Tuesday, March 5, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Winston Churchill and President Truman had arrived at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., for the former Prime Minister's major speech this night. Labeled "The Sinews of Peace", the speech of Mr. Churchill would warn of the descending "iron curtain" over Eastern and Central Europe, from the Baltic to the Adriatic into the Balkans, imposed by the Soviet Union. Before the speech was made, it was anticipated that it would bear heavily on future Anglo-American relations with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Churchill was not the first to use the term in this context. Dorothy Thompson, for instance, in a piece of January 21, had reported of the "iron curtain" of censorship imposed by the Soviets.

Both the President and the former Prime Minister were to be conferred honorary doctor of laws degrees. A band played "The Missouri Waltz" as the two rode in an open car through the streets of the town after arriving from Jefferson City at 12:43 p.m. Mr. Churchill gave his trademark "V" sign.

The last paragraph of the piece appears to be in some kind of code: "'Bullet,' [presidential assistant Brig. General Harry] Vaughan said, "got that name by running 'fast as a bullet' from paddling sophomores during his freshman days here." "Bullet" was the President's nickname used by General Vaughan.

It is not clear whether the paddling sophomores were rowers or were paddled by the President when a freshman. And such a thing could very well be the hair on which history turns in assessing the character of Harry Truman historically. We recommend to some enterprising historian the thorough investigation of this ambiguous statement. In it is the key to history itself.

In any event, no doubt, the question in some circles would now become, "Will Bullet, not Will Bullitt, be on the ballot in 1948?"

The UAW awaited answer from G.M. as to whether the company would accept the proposal of the union to agree to the G.M. proposal to allow the rank and file workers to vote on whether to return to work on the 18.5 cents per hour pay raise offered by G.M., provided that the ballot also included the option of returning to work at the 18.5 cents raise and submitting the matter to Government arbitration regarding the one-cent differential, the union's proposed "equalization fund" to bring about greater equity in wages. G.M. had previously rejected the arbitration proposal. The strike was now 105 days old.

Despite efforts by the Labor Department to settle the telephone workers strike before it was set to begin the following day, it appeared that it would occur, involving 250,000 workers nationwide. Only long distance service and manually operated local service would be immediately impacted.

House Republicans and Southern Democrats, in coalition, proposed an alternative to the housing bill after the previous day defeating, by a vote of 161 to 92, the President's bill, stocked with 600 million dollars worth of subsidies for builders to fill the price gap, as well as priorities for veterans. The Republican bill would not allow for price ceilings even on new housing.

Hearings began in the Senate on the approval of the 3.75 billion dollar loan to Great Britain. Secretary of the Treasury Fred Vinson was the first witness, explaining that the loan would benefit America by opening trade with Britain and other countries, providing markets for industrial and farm exports. Otherwise, Britain would be forced to create a bloc of nations which would be competitive to the United States.

The United States, in a note sent by the State Department to Moscow and Chungking on February 9, called for an open door policy in Manchuria as Russia sought joint Soviet-Chinese control of major industries in the region. Secretary Byrnes stated that such a policy discriminated against the United States. China rejected the Soviet proposal as going beyond the Sino-Soviet agreement of the previous August regarding Manchuria.

Former President Herbert Hoover was to go to Europe, probably the following week, at the invitation of President Truman, to survey the food situation and determine the actual need of the countries seeking aid.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco declared in a statement that he would not succumb to pressure by the Allies to leave office in Spain. The statement came in advance of the joint resolution issued the previous day by France, the United States, and Great Britain denouncing the Franco Government and urging liberal republican forces in Spain to oust the dictator in a bloodless revolution. The three nations were pinning their hopes on the Spanish Army as the only formidable enough force in Spain to take control until a new government could be established.

Of course, the Army would be resolute, as it would take only another 29 years to force the Generalissimo's hand into relinquishing control of the Government. Coincidentally, the same day, November 20, 1975, his time came to greet the spadesman, with six white horses on his trail.

