Thursday, March 28, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 28, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a walkout the previous day from the Security Council by Russian delegate Andrei Gromyko in protest of the Council hearing the Iranian complaint regarding continued presence of Russian troops in Northern Iran beyond the March 2 deadline, had prompted a secret meeting of the Council in which Secretary of State Byrnes urged that the Council continue its business regardless of the walkout.

Mr. Gromyko had been urged by Moscow to stage the walkout.

But Berle Stein, a Soviet representative, attended this date a meeting of a committee charged with formulating procedures and rules of order for the Council, suggesting that the walkout was limited.

The press secretary for the Russian Embassy also indicated that Russia had not walked out on the U.N. but only on the hearing of the Iranian dispute.

There was no indication yet from Mr. Gromyko regarding his intentions to attend future meetings.

President Truman signed a bill authorizing 250 million dollars for temporary housing as the Senate continued to consider the housing bill designed to encourage construction of 2.7 million homes by the end of 1947, with a 600-million dollar subsidy for builders of residential low-cost units. The bill being signed allowed for use of barracks and other wartime structures to provide 100,000 temporary homes for veterans, adding to the 100,000 temporary shelters already approved.

An Army sergeant, Joe McCarthy—not that one—, a former editor of Yank and now working for Cosmopolitan, testified before an Army board investigating the caste system in the Army, told the members that there was no problem between officers and enlisted men at the battle front during the war, but that when they returned from the battles lines, the discrepancies in privilege became a source of irritation. He recommended clubs for enlisted men similar to those established for officers, where food and liquor would be served.

Near Birmingham, five fiery crosses were reported to the Age-Herald the previous night, in five different neighborhoods, suggesting Klan activity. In Tarrant, the burning was reported to the police. The other crosses were observed in North Birmingham, Acipo, Powderly, and the Elmwood Cemetery.

It should be noted that Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis was the original burial ground of Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Elm wood, you see, would naturally have significance to Klan symbology by its inclusion in Lady of the Lake, as the witch wood, in one sense meaning a bent wood or divining rod.

In New York, the aurora borealis was reported observed, likely to last another five or six days. Maximum sunspot activity had interfered with radio communication and compasses for several days.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Salonika in Greece, stated that looking across the harbor, Mt. Olympus appeared to float, detached from the earth, perhaps leading the Greeks to dub it the home of the gods and the coining of the centuries-old phrase "Olympian detachment".

The president of Indiana University, Dr. Herman Wells, was in Salonika as a member of a five-person American mission to observe the Greek election set to occur the following Sunday. There were 240 Allied teams of observers, each with a British, French, and American observer who, by the weekend, would visit 1,700 of the 3,200 polling places.

The report that the President planned to establish a horseshoe court on the south grounds of the White House met with bipartisan support from Capitol Hill.

The caption for a photograph of President Truman wearing a silver-streaked bowtie with his formal attire for the Jackson Day Dinner speech in Washington explains that he had worn the tie on the advice of Frank Sinatra. But James Balletta, who headed the annual selection of the nation's ten best-dressed men stated that the tie was incorrect with a dinner jacket.

It was unclear whether the tie was incorrect for its being a bowtie or because it bore silver streaks, or whether it would have acceptable without the dinner jacket. We are left to conclude that the attire which Mr. Belletta deemed correct was no neck accoutrement at all, a tieless affair, not tied on. And if so, whether it was because it was the Jackson Day dinner or generally frowned upon in this era of shortages.

Say it ain't so.

On the editorial page, "Housing Priorities Aren't Enough" comments on the emergent need for construction of new housing in the country to accommodate veterans and their families. The Government moving belatedly to channel construction efforts into low and medium-cost housing was the only method of addressing the exiguity. Builders had failed to produce adequate housing on their own.

Few Charlotte builders, when polled, criticized the new program. Without the subsidies sought to provide builders incentive to build cheaper homes, home prices would continue to rise beyond the reach of veterans, who could afford little more than a $5,000 home.

The House had removed the teeth from the bill in passing it, its provisions on subsidies and price ceilings. The Senate would likely restore those provisions.

But meantime, the housing shortage continued. The attitude had been to treat the problem as minor and temporary, but it had developed into a major issue.

"It's an Old, Familiar Pattern" discusses an article in Columbia, the Knights of Columbus monthly magazine, which criticized the State Department's recent white paper labeling Franco to have been an active collaborator during the war with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, backing it up with documentary evidence.

