Wednesday, February 20, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 20, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that future Supreme Court Justice and former Undersecretary of Interior Abe Fortas had testified to the Senate Naval Committee that he did recall a conversation more than a year earlier between Ed Pauley, nominee to be Undersecretary of the Navy, and Harold Ickes, recently resigned Secretary of Interior, regarding both a campaign contribution from "oil interests" to be arranged by Mr. Pauley for the Democrats in 1944 and the tidelands oil suit being waged by the Government to assert control over the offshore oil lands, in which Mr. Pauley had an interest and from which he had made millions of dollars in California. But Mr. Fortas, who said he kept no notes on the conversation, could not recall whether the two parts of the conversation were linked, one contingent on the other, as Mr. Ickes had alleged the September 6, 1944 proposal plainly to have been.

—Yeah, yeah. I know, Bob. A little gap in the tape and they go crazy with us.

—Yeah. That's right. They can forget whatever they want and make it sound as innocent as the driven snow. Can't recall whether there was a link. Yeah. On hole number 9, I can't remember whether I made the green in three or two, so I'll just say it was two to be fair.

—And you know it's appreciated, Bob. Because they have to know—that we are smarter, more honest, and work harder than the opposition.

—Yeah, the Teamsters. Good thinking. Get on that plan.

—Right. The truck trailer down in the railroad cut. I saw that yesterday. Terrible thing. Hope no one was killed. Use that, show them we're on their side.

Senator Tom Stewart of Tennessee urged Mr. Pauley to withdraw his name from consideration as the nomination seriously split the Democratic Party.

New Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles told the House Banking Committee that OPA was almost ready to take action which would increase by 50 percent the supply of low-cost clothing.

Following testimony to the House Military Committee by Secretary of State Byrnes that the atomic secret remained exclusive to the United States, committee members and other members of the House told the press that the secret should remain so, at least until the U.N. could provide assurance that it would not be utilized for war. Congressman Karl Mundt of South Dakota urged that the F.B.I. be granted broad authority to root out spies in the country.

The discussion came in the wake of the report on Monday of a leak of some atomic data, albeit not the secret of the bomb, to the Russians by certain Government officials in Canada, occurring shortly after dropping of the two bombs in August.

Secretary Byrnes declined to say what his reaction was to a statement by former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph E. Davies, that as long as the United States withheld the secret unto itself, the Russians had every right to use whatever means of spying they chose to try to obtain it, that America, standing in the shoes of Russia, would do likewise.

A former Army private, George Elliott, testified to the joint committee investigating Pearl Harbor that he had detected during his monitoring of radar on the morning of December 7, 1941 a large squadron of planes, 136 or 137 miles just east of north of Oahu at around 7:00 a.m., but was told by a superior officer, Navy Lieutenant Kermit Tyler, to forget it.

Lieutenant Tyler had believed at the time that the sighting was either of a group of returning planes from the U.S.S. Enterprise or, more probably, of twelve B-17's being flown in from the West Coast to Pearl Harbor, scheduled to arrive almost simultaneously with the time the attack began, at 7:50.

In Detroit, 1,200 dairy workers walked off the job, cutting off milk supplies for 400,000 customers. They were demanding 10 cents per hour in wage increases, retroactive to September.

The President signed into law the employment bill passed by the Congress, a compromise over that which he had sought.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reported that three million people were unemployed, with the number expected to double by June. The U.S. Employment Service placed the number already at six million, with only half of those registered with U.S.E.S. Eight million men had thus far been discharged from the armed forces.

In Oxford, N.C., five people died in a collision between a car and a truck, the latter parked on the side of the road.

Hal Boyle, still in New Delhi, tells of entertainment coming right to one's door in India, especially in Bombay. There was plenty of vaudeville and fakirs. But no one had ever seen the Indian rope trick performed. Apparently, it was merely legend.

One of the worst acts was that of a small boy singing "Pistol Packin' Mama", accompanied on a guitar by an old woman. They sang it endlessly, as a broken record. Sometimes women rented their neighbor's children for such purposes, as beggary was an organized racket.

