Tuesday, March 19, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 19, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Maj. General Lewis Hershey, director of Selective Service, in a letter to the House Military Affairs Committee, asked the House to extend the draft indefinitely for those between the ages of 18 and 45, with the President or Congress able at any time to cancel the draft and the President able to vary the age limitations within the established parameters.

The Supreme Soviet, having just adopted a new five-year plan for Soviet expansion of production by one and a half times and for creation in Russia of use of atomic power, was ready to elect a new Chairman of the Council of Commissars. Josef Stalin had held the position since May, 1941, in addition to his established position as head of the Communist Party. Under the five-year plan, the U.S.S.R. would maintain and strengthen its military.

Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King told the Parliament in Ottawa that he was gravely concerned regarding Russian espionage activities in Canada, which had led to the arrests of 22 current and former Government officials for revelation of radar and atomic data to the Russians, as revealed February 15. He denied, however, the prospect of an outright diplomatic break with Russia and stated his belief that Premier Stalin had not been aware of the espionage.

In Budapest, three Hungarian Nazis were executed by strangulation. They had served under Premier Szalasi's puppet regime during the war. Szalasi had been executed the previous week.

Five members of the Catholic clergy were executed by gunfire in Albania on March 5. The reason for the executions and the responsible authority was not indicated.

With UAW locals still on strike in certain G.M. plants regarding unsettled local issues, the UAW as a whole ratified the settlement of the G.M. strike reached the previous week. Of the 96 locals, 49 had endorsed the national settlement, with only one, in Baltimore, having thus far dissented. Some few of the 175,000 striking workers returned to work. The strike had lasted 119 days, 113 days before the settlement reached the previous Wednesday.

OPA indicated the likelihood of a rise in cigarette prices of 25 to 50 cents per thousand, as it prepared to raise the ceiling within two to three weeks. A rise in the ceiling on cigar prices was likely within a few months. The tobacco industry stated that if the price ceiling were raised only 25 cents, it would amount to only a half-cent per pack, difficult therefore to squeeze from the lungs of the consumer; but at 50 cents, they said, they could work it out with an extra penny at the retail end—which would mean that the chain smoker already at death's door might wind up at the River Styx without the oarsman's full fare. So, hopefully, Charon would consider cutting his fares in half for the conspicuously coughing patrons seeking passage.

Representative Jesse Wolcott of Michigan told fellow members of the House Banking Committee, considering extension of the OPA, of his plight over the weekend in attempting to buy for his teenaged son a pair of shorts. He found nothing cheaper than $1.50 to $1.65, the only difference from the pre-war shorts costing 35 cents being that the new ones were made of "sleazy material".

Said Arthur Edson, the correspondent who reported this story, it had been a "shorts story" of the "shorts shortage". After the hearing, the correspondent, concerned of the welfare of Jesse, Jr., still apparently short new shorts, tracked down the Congressman and inquired of the outcome. Mr. Wolcott informed that he had bought a pair of knit shorts at 69 cents.

In San Juan Capistrano, California, the swallows returned early this date to the mission. The legend called for their return annually on St. Joseph's Day. The padre of the mission informed that during the war, they had been punctual each year.

Earth tremors hit Reggio Calabria and Messina in Italy the previous day but caused no damage.

Hal Boyle reports from Cairo of widespread disillusionment among veteran British troops in the Middle East regarding the prospects of permanent peace. They were foreseeing trouble with Russia regarding Iran. One RAF officer, preparing to return to England, spoke calmly of his resignation to fighting soon in another war.

"The world is finished," he stoically told Mr. Boyle. The war, he said, had done nothing to cure hate, as the Arab still hated the Jew, just as the German did. The Austrian hated the Italian, and the Italian...

Well, you know the rest. We think next in line were Yugoslavs.

On the editorial page, "The Ballot Is Also Confused" finds the Hendersonville Times-News, responding to a recent editorial of The News opining that it was hypocritical for Southern Democrats to remain within the party while undermining the goals of the Administration, to have it backwards when the Times-News suggested that it was the Democratic Party which had bolted from the Southern Democrats, not the other way about.

The New Deal, it ventures, was merely a return to the principles of Andrew Jackson. During the Jackson Administration, the first labor unions grew up in the country, heavily backed by Democrats. The Jacksonian wing of the party was branded radical by the Southerners, led by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, and the gentry of the rest of the country. The property owners of the time regarded it heretical for the Jackson and Van Buren Administrations to campaign against the United States Bank.

The piece clarifies that The News had not editorialized against the views of the Southern Democrats, but against the confusion which they had generated by giving voice to views inimical to their own national party. It resulted in a ballot which would leave the voter with a choice of voting for one set of issues when casting a ballot for a Senator or Congressman and another when casting a ballot for President, both ballots nevertheless being for the same party.

"Approach from the Bottom" finds the police work in the arrest of eight whisky-bearers on a bus from Fort Mill, S.C., as chronicled the previous week, to have been incomplete. Somehow, the police had obtained admissions from the eight that the liquor they possessed, each with less than a gallon and thus ostensibly legal for personal use, was in fact bought for someone else, thus incriminating themselves as part of a liquor ring. They had been charged and held on $200 bond each, though posting promptly the necessary $20 per person to the bondsman and obtaining release.

When the case had been called for court, the bond was lowered to $25 each and they were fined $10 plus costs.

But the admissions remained inchoate as to who the person was employing them to buy the liquor. Just why the police were able to obtain part of the admission and not the crucial element of identity of the ringleader remained a mystery.

"Oh well," concludes the piece. "Back to the Bus Station, men—there'll be other Whisky Bearers arriving on the 5:15, and there may be a few greenhorns among them who haven't learned yet when to keep their big mouths shut."