Hal Boyle, still in Bombay, indicates that it was not easy to determine responsibility for India's riots, that some of the demonstrators were genuine patriots swept up in mob hysteria, while others were mere hooligans seeking personal advantage from the looting which accompanied the riots. Inflammatory statements by Indian politicians usually preceded the disturbances, and then the same politicans usually blamed the British for unnecessary brutality in restoring order. The British did not appreciate such charges.

Mr. Boyle spoke to a captain in the British Army who stated that he and his fellows got no pleasure from having to shoot at people in the streets, that they did not fire indiscriminately into crowds, could only fire at all after authorization by a magistrate, usually Indian. The Army did not intervene unless the riot became completely out of control. Even then, the Indian police could usually quell the situation with their lathi sticks. Otherwise, the Army simply patrolled the streets.

In Indianapolis, Mrs. Elvis Montgomery was denied use of a party line by individuals insisting they would be done "in a minute", as she frantically cried for assistance for her three-year old son who had stuck a piece of wire into an electrical outlet while he stood on a metal register, electrocuting him. Despite Mr. Montgomery rushing the boy to a doctor, he did not make it.

Of course, it is not clear that he would have survived had the phone line been relinquished. But we hope the conversation was important, perhaps regarding imminent loss of nuclear secrets to the Russians or something of that moment.

Professor Selby Maxwell had started predicting the local weather for the newspaper, had gotten it partially right thus far, insofar as it being warm, but the rest of his forecast, cloudy with rain in the afternoon, appeared meteorologically unsound as a peek out the door had found no clouds or rain on the horizon.

"Maybe later in the evening. We'll see," concludes reporter Tom Fesperman.

And if you are a nine-year old who is ailing and bedridden for a year, as the young girl with rheumatic fever in Chicago, it would be better not to ask for a monkey as a pet. The little girl in the photograph got her wish when a soldier in the Philippines heard of her request and sent the monkey. But, we have heard, monkeys do not good house pets make.

Get a kitty or a puppy.

On the editorial page, "By All Means, Look at the Facts" takes issue with the admonition of the Raleigh News & Observer to face the fact that legalizing sale of liquor would increase consumption, as it proposed to prove by showing increased liquor revenues in North Carolina's 25 wet counties between 1938 and 1945. The piece challenges that ten of those counties only legalized sale in 1938 and that it took time to get rid of the bootleg trade, that the wet counties had a large increase in population with war industries and military posts, and that the retail price of liquor had doubled during the period.

Thus the statistics proved nothing. The editorial does not argue that liquor consumption had not increased in the wet counties, as it had throughout the country, including dry Mecklenburg, during the war years.

But, it proposes, The News & Observer ought, itself, look at the facts.

"Guaranteeing Collective Insecurity" suggests that the words of former Ambassador to Russia, W. Averill Harriman, that he hoped Russia would accept the goal of collective security in the world through the U.N., stood in stark contrast to the plans enunciated by Army Air Forces chief of staff, General Carl Spaatz, who had outlined his plan for three operating commands with 14,000 planes, including reserves, the number one command being a long-range striking force comprised of 40 groups of B-29's, with Continental Defense being third in priority.

It was useless to talk about collective security through the U.N. when plans were being made by the Army, the Air Forces, and the Navy for a post-war world in which each nation would provide for its own military preparedness and security.

It posits that international security and national security were opposing notions, that neither the United States nor Russia could have both. There was no reason for Russia to accept Mr. Harriman's view in the face of General Spaatz's plans.

"The Patience of James E. Dewey" votes for special commendation to the Federal mediator trying to resolve the differences causing the UAW strike at G.M. The real issue was no longer the one-cent differential between the two sides but rather a union seeking to punish G.M. by making it pay more than its competitors while G.M. sought to discredit the leadership of UAW among its rank and file.

