Saturday, February 23, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Indian mutineers in Bombay had agreed to end their strike aboard ten small warcraft. The seamen were assured that they would not be treated vindictively by the British and police. Meanwhile, rioting, while lessened, continued in the streets after 210 persons had been reported killed and 1,200 injured in the city.

Mohandas K. Gandhi appealed to the people to end the violence.

Some 300,000 workers in Bombay and Calcutta struck in sympathy with the demands of the seamen, for higher pay, better food, and quicker demobilization.

Captain Charles McVay was found guilty by a military court martial of negligence in the loss of the Indianapolis along with 880 men, occurring in latter July, 1945 after delivering key parts of the first atomic bomb to Tinian. Specifically, he was charged and found culpable on his failure to follow a zig-zag course to avoid Japanese submarines. Captain McVay's sentence was remitted in light of his previous service. On December 20, he had been cleared of charges of inefficiency in carrying out the evacuation of the ship in the short interval between the torpedo strike and its sinking.

Lt. General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malaya", was hanged in Manila pursuant to his conviction and death sentence for war crimes. He was magnanimous in his final statement before death.

G.M. and the UAW had still not reached a settlement of the strike, despite prediction by the mediator that it would come the previous night.

Argentina prepared to go to the polls the following day for the first time since 1938. The primary candidates were former vice-president Juan Peron, favored by Labor, and Jose P. Tamborini, favored by a four-party coalition known as the Democratic Union.

A disgruntled hatcheryman from Richmond, Ind., sent, C.O.D., a thousand chicks to the President and Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, with a bill for $70 attached. He was upset regarding confusing requests by the Government to reduce chicken production causing many dealers to cancel orders, leaving him with an excess of chicks.

As the President was cruising on the Potomac, there was no indication of what would happen to the chicks, or whether there was room at the White House for them. Nor was there any indication of what Mrs. Truman thought of the matter.

Secretary Anderson refused to pay the freight charges.

The man had already sent another thousand chicks to the Governor of Indiana who had the State farm pay for them and add them to its chick population.

Hal Boyle, still in New Delhi, tells of having turned 35 on Thursday, half way to his allotted three score and ten. He would not quite make it, dying in 1974 at age 63.

He had been born at home in Kansas City rather than in a hospital. His mother had intended for him to be President, but now Missouri had its quota filled and so he had discarded that idea.

He supposes that if he had been born in a hospital and had become President, it would not look proper to have a placard on a hospital ward telling of the location of his birth. So it was just as well that he was born at home.

Queens College in Charlotte announced a reformation of its curriculum to stress a core course of study for the freshman and sophomore years. It also abolished specific departments for each separate subject and replaced them with six divisions, each administering a given area of learning, such as humanities and arts.

On the editorial page, "Logic and the Generals" comments on the statement by Brigadier General Holdridge that universal military training would be a breeding ground for totalitarianism, while President Truman found impractical the delay in Congress passing it until international disarmament could be given a chance to work.

Both were right and both were wrong. In the world which seemed in the making, one based on fear, it was necessary to be armed, as such a peace could only be maintained at gunpoint. In a world which had universal military training, having it at home, though with totalitarianism as an inexorable result, would be a vice, not a virtue.

Total war required totalitarianism as a necessary adjunct to wage it. Civil liberties and a well-disciplined military were incompatible in the final reckoning.

The only relevant debate therefore with regard to universal military training was whether to have it or not, not whether it implied necessarily a totalitarian view, truistic as that was. And that entailed a decision as to whether the peace would be maintained through force or international cooperation. The generals, thus far, observing the deteriorating course of Russo-American relations, had little choice in the matter.

"Queen with a Dirty Face" finds it probably propitious that bad weather grounded Lady Astor's plane over Savannah rather than over Charlotte. She told the people of Savannah that the city looked as a "beautiful woman with a dirty face."

She likely would have been little more impressed had she landed in Charlotte. The grimy buildings and sidewalks, as the Mayor had recently remarked, were in the worst shape ever.

Coal and chewing tobacco took their toll, but nevertheless improvement could be had with effort. Sidewalks were the responsibility of the adjoining property owners and little was being done, sometimes requiring hip-waders to navigate them.

It favors a spring street-cleaning campaign.

"The Queen City may resemble an elderly bookkeeper more than it does a beautiful woman, but it has no more excuse than Savannah for wearing a dirty face."

Incidentally, whether Lady Astor intended, while in the United States, to visit with her close friend, Mr. Churchill, painting his pictures down at the Surf Club in Miami, was not indicated.

"An Argument Falls Flat" finds the argument of the National Association of Manufacturers, that price controls were preventing full production, to be plausible but not addressing the issue of what would take place until demand and production were to reach relative stasis.

