Tuesday, February 19, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 19, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman had appointed former North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner to become Undersecretary of the Treasury, to succeed Daniel Bell.

Governor Gardner would be appointed within a year to become Ambassador to Great Britain but died February 6, 1947 before assuming the post. The President would appoint John W. Snyder, the Reconversion director, to become Secretary of the Treasury in June upon the appointment of Secretary Fred Vinson to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court following the retirement of Harlan Fiske Stone.

Meanwhile, the somewhat controversial appointment of George Allen to become chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was confirmed by the Senate.

Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire was prevented by Naval Committee chair, Senator David Walsh of Massachusetts, from becoming a witness before the committee, of which he was also a member, so that he might read into the record a telegram which he had received from the president of United Airlines regarding a supposed solicitation from Ed Pauley, then treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, for United employees to make contributions to the DNC in 1944. United at the time was applying for approval by the F.A.A. for certain air routes. Mr. Pauley denied the allegation. Senator Walsh wanted to hear the story directly from the president of United, not by way of hearsay through Senator Tobey's telegram.

It appeared that the nation's telephone workers were about to go on strike.

Victory Through Air Power author, Major Alexander de Seversky, envisioned for a Washington press conference the concept of intercontinental atomic warfare over the North Pole, saying that the country should be prepared for a future war in which victory would depend on air superiority and guided missiles. He advocated air superiority across the entire globe through long-range bombers. In the future, only jet planes would figure into these operations. He believed that guided missiles could be effectively neutralized by electronic means, at least insofar as penetration by large numbers of them. He warned that the next war would not simply be one operated by push buttons. To win a war in the new age, the enemy's electronic network would have to be eliminated, requiring human sacrifice.

A mob in Bombay burned the American flag after ripping it from the U.S. Information Service office. Why the native population was attacking the U.S. office and not the British was not explained.

Hal Boyle, still in New Delhi, tells of the curious animal life he generally found in hotel rooms and his desire one day to be able to write a full thesis on the topic, probably calling it, "Fauna in temporary lodgings in both hemispheres."

He reports that when he had been in Casablanca, he was visited by bedbugs, millions of them, who thought him their Red Cross blood bank. In Algiers, a single moth each night for six straight nights, precisely at 6:30, arose from his clothes and fluttered away. On the sixth night, he had tried to beat it to the punch by shaking himself thoroughly at 6:25, only to have the moth arise at 6:30 as if nothing had happened. But he was then left alone for the next twelve days.

In Naples, he had fleas, in France, mice in hobnailed boots, in Belgium, lice, in Hong Kong, rats, bowlegged, bold, and hungry. And there were the omnipresent yowling cats in every country he had visited. In one place, a dog came to his bedside every morning and licked his face. Cockroaches were to be addressed as "sir" in tropical climes.

In Manila, he watched two Gecko lizards catch mosquitos. One was fat; one was anemic. The latter's condition made no sense, given the ready availability of mosquitos in the Philippines.

In his present room in India, he had another Gecko, two English sparrows who entered every morning, and a wasp building a nest in the electric fan's armature. Still, he was more fortunate than two American officers who had found a baby cobra in their barracks.

He concludes by imparting that he had always admired St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the birds and beasts. But, he wondered whether St. Francis had spent much time with them in hotel rooms, "where you really get to know them with their shoes off."

On the editorial page, "Political Argument?" tells of talk in Washington that the resignation of Harold Ickes, regarding the nomination of Ed Pauley and the President's implicit questioning of Mr. Ickes's credibility by stating that he may have been mistaken in his recollection of the alleged $300,000 campaign contribution offer by Mr. Pauley in exchange for the Government withdrawing its claims to offshore oil lands, had drawn into question the President's own integrity in continuing to support Mr. Pauley's nomination.

The President had dismissed Mr. Ickes's lengthy resignation letter as "a political argument", causing Democratic regulars to be confronted with a choice of supporting either the President or Mr. Ickes, the self-described "Old Curmudgeon", a thorn in the side of party regulars during his entire 13-year tenure in the Cabinet. So now, supporters of Mr. Pauley saw his chances for confirmation to be improving.