Then there were the dueling monkeys, and bearded yogis who wished to inform of astrological forebodings for a price.

For those hard of hearing, we shall repeat the caption accompanying the photograph: "A CITY IN NEED—Typical of the conditions in Poland that the UNRRA is helping to alleviate is this street scene in Warsaw. Food, clothing, shelter and other items are being [indiscernible word] by the organization to save Polish lives this Winter and help the country get on her feet again. Some $----,000,000 in food alone is expected to reach Poland this year."

On the editorial page, "Washington's Angry Man" congratulates Chester Bowles for having done a creditable job as director of OPA, an unpopular position, but one which he had performed with the efficiency necessary to hold down inflation. He now vowed, in his new capacity as Economic Stabilizer, to continue to hold the line on inflation.

The zeal which Mr. Bowles exhibited was laudable and necessary for the task he had. Mr. Bowles, as a New Dealer, stood in stark contrast to the placid politicians surrounding President Truman, who believed that compromise had to be achieved, that victory was not possible.

It suggests that Mr. Bowles might be a formidable presidential candidate if he continued to weather the storm in his new position. But Mr. Bowles did not behave as a man seeking the presidency. He showed single-minded devotion to the principle of stemming inflation.

"The Coroner Does It Again" reports that twice during recent weeks, the Charlotte police had shot and killed African-Americans resisting arrest. In one case, a man and his accomplice had wounded two police officers in a knife attack. He was shot and killed. Similarly, in the second case, a man had sought to attack a police officer with a knife and was killed to stop the attack.

The editorial does not doubt that in both cases, the police acted in self-defense, but the proximity in time of the second case to the first warranted at least a suspicion that some trigger happiness may have contributed to the second shooting. In both cases, there was also the question of the necessity of lethal force to ward off the attacks.

The point stressed, however, was that the coroner's dispositions of the cases, in the first instance a jury determining that the man met his death from self-defense by the officer, with the second case still pending, but likely to be concluded in like manner, were inconsistent with the legislative grant of authority to the coroner, limited to a determination of cause of death. The piece wonders from whence authority of the coroner, pursuant to traditional practice, derived to allow him to reach such results without formal prosecutorial investigation. The coroner could rule only that a death was accidental, but had no authority to determine that the homicide resulted from self-defense, a purely legal conception, supposed to be left to the justice system to resolve.

The practice was condoned nevertheless by Mecklenburg officials who believed it eliminated open-and-shut cases from the criminal justice system. The editorial opines that by doing so, they encouraged persistence of the widely-held belief that life was cheap in Mecklenburg.

"A Red Under Every Bed" asserts that it was likely there would be an old-fashioned Red Hunt following on the revelation of the leak of the atomic data by Canadian officials to the Russians, at least should FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover have his way. He was of the opinion that Communists were being allowed to roam the United States at will, without being shadowed by the FBI.

General Leslie Groves, the Army officer in charge of the Manhattan Project and, thus far, the post-war nuclear secret, also asserted that nuclear secrets were leaking from the military at an alarming rate—about which Secretary of State Byrnes was reported on the front page this date to have stated as known only by "God and God alone".

It suggests that both Mr. Hoover and General Groves appeared to want the same sort of treatment applied to Russians in the country as was applied to Americans in Russia, that is the omnipresence of a shadowing detail. And perhaps the day would come when every Russian would be followed by "a small man wearing a derby hat and a raincoat."

It finds the Canadian spy case to begin to read as something out of the mind of Alfred Hitchcock, reminding that the U.S. had also gone into the cloak-and-dagger business.

Only a few months earlier, Dean Acheson had been sent to Congress to seek appropriations for the State Department for a new espionage service. It would undoubtedly now find support in the wake of the Canadian revelation.

Such mutual spying which surely would come could only trouble further the relations between the U.S.S.R. and the United States. But perhaps the "innocent fun" it would generate in the reading public might offset the trouble.

