Saturday, February 2, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 2, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman had expressed full confidence in General Omar Bradley as head of the Veterans' Administration. The statement came in response to the complaint made the previous day by the head of the American Legion urging Congress to investigate the V.A. and indicating that it needed a business man, not a soldier, to run it. General Eisenhower, Army chief of staff, expressed his continued faith in General Bradley's abilities. Other veterans organizations, such as the V.F.W., expressed also their full support of General Bradley.

Both the President and Secretary of State Byrnes denied rumors of a rift, which had been stimulated by a statement by the President at a press conference the previous day that foreign policy was made by the President, not the State Department.

President Truman conferred with Secretary of State Byrnes and Secretary of the Treasury Fred Vinson, both former Reconversion directors, and the president of G.E., believed to be relating to efforts to resolve the strikes in the country, especially the steel strike, but also involving the G.M. strike and the electrical workers strike at G.E., Westinghouse, and G.M.

Walter Reuther, vice-president of UAW, stated that the union would accept the 19.5 cents per hour wage increase recommended by the President's fact-finding board only as a down payment toward the 35 cents which the union believed that G.M. could afford by its profits. They would come back later, he said, for the remaining amount. Meanwhile, G.M. clung to its line of offering no more than 13.5 cents per hour as the strike entered its 75th day.

The United Nations Site Committee recommended to the General Assembly that it choose an area between New York and Connecticut around Stamford and Greenwich as the permanent site for the U.N., with temporary headquarters in New York City. About a third of the 40 to 50 square mile area lay within New York State.

Navy Captain L. F. Safford testified before the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor that he had been pressured on May 11, 1945 by Lt. Commander John Sonnett to change his statement that he had intercepted on December 4, 1941 a "winds" execute message, stating "east wind rain", a communication to Japanese diplomatic personnel meaning that war with the United States was imminent. Captain Safford contended that Commander Sonnett told him that he was imagining things and that his memory was playing tricks, that he needed to change the story to clean things up and make everything consistent. Captain Safford had the impression that Commander Sonnett was acting on behalf of the late Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, who had died in May, 1944, and Admiral Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations at the time of Pearl Harbor. The pressure came in the context of an inquiry by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal in mid-1945.

Hal Boyle writes his last in a series of seven articles on Chester Bennett, the "hero of Hong Kong", who had been executed by the Japanese for unproved espionage and smuggling money to the prisoners of Stanley Prison so that they could purchase from the guards extra rations.

Mrs. Bennett had gone to the prison on October 29, 1943, a few hours after the execution of her husband, but was told by the guards that he had been beheaded. She had been told that he was dead previously and so did not believe them. She returned on each of several days and each time was told the same thing. She regularly had carried food to her husband but had not been allowed to see him since his arrest the previous May. Finally, after three weeks, when the Japanese sent his clothes to Mrs. Bennett's father, she knew that her husband had been executed.

In January, 1944, she gave birth to their child, a girl. Marcus Da Silva, who had been Mr. Bennett's partner in the espionage operation to aid the British and Chinese as well as the prisoners of Stanley Prison, urged Mrs. Bennett to leave Hong Kong and come to Macao to which Mr. Da Silva had sought refuge. She refused, believing that the Japanese would not bother her. But in June, the Japanese arrested her and placed her in Stanley Prison where she was regularly beaten and tortured to try to get her to talk. She refused and eventually was released when the Japanese became convinced she did not know anything.

She now worked for the American Consulate and raised her daughter, trying to forget the past.

"It is all over, now, all over," she said.

The United Air Lines plane which crashed at the 10,000-foot elevation of Elk Mountain near Laramie, Wyo., had been discovered by climbers the previous day, and UAL engineers were in the process of reaching the site to take away the bodies of the 21 dead passengers and crew.

In Pittsburgh, a woman sued her husband, a former soldier, for divorce on the ground that he had fathered quadruplets in England with another woman in 1944. He now wanted to marry the other woman.

In New York, three men entered a restaurant, wielded pistols, and held up the cash register, hustling six patrons, all working men, into the back. One of the patrons offered his week's pay to the robbers, but they indicated that he was just a working man and they did not want his money.

On the editorial page, "The Rosy Dawn" discusses the "rugged honesty" appearing to characterize Henry Ford II, grandson of Henry Ford and son of the late Edsel Ford. The editorial states that it had disagreed with Henry Ford much of the time and disagreed now also with Henry Ford II. But it admired the way he had expressed with candor the viewpoint of manufacturers when he wired the President urging price controls be removed so that production could resume.