Columbia found this position nevertheless unsupported by the record as Franco had not sent his troops to prevent the landings of the Allies in North Africa in November, 1942, and because of his minor diplomatic concessions to America and Britain, agreeing shortly prior to D-Day to restrict trade of tungsten to Germany by 90%, to expel all Axis agents from Spain, and to bring troops home from the Russian front, in return for renewed trade from the Allies in oil.

The Spanish Civil War and Franco's purge of the Popular Front leftists, which still continued, was as nothing to Columbia against this backdrop of conciliatory gestures to the Allies. Destroying the Popular Front was merely a "bloody rough-and-tumble" crushing of the Communist bid to control Spain.

The piece never considered Franco's lending to Germany and Italy whole troop units and submarine bases in the Mediterranean from which to attack Allied shipping as facts supportive of the State Department's indictment of the regime and urging of Spanish democratic movements to oust the dictator from power in a bloodless coup.

Columbia, the self-proclaimed largest Catholic publication in the world, presented a face which was familiar, a fear, not without justification, of Communism creating in its wake purblind support of Fascist dictatorships such as Franco's, just as the Vatican had done during the Spanish Civil War.

Such was trading evil for evil, as demonstrated by the war in Europe. The United States was characterized as the bully, not Franco and his purges.

The piece implies that the fact of Franco not only supporting Catholics during the Civil War, in which many Catholic churches were destroyed and priests targeted for retribution by Loyalist sympathizers, but Franco's own Catholicism, had led some Catholics to this refusal to see objectively the dictator's evil.

It concludes by saying that if Columbia reflected popular or official Church opinion, then thousands of Catholics who had shed their blood during war had done so in vain.

"The Law and the Color Line" suggests Superior Court Judge Luther Hamilton as a "spade-caller", having begun his recent term of court in the county by remarking on the reputation of Mecklenburg as hypocritical, publicly condemning alcohol, while privately consuming it, and having a high crime rate to show for it, despite its high incidence of religiosity.

While such was merely commentary from the bench, he backed it up the previous day with a judgment in a case which he found "one of the most shocking" he had ever heard, sentencing a white man charged with attempted rape of a 10-year old black girl to the maximum time in prison allowed by law. Despite the plea of guilty and the lawyer for the accused pleading for leniency based on the assailant's fourth-grade education, the judge found expressly that the man knew right from wrong and that it was wrong to molest a child.

While nothing indicated that the color of the accused or victim had anything to do with the attack, the judge went on to comment that the law did not regard color lines and would act sternly and impartially.

The piece remarks that it was a principle now nearly universally accepted among Southern whites, but, notwithstanding that fact, many judges still tended to ignore the ideal and impose lenient sentences where either black-on-black or white-on-black crimes were before them for adjudication. Judge Hamilton had proven himself to be no such judge.

Given the front page story on the five reported cross-burnings near Birmingham and the Columbia, Tenn., race riot of February, the editors, had they a crystal ball, might have foreseen these post-war eruptions of racial tension—which was not at all absent even during the war, with the Detroit, Harlem, and Watts riots of the hot summer of 1943, primarily assessed at the time as the result of chafing between blacks coming from the South to compete with local and transplanted whites for war industry jobs, whites quite unaccustomed to such competition—as portents of things to come during the 1950's through the 1960's, even into the 1970's.

Of course, Harry Ashmore, as we have commented before, would see firsthand the development of this harsh reality, the failure of a society after 80 years and more following the Civil War to make fully free its formerly enslaved population, economically, socially, and, most importantly, mentally. Mr. Ashmore would subsequently become the Editor of the Little Rock Gazette and in that capacity win in 1958 a Pulitzer Prize for his even-tempered and equable editorialization, as evident in the above piece, which had, in the opinion of the Pulitzer committee, helped to quell disturbances in the white community arising from the integration in September, 1957 by a small number of black students of the formerly segregated Central High School in Little Rock, a disturbance which had become so grave, imperiling the safety of the black students, as to prompt the Federalizing by President Eisenhower of the Arkansas National Guard.

Drew Pearson reports that the President might soon reduce the draft of farm workers to enable production of a bumper crop, vital to feeding Europe. Representative William Lemke of North Dakota had recently told the President that many of the sons of farmers were not returning to the farms after release from service and that the draft of sons reaching eighteen meant a severe shortage of manpower on the farms. He favored replacing the eligible farm workers with men who had been deferred for some physical restriction but who could serve in a non-essential capacity. The President had indicated his agreement.