It suggests that the headline, "The Case of the Missing Cyclotron", was more entrancing than "Reds Denounce U. S. Atom Policy", even if reflexive in meaning.

It quotes Ambassador Davies again from the front page regarding his belief that the Russians had the moral right to spy as long as the secret was being withheld by the Americans. But Mr. Davies, it suggests, had been too long away from his own country to recall that America regarded its own motives as pure, extending Mr. Davies's figure regarding America standing in Russian shoes: "we never try the shoe on to see if it pinches, particularly if it happens to be a Russian boot."

Of course, once HUAC got going again at a full gait, with the new 1947 class of eager beavers of the Congress, and the election also in 1946 to the Senate of Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, the good fun, of which there would persist plentiful measures through the decades of the Cold War, would also at times hit the fan of reality with sinister and terrible results to humanity, such as the controversial execution on June 19, 1953 of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for allegedly revealing the atomic secret to the Russians in or about September, 1945. Julius Rosenberg had allegedly recruited his brother-in-law, David Greenglass, to spy for the Russians as part of the latter's involvement in the Manhattan Project.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Beyond the Color Line", refers to a Time story regarding a 1938 flu epidemic in Jasper and Putnam Counties in Georgia. The only white physician had contracted the flu himself. So a black physician had to be called upon to administer to patients. He did a splendid job and residents of both counties had sought his services ever since.

As with the story of Dr. George Washington Carver, the physician in Georgia demonstrated that competence was not determined by the color line, just as character and patriotism were not. To be a better Southerner and a better American, the editorial urges appreciation of that truth.

Drew Pearson reports that the leaked secret atomic data to the Russians by Canadian Government officials had come to light from the Soviet Ambassador to Canada who was being called home by the Russians for having strayed from the narrow path of Soviet loyalty. He had his family with him and so decided to turn himself in to Canadian authorities, whereupon he revealed the leak. He was now being protected by the RCMP who wanted no repeat of the Krivitsky case, in which a former official of the Soviet Secret Service, Walter Krivitsky, who had defected to the United States, was found murdered in the Bellevue Hotel near Union Station in Washington on February 10, 1941 for making the mistake of publishing his memoirs in the Saturday Evening Post.

Mr. Krivitsky, whose death incidentally came on the day of publication in New York of The Mind of the South, was found shot with a single bullet through his temple, lying beside three suicide notes. The official determination of his death was that of suicide. But at that time it was unknown that he was being sought by the Russian Secret Service.

Whittaker Chambers, Nixon confidante and informant in the Alger Hiss case, later recounted in his 1952 memoir, Witness, that his friend, "General" Krivitsky, had never stayed at the Bellevue prior to the night of his death. Mr. Chambers believed that his friend was forced to write the suicide notes and then murdered.

Pumpkin, pumpkin. Who has the Pumpkin?

Mr. Pearson next tells of Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal having privately opposed Ed Pauley as nominee to be Undersecretary while publicly stating his support. Mr. Forrestal had opposed the appointment of Mr. Pauley to the same position when considered by FDR in 1944, the reason for FDR not following through with the appointment.

Finally he states that Henry Kaiser was upset that the Government was delaying sale of its aluminum plants until American-friendly Dutch and Swiss companies could register bids. Mr. Kaiser, Mr. Pearson had reported Monday, wanted to purchase the Government's plants for the manufacture of automobiles and prefabricated aluminium housing.

Marquis Childs tells of the first major break in the Democratic Party between the New Deal faction and the city machine-Southern faction, regarding the dispute over the nomination of Ed Pauley, occasioning the resignation of Harold Ickes. Mr. Childs imparts that a few hours before the resignation, Mr. Ickes had been informed that the White House had determined to withdraw the name of Mr. Pauley, in which case Mr. Ickes would have remained until his designated date of departure, March 31. But the President decided to stand by Mr. Pauley and accept the resignation of Mr. Ickes, effective forthwith.

