Friday, February 8, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, February 8, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had canceled his planned vacation to Florida, set to begin Monday, so that continuing talks could transpire in an effort to end the steel strike. He had planned to visit with former Prime Minister Churchill, vacationing in Florida, painting at the Surf Club.

The Government proposed a 16-cent per hour wage increase tied to larger subsidies or higher meat prices as an inducement to settle the meatpackers dispute. The meatpackers were back at work after Government seizure of the industry.

The President's bread-for-Europe program had met with opposition in Congress. Former 1936 Republican presidential candidate, Alf Landon of Kansas, suggested that the Roosevelt Administration had been partly responsible for the food shortage, blaming the shortage in Germany on the plan of former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau. (Mr. Morgenthau's plan had been to strip Germany of its industry and turn it into an agrarian-based economy.) A Republican Congressman introduced a bill to ban the export of food until the American people would be assured of adequate white bread, in the face of the President's advice to reduce consumption of wheat.

The House Banking Committee approved the appointment of George Allen to become the head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The nomination next would go to the Senate for final confirmation.

The Committee also approved the watered-down bill of Congressman Wright Patman of Texas regarding imposition of ceilings on new housing prices. Mr. Patman complained, however, that the committee's removal of the ceiling provision on existing housing pulled the teeth from the bill.

Bertram Benedict writes a piece in which he predicts that the aftermath of the Ed Pauley nomination as Undersecretary of the Navy would be the departure from the Cabinet of Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, regardless of whether the nomination would be confirmed or not. Mr. Ickes had opposed Mr. Pauley's confirmation on the ground that he had offered a $300,000 campaign contribution in exchange for the Government relinquishing its claim on the offshore oil reserves in California, in which Mr. Pauley had a personal stake. The President had stated that Mr. Ickes might be mistaken in his judgment regarding Mr. Pauley's fitness to serve.

Mr. Ickes would be 72 in March and had served 13 years, the second longest of any Secretary of Interior, and was the only original Cabinet member left from the first term of President Roosevelt except Henry Wallace, originally Secretary of Agriculture.

Mr. Ickes had incurred the ire not only of the cronies of Mr. Pauley but also of most State Governments, eager to maintain the oil rights and royalties derived from them in the offshore reserves. Mr. Ickes favored Federal control of these reserves.

Jack Bell writes a similar piece, indicating that Mr. Ickes had no comment on the speculation that he might soon leave the Cabinet. He reports also that President Truman continued to back Mr. Pauley's appointment, which appeared nevertheless in trouble.

The U.N. Security Council interrupted consideration of the complaint by the Ukraine regarding the Indonesian situation until it could study the Dutch proposal for independence of Indonesia.

Sunspots blacked out radio communications between New York and Europe and Asia, and between San Francisco and Manila, Tokyo, and Chungking. It was said to be the worst case of sunspots in years.

It is noteworthy because of the theory that sunspot activity during the time immediately preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor might have somehow enhanced radio communications such that a radio operator in San Francisco could pick up signals from the Japanese Task Force headed to Hawaii, despite its strict maintenance of radio silence.

As we showed some twelve years ago, sunspots would have the opposite effect, interfering with radio communications. Moreover, the record at the National Geophysical Data Center shows no unusual spike or drop in sunspot activity during December, 1941.

But once you have had a Sunspot enter your living room, you will not forget it.

On the editorial page, "The Lindbergh Record" comments on the confirmation by Colonel Charles MacDonald, writing in Collier's, of Charles Lindbergh's combat record in the Pacific. The colonel informed that he had flown 50 combat missions, twice the normal complement of a combat pilot, and destroyed one Japanese plane in a heavy dogfight.

Heretofore, Mr. Lindbergh's service had been known only for his re-design of the P-38 fighters which enabled conservation of fuel and hence a 600-mile longer range.

The entire time he was in the Pacific, Mr. Lindbergh had been a civilian working for United Aircraft. He had thus violated the rules of international warfare, explaining why the Army had covered up his combat record.

The piece found the disregard of the rules of war disturbing, despite the Japanese having routinely violated the rules of war themselves. For the prosecution in the war crimes trials of General Homma and others was stressing the abandonment of the Geneva Convention.

The transgression reflected, however, more on the commanders who allowed Mr. Lindbergh to make the flights than it did the man himself. It added to the nation's increasing reputation for hypocrisy.

"Pertinent Questions" examines the escape from the Mecklenburg County Jail by two inmates the week before, now captured. The Sheriff had appeared to have forgotten the incident, but questions remained as to how they had managed to rip out plumbing and enlarge the resulting hole, rip up an iron grate in the floor, and then get through steel doors leading from the cell block to the outer office and from the outer office to the corridor, and then down the unguarded elevator without any guard hearing or seeing anything.

"'Wicked, Malicious Judge...'" tells of the findings of the House Judiciary Committee regarding Judge Albert W. Johnson, who had resigned from the Federal bench and awaited trial for conspiracy to obstruct justice. Judge Johnson had been on the bench in Pennsylvania for 20 years, and at some point began selling justice, apparently involving thousands of cases.