The press was splitting into partisan camps over the issue. The right thought the deus ex machina to be a New Deal conspiracy, channeled by Mr. Ickes and Henry Wallace, to undermine the popularity of President Truman. But Walter Lippmann had also condemned the nomination, along with those of George Allen and James Vardaman, as hearkening a return to the cynical era of Tammany-Pendergast, when party bosses ruled the day and got into government self-interested persons who could pull strings and rig the deck for the wealthy industrialists on the outside, to continue to grease the wheels of the political machine, thereby to keep the circus in town year-round.

Dorothy Thompson posited that Mr. Pauley had urged the nomination of Mr. Truman as vice-president during the 1944 convention as a means of obtaining his own ends with respect to the nation's, and ultimately the world's, oil reserves, implying that his present nomination was therefore effectively a political quid pro quo.

Neither Mr. Lippmann nor Ms. Thompson, though "occasionally hysterical", fit the popular conception of a New Dealer. So, for the President to try to brush aside the Ickes controversy as mere politics appeared as a smoke screen.

No matter how the nomination turned out, confirmed or not, the President's reputation had suffered "irreparable damage". The editorial doubts that the American people would give him a vote of confidence at the polls.

Indeed, they would not the coming fall in the Congressional elections, as the Democrats would lose both chambers decisively. But, by being the "do-nothing" Congress and the President being able successfully to marshal his record against that backdrop, he would come from behind in the polls in the closing days of the 1948 campaign and win.

"Note on Ceilings" comments on the effort of a man in Grand Rapids, Mich., to calculate the cost of an average four and a half room bungalow, one large enough to be minimally sufficient for a homeless veteran. It came to $7,550. He thus determined that the target for housing prices ought be increased from $6,000 to $8,000.

The problem was how the veteran could afford the $50 per month payments on an $8,000 house when the old rule of thumb suggested that no more than a quarter of annual income ought be devoted to housing expense, thus beyond the reach of veterans.

Well, the solution was pretty obvious. Change the old rule of thumb and take the thumb from where it did not belong, stuck in too many pies, such as Ten Nights in a Barroom.

"Dark Intuition" tells of the uneasiness of the American people as told by a poll compiled by The Woman's Home Companion, finding that most women of the 3.6 million sampled believed that another war was inevitable within 10 to 15 years and against Russia.

The piece guesses that most men would scoff at the idea because the nations were so exhausted from the war just concluded. Nevertheless, while recognizing that a poll of literate women did not equate to one taken by Gallup or Roper, the foreboding intuition of the sample fit the interval characteristic of the previous wars. It posits that women understood that war was founded on emotions, not the finery of economics and logic, as men tended to divine it.

Even in the darkest days of World War II, women had believed it to be winnable, at a time when men tended to find victory to be achieved only at long odds. Women now sensed the country's "lack of will for peace" and that as long as the belief was held personally that World War III was inevitable, it would be.

Of course, these dichotomies can pretty well be tossed out the window as useless. We posit that just as many men as women held World War III not to be inevitable, and just as many women held it quite a foregone conclusion, especially given the religious overtones cast onto the prospect of nuclear annihilation and the tendency among adults of higher religiosity among women than men.

Thus, we beg to differ with the editorial's neat categorizations based on its intuition.

The real issue, in 20-20 hindsight, had nothing to do with variations between the sexes but rather whether the whole world's attitude toward war, conditioned and also jaundiced as it was, understandably, after enduring World War II on the heels of World War I, with twenty years in between, made the Cold War inevitable. The poll revealed this trend in thinking, and it existed not only among women, but, as revealed by Major de Seversky and many others of the day who thought militarily rather than in terms of peace, among men as well, albeit not uniformly, as demonstrated by the majority of nuclear scientists who had testified before Congress in good will.

Indeed, throughout the primary years of the Cold War, this very tension pervaded between war as an inevitability and the consequent need for first-strike capability on both sides, fueling the arms race, and the inevitability that the inherent desire for peace, for self-preservation in the face of assured mutual destruction, would instead prevail to prevent war. The result was stalemate, and by the same token, huge national debts run up by the major powers, stultifying human progress in the name of warding off ridiculous paranoias and fears, never realized, fortunately, by the fact of the international chess match which endured for nearly a half century.

The same can be leveled at world thinking today, even if on a less precipitous level, regarding international terrorism, and, closer to home, anent fear of domestic crime, impelling irresistibly the impulse of gun nuts to arm themselves against the apotheosized hypothesis that an invader from the Jungle, with Jungle Fever in his or her mind, threatening to jump right off the movie screen into one's home with a dagger or gun or other malevolent motive, is certain, sooner or later, confirmed by the daily news reports, to occur, lest one is ready on the hair trigger to ward it off with a gun or dagger.

