Saturday, February 16, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 16, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the steel strike, starting with U.S. Steel, had been finally settled the previous night after enduring 25 days, since January 21, as the nation's largest strike in history, with 750,000 workers idle, 130,000 of them in Big Steel. The agreed wage increase was 18.5 cents per hour with a promised $5 per ton rise in the ceiling prices on steel. Little Steel, starting with Republic, which also agreed to an 18.5 cents per hour wage increase, was now being settled as well. Bethlehem Steel was expected to settle within hours. The United Steel Workers stated that it would instruct its members to return to work on Monday at midnight and expected all workers back on the job by mid-week. Some steel workers were already beginning to return to the job voluntarily. Full production would not be reached for about two weeks.

Aluminum workers at Alcoa in Pittsburgh also settled their strike, with an agreement of 19 cents more per hour, albeit not retroactive as with the U.S. Steel wage settlement.

Signs were emerging in the wake of the steel settlement that the 88-day G.M. strike might also be on the verge of settlement, though G.M. officials and UAW officials remained mum.

Ford, having already previously settled its wage dispute for an 18-cent per hour wage increase, looked forward to resuming full production within two weeks based on the steel settlement.

With the news, the stock market reacted favorably with brisk trading. Cotton futures rose to their highest levels in 22 years.

The spot price in New Orleans, however, is not provided.

Canada admitted a leak to the Russians of information regarding the atomic bomb and was undertaking procedures to insure that it would not recur. Although data was leaked, the secret itself of the bomb remained secure. The Russians had no comment. Canada was in the process of taking into custody 22 suspects in the leak, all present or former Government employees. Serious charges were said to be pending against at least twelve of the suspects. The leak had been investigated since shortly after the end of the war.

The President continued to stick by his nomination of Ed Pauley to become Undersecretary of the Navy, controversial for Mr. Pauley's oil connections. The President reminded that President Roosevelt had originally intended to appoint Mr. Pauley to the position. Administration sources predicted that the nomination could not be confirmed under the present status of the evidence of the $300,000 offered campaign contribution by Mr. Pauley in 1944 in exchange for the Government withdrawing its claims to offshore oil lands, an offer concerning which Harold Ickes had testified to the Senate. All of the Senate's 39 Republicans, save a couple, were lined up to oppose the nomination. Mr. Pauley was preparing to present on Monday evidence that Mr. Ickes had praised him in correspondence. Senators reacted to the prospect by asserting that it would be irrelevant unless written after the alleged offer of the campaign contribution.

Paul Mason, substituting for Hal Boyle, writes from Manila of the return to Corregidor by Col. John G. Pugh, senior aide to General Jonathan Wainwright and a legend in his own right for his derring-do in the latter days of the fight to save the Rock in April and May, 1942. Col. Pugh had spent more than three years in Japanese prisons and recently had been a witness regarding the Bataan Death March in the war crimes trial against General Homma.

Just a day or two before his arrival, charred American military records had been discovered in Malinta Tunnel, where Col. Pugh had given the order to destroy them in advance of the surrender of Corregidor in early May, 1942. Many of the records were still legible but the Japanese had never found them in the sealed tunnel.

In the four year interim, the jungle had encroached on the Rock's buildings and airstrip, prompting Col. Pugh, leading a tour of the small island, to remark, "Time and the jungle, I guess... But maybe we're changed a bit, too."

On the editorial page, "Robert Best, Southerner" discusses the traditional self-portrait of the Southerner as an aristocrat of especially pure breeding, always ready to answer the call to duty, the provincial perception sometimes proving problematic, as in the case of Robert Best of South Carolina, a former journalist, now arrested on charges of treason for having broadcast propaganda during the war for the Nazis following his release from a prison camp and refusing repatriation as his fellow prisoners had enjoyed as part of a prisoner exchange program.

He had become a true believer of Nazism. It speculates that he might plead insanity as had Ezra Pound for his similar role in Italy. The piece suggests a clever lawyer might trace the beginnings of Mr. Best's mania to the weather of the South, "demonstrating that the void between the Southern ideal of White Supremacy and the racial theories of Adolph Hitler is not as great as we like to think it is."