The piece believes that the Congress should have gone ahead and impeached him, despite his resignation, to maintain confidence in the courts and acknowledge that a mistake had been made in his original appointment.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "In Justice To All", comments on the rumors circulating over the state as to whether Solicitor John Carpenter had died of natural causes, given the coroner's statement that death was from a "cause undetermined" and that the investigation nevertheless was closed. It urges further investigation to resolve the matter.

Drew Pearson reports that thus far the State Department, while maintaining tight controls on Japan, had done little to dismantle industry in Germany. The problem was that the State Department had been too timid to ask Congress for the money to hire a thousand men to govern the U.S. occupation zone in Germany. It had provoked comment that a generation hence, when the nation would be involved in World War III, the people would look to the cause and find that it lay in a handful of low level State Department officials who would not ask for appropriations.

He next tells of the one chance the late Harry Hopkins had to live, after being diagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands. He was told by a doctor to go on the Freund non-fat diet and quit smoking. But Mr. Hopkins had refused.

He had told friends and associates that he had lived a full life in his 55 years. When his boss, FDR, had died the previous spring, his reason for existence had ended.

Mr. Pearson next imparts that President Truman was more aggressive than FDR in urging the Justice Department to defend the Federal rights to offshore oil reserves, even though contrary to the position of his Undersecretary-designate of the Navy, oil man Ed Pauley.

Finally, he tells of dreary conditions of life in the Army during wintertime in Alaska, where the men were kept busy by making ornate cribbage boards for senior officers, requiring mechanical engineers to draw up blueprints and nameplates for the boards.

Marquis Childs reports that the criticism leveled at General Omar Bradley by the American Legion commander, alleging that in six months as head of the Veterans' Administration, he had not performed efficiently, had backfired and resulted in focus being placed on the excellent job General Bradley had done. General Bradley had accomplished much in trying to modernize the V.A. and place medical facilities in communities nearby medical research centers.

The remainder of the piece had been dealt with previously on the page.

Samuel Grafton finds a lot of loose spending going on in the country, $30 rooms and $30 meals being the norm in the winter resorts of the South. The irritating part was that such profligate spending was going on while a good portion of the wage labor force was on strike for marginally higher wages. The families of many of those two million workers were without money. Workers still at work were concerned of higher prices and more to come.

"One recalls what happened after the last war; neon lights still play over the memory; it was like a ride in a stolen car driven by a drunken harlot with a scarlet mouth, and the recollection ought to be enough to make us call out to whatever economic police there be: Stop trend!"

"An Ex-WAC" writes a letter thanking the newspaper for re-printing the Washington Post editorial on returning servicewomen, who were facing a lot of rejection by other women without service records to place on their resumes. She had been looking for a job for a month and was ready to take her "ruptured duck" and file it away with her other souvenirs, which included five service ribbons and two campaign stars.

She had been a clerk in the Army but had received responses from employers that she lacked civilian experience, that she was too old, that she should return to her pre-war job, or that they hired only former service men.

She did not intend the letter for publication. The editors note, however, their belief that it might jar some consciences and so, with apologies, printed it anyway.

A letter comes from the Mayor of Pittsboro in reply to the Fort Bragg soldier who had written complaining of being stopped by a Pittsboro police officer for his license plate light being out and then being referred across the road to a service station, wherein he was told that several motorists had fallen into the same trap.

The Mayor says that no arrests were made of any motorists by Pittsboro police officers on the night in question. But the Highway Patrol did have an officer who had stopped several motorists for defective lights that night and a week earlier, and advised them to have the lights fixed.

Thus, the Mayor concluded that the soldier's complaint against the town of Pittsboro was unjustified.

A regular letter writer writes of the housewife's continuing labor in having to mix colorless and yellow margarine resultant of the high tax imposed on yellow margarine by an 1886 law passed at the behest of the dairy industry.

He recommends that the housewife protest and that if she did not, she "is a dumb Dora who likes to be imposed upon."

He supplies his address in case any margarine manufacturer wished to express their appreciation.

Herblock comments on the decision by the Supreme Court handed down unanimously on the previous Monday in Hannegan v. Esquire, 327 U.S. 146, holding that the Postmaster General, in this specific case former Postmaster General Frank Walker, had been conferred no right of censorship by virtue of laws placing restrictions on the types of publications entitled to favorable postal rates. In the opinion delivered by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court stated:

"It is plain, as we have said, that the favorable second-class rates were granted periodicals meeting the requirements of the Fourth condition, so that the public good might be served through a dissemination of the class of periodicals described. But that is a far cry from assuming that Congress had any idea that each applicant for the second-class rate must convince the Postmaster General that his publication positively contributes to the public good or public welfare. Under our system of government there is an accommodation for the widest varieties of tastes and ideas. What is good literature, what has educational value, what is refined public information, what is good art, varies with individuals as it does from one generation to another. There doubtless would be a contrariety of views concerning Cervantes' Don Quixote, Shakespeare's Venus & Adonis, or Zola's Nana. But a requirement that literature or art conform to some norm prescribed by an official smacks of an ideology foreign to our system."

The case had originated in 1943 amid considerable controversy and humor, regarding the appearance of drawings by Vargas of scantily clad women in the pages of Esquire and Mr. Walker's consequent determination that the magazine thus contained lewd and indecent material such that it should be denied favorable postage rates.

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