Thus comes the ultimate question, whether man, to feel secure, to be endowed with raison d'etre, must have a theoretical enemy against whom to arm himself for war, even if no one intends war against him until he arms himself, perceiving thus a threat, causing him then to arm himself the more to out-arm his perceived enemy—analogous to the economy and the spiral of inflation, or, on yet another, less theoretical, level, the Nixon Administration.

For illustrative purposes only, we urge that when studying contemporary history, the student should just bear in mind "Nixon's the One", and the rest is history. You will then do okay and figure it all out pretty quickly, unencumbered by modern spin artists on the tv, who will tell you instead that it was just a "third-rate burglary".

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Mud-Bound Tarheelia", tells of the evident pride in Virginia regarding its superior secondary road network, with more paved miles than North Carolina's back roads, as exhibited in an editorial in The Richmond Times-Dispatch. It had boasted that it was one area in which Virginia could claim definitely to be more progressive than its neighbor to the south, which claimed superiority otherwise in most areas, with, it conceded, some justifiable argument.

The editorial offers it as a gauntlet lain down to North Carolina to improve its country roads, not to mention, along them, its use of the English language, even if, along similar routes in Virginia, one will find not much more about which to brag, the presence in each state of two fine universities since the time of the Founding notwithstanding. Virginia may be for lovers, but not any more for scholars than is North Carolina.


Go to any other region of the country, and, while some butchery of the language is evident, it is not nearly so pervasive as it tends to be among Southerners, giving the region its unfortunate stereotypical image as being populated primarily by hicks. In a modern age, that will not do.

Perhaps, the letter writer, infra, has some insight, after all, emitting from his bitter tirade.

Drew Pearson suggests that the resignation of Harold Ickes had now focused attention more than ever on Henry Wallace as the lone surviving original New Dealer in the Cabinet. The President and Mr. Wallace got along well together, despite the fact that Mr. Truman had supplanted Mr. Wallace on the ticket in 1944. The one thing on which they had disagreed was the retention by the U.S. of the atomic secret. Mr. Wallace wanted atomic energy turned over to a civilian commission, as there was really little secret to it that would not be soon discerned by foreign physicists, and so without need for military secrecy surrounding it. The result was that the President agreed that it should be controlled by a civilian commission, not the military.

He next tells of CIO head Philip Murray having figured out the way to keep ahead in the baffling price-wage discussions, that is, ask the other guy first, "What's new?" Then you had him beat. Only problem was that when Mr. Murray went to the White House a couple of days later, the President greeted him by asking, "What's new?"

Mr. Pearson reports that three liberal Senators, Lister Hill of Alabama, Claude Pepper of Florida, and cowboy singer Glen Taylor of Idaho, had pulled strings with the President to obtain the appointment of Chester Bowles as new Stabilization director by imparting that his recent appointments of Ed Pauley, James Vardaman, and George Allen had made it difficult for his supporters to vote for confirmation of all three, urging that the latter two be withdrawn.

The President met them halfway by appointing Mr. Bowles to a superior position over Reconverter John Snyder.

Finally he tells of Governor Thomas Dewey having been to a dinner in New York, seated beside the Norwegian Ambassador. Norwegians and Danes were particularly sensitive to any association with Sweden, as Sweden had remained neutral in the war while Norway and Denmark had been occupied. Thus, when Governor Dewey mistakenly suggested to the Norwegian Ambassador that as a Swede, his country had been through a lot in the war, the Ambassador took considerable umbrage and pronounced pridefully to the Governor that he was not a Swede, but rather a Norwegian.

Marquis Childs relates of the eyewitness account of the destruction of the Japanese cyclotrons at university labs in Japan on November 20 by order of American soldiers under the command of General MacArthur. Professor Walter Michels of Bryn Mawr found the destruction both unnecessary and sad. That which he witnessed was at a lab at Kyoto University, overseen by Professor Arakatsu. The professor the previous month had, ironically, given a speech in which he had praised American science for ending the war early, saving countless lives on both sides. While he did not understand why the Americans wanted to destroy the cyclotrons, he magnanimously gave his blessing to the operation to stimulate good will.

