly hit prior to 2.3 seconds after frame 210, the earliest point President Kennedy was in view from the Depository sixth floor window after frame 166, other than the instant at 186. That means the Governor, if hit by a separate shot from the same shooter, would have to have been hit no earlier than frame 252, 42 frames after frame 210, the point of the first available shot through the foliage. But Governor Connally was not in a position to be hit from behind in such a way as to produce his wounds after frame 234, when he began to turn to look at the President in response to the sound of the first shot. The Commission determined frame 240 to be the last point at which the Governor was in position to receive the wounds. Regardless, he could not have been hit by a separate bullet fired by the same gunman hitting the President somewhere during frames 210-225, or even by a bullet striking the President as early as frame 199. And a bullet striking him that early, again, provides the problem of no reaction by the Governor until frame 234, as well as the foliage problem.

If Governor Connally was, as he originally stated, hit by the second shot, separate from the shot producing the President's neck wound, that second shot occurring at between frames 263 and 289, at the point after he turned around, looked directly at the President and saw that he was hit, then there were only between about 24 to 50 frames in between the second of those shots and the fatal shot to the President, barely enough time at the greater end of the time frame to compensate for the 2.3 seconds or 42 frames required to work the Mannlicher-Carcano bolt action, aim and fire. And, of course, having turned around to his right, he was not in the proper position during that sequence to be hit from behind.

According to the Warren Commission, when Governor Connally viewed the Zapruder film, he believed that he was hit between frames 231 and 234, about 4.3 seconds or between 79 and 82 frames before the fatal shot to the President, and one-third to one-half second after the first visible reaction of the President at frames 225-226.

The Commission stated: "The alinement of the points of entry was only indicative and not conclusive that one bullet hit both men. The exact positions of the men could not be re-created; thus, the angle could only be approximated. Had President Kennedy been leaning forward or backward, the angle of declination of the shot to a perpendicular target would have varied. The angle of 1743'30" was approximately the angle of declination reproduced in an artist's drawing. That drawing, made from data provided by the autopsy surgeons, could not reproduce the exact line of the bullet, since the exit wound was obliterated by the tracheotomy. Similarly, if the President or the Governor had been sitting in a different lateral position, the conclusion might have varied. Or if the Governor had not turned in exactly the way calculated, the alinement would have been destroyed." [Emphasis supplied.]

The drawing in question placed the entry wound substantially higher, at the base of the neck, thus changing completely the angularity being hypothesized to match the declination of the President's neck wound and the Governor's wounds. Indeed, following the actual path of the President's back wound at the hypothesized angle, the bullet should have exited in the upper chest area, not in the President's neck. The trajectory of the bullet would have to have been at a slightly upward angle to exit the throat from the actual entry wound in the back.

The doctors at Parkland, Dr. Malcolm Perry, who performed the tracheostomy, and Dr. Charles Carrico, testified to the Warren Commission that the frontal neck wound was consistent with either a wound of entry or one of exit, but that based on the other evidence presented from the autopsy to the Commission, they concluded that the wound was one of exit. As Dr. Perry later indicated that the doctors never turned the President over to see his back wound, they appeared to base their finding, however, as did the Commission, on the erroneous drawing, placing the entry wound in the back at the base of the neck. Dr. Charles Baxter, also assisting at the time of the tracheostomy, testified that the neck wound was more consistent with one of entrance for a high velocity rifle bullet, but conceded, after being presented with the hypothetical path of the bullet from the rear through soft tissue, not striking solid material, that it could also be one of exit.

One shot missed, nicking the curb near a bystander by the underpass on Commerce Street on the other side of Dealey Plaza, causing a bit of the concrete curbing to strike the bystander's cheek. The Warren Commission believed that this shot was fired first. That miss is irrelevant to the time sequence because it could have come prior to frame 168, 42 frames prior to frame 210, or between the first shot and the third shot, assuming that the first shot hit both the President and Governor Connally.

The time between the first shot to hit the President, at between frames 210 and 225, until the last shot at frame 313, is 5.5 seconds calculating from frame 210 and 4.75 seconds from frame 225. That is barely enough time for one shooter to fire two shots interspaced 2.3 seconds apart, following the first shot. But, the second shot would have to have missed and not have been the shot which hit Governor Connally because, again, the latter shot had to have occurred before frame 240 for Governor Connally to have been in the line of fire from the rear and right. And frame 240 is less than 2.3 seconds or 42 frames from frame 210, the first point after frame 166, other than the fleeting instant at frame 186, that the view of the President from the sixth floor Depository southeast corner window was not blocked by the tree foliage.

Thus, what one is left with is that the Warren Commission, by placing reliance on an erroneous drawing of the location of the President's back wound, launched into a theory which, when analyzed against the photographic evidence of the wound and other findings of the Commission determined at the time, the angle of trajectory, the available view of the President through the foliage, and the point in time, necessarily determined, for the President's throat wound as it synchronizes with his reaction depicted in the Zapruder film, falls apart at the point when Governor Connally is also supposed to be wounded by the same bullet, one necessarily fired from a different gun for it not to have impacted the Governor prior to frames 231 to 234, more probably the latter point, just before he begins his quick turn in his seat, too long for the same bullet which hit the President at frame 225 or earlier to be coursing through midair at 1,700 feet per second before impacting the Governor, a full half second interval or longer. For the two men to have been hit by the same bullet, they should have been reacting, as far as the visible film, simultaneously. For the bullet would have necessarily hit both men within the same frame of the film footage, as 1/18th of a second, the time of each frame of film, is enough time for the bullet to have traveled nearly 100 feet, the time to traverse the four or five feet between the two men thus being about 1/360th of a second, that is 1/20th of the time of one frame of film.

Based solely on that evidence, the single shooter theory is thus necessarily incorrect. When juxtaposed to the other evidence in Dealey Plaza, it becomes even more untenable as an explanation of the assassination.

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