The viewpoint was shared by the National Association of Manufacturers. Philip Murray of CIO had stated that prices were not the concern of the workers.

It appeared to leave Chester Bowles, head of OPA, without any support in trying to maintain price controls to ward off inflation. While the President had snippishly dismissed the suggestion of the young Mr. Ford, he was yielding to steel on price control, promising a $4 per ton increase to try to end the steel strike.

But while the manufacturers would reap their profits and the workers would receive higher wages, those on fixed incomes would suffer as consumers under inflated prices.

"No reveler setting out of a Saturday night likes to be reminded of last Sunday's hangover, and, after all, there is little point in marring the rosy dawn of a great free-spending day by remarking that financial jags also have a way of leading to a disastrous morning-after. Besides, nobody seems to be listening."

"Just Meddlers?" finds Editor R. F. Beasley of the Farm and Home Weekly upset at the Southern Conference for Human Welfare—the same organization which Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi had promised thoroughly to expose during his filibuster of the FEPC bill.

Mr. Beasley had gleaned from an article in The News that the Southern Conference was planning to support Senator Alben Barkley's resolution against the filibuster. Mr. Beasley had never heard of the Southern Conference and believed it to be a well-paid secretary fronting for some meddlesome interests pretending to have in mind the welfare of the South.

The piece corrects his misimpression and informs that the Southern Conference was in fact considerably more than a well-paid secretary, that the resolution of the Southern Conference against the filibuster had among its signatories the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times, president Frank Porter Graham of the University of North Carolina, the national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the president of the May Hosiery Mills, and the president of the Kentucky Merchants' Association, plus 40 distinguished signers from North Carolina.

While the Southern Conference ran against the conservative grain of the South, it afforded another side to arguments and was therefore welcome in the debate against the preservation of ancient prejudices.

"The Last Straw" discusses the debate ongoing between the Louisville Courier Journal and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, with the New York Herald Tribune acting as judge, anent the propriety of drinking mint juleps through a straw, the Courier Journal taking the affirmative. The Times-Dispatch had accused The Courier Journal of "tergiversating" on the issue. The Courier Journal had replied that a Virginian debating a Kentuckian on juleps was akin to high school students inviting nuclear physicists to engage in colloquy with them on atomic energy.

The Times-Dispatch had replied to the editor of The Courier Journal: "Looks as if he's got to have three more months at least, to stroke his goatee, hitch up his blank string tie, cuss and stomp before he can produce an even semi-intelligent defense of the outlandish Kentucky custom of ruining juleps by passing them through straws."

The editorial found it a "wonderful, high-minded debate". Tar Heels had no place in it, given the lexicological, exegetical complexities of the dialectic.

But the editors had noticed on the front page of The Times-Dispatch a piece which was titled "House Kills Measure To End Liquor Rationing", and since they had been rationed since 1904, they suggested the need of "twelve or fourteen foot of copper tubin', a couple of big wash pots, and..."

The whole thing is a bit over our capitals, including the contribution by The News. Obviously, it had something to do with the newly proposed construction of the modern hotel in downtown Charlotte, in which every room would have a shower, a tub, and a radio, plus air conditioning to appease the penguins.

A piece from the Raleigh Times, titled "The Old Road System", looks, as had the editorial column the previous day, at the proposal of the farmers that the secondary road system in the state be managed by the counties rather than the State. It finds the proposal to be a throwback to a system which had not worked during the 1920's. With a hundred counties vying for workers and materials to build roads, the prospective resulting morass was self-evident.

Drew Pearson discusses the debate in the Senate Military Affairs Committee regarding demobilization. A subcommittee headed by Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado made nine recommendations, the ninth of which having stimulated the most controversy, the recommendation of a Senate-Army conference and that legislation be employed to carry out the other eight objectives should the War Department not do so. Senator Tommy Hart of Connecticut wanted the recommendation struck as a threat to the War Department, and since Senator Hart was an Admiral in the Navy, other Senators on the sub-committee followed suit with similar protests. Ultimately, the vote was to strike the final sentence and the report was sent on to the Army.

He next tells of a soldier of whom he had reported in August, 1942. At the time, the Army lieutenant wanted to marry a German secretary of the German Embassy in Washington. As the rest of the German staff was being deported, she had petitioned to remain in the United States to be married to the lieutenant. As her petition came up for review, however, she withdrew it, stating that the lieutenant would be embarrassed to have a German wife. The lieutenant was visibly crushed but served his country well in the war, eventually rising to be a lieutenant colonel during the war in Europe.