Evidence of the bad faith on both sides could be found in the most recent proposals. The union wanted arbitration of the one-cent difference, which was no real proposal because the Government had already declared fair the 19.5 cents sought by the union. And the company countered with an offer to submit the matter to a vote of the rank and file, essentially a way of enabling the union members to circumvent union leaders, thus discrediting them.

The company had suffered an estimated 500 million dollars in lost profits while the workers had lost 107 million in wages. Dealers had lost another 100 million. A million automobiles which could have been produced in the 105 days of the strike were not in the showrooms.

No one would blame Mr. Dewey if he were to throw in the towel, though it could mean continued problems for the public, desirous of new cars after four years without. It did not appear productive for Mr. Dewey to continue exerting the effort with two such stubborn, apparently irreconcilable sides.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Contrast in Black and White", seconds the opinion offered by the Greensboro Daily News that black parents were to be congratulated for helping to reduce substantially black juvenile delinquency during the period 1939-44 versus the five previous years. Delinquency rates had dropped 20 percent among blacks, while rising 6.4 percent among whites, leaving an overall rise in the rate of eight percent.

It suggests that it demonstrated that such responsibility of black citizens for their own community affairs was required for sharing in the progress of the community, and represented a "star in the crown of North Carolina's exemplary race relations."

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson having been the primary force behind convincing former President Hoover to terminate a Florida fishing vacation with his family and go to Europe to inspect the food situation.

He next tells of maneuvering to try to get Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas to resign and accept appointment as Secretary of Interior to replace Harold Ickes. Congressman Lyndon Johnson had given a party in honor of his friend, fellow Texan Alvin Wirtz. At the end of the party, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Wirtz, Secretary of the Treasury Fred Vinson, himself soon to become Chief Justice, and Tommy Corcoran, former FDR adviser, all put pressure on Justice Douglas to take the job, that a person of stature was needed to undertake the major tasks ahead, taking over the Pacific islands formerly held by the Japanese, the development of Alaska, Polar airplane routes, and the other TVA-type projects on the drawing board.

Justice Douglas, however, was not enthusiastic but agreed to maintain an open mind.

The following day, President Truman asked Justice Douglas to lunch, but made little effort at a determined sales pitch.

Mr. Pearson speculates, however, that George Allen, just confirmed as RFC chair, had celebrated his confirmation so gleefully with the President that it may have been the final straw in causing Justice Douglas to turn down the position, viewing his fitment in such a Cabinet as wanting of the right contours.

Moreover, he notes, Chief Justice Harlan Stone was upset about the Court being "raided", still angry about Justice Robert Jackson having taken a year leave of absence to participate as lead American prosecutor in the Nuremberg trial.

Mr. Pearson next tells of semolina millers and spaghetti makers being opponents of the President's order for the country to begin consuming dark bread so that white bread could be shipped to Europe. Semolina, made from Durham wheat, is the gritty flour from which spaghetti, macaroni and noodles come, the chicken to the egg.

Semolina mills in Minneapolis had already filed for exemptions from the President's order, believing it would drive them out of business.

Durham wheat, raised principally in South Dakota, yielded semolina at the rate of 63 to 65 percent. The President had ordered an extraction rate of 80 percent to accommodate dark bread, but the millers complained that the martins wouldn't sing at that rate, that noodles would be gray not white and too brittle for cooking, that Italian-Americans and other spaghetti enthusiasts would refuse their pasta.

Soup companies were also protesting, smartin' over their tartan being of a different scheme from that of the paradigmatic pattern print.

It was likely that the Department of Agriculture would decline the requests for fear of being perceived as catering to one group of businesses.

Man, you should have seen them kicking Sherlock Holmes, not to mention Franco-American.

Marquis Childs quotes at length from a letter received from his own 18-year old son in the service in the Philippines, writing that the soldiers lacked confidence in the new U.N. to maintain the peace, that the Pacific bases being sought by the U.S. appeared to run counter to instilling of confidence in the U.N. and also promoted a doctrine of imperialism, making it difficult for Americans to confront other nations anent colonialism.