Mr. Ickes had, until tapped by FDR, been a lifelong Republican, albeit a mugwump who supported Theodore Roosevelt in his Bull Moose campaign of 1912—splitting the Republican vote with incumbent William Howard Taft and enabling the victory for Woodrow Wilson with a plurality of 41.8 percent, not dissimilar to the election 80 years later in which Bill Clinton received a plurality victory of 43 percent, Independent Ross Perot having split the vote, probably more heavily among the Republicans, though not so easily discerned. The Old Curmudgeon, continues Mr. Childs, might therefore return to his old party affiliation, in the wake of the Democratic split, provided the Republicans were willing to nominate a liberal such as Harold Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota.

Mr. Ickes, 71, had several offers of employment pending, including that of writing a syndicated column. It was said that he would like to head the CIO PAC but no invitation had come from that quarter.

The President's toughest challenge in the wake of the resignation was to find a worthy successor.

Samuel Grafton also discusses the blunder of the Administration in allowing Mr. Ickes to resign to save the nomination of Mr. Pauley. It bore the earmarks of a badly directed movie, displeasing to the audience.

It was the same lack of aplomb that had characterized the FEPC fight, which had ended in the Southern filibuster of the bill. It had been fought with little tenacity, allowing the filibuster to proceed in four and five-hour sessions, with no real attempt therefore to break it.

The President was substituting his cast of B-movie actors for the stars.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that the domestic situation was worse than it had been at the end of the war.

Generally, the nation was doing poorly, joining the rest of the world in post-war dismay.

The story was beginning to center around the wrath being directed against the President for his lack of dynamic leadership.

A letter writer, a veteran, was upset that he had received a parking ticket for being three minutes over the allotted time, when he returned to his car after an unavailing shopping foray to buy clothes. While he paid the fine dutifully, he found it unfair that the Governor's chauffeur, who had received a parking ticket in Charlotte, had the ticket fixed by the Mayor.

The editors note that the Mayor had merely paid the ticket himself, not wiped it off the books. Moreover, Governor Gregg Cherry had received his own parking ticket in Charlotte and had paid it, though complaining that the City had not erected sufficient "No Parking" signs.

Well, Governors get special privileges, especially if in a hurry to head South.

Another letter suggests that the editor of a daily newspaper was charged with the responsibility of reforming the world and wondered what The News was doing in that regard.

The editors respond that they had no time for it, but were nevertheless seeking the proper attire to become Clark Kent and his alter-ego.

Three more letters favor retention of the "Mr. Breger" comic strip.

A letter writer, who wrote fairly often, finds syndicated columnist Dr. George Crane to ignore the fact that the Constitution was the law of the land, when he opined that minority rights protected by it were meaningless unless a majority of the people followed the Golden Rule. To defy the Constitution, she said, constituted treason.

Hang him high, then.

"Sex", incidentally, is now here. They keep moving "sex" around, you know?

Another letter asks, for unstated reason, that the editors supply the 1942 statistics on venereal disease in Charlotte, along with the 1940 population. She also wonders whether the newspaper had ever reported that 98.2 percent of the population suffered from syphilis.

She was not a child, apparently, as one might glean, as she referred to herself as "Mrs." But perhaps, she was bein' flip, some so't o' Yankee huma. If so, we don't find it very funny ourselfs, very unbecomin' to a lady, jokin' about syphilitics like 'at.

The editors respond that the newspaper had reported during the war the statistics on syphilis from Morris Field, the Army training post, and found it to be 23 cases per thousand, more than twice that of the Army's maximum allowable rate, 11 per thousand. The rate in Charlotte had been estimated at some unstated time to be five percent.

The population in 1940, it imparts, was 100,899.

It adds, however, that if 98.2 percent of the population had contracted syphilis, there would be no one at The News available to answer the letter as they would all be in Dix Hill.

Pumpkin, pumpkin. Who's got the Pumpkin?

Only Herblock seems to know for sure.

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