After V-E Day, he looked up his former sweetheart in the hope of renewing old acquaintance, but found her married for two years to a man chosen for her by her parents.

The colonel returned home nevertheless happy. He had married a woman he had met in England.

Marquis Childs regards Harry Hopkins, as had the News column three days earlier, as a casualty of the war, having lived in the White House from May, 1940 for three and a half years. The pressure of the position had taken its toll on his health, already damaged from stomach cancer. He had gone to Moscow in 1941 after the Germans had attacked, to work out a lend-lease agreement. It entailed a 21-hour plane trip from northern Scotland to Murmansk, then a treetop level flight from Murmansk to Moscow to meet with Stalin, dodging both German and Russian anti-aircraft fire, as the Russians could have easily mistaken the plane for an enemy craft.

In May, 1945, he had returned to Moscow at the request of President Truman because he had been present with FDR at Yalta and Vice-President Truman had not. Mr. Hopkins's doctors had counseled that he not make the trip, but he did so for his country because of the imperiled relations regarding the Polish situation, holding up negotiations to finalize the U.N. Charter in San Francisco. The trip had also smoothed the way for the Potsdam Conference beginning July 16.

He had then planned to write his memoirs, stressing the third term of President Roosevelt. One of the tragedies of his death was that it cut short his ability to relate the story of which he had been such an integral and indispensable part and which he had witnessed firsthand on a daily basis. It would have been an objective portrait of his boss as he saw him, says Mr. Childs, with a "more or less clear perspective". Mr. Hopkins believed that the President would never have been able to write an objective history of the war.

He had once stated: "The boss never lost a battle. That was his strength. And at times it was his weakness. He just never lost a battle."

Samuel Grafton again relates that OPA director Chester Bowles was waging a lone battle to preserve price controls as a hedge against post-war inflation.

Mr. Grafton posits that hoarding in the hope of higher prices only stultified trade in the end. Cutting costs of production and selling at prices the consumer could afford stimulated business and production.

"There are several ways of achieving stimulation: one is through benzedrine, and another is good, healthy exercise; the benzedrine approach is winning in Washington today."

A sergeant on Leyte in the Philippines, with a family in Charlotte, writes a letter, addressing part of it to Drew Pearson, asking when the soldiers would be allowed to come home. He suggests that the retention of men in service was ultimately to be in aid of maintenance of overseas colonies by the Dutch, French, and British. He lists the East Indies, Malaya, and Indochina.

"A Soldier of Misfortune" writes a letter from Kyushu, Japan, regarding the slowing of Army demobilization. He says that there were so many American soldiers occupying Japan that many were lying around waiting for something to do. He reports that Manila was 98 degrees in the shade and Okinawa had no less than two typhoons per month. The only entertainment in Japan were Geisha houses and the soldiers were American, not Japanese. They could see the ten best movies of the year, but only for 1943 or 1944.

He asks whether the soldiers were to remain "pawns for the chessmen with stars on their shoulders to play with" or would be allowed to return home. He asks that the citizens lend their hands to help accelerate their return.

Another soldier writes a letter stating that as he drove back to Fort Bragg from Durham, he was stopped on Route 50 approaching Pittsboro by a local police officer because his license plate light was out. He was told to have it repaired at the service station across the road. He did so and was charged a dollar for three minutes of work. Some boys at the station told him that cars had been stopped there all evening and sent in for the repair.

"This smacks of conspiracy to me..." said the sergeant. He wanted something done to stop the "piracy".

The editors state that they had forwarded the letter to the Mayor of Pittsboro.

The last Dorman Smith cartoon appears on the page. Mr. Smith had served as the replacement cartoonist since Herblock had left to serve in the Army in March, 1943. He would now return, as announced on the front page, beginning Monday.

We made note of several of Mr. Smith's offerings, one of which, theoretically, ties in to today's News column seamlessly, even if in 1946, neither the editors, nor Mr. Smith in 1944, could have known that it would, and so we mention it. The song is now here, or here, or here, as the case may be. We suppose, for full elucidation, we should mention that one of the Ford dealers in Winston-Salem for many years was named Cloverdale, located by the I-40 cloverleaf, just before the Hawthorne curve. It wasn't very far from where one of the front wheels fell off our Rambler in April, 1970.

As we have previously stated, strange though it may seem, we were the design geniuses behind the Ford Falcon in 1959, though never receiving credit, it having gone instead to Mr. McNamara.

We had nothing at all to do, however, with the Edsel.

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