Thus, the destruction of the cyclotrons, which could only be used for peaceful research and had no connection to building of a bomb, was simply an act stultifying scientific progress.

The Army, it should be noted, as Mr. Childs had pointed out December 22, had subsequently admitted the destruction to have been a mistake based on miscommunication of orders.

Samuel Grafton suggests to the President that there would come a time when men would stop saying that the nation was "fuddling" the problem of the post-war and refer to it instead in the past tense. The problem, he ventures, with the new wage-price formula as a means for stabilization was that it only offered hope, not an answer. It meant nothing until the problem was solved. It allowed for wage hikes but only to a point, at which there would come limits to collective bargaining, sure to create problems. It allowed price hikes, but also only to a point.

"It is as if Mr. Truman had handed Mr. Bowles a tool kit consisting of a hammer, a slide-rule, a hypodermic syringe, a baseball bat and a tongue-depressor and had said: 'Now, kid, let me see you do a great job.'"

Everything ultimately depended on Chester Bowles. The problem inherent in the plan was that it spawned the cycle of inflation, albeit with managed limits. But with inflation would come inherent pressures to raise wages to keep pace with rising costs of living...

The main effort by Mr. Bowles would be to keep costs of living stable by keeping rents and food prices down. But he would be performing his feat against a backdrop of a crowd leering at him, expectant of quick results, and "a crowd in a hurry is a terrible thing."

Dorothy Thompson finds the nomination of Ed Pauley to have cast quite a bit larger cloud than the size of a man's hand, as Harold Ickes had characterized the matter at the time of his resignation the previous week. The Pauley appointment as Undersecretary of the Navy was already being noted in Asia, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union. Free enterprise was ailing across the world in reputation and needed a boost at home to improve its standing. Pulling it into the pit with the specter of graft was madness as it would prejudice the case of the U.S. with respect to Iran and the Middle East.

She indicates that Mr. Pauley's sole qualifications were successful years as an oil developer in California, during which he manipulated in boss-type fashion the California Legislature. He had gone to Europe to handle the economic situations in which American oil companies had interests. He was skillful, had gotten the Democratic Party out of debt as its treasurer, but had done so by committing the party to major corporate interests, counting on Vice-President Truman becoming President before 1948.

Ms. Thompson finds Harry Sinclair and Teapot Dome to be precisely analogous to Ed Pauley and California Tidelands Oil. Mr. Pauley had a direct stake in seeing to it that the offshore oil reserves remained under the control of the states, not the Federal Government, thus possessed a conflict of interest. She found him a liberal in the pocket of predatory interests. An honest conservative, she posits, would be better.

She believed that he would be the object of greater suspicion by foreign nations than the atomic bomb. The Russians were quite aware of Mr. Pauley and he would merely confirm their fears that capitalist states were tools of the industrialists, not the people.

She concludes by finding the description of President Truman during his earlier days as part of the Pendergast Machine in Kansas City, as an honest man among thieves, to be insufficient for the President of the United States.

Once again, we note that Ms. Thompson shows her considerable dislike for President Truman, as demonstrated in her challenging every major decision he had thus far made as President, even including the dropping of the atomic bombs without first demonstrating the matter to the U.N. delegates, Hirohito and the Japanese military leaders in the desert at the Trinity Test site on July 16, as preposterous a notion as ever was concocted in hindsight about any historical event.

Dorothy simply did not like Harry.

An angry letter writer responds caustically to a letter appearing on February 12 which had praised Senator Clyde Hoey for his participation in the filibuster of the FEPC bill. The author suggests that the South was populated with "NO-GOODS" who came to the colonies as debtors and criminals. And he did not want his offspring mixing with the offspring of thieves and prisoners. It led the black man to believe that he was superior to these whites.

The letter, actually mailed directly to the original letter writer, who then sent it to The News, concludes that the original author and Senator Hoey knew nothing of the Bible.

The editors respond: "And here it is Brotherhood Week."

A veteran writes a letter casting his vote to allow "Mr. Breger" to stay on the comics page. He, unlike the previous writer of February 13, a captain who wanted it removed, believed that the strip reminded of the "boneheads" in the service.

Another letter favors doing away with "Bobby-Sox" before "Mr. Breger", which he thought ought remain.

We could care less. Stay, remain. We don't read them anyway and never did.

As to the Herblock...

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