"Generals Can Be Great Democrats", while finding the prospect of universal military service to be a genuine threat to democracy in the country, finds also that those placing blame on the generals and admirals for supposedly wanting consciously to destroy democracy and produce a fascist state in its stead to be overwrought with a type of childish emotion. It asserts that, with the possible exceptions of Generals MacArthur and Patton, the generals and admirals who were well known stood as exponents of American democracy. The list included Generals Eisenhower and Marshall, Stilwell and Bradley, and Admirals Nimitz and Halsey.

John Hersey, author of A Bell for Adano, had reported recently in The New Yorker that General Marshall followed the advice of Benjamin Franklin, that the older he got, the more he listened to the advice of others and relied less on his own judgment. During his mission in China to effect the beginnings of unity between the Communists and Government forces, General Marshall had read to the Chinese the words of Franklin which he had addressed to the Constitutional Convention, saying that with all the many viewpoints and prejudices being expressed with passion, it had been amazing that from the body had come near perfection in its result.

Drew Pearson tells of former Ambassador to Russia Averell Harriman having been candid in a closed-door session with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, telling them that Russia did not want war, especially with the United States, but that war might not be capable of being averted regarding Russian encroachment in Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere. Neither Britain nor America could afford to ignore such Soviet expansion without erosion of Western prestige and destruction of the concept of the U.N.

Unless Stalin were to declare at a Big Three conference that Russia did not have the intention to devour the little nations of Europe, the result would be disastrous to the U.N., leading in time to another war.

He advised that much of Russian foreign policy at present was being dictated by internal conditions resulting from the huge losses of persons and property during the war and destruction of vital industries. Russia was a nation of 300 dialects and it was difficult even in ordinary times to weld these diverse peoples together. Thus, Stalin had the chore of stimulating morale to achieve cohesive action in rebuilding the country.

Stalin was aware that the American people did not want another war, and Russia's bluffing and belligerency was taking advantage of the sentiment.

He next informs of Jackson County, Mo., residents having balked at the proposal of changing Van Horn Road, running from Kansas City to Independence, named for an early pioneer who had settled the county in 1855, to Truman Road, as proposed by the Mayor of Kansas City. The residents were in favor of honoring their native son but not at the expense of another native son whose name had adorned the road for decades. The proposal was therefore tabled.

Mr. Pearson notes that the President would likely have disapproved the change of the name anyway as $150,000 of Federal and state funds had been earmarked for improvement of the road which led to the summer White House in Independence.

Marquis Childs tells of the G.O.P. reaching its 92nd birthday looking spry as a "debutante waltzing past the stag line". The reason was the confusion in the Democratic ranks following the war. The Republicans were preparing for a victory in the fall and presently in the process of selecting a new party chairman to replace outgoing Herbert Brownell. Representative Clarence Brown of Ohio, top Republican on the Rules Committee, was one prospect. Congressman Carroll Reece of Tennessee was the other. Mr. Reece, being a Southerner, would mean an historical departure for the Republicans, suggesting a new party alignment seeking Southern votes and further strengthening of the coalition with Southern Democrats.

But the danger for the Republicans in forming the coalition was that if things went awry, the Democrats might successfully fault them for it, notwithstanding the fact that it would have been arranged with the Southern wing as the sine qua non.

The way meanwhile stood open for the creation of two new parties, one progressive, one conservative, offering a clear choice to voters, unlike the big tents of the parties in their present incarnations. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Reece would be classified as conservatives, as would the Southern Democrats. What was needed, he suggests, was not conservatives who only knew how to say "No!", but conservatives who could conserve, just as progressives were needed who knew how to progress.

Samuel Grafton discusses the view around Washington among the Republican-Southern Democrat coalition that, while the proposal put forth by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Mo., on March 5 of an American-British military alliance was unacceptable, the anti-Russian rhetoric had been quite appealing.

Representative John Rankin of Mississippi, chair of HUAC, was favoring rooting out Communists within the Government, while the House Military Affairs Committee was interested in having the State Department clean out from its intelligence service all sympathizers with Russia, even though not Communists. Representative Edward Cox of Georgia had expressed optimism that the Reds were on their way out of Washington.

The trend, however, toward a form of isolationism was really a way of expressing a desire on the domestic front to end Government restraints on free enterprise and offer up inflation as a means of fighting Russia, though the two issues were entirely separate.

A letter from the Republican County Chairman in Mecklenburg comments on the editorial of March 12 regarding the apparent apathy shown by both parties in their lack of nominations for a new Congressman from the Tenth Congressional District, only one candidate from each party having been nominated for the primary, Hamilton Jones, four-time loser in previous congressional races, for the Democrats, and P.C. Burkholder for the Republicans. The Republican chairman says that Mr. Burkholder would prove a viable contender, that he was a man of the people and they recognized the ten-gallon hat to which the editorial had cryptically referred as the device from which he was selected. As it was the hat of the rank-and-file, he should not be written off before he got into the ring.

The editors state that they would welcome a two-party fight to the finish but would believe it when they saw it.

A letter counsels better training for the Charlotte police following the killings of two black men, one during an escape attempt and one during an arrest attempt in a theater, as recounted in an editorial of February 20.

A letter complains that the Army was wasting effort and food in Europe by maintaining a large occupation force.

A letter responds to a previous letter of March 13 which had asserted that what was wrong fifty years earlier remained wrong and that two plus two still equaled four, when it came to the issue of favoring legal sale of alcohol.

The current writer finds the previous writer all wet, that Albert Einstein had suggested that two might be an illusion, represented only by a symbol and not present in reality beyond the abstract. He refers the previous writer to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Crabbed Age and Youth".

He ends by endorsing The News as one Southern newspaper which impressed him as trying to tell the truth.


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