The Charlotte News

Friday, December 6, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President met with his Cabinet for an hour, presumably regarding the strategy to take in his Sunday night radio address to try to get the coal miners to return to work in the national interest.

The Government embargo on rail shipments had gone into effect at midnight. Some 213,000 workers in coal-dependent industries were idle as a result of the strike. Predictions were that five million would be idle by the end of the year if the coal strike continued. Ford began layoffs which were expected to reach 500,000 in the auto industry within a week to ten days.

The War Department announced that the Army would make 250,000 tons of coal available for public emergency needs. The Army was undertaking energy-cutting measures to enable the cutback in coal usage.

Starting Monday, the Civil Production Administration was ready to issue strict new controls on fuel conservation.

More than a quarter of the frozen stocks of coal on reserve had been consumed in the previous twelve days of the strike. The frozen stocks were available only to public utilities with less than a ten-day supply of coal.

Britain reported that the coal strike would severely impact its coal needs, causing a cut in its bread ration from the present nine ounces per day and the bacon ration from the present three ounces per week.

In Athens, Ga., a Federal grand jury continued to investigate the Monroe, Ga., massacre of two black couples at the Apalachee Bridge on the previous July 25. The jury questioned Loy Harrison, the farmer who employed the couples and had given them a ride back to his farm after obtaining the release of the man who had been involved in an altercation with another farmer. He had previously stated that twenty unmasked men had intercepted his vehicle as he drove the couples, two brothers married to two sisters, and then lynched all four.

Oakland employers called a meeting to determine what was said to end the nearly three-day general strike the previous day, to prevent further flare-ups. The AFL believed that the City Manager of Oakland had pledged not to use the police to break picket lines, but the City Manager stated that he had pledged only that Oakland would follow the law and protect the rights of all citizens. The AFL estimated that the two and a half days of strike had cost, in wages, sales and production, 14 million dollars, ten million of which was from lost wages.

The Foreign Ministers Council meeting in New York declared the five treaties previously settled in Paris now to be agreed on virtually all terms, thanks to last-minute concessions by the Soviets. An additional 25 million dollars was added to the total reparations to be paid by Italy, agreed previously to be 335 million dollars, a move which Secretary Byrnes approved after some dispute.

Next on the agenda was the German treaty.

The London correspondent of a Rightist French newspaper had confirmed from Turkey that Josef Stalin was seriously ill. One report stated that he was "all but an invalid."

In Norristown, Pa., a man objected to a $50 bill for 1934-35 grass-cutting at his $9,000 cemetery plot which had on it a mausoleum. The cemetery presented a bill for three cents per square foot for his 834-foot plot for each of the two years. But 204 square feet was covered by the mausoleum and so he objected to that footage being included in the bill. He was willing to pay for 630 square feet of cutting, for $37.80.

Freck Sproles of The News reports again on the Empty Stocking Fund. A man whose wife had become seriously ill a few months earlier had to care for his five daughters. He had called for help from social services to clothe the girls. The Empty Stocking Fund would come to his rescue.

The Fund was now up to $805.50, a forty-cent toy for each of the 2,000 needy children. You are doing better everyday. Hang in there.

On the editorial page, "Lewis Loses the First Round" views the Government as having come through the first legal round with John L. Lewis in good shape, having obtained the contempt conviction and a substantial fine against UMW and Mr. Lewis personally. It was wise that the Government was turning its back on efforts to compromise the matter between UMW and the operators, and instead was concentrating on seeing the conviction through the appellate process.

The Supreme Court would have to decide the case ultimately, whether Mr. Lewis's contention was correct that the Government forced the labor of miners in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment and whether the Norris-La Guardia Act operated to forbid injunctions against strikes, regardless of the fact that the Smith-Connally Act forbade a strike against the Government. Mr. Lewis contended, however, that the Government was not actually operating the mines, that the operators were doing so, with the Government merely overseeing operations.

Some of the people might get a little cold without coal for the time being, but the issue had to be joined and Mr. Lewis had to have his hand called. The Government had done so.

"The Story of Wilson Wyatt" comments on the resignation of the Housing Expediter after a year during which he had the impossible job of trying to supply emergency housing in 1946 consisting of 1.2 million units selling for less than $6,000 each or renting for not more than $50 per month, and another two million units by the end of 1947, most for veterans. He had failed, accomplishing orders for only 815,000 units, 500,000 of which had been completed, with less than a quarter of those selling for less than $5,500 and less than 35 percent renting for less than $50.

The failure was not his alone. The building industry fought against him. The Government even made it more difficult for him. Mainly, it was the private interests who sabotaged his efforts, along with Congress which refused to grant him the powers he needed to do the job, and the agencies of the Administration which did not recognize the housing emergency. Most of the blame rested with the President who had not shown enough leadership to hold the housing program together.

