Wednesday, February 6, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 6, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Government appeared ready to issue a statement regarding relaxation of price controls to end the steel strike, ongoing since January 21. No official word had yet come, however, confirming the statement, from an unidentified Government official.

The Government seized the New York tugboats after a strike had begun by the operators on Monday, causing in the interim the largest tie-up of shipping traffic in New York Harbor since 1919. Indications were that the workers intended to return to work.

Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth, with 1,108 passengers aboard, backed from New York Harbor on its own steam, without aid from tugboats.

In Manila, General Homma testified that he was morally responsible for everything which occurred under his command in the Philippines, including the Bataan Death March of April, 1942, in which 17,000 Filipino and American soldiers had died. He expressed awareness at the time that a hundred prisoners per day were dying in Camp O'Donnell and that he believed the number to be too high. But he also asserted that he believed his orders for humane treatment in the internment camp were being followed and that he was given no reason to investigate.

Navy Captain L. F. Safford continued his testimony to the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor, stating that he understood that in trying to clear Admiral Kimmel, as he had testified the day before he had undertaken in early 1944, he had violated Navy regulations, and that his note to Captain Kramer in this regard, if intercepted, could have alerted the Japanese that American military intelligence had cracked their codes.

The British Cabinet was reported to have rejected a sought compromise of the Russian complaint to the Security Council regarding British presence in Greece. The proposal had provided that the objection would be passed over by the Security Council with notes for the record that Russia objected and that Britain had denied the charge. The Cabinet authorized Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin to try to effect another form of compromise.

The Case bill, restricting collective bargaining by unions, appeared ready to pass the House without modification by the many proposed amendments which had sought to reduce its strictures. Opposing House members predicted that it would not pass the Senate in its current form or ever be signed into law by the President.

The independent state of Sarawak in North Borneo declared that it would cede its territory to Britain as a colonial possession, including its deposits of diamonds, gold, oil, and rubber. Britain had accepted the cession and assured that no pressure had been brought to bear on the Rajah, who was abdicating his throne in consideration of being able to retain for his family four million dollars in trust out of the nine million dollars held in current monetary assets by the country's treasury.

All 496 persons aboard the steamer which had run aground in stormy weather off Ketchikan, Alaska, had been rescued and there was no reported loss of life.

In Columbia, Mo., a young woman, age 20, just graduated from college and getting ready to embark on a teaching career, was found strangled to death after apparently having been sexually assaulted in the home of her parents.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Macao, fifty miles west of Hong Kong, tells of the city which was a cross between Concord, Mass., Reno, and Coney Island, "a stately old Southern home in Natchez turned into a hotdog stand", with more brothels than schools, more gambling houses than brothels. The Government received twenty percent of its revenue from gambling.

Founded in 1557, it had been a trading center in southern China. The first European hospital had been established in Macao. The first treaty between America and China had been signed there in 1844. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the George Washington of China, had, in his youth, practiced medicine in the Chinese hospital of Macao.

But now it thrived on fishing, gambling, prostitution, incense sticks, firecrackers, and opium. Losers at the gambling tables summed it by saying, "Ninety percent for the devil—ten percent to the Lords."

On the editorial page, "Rental Clearing House?" comments again on the housing shortage for veterans returning to Charlotte and the inadequate response of the City. A program to encourage home sharing had found quarters for 70 families in its first week. But it was, thus far, the only positive action being undertaken. The rest was talk.

"Colonel Kirkpatrick" provides an obituary for Col. Thomas LeRoy Kirkpatrick of Charlotte, a lawyer who had also been Mayor from 1914-17, and participated in many community projects. He had earned his rank of colonel in the National Guard.

"Point, Counterpoint" suggests that the U.N. had begun to resemble a state legislature in mid-session or the Congress on one of its more active days, with finger-pointing aplenty, especially between Andrei Vishinsky, the Soviet Vice-Commissar for Foreign Relations, and British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin. Both were engaging in the practice to take the focus off their own countries.

The time would come when the United States would have to take sides, and then the attacks would be leveled at the U.S. for retention of the atomic bomb.

The editorial finds the testy exchange to be encouraging, however, as such airing of issues was the reason for the U.N. British imperialism, Russian propaganda, and American duplicity all threatened world peace. Getting it out into the open was beneficial.

It suggests that the fears of observers might be realized, that the Russians might depart the organization if the going became too tough. Yet, as bad as that would be, it would be worse to allow the organization to degenerate into hypocrisy for the sake of maintaining appearances.

The Russians would have to abandon their revolution, the British, their Empire, and America, its isolationism, before world peace could be realized. There were bound to be growing pains expressed in the meantime as this process went forward.

A piece from the High Point Enterprise, titled "Two Editorial Peeves", indicates its irritation with the Associated Press and John Harden, Governor Gregg Cherry's private secretary, for their misuse of English.

