Friday, March 8, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, March 8, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Winston Churchill had addressed the Virginia Legislature, urging that America and Britain stand together in the post-war future. He did not mention either military alliance or Soviet expansionism, both of which topics he had stressed in the speech at Fulton, Mo., on Tuesday.

President Truman insisted at a press conference that the U.N. would not be allowed to winnow on the vine and he also stated that he believed that Russia was not going to head down a one-way street and resist the demand that it withdraw troops from Northern Iran, pursuant to the State Department's recently issued protest that Russia had not lived up to the conditions of the agreement made at Tehran in December, 1943 and the January 29, 1942 Russo-British-Iranian Treaty which provided for evacuation of foreign troops from Iran six months after the end of the war, which had coincided with March 2.

The President resisted questions regarding Mr. Churchill's speech on Tuesday, saying that the former Prime Minister was exercising his right to free speech. He stated that he would have a statement in response to the speech at some point in the future.

He also laughed off the question of whether Secretary of State Byrnes was planning to retire. In fact, however, Mr. Byrnes would leave the position in early 1947 and be replaced by General Marshall, as Drew Pearson had reported the day before the current scuttlebutt had it.

The President, as expected, appointed a three-man fact-finding board to avert the nationwide railway strike set otherwise to begin Monday. The action would automatically delay the strike for 30 to 60 days under the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, while the fact-finding committee performed its work.

Mr. Truman took the opportunity to compliment the telephone workers and rubber workers for settling their differences through collective bargaining and found it too bad that such unions got less publicity for their efforts than those which were engaged in querulous and prolix disputes. He stated that he would not intervene in the G.M. strike. He also stated that the 18.5 cents settlement reached in the steel strike, after the recommendation made by the fact-finding committee, was not meant as an across-the-board standard but was only relevant to steel.

Ed Pauley refused to withdraw his name from nomination as Undersecretary of the Navy, irking Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire who claimed that an agreement had been reached for him to do so.

Burke Davis reports of a merchant mariner having confessed to the murder in Gastonia of a young woman he had just met Wednesday night. After meeting in an alley, they went to a church yard, he said, where she partially disrobed. He then discovered his wallet missing, flew into a rage, beat and strangled her, then left the scene after suddenly having the impulse to tie a handkerchief about her neck. He was arrested less than 31 hours after the discovery of the body.

In Creswell, N.C., a mother and child were killed when a log truck struck both as the mother sought to snatch her child from the path of the truck on U.S. 64 after both had deboarded from a mail truck.

"The Lost Weekend" won the Academy Award at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood for Best Picture of 1945, beating out Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound", Jean Renoir's "The Southerner", "The Bells of St. Mary's", sequel to the 1944 Best Picture, "Going My Way", "Mildred Pierce", and the musical "Anchors Aweigh". Billy Wilder won the award for Best Director for "The Lost Weekend" while Ray Milland won Best Actor for his role as the alcoholic in the picture. Joan Crawford won the award for Best Actress for her role in "Mildred Pierce". Anne Revere won Best Supporting Actress for "National Velvet" and James Dunn, Best Supporting Actor for "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder won Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Lost Weekend", and Richard Schweizer won Best Original Screenplay for "Marie-Louise". Best Story went to Charles G. Booth for "The House on 92nd Street".

An audience of 2,100 witnessed the presentations. Joan Crawford suffered from the flu with a fever of 102 and could not attend the ceremony to receive the award, but friends, including director of "Mildred Pierce", Mike Curtiz, went to her Brentwood home to keep her company, and she was said to have danced around her sickbed after winning.

Whether a coat hanger was involved...

Prof. Selby Maxwell had finally predicted accurately the Charlotte weather, cloudy and warm.

On the editorial page, "The Unreality in Washington" suggests that the Churchill speech at Westminster College had underscored the schizophrenia extant in public officials in Washington, the desire to be tough with Russia but reluctant to back harsh words with force.

But Mr. Churchill was an unapologetic imperialist and British imperialism sold no better to Americans than did Russian expansionism, leading to criticism of Mr. Churchill's position even among those who sided with his aggressive rhetoric toward Russia.