Hickory, for instance, had experienced rent gouging without rent control, veterans complaining of 50 percent increases in rents, and was now begging OPA to intervene.

Nobody could argue with NAM's contention, but as Hickory demonstrated visibly, lack of control caused consumers hardship. NAM had not produced figures to show that full production would necessarily prevent inflation. Without controls, the inflationary result would hit the white-collar worker's pocketbook.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "On Closing the Door", comments on a protest by three veterans to the Winston-Salem Board of Aldermen for its decision to restrict the number of taxis.

It questions how far any level of government could go in such restrictions without creating monopolies and eliminating free enterprise.

It agrees that some level of restriction of the trade was appropriate, for the sake of public welfare, morals, safety, and health.

The Board of Aldermen did not appear to favor any particular company, but it served as a reminder of the risks associated with too stringent government regulation, especially when it restricted private individuals from engaging in small business. It was a step on the road to "socialization of our whole economy". It was important to understand when to draw the line.

A man has to know his limitations.

Drew Pearson reports that, behind the scenes, President Truman had recommended that Secretary of State Byrnes take action against a few men in the Department who were suspected as having sympathies with the Soviet Union, revelations coming from the Canadian leak of atomic secrets. Mr. Byrnes had determined to move cautiously, with no prosecutions coming for some time, even if one or two Department officials might soon be dropped.

The reason for the delay in prosecution was the presence in the American Constitution of the protections of Due Process, privilege against self-incrimination and the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, requiring probable cause. In Canada, suspects could be arrested and held incommunicado without the benefit of habeas corpus. Thus far, the case against the 22 arrested in Canada was considered by American observers to be circumstantial—albeit not preventing a case from being brought when a corpus delicti was also present and there was connection between it and a particular suspect.

There is no requirement under American law that cases have direct evidence as opposed to circumstantial evidence connecting a suspect with a crime, only that the evidence constitute something beyond a mere hunch or the mere basis for a fishing expedition to try to discover more evidence. Obviously, however, direct evidence makes for a stronger case.

The Canadian case had revealed a code name, apparently one which was used regularly, of a man in the State Department with whom the Soviet, to whom the secrets were provided, visited every two weeks via courier. While the code name did not provide sufficient evidence for prosecution, his usefulness henceforth as a State Department official had ended and he would be dropped. In other cases, it would be difficult to determine whether a particular person was working toward international peace or genuinely had sympathies for Communism—especially in light of the statement during the week of former Ambassador to Moscow, Joseph E. Davies, that the Russians had every moral right to spy in the United States as long as America withheld the atomic secret, thus posing a substantial threat to the Soviet Union, its ally during the war, and without whom, as contemporaneous observers generally agreed, Hitler could not have been defeated without substantially greater loss of both American and British lives.

Obviously, if the man with the code name was quite effective in his role, the Soviets would want to link him with revelation of secrets.

Pumpkin, pumpkin. Who's got the Pumpkin?

Despite pressure from the Army and Navy, Secretary Byrnes, a former Supreme Court Justice, not to mention Attorney General Tom Clark, a future Justice, insisted on strict adherence to the Constitution and protection of civil liberties—unlike some folks we know from history, who see those things as mere niceties to roll out on July Fourth and otherwise simply view them under glass, hermetically sealed for posterity to admire, but never, ever actually to be used for their intended purpose, for that would be Radical.

Those under suspicion, however, were being maintained, states Mr. Pearson, under close scrutiny.

He notes that one of the State Department officials named in October by former Ambassador to China, Patrick Hurley, as siding with the Chinese Communists had been George Atcheson who had, since V-J Day, worked with General MacArthur as an expert on the Far East and, after returning recently to the United States, was being beckoned again by General MacArthur.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the ending of a feud of a year's duration between Bernard Baruch and Secretary Byrnes. They had traveled together to Miami to visit Winston Churchill. The feud had developed, following thirty years of friendship between them, both from South Carolina, when Mr. Baruch had begun leveling heavy criticism at Mr. Byrnes in the latter days of his being War Mobilizer, claiming that he did not favor a tough manpower bill, had distanced himself from the fight to have Henry Wallace confirmed as Commerce Secretary, and had generally abandoned FDR.

The two had bridged their gap during a dinner arranged by mutual friends at the Washington Shoreham Hotel following the return from London of Secretary Byrnes.

As part of his Capital Chaff, Mr. Pearson relates that one of the barbs going around as a result of the confirmation problems with Messrs. Pauley, Vardaman, and Allen, was that the President was suffering from "Pendergastric ulcers".

Marquis Childs tells of Clare Boothe Luce announcing her retirement from politics after completion of her second term in Congress, coincident with her having joined the Catholic Church. She stated that she believed it appropriate so that her change of faith would not be interpreted as a bid for votes.