Mr. Childs believes his son made good sense. The foreign policy of the country continued to be a negative one, without imaginative drive to transform British imperialism to independence for its colonial possessions. It extended into the Middle East where both British and American imperialism had exploited feudal peoples living in poverty. It left the way open for Russian imperialism to thrive without the moral basis on which to scotch it.

Secretary Byrnes's new policy, however, was taking a more positive approach. But positive aid to poverty-ridden nations, especially food, would be the first step toward encouraging democracy.

Without making reference to it, he appears to set forth the same idea as Jonathan Daniels had in his Virginia Quarterly piece from 1938, "Democracy Is Bread", albeit in reference to the Southern United States.

Samuel Grafton comments on the speeches of Secretary Byrnes and Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan, both signaling a policy of increased toughness toward Soviet expansionism.

But both were more adept at indicating alarm than forming a policy. Columnist Walter Lippmann had asked whether it would be defending democracy on the Russian frontiers to defend the feudalism of East Prussia and Hungary, or a similar state in China and Iran. Russia was not necessarily encroaching territorially as much as it was showing little patience for the same sort of economic and political systems which had characterized Japan and Germany.

Thus, not surprisingly, those who were predicting most fervently war with Russia were those who had not enthusiastically ever favored war against Germany and who did not like the idea of the U.N.

He believes that, nevertheless, it was conceivable to form a pro-democratic policy to compete with the Soviets, such as the new anti-Franco policy just announced. The pressure for democratic reform in China and India, including half of the world's population, would be another method of achieving such an aim.

The crusaders against Russia would likely drop away when such democratic motives would become the mainstays of the policy. But they would present no hindrance to American unity.

"If Russia has been winning some of the recent international contests, that is because she shows up in all single-mindedness, with a rifle loaded for moose, while we have been turning up carrying lacrosse bats, hockey sticks, atom bombs and medieval halberds, uncertain of what or whose game we are playing, and of where the goals are."

A letter writer states that he was about to blow up regarding North Carolina Senator Clyde Hoey's lack of responsiveness to the voters' opinions. The writer had asked him to vote against confirmation of Ed Pauley and the Senator had responded that he would vote in favor of him because he was a man of integrity. The man wrote the Senator again, stating that he believed he should vote the way the people wanted. Senator Hoey responded that he believed he should vote in the best interests of the people, according to his conscience and his knowledge of the issues, regardless of the majority will of the people.

The writer offers an orchid for the editor of the Mooresville Tribune who wrote an editorial, to which an editorial in The News referred on Saturday, saying that the vote of Senator Hoey for confirmation of Mr. Pauley required nose-holding.

Another letter writer looks ahead two years to the next gubernatorial election and proposes a man from Laurinburg as a candidate.

A letter votes yes for wet in Mecklenburg, that it would be better to exert control over sales of liquor than have it remain flowing through the bootleggers.

Another letter suggests that Republican Congressman Fred Smith of Ohio, who, the previous week, called the President's housing plan "Communistic", was attributing good things to Communism, thus must be leftist.

The last letter of the day, responding to "Race Riots Require Two Races" of February 27, deserves a full airing. So, in full, it reads:

Editorials like the enclosed and other coddling of the Negro by such lame-brained fools like you has [sic] earned Charlotte the reputation of having the worst Negro element in the South.

I travel a good many states but this section is out of control in regards to the Negro. They hog the buses, crowd you on the streets, and have forgotten the word courtesy.

This article has the smell of Harry Ashmore, the "Greenville dope", but any paper that would hire him would be of the same gutter level.

As we have previously explained, the "Greenville dope", who had been Associate Editor of The News only since the previous October, would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for his level-headed editorialization in September, 1957, helping to maintain order in the community in the face of the disturbances regarding the entry of a small number of black students to formerly segregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a good thing that Mr. Ashmore was able to deal with an out-of-control population in Charlotte before taking the post as Editor of the Little Rock Gazette. The experience must have helped him.


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