Senators Claude Pepper of Florida, Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, and Glen Taylor of Idaho were all of the opinion that the West could live in peaceful co-existence with Russia without force being employed to assure it. This stance, opines the piece, was unrealistic, premised on a genuine alliance existing during the war, not just an uneasy one stimulated and nurtured entirely by mutual military reliance, the West dependent on Russia to exhaust the German Wehrmacht, Russia dependent on the West for materiel with which to accomplish the task.

Such a hopeful attitude as possessed by these three Senators flew in the face of the arrest of the 22 Canadians for giving secrets on the atomic bomb to the Russians, even though it was understandable why, in the face of the secrecy, the Russians would seek to obtain the information. So, it was foolish and dangerous to maintain the false hope of continued alliance in peacetime with Russia when both sides were exchanging unfriendly acts.

To reject the Churchill world view would mean the necessity for sharing with Russia the atomic secret, cutting them in on oil supplies in the Middle East, dismantling part of the British Empire, and relinquishing territorial claims of the U.S. in the Pacific. Mutual disarmament, ceding some sovereignty to the U.N., and abandonment of preferential trade treaties in the West would all be required to achieve a voluntary peace with Russia. Until those conditions could be accomplished, it was foolhardy to pretend that mere existence of the U.N. had eliminated the threat of war.

"General Bradley's Private Office" supports the effort of General Omar Bradley as head of the Veterans Administration to dissociate the V.A. from the American Legion and the other veterans' organizations which had dictated V.A. policies in the past. The disagreement had with the Legion and its commander John Stelle and the resulting private conference between General Bradley and Mr. Stelle did not change the fact that the V.A. should not be steered by veterans organizations.

The Greensboro Daily News, which had advocated a public meeting between the two, to which reporters would be invited, did not explain why the V.A. should allow its policies to be determined by the Legion

"The Symphony Also Needs Support" urges the citizenry to get behind the Charlotte Symphony and take out memberships. The City Attorney had expressed the hope for a thousand such memberships for the coming season. Presently it subsisted on a budget, suggests the editorial, which would not suffice to supply the Briarhoppers with guitar picks.

The symphony had performed 97 times since its inception in 1931 and its audience had confirmed a distinct increase in quality during the current season. The music critic for the Charlotte Observer, who had been in the Army for four years and consequently had not attended a performace during the war, had expressed pleasant surprise at its vast improvement in the interim.

But it still had a long way to go to become a top quality orchestra and support from the community was needed to insure that result.

Drew Pearson discusses the coming independence of the Philippines, set to take effect July 4, and the upcoming presidential election. Millions from French Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies, and India would be watching as this experiment began. But there were already signs of internal trouble and the problem appeared emanating from men close to General MacArthur who were being accused by the Filipinos of using their military positions to advance their economic wherewithal after the war, pitting foreign business interests against local business and farming. General MacArthur, while a military hero to the Filipinos, was not an economic hero.

The men causing the trouble were General Courtney Whitney, who had run the Philippines during the war; Mike Elizalde, who owned thousands of acres of sugar plantations and had been former Commissioner of the Philippines for the United States; and Col. Andres Soriano, the wealthiest man in the Philippines, who had represented Franco as honorary Spanish consul in Manila, owning gold mines, lumber companies, and two breweries, able to obtain airplane shipment in December of twenty tons of beer bottle caps from the U.S.

General MacArthur, himself, was said to have business interests in the Philippines.

Lt. Col. Jesus Villamos, a Filipino war hero who had organized the jungle guerilla forces in the Philippines in early 1943, had claimed that Army equipment on one occasion, in November, 1940, had been used to aid General MacArthur's investments by aerial photography of the Mother Lode Gold Mine in Mindanao. While the mine paid for the flight, it was an Army plane in which Col. Villamos flew to obtain these photographs for mapping purposes.

During the colonel's time leading the guerillas, the guerillas had gotten the Filipino engineers to sabotage vital machinery at the most valuable Japanese lumber mill operating in the Philippines, on Negros Island. But when General Whitney had found out about the operation, he told Col. Villamos that no further sabotage of private property should take place without prior authorization from headquarters.

Marquis Childs discusses Winston Churchill's Westminster College speech, indicating that its strong rhetoric against Soviet expansionism was having an impact around the world, even though he had tempered these remarks with hope that through the U.N., a peaceful coexistence could be accomplished with the Soviets.