The housing program, according to the President, would continue, but his words rang hollow. The Administration no longer accepted responsibility for the housing shortage for the veterans who fought and won the war. The only alternative was to test the optimistic view of the housing industry by doing what it wanted, lifting all controls on housing while maintaining veterans' priorities.

"An Honored Son Looks Ahead" tells of Bernard Baruch's observations upon being honored by South Carolina by having his portrait hung in the Statehouse at Columbia. He had said that the South was in a phase of rebirth and should want a fair deal and be ready to give one, that the region must not claim too much or too little for itself.

It was a qualified statement, reminding that the South was not a land of unbounded opportunity. To become wealthy, Mr. Baruch had to leave his home state for most of his life and live in New York. The South would not enjoy the rosy future which Mr. Baruch foresaw, it offers, until its people could become wealthy and distinguished without leaving home.

Drew Pearson reports that Josef Stalin had suffered a heart attack in November and was recuperating in the Crimea. It was his second heart attack. He was 67 years old and had been imprisoned and exiled in Siberia eight times as a younger man thirty years and more earlier. It was generally believed that V. M. Molotov would succeed Stalin and that Molotov was a harder man with whom to deal.

He next comments on the proposal by Harold Ickes in his column of the previous Monday that strip mining be increased to produce 100 million tons of coal per year, capable of being done by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Seabees.

He recounts an experience of one strip mine operator who sought equipment from the Government and got the run-around.

O. Max Gardner, as the new appointee to become Ambassador to Great Britain, would have some difficulty adjusting to his new habitat, the former estate of Barbara Hutton, with its palatial grounds and accouterment. Mr. Gardner would be plain spoken and sincere in the new position and was a good choice at a time when British labor was suspicious of the rightward turn in America.

Marquis Child refers back to his previous column telling of an Indian maharajah in Travancore who had the previous April shut off the flow of thorium to the United States following the U.S. refusal to supply Britain with a stockpile of atomic bombs.

More facts had come to light. Both the British and American authorities denied that the cessation of thorium was retaliatory.

The thorium used in the Manhattan Project came from monazite sand, which contained 27 other rare materials necessary for industry. Two-thirds of the monazite came to the U.S. from Travancore and the other third from Brazil.

When the three companies which imported the monazite were told that they could get no more from Travancore, the head of one of the companies went to Britain but was told that the Maharajah wanted to develop industry in his own country, which was an independent sovereignty. He then sought to appeal to Canada, offering to build a refining plant there in exchange for the restoration of the monazite trade. But Canada contacted Britain and the result was the same, that nothing could be done. The firm was finally informed that obtaining the products from the Indian monazite in the future would have to be accomplished through Britain.

Many of the products derived from the monazite were essential to certain industries, outside atomic fission. If there was no monazite from India by February or March, for instance, the entire film industry would gradually come to a halt.

The United States, maintaining a monopoly on atomic energy, had little room in which to express umbrage at the abrupt cessation of trade. The previous Congress had passed a law forbidding the export of fissionable material from the U.S. except by special license. Such a monopoly was conducive to an atomic arms race which could wind up in disaster, "and the shadow of that disaster is already upon us."

Harold Ickes favors an investigation into the Allied Military Government in Germany by the Mead Committee in the Senate, which had just voted 6 to 4 against making the trip to conduct the investigation. The State Department, the Army, the Navy, and Senators Vandenberg and Connally had all disfavored such an investigation, as raising the specter of something being wrong with the AMG.

Mr. Ickes suggests that maybe there was something wrong. The American people had a right to know the status of the former German cartels and whether certain U.S. companies would be engaged in reviving them. It was difficult to believe that J. P. Morgan and Dillon, Reed were not positioning themselves for advantage in the German economy. Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman, as a partner in Brown, Harriman & Co., had an interest in the fight for financial control of Germany. So, such an investigation to determine what these Wall Street firms might be doing to subjugate German banking and commerce, through cartels or other devices, was overdue.

A letter thanks Burke Davis for his pair of articles on the arrests for public drunkenness clogging the local court calendar. The writer finds prohibition not working, that telling someone that something was taboo was an invitation to violate the taboo. Controlled sale was the way to end the taboo and ameliorate the problem.

The letter writer who had condemned FDR and found Henry Wallace acceptable as a presidential candidate as long as he would pick up where Roosevelt started, not where he left off, responds to his detractor. He tries to quote as an absolute FDR's promise in the 1940 campaign that he would keep American boys out of war.

What he had said, in fact, was that he would do so, unless the United States or its Territories were directly attacked—and, of course, he kept his word on that promise.

A letter writer urges much higher pay for teachers, that they deserved to be the highest paid of any public servants. She believes that teachers were courageous for undertaking such a weighty responsibility.

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