Monday, March 4, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, March 4, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the 19,000 long distance telephone workers nationwide declared their intent to strike on Thursday, having failed to achieve agreement in negotiations with telephone companies for a demanded 18.5 cents per hour raise. The telephone companies offered 15 cents. Some 150,000 local telephone workers would join the strike in sympathy, in every section of the country except New England. Local service was not expected to be affected until repairs would become necessary to phone equipment during the strike.

The Canadian Government issued a statement indicating that the Russian military attache in Ottawa, Col. Nicolai Zabotin, had been instructed by Moscow the previous August, just after V-J Day, to obtain data on atomic bomb materials, samples of Uranium-235, data on radar, American electronic shells, other equipment, and information regarding the movement of American troops from Europe to the United States.

Some of the data had been procured from Canadian and British citizens violating legislation governing disclosure of secrets. The report named Mary Willsher, the deputy registrar in the office of U. K. High Commisioner Malcolm MacDonald, as having provided secret documents to the Russians. Also named was Emma Woikin, former cipher clerk in the External Affairs Department, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of providing confidential and secret information to the Soviets.

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee told Commons that the British would cut their military from four million men to about one million by the end of 1946. Conscription would continue, meaning that 80 percent of those who were serving on V-E Day would be discharged by year's end. He also stated that the Army, Navy, and Air Force should be regarded in the atomic age as one fighting unit.

Democratic National Committee chairman Robert Hannegan urged all Democrats in the House to unite to pass the President's proposed housing legislation to cure the country's housing shortage for returning veterans, following the defeat on Friday of the provision for price ceilings on land and previously owned housing. The final vote on the bill was scheduled for this date.

In Indianapolis, a 29-year old janitor had been arrested for the double homicide reported on Saturday out of Bloomington. The janitor, said police, had confessed to the killings, but claimed that he had killed the male victim in self-defense after he was threatened when the janitor discovered the man embracing the female victim, found at the scene strangled. During his groundhog hunt, he came upon the couple at the limestone mill, and watched them for awhile. The man eventually noticed the janitor and asked whether he knew the man's name; when the janitor replied that he did, the man told him he would never live to tell what he saw. He then lunged at the janitor and the janitor grabbed a sash weight and struck him in the back of the head with it.

It was unclear how the woman wound up strangled.

From Frankfurt, it was reported that the Army had received information that German women were living for one or two nights at a time in the bachelor quarters of American officers. Headquarters permitted the presence of women in the compound on weekends, but they were supposed to leave on Monday morning. The Army stated that if regulations were being breached, then in individually reported cases, officers would be subjected to discipline for conduct unbecoming a gentleman.

Charles Chamberlain, substituting for Hal Boyle, writes from Hamburg of an interview he conducted with Alois Hitler, the older half-brother of the dead dictator. He stated that he was fed up with the name Hitler and changed his name to "Hiller" three months earlier. He wished to return to his Berlin wine shop, but so far could not because a former concentration camp prisoner was living there. He said that he profoundly disliked his deceased brother and had since childhood. Young Adolf, pampered by his mother, stepmother to Alois, was allowed to vent his rage even in childhood on Alois.

He clarified that the family name was actually Hitler, not, as had been reported during the war, Schickelbgruber, the name of the mother of Alois. His mother married his biological father, Hitler, only after the birth of Alois. She then died two years later and his father married his own cousin who became the mother of Adolf and three other siblings, the other three dying before the birth of Adolf. He regarded himself as the spare wheel, while Adolf received all of the attention of the mother.

It should be noted that, whether through the confusion of Mr. Chamberlain or Mr. Hiller, himself, the father, Alois Hitler, was apparently the son of Fraulein Schickelgruber; Alois, fils, was apparently the son of Fraulein Matzelsberger, becoming A. Hitler following the marriage of his mother to his father.

A photograph appears of James Roosevelt, son of the deceased President, along with actor Fredric March and sculptor Jo Davidson, as Mr. Roosevelt stated he would head a non-partisan movement to attract "progressive and liberal" candidates for election and re-election to Congress in the fall of 1946. He would direct the Political Action Committee of the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts & Sciences & Professions. Presumably, Mr. March and Mr. Davidson also had a role in that committee.

Mr. Roosevelt stated that he did not intend to seek office himself in 1946. Eventually, in 1950, he would run for Governor of California against incumbent Earl Warren and lose, but would be elected to Congress in 1954 from California, where he would serve for the ensuing decade.