The A.P. had called "The Lost Colony" an "historical pageant", to which the editorial exclaims, "Phooy!" It was a play, not a pageant, insists the piece. Being outdoors did not a pageant make it.

Then Mr. Harden had stated, in defending his boss from a charge made by the Fayetteville Observer, "I don't usually take issue with the newspaper boys because I have been one myself." He had been a newspaper man, insists the piece, and a good one, but never a "boy". It rubbed the editors the wrong way and reminded of the president of the Fat and Forty-odd Ladies Book Club who always began meetings with the salutation, "Greetings, girls."

Drew Pearson tells of a meeting between the President and the steel fact-finding committee, which had informed him that the 18.5-cent wage increase he had recommended was wholly supported by the profit figures provided by the steel industry. The committee had ventured no opinion, however, on the price increase to be given steel. So, the President quickly supplied the arithmetic: that at 60 million tons of production and a $4 per ton increase, the industry would make an additional 240 million dollars against their own estimate of 165 million annually to be paid out to workers on an 18.5 cent wage increase.

Mr. Pearson next informs of Rear Admiral Joseph Redman who had covered up a report during the war from the FCC criticizing as inefficient the Western Union cable traffic. He now was taking his new position as vice-president of Western Union.

He next imparts of the President's good humor in the face of controversy. He related to friends that he found himself in the middle of every dispute, foreign and domestic. He then walked to the door of his White House office and asked his secretary where he might obtain a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

Among Mr. Pearson's "Capital Chaff" was the fact that 45 small steel companies had settled their wage disputes, enabling 50,000 steel workers to return to work.

Kaiser Steel was experimenting with aluminum to replace steel in automobile bodies.

Marquis Childs discusses another controversial appointment by the President, that of his adviser George Allen to become chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Mr. Allen, from Mississippi, had been in the hotel business until 1933, then becoming, through his Democratic connections, one of the commissioners for the District of Columbia, a low responsibility position. While, through other connections, he had been appointed to several boards of companies, a question arose as to his genuine business experience.

Senate liberals, however, of both parties were focusing on his role in conveying to the Senate Finance Committee a memorandum specifying the President's "essential" and only "desirable" programs for reconversion, placing in the latter group the proposed Federal unemployment compensation as well as the other key aspects of the expansion program. It had come when Senator Robert La Follette and others were attempting to rally support for the President's recommendations. The effect of the memo, which quickly became known throughout the Senate and House, was to undermine the entire reconversion program which the President had sought. The unemployment compensation bill had wound up in the House Ways and Means Committee where it still languished.

Samuel Grafton comments on the general program which had developed in the nation after the war had ended: retaining the atomic secret for national security; providing no aid to foreign nations, using the competitive advantage gained during the war to the fullest extent; and avoidance of wage hikes, keeping costs down.

But that program was gradually disintegrating. While initially President Truman appeared to support each part of the program, he had now abandoned it entirely. He was currently pressing for the 3.75 billion dollar credit to Britain; he had joined Henry Wallace in favoring control of the atomic bomb by a civilian commission rather than the military; and he was seeking to curb the anti-labor Democrats of the South.

While the names of the bills were different, the country had been down the path previously.

Dorothy Thompson expresses the hope that the Congress would approve the loan to Britain. It would aid in the return of economic and political stability in Europe generally. Britain had accepted the conditions of the loan which included dissolution of the sterling bloc and the abandonment of imperial trade preferences. She stresses that time was of the essence in providing the approval to avoid an international deadlock which would lead to political and economic speculation.

It was imperative, as Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace had stated, to build foreign markets to obtain full employment in the United States. Not providing the loan would result in potential loss of the country's primary trading partner prior to the war. Those who stood in opposition were the same who opposed Socialism and Communism, but the loan was to stimulate free trade and thus economic freedom, rather than regimentation. The alternative would be political extremism and economic fascism in Europe, impacting ultimately the United States.

A letter writer, "Another Working Girl", votes approval of the "30-month Veteran" who wrote on January 28 in favor of a "work or occupy" policy, similar to the policy proposed a year earlier of "work or fight".

But, again, they miss the point: the "work or fight" proposal was in response to workers leaving war jobs early to get a jump on returning veterans in competition for jobs back home. It had nothing to do with breaking strikes.

She also liked the "working girl", of whom the "30-month Veteran" made favorable comment, who had no sympathy for strikers. She thought more people such as these should be running the country.

She identifies herself as a white collar worker.

She also registers her disapproval of the article by Leonard Hall of January 14 which had labeled as cry babies and mutineers the protesting soldiers in Europe and in Manila regarding slow discharge.

She concludes that if another depression should follow the war, she would hold the strikers accountable.

The editors suggest that she might reserve a little of her anger for U.S. Steel, which had caused the largest single strike in the country's history by rejecting the President's proposal of arbitration.

"This seems to us a moment when a closed mind is considerably more dangerous than a closed shop."

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