It reminds that Mr. Best had come from their own backyard and that they therefore shared in the guilt for his vices, endemic to the Southern soil.

The piece is remindful of that stated by W. J. Cash in The Mind of the South anent the interconnection between the traditional Southern mindset, the "savage ideal", preceding but exacerbated by the Civil War and Reconstruction, and that of Nazi Germany.

"Plain Bad Judgment" explains that both PM and the New York Board of Trade had found Mayor William O'Dwyer's decision to shut down New York City in the wake of the tugboat operators strike on Tuesday, cutting off fuel, to be unwarranted.

Regardless of the wisdom, the fact remained that 3,500 striking workers had shut down a city of seven million. Similarly, Philadelphia had been crippled briefly by a transit strike, and Pittsburgh by its power company workers. Those who believed that Communists were behind every labor movement were already seeing the matter as part of a Communist conspiracy.

But it was absurd so to think, as the tugboat operators belonged to labor's rightwing AFL and the Pittsburgh strikers to an independent organization. The simultaneous trio of strikes had simply been the product of sympathetic bad judgment, not conspiracy. The bad judgment came in the alienation of the country, stimulating moves in Congress to limit the right to strike under the Case bill, many members now wanting to amend it further to make arbitration mandatory before a strike could be called. And there was strong precedent favoring such a move where vital public facilities, such as utilities, were involved.

"Measure of Desperation" comments on the report that a hundred thousand Army cooks had struggled to try to produce an omelet from powdered eggs during the war. Instead, routinely, it resulted in an inedible mess. While they had not been master chefs, most having come from other trades, the Army cooks, by the law of averages, should have once in awhile been able to perform an omelet magically from the powder.

Powdered eggs had been the G.I's pet peeve, along with Spam, lieutenants, and various allies, in that order.

But in 1946, the powdered egg had become in Britain one of the most cherished delicacies. When they had exhausted the lend-lease supply of them recently, British housewives complained bitterly to the Ministry of Food. Picket lines and public demonstrations followed. Angry speeches were delivered in Parliament.

Thus, the powdered egg had become a measure of the desperation and hunger of the people of Britain and Europe.

The piece wants powdered eggs served three times daily to the House And Senate members while they considered the approval of the loan to Britain. It would provide a self-evident argument on the subject superior to those of the Congressional Record.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Young At Sixty", celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Progressive Farmer, founded by Col. L. L. Polk in 1886. Col. Polk had been the leader of the National Farmers Alliance and the magazine had provided the Southern farmers with a national voice.

It had helped to establish the crop loan system, Federal land banks, railroad rate regulation, and rural free delivery of the mail and parcel post.

Col. Polk had passed the editorship to Clarence Poe many years earlier.

The piece wishes The Progressive Farmer many happy returns.

Of Dr. Poe, incidentally, Cash wrote briefly in The Mind of the South:

...Such is the end-result of the long decay of the feeling of responsibility and honor under the conditions of Progress, [that is, the tobacco-cotton mill era ensuing formal Reconstruction, albeit another home-grown phase of it], the absorption in the ideal of personal profits.

23. The result is that the body of the South has inevitably been confirmed in complacency and illusion. In large part, efforts to call attention to the problems which exist have been treated not only as an unnecessary attempt at trouble-making but as a gross affront to the section. And often the active leaders have been the first to assert it.

Consider, by way of illustration, what happened when President Roosevelt's National Emergency Council released its famous "The Nation's No. 1 Economic Problem" report on the South in 1938. This report was almost entirely based on the findings of Howard Odum and his associates at Chapel Hill and dealt with nothing that was not open to factual proof. And it was received as such by the more intelligent newspapers of the region, but by no means by the majority of the newspapers. Some of them promptly denounced it as an insult to the South; others grumbled that it was high time somebody thought up something pleasant to say about the section. And they won instant support from the political and industrial leaders generally. Most of the Democratic politicians who were formally aligned with the New Deal refrained from publicly attacking the report, but they made their dislike for it amply plain through the private grapevine to business. Senator [Josiah W.] Bailey [of North Carolina], bolder than most, took to the lecture platform to denounce it at Chapel Hill and other Southern points. And the Southern States Industrial Council, an organization made up of many of the most important business men of the South, including some of those who are supposed to be most liberal, assailed it as a pack of falsehoods invented out of Yankee and New Deal malice, with a view to discrediting and crippling Progress in the South.