A candidate for Governor of Ohio, Albert Edward Payne, had dropped in the Cleveland area 150 wallets, each with a dollar bill inside, to show how honest people were when they returned them. Having obtained an 80 percent rate of return, he now was going to show his appreciation by dropping numerous pairs of nylon hose on Cleveland.

Let us hope they are not used for the wrong purposes, showing another side of the city, perhaps that embraced by the 20 percent.

On the editorial page, "Equation for the Great Engineer" finds it quite alright for the President to invite former President Herbert Hoover to the White House to discuss the food situation in Europe, as Mr. Hoover had done a splendid job of feeding Belgium following World War I.

But, the piece suggests, the President probably ought first look to his own Cabinet for advice on the issue. For, as former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts had pointed out, the United States had delivered only small portions of its promised meat, wheat, fats and oils, during the first quarter of the year, despite plentiful supplies.

The problem, it asserts, was in the Truman Administration in not being forceful enough to take food off the American table and give it to Europe. That was the equation which did not require the engineering expertise of Mr. Hoover to elucidate or implement.

"How to Dispose of an Editor" discusses the transfer of two editors from Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, to a depot on Okinawa, apparently because they had been unduly critical of the rate of demobilization. Columnist Westbrook Pegler had irresponsibly charged, by dint of perusal of the Dies Committee files, that the soldiers were pink because one had been a writer for a union publication and the other, an alleged fellow-traveler in the Seattle-Tacoma area before joining the Army.

Leaving aside the unfounded, scurrilous charge of Mr. Pegler, the piece asserts that it was beneath the Army, in "Gestapo fashion", to conduct business in this manner without enabling the two soldiers to air their side of the issue.

"After All, It's Only Money" comments on a story, possibly apocryphal, that a pair of financiers were scurrying around a Charlotte hotel recently trying to get a million dollar check cashed to purchase a cotton mill, and while so doing, its price had doubled. Whether true or not, it was correct that there was greater than two billion dollars more cash in circulation than in the previous year. And in consequence, price had quickly become no object for many. Barter had also become common.

It was reported from Miami Beach that a necktie cost $1,500, from Fifth Avenue, that a doggie mink went for $1,000, apparently a 400 percent increase since December, and from a manufacturer, a $5,000 cigarette lighter, the latter based on realization of the fact that smokers used their lighter more than they did their watch.

"We are making careful note of these phenomena, for we have the uneasy feeling that pretty soon we're going to sober up and the doctors won't believe a word we say."

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "The Small-Loan Business", comments on the bill enacted by the State General Assembly the previous year to curb loan-sharking. But the piece questions whether it had gone far enough as it was reported by the State Banking Commissioner that a $15 loan from loan sharks still garnered 156.8 percent annual return. The greater portion of it was in "insurance premiums", tacked on in addition to the legal interest and fees.

While the small lenders incurred substantial risks in these loans, it was being urged that the Legislature close some of the loopholes which permitted the "Big Apple Ponzi" schemes to thrive, exploitative of the poor.

Below the column is added the note that supposedly missing on Saturday was the Winston-Salem Journal credit for Saturday's editorial, "The Bar Sinister"óregarding Clare Boothe Luce and her joining the Catholic Church as she announced she would not seek re-election to the House. It was not missing from our edition. We were fortunate.

But we are still left somewhat puzzled over whether Ms. Luce determined not to run so that, as Marquis Childs had written she had stated, she would not appear to be using her new Catholicism to attract votes, or whether she so decided, per that attributed to her in the Journal editorial, for the reason, appearing quite paradoxical to that in the Childs editorial, that she believed she could not win as a Catholic.

Was it an arrival or a departure?

Drew Pearson tells of secret cablegrams discovered by Secretary of State Byrnes at the State Department showing a policy by the British during July, 1944 of secretly supplying Argentine Fascists with airplane motors and spare parts, as the Franco Government in Spain aided Argentina in late 1944 and early 1945 in building up a Nazi regime by smuggling in Nazi technicians and industrialists and providing the Peron-Farrell dictatorship a sizeable credit with which to buy explosives, that Spain had worked with Germany during the war, giving them Allied shipping data, of which the State Department was aware, but nevertheless did nothing to counteract and did not even protest the shooting of Spanish Republicans who had aided the escape of Allied prisoners. The Falangist Party out of Spain had in 1944 helped organize a revolt in Colombia against President Lopez, an ally to the U.S.