Next, he informs that Robert Hannegan, DNC chairman, had told the President at the Cabinet meeting at which he determined to delay for about six weeks the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll because he could not spare the Democratic Senators and Congressmen who would go to the area to observe the tests, that if Mr. Hannegan could pick them, it might prove better to allow the tests to go forward in mid-May as scheduled.

More woolen and worsted material was being woven than ever before, Mr. Pearson reports, but was all being used to manufacture women's suits, not men's, as women's suits brought higher prices, leaving veterans without new suits to purchase.

During the war, woolen looms were utilized to make fabric for uniforms, but as the looms were released from wartime production, the haste to keep pace with wartime profits had caused manufacturers to use the looms initially to produce fabrics for women's suits.

Jack Small's Civilian Production Administration was the culprit, according to Government officials, for the agency's failing to set aside cloth for men's suits.

A good example was veteran Bones McKinney of the University of North Carolina White Phants. He and teammate Hook Dillon were bested off the boards Tuesday night in the Garden by the Aggies, such that the Phants could not carry back from the Garden a national championship trophy to be displayed in the lobby of Woollen.

Not enough woolen and worsted for a good suit, for the ladies having gotten it all.

Why else would the Aggies' star player be named Bob Kurland?

Rameses was said to be quite indignant and upset when someone proposed that he be sheared for a nice woolen vest, it being, after all, on this occasion, the bested wool of all Woollen.

The Aggies won, no doubt, because they were able scientifically to explore in their laboratories sheep, and thus how to make, to their own fancy, the worsted out of the Phants.

Marquis Childs discusses the ongoing feud between the President and the Navy admirals regarding the proposed plan of the Administration to unify the armed forces under a Department of Defense, a move which the Navy had consistently opposed. While remaining silent publicly on the matter since the President enunciated the proposal to Congress, the admirals had maneuvered behind the scenes to contact influential members of Congress regarding their opposition to the plan.

Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, was sympathetic to the position of the admirals. The chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, David Walsh of Massachusetts, generally followed the path of least resistance and appeared indifferent on the issue of consolidation.

The nomination of Ed Pauley as Undersecretary of the Navy had been for the purpose of having in the position a person loyal to the President who would push for the policy and cast aside the blandishments of the admirals. Averell Harriman, newly confirmed Ambassador to Britain, formerly Ambassador to Russia, had supported the nomination of Mr. Pauley on the ground of his hard work and determination. Having the nomination ultimately withdrawn by Mr. Pauley because of the swirling controversy surrounding his oil holdings and whether he had offered during the 1944 campaign effectively a political bribe to former Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, who had resigned after President Truman indicated that Mr. Ickes might be mistaken about Mr. Pauley's intentions, had made the course harder for achieving unification of the armed forces.

Another source of irritation was the battle over the Navy's budget. The Navy had proposed more than six billion dollars and the President had delicately whittled it down to 3.9 billion, settling finally on 4.25 billion.

The Budget Director Harold Smith asserted that if the Navy were to go to Congress and seek the additional funding, then it would throw out of balance the whole concept of presidential budgeting, would set a precedent for other executive departments.

Nevertheless, Admiral Chester Nimitz, chief of Naval Operations, went before the House Naval Affairs Committee and asked for the originally sought budget, implying that the President's whittling was that of an overzealous bookkeeper.

The President was angry over the situation and, Mr. Childs suggests, it would sooner or later come to a showdown.

Samuel Grafton, by way of asking the $64,000 question, "What Is it?" anent the U.N., indicates that someone had written to him complaining of his description of it as a parliament, that it was really a continuous international conference. He agrees to an extent, stating that the U.N. was not susceptible of precise categorization and was more of a hybrid, replete with the weaknesses accompanying such an amalgam.

The unilateral veto power of each of the permanent Security Council members resembled a conference, but the Council was set up to function on a permanent basis, more as a parliamentary body, more resemblant to the House of Lords sitting as a court of last resort. And it was a body whose members were partial to their own country's interests and whose decisions could be overturned by one of the five permanent members at will. So it was a type of court, but with overriding characteristics of a conference.