The consequence was that the full effect of the report was largely lost upon the section, and it has now been pretty thoroughly forgotten by most Southern people.

I do not suggest, of course, that there has been absolutely no attempt to face the problems which confront the South, or that nothing has been done about them. But, outside the schools, they have not anywhere been faced with any fullness and consistency, and what has been done has been pretty much like trying to cure a cancer by an application of rose water.

Consider the agricultural question, to begin with. A few people, like Dr. Clarence Poe, editor of the Progressive Farmer, the largest farm paper of the section, have insisted on the obvious necessity of the South re-examining its whole farm structure, with a view to the development of a rational crop system, escape from dependence on the foreign market for cotton and tobacco, and the preservation and extension of the yeoman farmer class. But they have been paid little attention.

—from Book Three, Chapter III, "Of the Great Blight—and New Quandaries", Sections 22 and 23, pp. 421-423, 1941 ed.

Drew Pearson suggests that Bartley Crum of San Francisco headed the list of successors to Harold Ickes as Secretary of Interior. Mr. Crum, a Republican, had supported actively FDR in 1944. As the successor would be Julius Krug, we shall skip over the remainder of Mr. Pearson's reasoning process.

He next comments that the Last of the Mohicans from the FDR era was now Henry Wallace, Secretary of Commerce. He suggests that Mr. Ickes had been in the Cabinet longer than Mr. Wallace only by virtue of the fact that in March, 1933 he had been sworn in a few minutes prior to Mr. Wallace.

But, in reality, Mr. Wallace was not part of the Cabinet per se as Vice-President, an elected and not appointed position, a role which he had from 1941-45. So, Mr. Ickes easily held the record for continuous longevity as a member of the Cabinet in the Roosevelt-Truman era, even if Mr. Wallace served in the Administrations for a longer continuous period in his three different capacities, including Secretary of Agriculture from 1933-40.

How, incidentally, Mr. Pearson determined that Mr. Wallace thought these thoughts as he followed his usual practice of walking four miles to work on the morning of Mr. Ickes's resignation, is anyone's guess.

He next reports that Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune, was about to be inducted into the women's section of the 78th Club, an organization made up of spouses of members of the 78th Congress, which was actually the former Congress, serving from 1943-45. Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Henry, was originally elected as a member of the 78th. So the membership invited him to join. He was invited to come to Washington April 10, which happened to be Ms. Luce's 43rd birthday, and so he agreed.

Perhaps, he thought it an opportunity to be recognized finally as one of the Brahmin.

Incidentally, why "The 78th Club" and not the 79th, is anyone's guess, except perhaps that the ladies listened to records as they discussed their Congressional spouses.

What they might do, however, when came it the last year of the 80th Congress and the advent of the long-player, would be anybody's guess again.

Finally, Mr. Pearson tells of the fact that in October, the economic brain trusters of the Administration had proposed the very formula, with Chester Bowles heading a board designed to coordinate production, wages and prices, which the President was now utilizing to resolve the strikes. Reconversion director John Snyder would not accept the plan at the time as he was at odds with Mr. Bowles. Four months had been lost toward reconversion because of President Truman having relied on the advice oif his old crony from the Missouri National Guard.

Marquis Childs discusses the proposed permanent site for the United Nations, the area around Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut, selection of which the surrounding property owners vigorously protested, even though most had demonstrated equal vigor in their support of the U.N. One such person was former heavyweight champion boxer Gene Tunney.

But ordinary suburbanites believed that the site had been chosen at the behest of the estate owners to attract the powerful of the world to their bailiwick so that they might rub shoulders with them.