The files, previously hidden away, had now been presented to Mr. Byrnes by former Ambassador to Argentina Spruille Braden, the reason for the forthright policies now being implemented against both Argentina and Spain.

It was believed during the war that employees of Iberia Airlines and Falangist agents were providing data on Allied shipping around Gibraltar to the Nazis, as attacks were especially prevalent in the area. Confirming documentation had been discovered in early 1945. But despite relay of the information to the State Department, James Dunn, Assistant Secretary handling Spain, did nothing.

Mr. Pearson suggests that some within the State Department prior to the tenure of Mr. Byrnes were secretly supportive of the Franco regime. An example was the failure of the State Department to make any form of protest regarding the execution in August, 1944 of the three Spanish Republicans who had aided the escape of American prisoners.

He then provides the numbers and dates of the cables for Senators wishing the facts.

Samuel Grafton examines the tension regarding the raising of price ceilings, between Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles, who wanted, to the extent possible, to keep the lid on, and John Small, the Civilian Production administrator, who wanted to give prompt adjustments to stimulate production. Since both had been appointed by President Truman, Mr. Grafton wonders which position was the policy of the Administration.

The Senate had just killed a $927,000 Bowles-favored appropriation designed to combat black markets.

He offers that it was up to the President to try to coordinate these varying positions, and he needed to choose which horse he backed.

A letter from a lawyer complains that instead of Mecklenburg County earning a million dollars from legalized sale of liquor in a year, as suggested by an article by Burke Davis in The News, it would "extort" a million dollars from the residents.

He says that he recalled the newspaper attacking Neville Chamberlain for selling out Czechoslovakia at Munich in September, 1938, but now the newspaper was selling out the country, a la Munich, by supporting the legal sale of liquor, an enemy of the people, that four times more had been spent in 1945 on liquor than for religious and educational purposes combined.

He wonders why the newspaper had not sent Burke Davis to examine also the state hospitals to determine the number of patients present from alcohol-related problems, and the county jails to determine the number of persons incarcerated from alcohol-related crimes.

He believed the paper, while progressive and responsible in most areas, had let down the populace in this one, too subjective in its effort to obtain legal alcohol sales in Mecklenburg.

The editors respond that the police chief of Fayetteville, a self-proclaimed dry, had stated that crime statistics in January showed 447 arrests, 215 drunks, eight violations of liquor laws, and four cases of drunk driving, while in April, 1941, the statistics were 357 drunks, 11 drunk driving cases, and 11 violations of the liquor laws, while between the two dates Fort Bragg and the war had expanded the population from 17,000 to 55,000, as the soldiers at Fort Bragg went from 3,000 to 100,000. Also in wet Cumberland County, where Fayetteville is located, the arrest rate in 1945 was 1.2 percent while in dry Mecklenburg it was 3.4 percent.

Another letter challenges the newspaper to print stories regarding the health issues resultant of the consumption of liquor alongside the articles by Burke Davis. He believes Mr. Davis was doing a fine job of reporting. He had no problem with legalization of sale of liquor in the county, for it was just as harmful to individual health, whether from a bootlegger or an A.B.C. store.

A letter writer wonders why businesses were able to obtain building materials, such as brick, while veterans were unable to obtain bricks with which to build houses.

Marquis Childs comments on the Senate Atomic Energy Committee having re-called as a witness Maj. General Leslie Groves, who had headed the Manhattan Project. While not a scientist or expert on atomic energy, the Senators listened with rapt attention to that which he had to say regarding his opinion on the handling of atomic energy into the future, continuing to trumpet his belief that atomic energy had to be maintained the exclusive secret of the United States for as long as possible. He suggested a joint military-civilian commission, subject to the veto of the Joint Chiefs, to govern the disposition of atomic energy. The position, as he acknowledged, contradicted President Truman's support of a bill to have an all-civilian commission governing atomic energy.

Mr. Childs suggests that the bill receive bi-partisan sponsorship and then be brought to a vote as soon as possible. Otherwise, atomic energy was surely to wind up solely as a military weapon.

General Groves followed the pattern of the "days of the arquebus and the sling". The idea was that if it was miscalculating to wish to hold onto the bomb, then no one would be left on the planet to complain anyway. He finds the attitude lacking in responsibility and that it was up to the Senate to keep the day from being lost.

Such was the status of things on Capitol Hill in 1946 on the eve of the "Sinews of Peace" speech by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., stating the following evening that "an iron curtain" had been drawn across Eastern Europe by the Soviets.

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