American opinion appeared to favor the Council becoming more of a court while Russian opinion desired it to be a conference. The Russians wanted a new rule whereby no charges could ever be brought against the permanent members of the Council, the Big Five, that is the veto applying to the investigation of charges, not just whether sanctions would be implemented.

The Council was a body in the course of development and every decision coming before it shaped its ultimate form.

A letter writer from Hamlet suggests that the overwhelming victory in Rockingham County by the Dry forces on the question of legalized sale of liquor in the A.B.C. system of control must have been a bitter pill for Burke Davis to swallow, following his series of articles on the issue explaining how controlled sale had generated enormous revenue for public benefit in Wake County.

The writer concedes, magnanimously, that it was the right of The News—though something he was no doubt working on to try to chill—to report and editorialize on the issue, but he was appalled by Mr. Davis's report on the victory, contending that he had suggested that 6,620 voters had voted to maintain bootlegging in Rockingham and, in the process, had slurred the Christian ministry of the county, the latter, "to be mild in stating it, unpardonable."

We do not have Mr. Davis's article, but only the editorial which appeared in the column on Tuesday, not written by Mr. Davis as he had in October left his duties as Associate Editor, turning them over to Harry Ashmore. Moreover, The News had taken the strong stance advocating legalized sale for many years, going back at least to the time when W. J. Cash was Associate Editor, and apparently a good while before that. So to blame Mr. Davis for the position is a bit silly, as was the whole issue, not of encouraging temperance, but seeking to enforce it with a law and strong-armed religious overtones, akin to Mrs. Partington's Broom.

A second letter, from a minister in Lenoir, also takes up the cudgels against Mr. Davis, for injecting "sulphuric and biased opinions" and "rum-soaked" statements into his reportage of the Rockingham victory.

He adds that it was not becoming of the newspaper for the editors to add their comments to the end of letters, that the People's Platform column was not intended for the editors to inject their own wet views or any other views into the matter. "It's for the public," he categorically declares by edict. He finds the columns "over to the left" and urges the editors to stay in their own backyard.

The editors respond that Mr. Davis did not consciously intend to imply that the anti-control voters were in league with bootleggers and apologize for the remarks which prompted that perception.

It adds that such implications were as unfair as the inference that the editors, favoring A.B.C. as a measure of control, were tools of the liquor interests.

A letter writer, in reading the debate over the prior letter anent the Catholic Church and its supposed hatred of democracy, finds hypocritical the editors' response that, while condemning the previous letter writer's exhibition of anti-Catholic prejudice, they nevertheless had previously taken the stand in the fall that, with the war over, the United States should cease sending a diplomat to the Vatican as being violative of the doctrine of separation of Church and State.

The writer finds the Baptists given to hierarchical and thus anti-democratic notions as much as the Catholic Church, and points out that the Government dealt diplomatically with many governments which were not democratic.

The editors respond that there were "several editors" at The News, of "several" different religious faiths, and that the only label the newspaper wore was "Democratic" which, it quickly adds, could be spelled as well with a small "d".

Indeed, it might have referenced the writer to its finding in the fall the Texas Baptist Convention's condemnation of President Truman for his admission of enjoying a little poker and a snifter of bourbon with friends to be a bigoted attitude, if not trifling anent a bagatelle, shortly after it had found the North Carolina Baptists to have exhibited a progressive stance on separation of Church and State by opposing the continued diplomatic recognition of the Vatican, while expressing doubt that the motivation of the Baptists for that position had been bigotry.

A letter writer born in England to Irish parents takes umbrage at the letter of March 20 which set forth a two-year old letter to another newspaper which did not publish it, urging that America should not play second fiddle to Britain. She picks from the previous rather lengthy missive one statement regarding support of a free Northern Ireland, as sought by Irish-Americans 25 years earlier, according to the previous writer, but not accorded support by President Wilson for the need to have British acquiescence in constructing the League of Nations, finding it an unfortunate sentiment when Ireland depended heavily on Britain for its existence.

She did not hate the Molly Maguires but felt sorry for them. She loved her Irish, her English, her American roots at once, and wanted a boost for the Tommys who fought alongside the Yanks and died with them in winning the war. She thought it not necessary for Englishmen to "sweat blood to save Ireland as well as their own country". Nor did she think it fair for the British to have to take the blame "for things that happened thousands of years back when Cromwell and others persecuted Ireland."

The lady perhaps needed to bone up on her history a little. Oliver Cromwell and St. Patrick were not contemporaries.

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