She had just delivered on Lincoln's Birthday a hard-hitting speech regarding racial injustice. She stated that there were only human rights, regardless of skin color, a Christian concept. She attacked Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi for his racial bias and implicitly called him a liar.

Her audience had been surprised by the speech, expecting barbs aimed at the Democrats. Only a small bit of applause followed. Several Republicans had walked out in the middle.

The press had practically omitted mention of the speech. Many in the audience believed she was simply seeking votes from labor and blacks.

In fact, she simply wanted to be Ambassador to Italy.

Samuel Grafton states that the Canadian spy case regarding leaks of atomic secrets to the Russians was of special interest to a particular type of person, one also interested in Pearl Harbor. This man believed that the loss of the original Atlantic Charter document was indicative of the lack of belief in it held by FDR and Churchill. He believed that elections ought turn on spy stories, not debate on substantive issues, such as wages and prices, un-American activities. He turned the serious drama of life into a Grade-B movie.

The real reason, the man would say, that Ed Pauley was having trouble in his confirmation process was that he had displeased his handlers, the Communists. That fit his world view in which President Roosevelt deliberately lured the Japanese to Pearl Harbor and the country was now deliberately starving the Germans. He was so determined not to be naive that he would believe anything.

The Canadian spy case was made to order for him, and when policies proved inadequate, he would blame not bad judgment or mistakes, but rather some unseen man who knew someone in the State Department, "and then there was this suitcase; but the girl disappeared, the one with the winds message tattooed on her forearm."

"It is a world of eerie electrical visions; and our philosopher hopes that if he can find the right scare, he can swing an election with it, an election in which the people will vote as their goosepimples direct rather than according to the realities of impending inflation and world insecurity. He hopes perhaps that, like himself, the people will be so busy reading lines written in invisible ink they will quite forget about handwriting on walls."

Exactly: "Rainbo" tattooed on her forearm. We knew this 'as gon' be the day.

Mr. Grafton, had he only his crystal ball handy, might have understood the future, that brewing in the wings writ by its primary artists, orchestrators, and writers of the E. Phillips Oppenheim era to come, replacing the stale, simple cloak-and-dagger period just expired with the war. These new orchestrators, with names like Nixon and McCarthy, would use the same manipulative devices, the same dei ex machina, but with a new MacGuffin, in the case of Nixon, the Pumpkin, the Pigman, and the Snake, somewhere between Kipling and Orwell, not Orson; in the case of McCarthy, the secret list of messengers of the State Department and Army acting as intriguants in the larger scheme. In the contest over who could fight the lowest and dirtiest without being recognized widely enough for the trait, one will become Vice-President after dodging a political scandal involving a dog, a coat, and $20,000, finally, on the basis of several fortuitous turns, in the road and in the ballroom of the Taft Hotel, will reach the White House, while the other will go to the booby hatch with the D.T.'s after being disgraced and censured by his Senate colleagues.

Perfect script, boy. Call it "The Olde Mill Wheel, or the Dam Which Finally Broke in the Barroom on the Tenth Day".

Oh yeah, and there is even the proverbial Chick, and the poser of the Chick—whose name may have been J. Edgar.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., comments that, after reading an article by Burke Davis appearing February 19, regarding Wake County being able to operate on a cash basis after instituting liquor control, that is, A.B.C. Stores, he wondered how the Wake County residents were able "to get their coats on over the wings they must wear on their back."

He proceeds to provide conviction statistics regarding crime in Rock Hill, a town of 16,000, between 1925 and 1935, and during the immediately previous decade, finding the rate almost four times higher in the latter period.

Moreover, the South Carolina Legislature had a proposal to erect a $275,000 addition to the State Hospital for the treatment of alcoholics.

He thus finds the effort to legalize liquor every bit as destructive as would an effort to legalize narcotics.

The editors respond that the past decade included the war years—not to mention a host of other variables apart from the abandonment in 1933 of Prohibition. And, the State Hospital had sought for years to have an addition for treating alcoholics; thus, the fact that it was now before the Legislature proved nothing.

The assistant director of the Charlotte Library writes a letter in praise of the addition to the book page of the column by Clip Boutell, an old personal friend of the writer. He also liked the job being done by Burke Davis in his book page column, "News and Reviews".

A letter writer indicates that he had kidded previously about Russia but, in light of recent events, was falling back on Kipling: "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet."

The editors add that he might also consider G. W. Hunt, who added "jingo" to the language in his verse from "Macdermott's War Song":

We don't want to fight, but by jingo if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.
We've fought the Bear before and while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

Herblock succinctly sums the Pearl Harbor investigation.

A Quote of the Day comes from the president of the Propeller Club of the United States: "We've got to have the full support of our industry, our Government and our people—that is the only way to insure a real peacetime American merchant marine."

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