The isolationist Chicago Tribune opined that the suburbanites of the Eastern Seaboard lived superciliously apart from the country, and so there was no sympathy for them in their plight should they object to their neighborhood becoming the U.N.'s permanent site. Mr. Childs points out, however, that Tribune publisher Bertie McCormick lived on a palatial estate outside Chicago, in the manner of a Maharajah.

Whatever the case would be, the site had not yet been selected and was subject to Senate approval in any event. Some opposition had developed within the U.N. itself. California had asked the U.N. to reconsider a site in the West, namely San Francisco.

So, he urges that Stamford and Greenwich take courage, that they may not after all be overrun.

He suggests that the ideal site would be in the Mojave Desert.

By way of illustration of the problem, he quotes from a song sung by Bert Williams, "Somebody Else, Not Me".

Samuel Grafton discusses a speech by former President Hoover on Lincoln's birthday, attacking the all-powerful state. He zealously defended free enterprise and preached the gospel of laissez-faire as a means to prosperity—never minding...

Mr Grafton expressly defers criticism in the face of such passion.

Mr. Hoover believed that the country was slipping slowly into the grip of totalitarianism, a road to which had been paved by relief and price control. He thought it would lead inexorably to a dictatorship.

The problem with his theory was that it lacked any support historically. Totalitarianism was brought about deliberately, not by accident, in the countries where it had obtained a foothold. He cites Germany and Russia as prime examples, the nationalization of the Bank of England as another, less dramatic, but nevertheless deliberate, move toward socialism.

Others, such as Dr. Isador Lubin, former Commissioner of Labor Statistics, warned that a problematic effort at reconversion resulting in depression could lead the country down the road to fascism.

"The choices are delicate beyond belief, and one wonders whether we really hit slavery a neat blow between the eyes when we go to great trouble to keep free government from solving a problem."

Dorothy Thompson retreats a year to re-examine the Yalta Agreement of February, 1945, the terms of which had just been finally disclosed. She posits that FDR had made agreements with the Russians to obtain their entry to the Pacific war which ran counter to the Atlantic Charter of August, 1941, regarding the pledge by its signatories, including Russia, to renounce all intentions of extraterritoriality.

As at Munich in September, 1938, territory had been determined without consultation with the affected party, in this case, China, and without consultation with the Senate or Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. The agreement stipulated that it would not become effective until after consultation with Chiang Kai-Shek, the terms of the agreement nevertheless having the effect of an ultimatum. According to the agreement, Dairen Port in Manchuria would be practically under the control of the Russians, though technically internationalized. Port Arthur became a Russian naval base. The Chinese eastern and south Manchurian railroads would be operated by the Russians in collaboration with a Chinese company, with Russian rights preeminent. Effectively, the agreement made Chinese sovereignty in Manchuria subject to Russian determination.

Ms. Thompson points out that Russia had obtained part of the Balkans in return for the Russo-German mutual non-aggression pact of August, 1939, just before the German invasion of Poland. Russia wound up taking all of the Balkans, part of Finland, and part of Poland. When Russia signed the Atlantic Charter, it was conditioned on not having to give up the prior acquisitions, a condition to which the Allies acceded. Poland was eventually provided, without the agreement of Britain or the United States, a fourth of Germany as compensation by Russia. She believes that the concessions to Russia at Yalta regarding China might eventuate in Russia obtaining most of Japan's territorial acquisitions on the Asiatic mainland.

Yet, while the Allies were not permitted to interfere in these matters, Russia wanted its say regarding Western Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, as well as the Dutch East Indies.

In Poland and Yugoslavia, millions feared post-war return to their homes because of the Soviet dominance. The situation was incompatible with Western democracy. If the United States continued tacitly to lend its imprimatur to such Russian dominance, the world would question America's motives. As Russia remained true to its historical ideal since the Revolution of 1917, America appeared to be changing its stripes.

A letter writer further seeks to distinguish a "statesman" from a "politician", as had a News editorial, paraphrasing from memory a definition of "politician" by William Jennings Bryan, and a definition of "statesman" by John Sharp Williams.

The editors thank him for the long memory and note that their point of the previous editorial had been to suggest that to be a statesman, one also had to be a politician and so there was nothing pejorative in the latter term.

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