His strong stand against the Soviets hearkened back to his positions in the 1920's when he regularly inveighed against the Bolshevik Revolution and expressed the hope that Germany would serve to defeat the Communist state. Unlike some of his Tory colleagues, however, during the 1930's, he never lent any support or had any illusions about the aims of Hitler and the Nazis.

Mr. Childs asserts his belief that Mr. Churchill was sincere in his desire for peace with Russia but also believed that his conception of a military alliance with the United States as a means to achieve it was misplaced, that it would only serve as a challenge to an already suspicious Communist Party leadership and militarists in Russia.

The better way to fight Russia, he offers, was through encouraging democracy and independence among colonial peoples in Indonesia, the Middle East, and India, so as not to leave the door open to inveiglement by Communism as an alternative to Western democracy.

He examples the fact that Naval Intelligence had disclosed that Communists had helped to instigate the demonstrations by soldiers in Manila and in Frankfurt, protesting slow demobilization. But had the caste system between officers and enlisted men not been so intractably in place, the Communist incitement could not have obtained traction.

Mr. Childs urges more action and less rhetoric guiding U.S. policy.

Samuel Grafton also examines the Churchill speech, finds that relations with Russia being a dynamic process, the speech would become a part of that process and evoke inevitably a reaction from Russia, likely in the form of increased expansionism to form buffer zones against an increased perception of threat from the West. So what the speech in Missouri had done was not to solve the problem, but rather to sharpen it by implying that there was no real solution.

Predicting more quickly than any other columnist on the page the future impact of this speech, he urges, "If his speech 'catches on', so to speak, historians of the future may well say that with Mr. Churchill's famous oration at Westminster College, the Western world finally decided that it could come to no accord with Russia, and began to mobilize against it."

So it would come to be.

The recent addresses of Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan and Secretary of State Byrnes had anticipated a solution to the problem, while the Westminster speech did not. The latter only called for mobilization as an answer, invoking both "Christian civilization" and "the workman in his little cottage", seeking to enlist them in the cause of a fight to preserve Western democracy from Communist encroachment.

"There is something in the very tone of these extravagant exhortations which of itself gives us the feeling that we are slipping off the melting edge of a precipice made of ice."

So it would come to be.

The speech would potentially provide Russia with license to view itself as aligned against a hostile world mobilizing against it. The impact of Mr. Churchill's "melodramatic formulations", no matter their intent, was not peaceful. Combining the militaries of the United States and Britain was the nightmare scenario to the Soviets.

"If we take the Churchill way, we shall find ourselves crippled by our fears, made prisoners of our visions, moving cataleptically, like automatons, toward an obscure fate, and our own methods laid aside, our own problems forgot; though this last, perhaps, may be a refreshing consideration to some of the tired men who are turning in their weariness to drink at the Churchill spring."

He might have added that the drink would be a bit stronger than spring water.

A letter writer of Jonestown, Miss., who had been a former Rough Rider of Troop E under Theodore Roosevelt, advocates calling a "secret service" of volunteers into action to root out all subversive elements in the world and then drop atom bombs on them. Such a war, he predicts, would be over in 90 days, as with the Spanish-American War.

"We can free the world if we act quickly, just as we did Cuba."

The editors respond: "Now, let's see, where did we put that Big Stick..."

A letter from a South Carolinian complains of the ravages of legal liquor in the state, compared to the better situation during the Prohibition years, warns of a drunk driver killing one's family as a worse impact than absence of the higher revenues to be obtained from legal sale of liquor.

Another letter enjoyed the Burke Davis articles on liquor. Most of the Charlotteans, he said, drank the stuff and paid "the high prices the goons charge for it." He had lived in Miami, New York, and Washington, where liquor was legal, and the drinkers did not have to drink at once all they had bought to avoid getting caught with the illegal substance in their possession, hence a more sober experience from the consumption of a given session of drink.

He knew lots of church-goers who drank and hoped that they would become advocates for A.B.C.

He says that he could give liquor up anytime he wanted but had no desire to do so as it made a person feel better and eat better, should one have a drink before meals.

He wanted Burke Davis to start a drive to have the city cleaned also.

A fourth letter comments on the race riot in Columbia, Tenn., the previous week, calls it a reminder of a problem both intolerable and irremediable. Abstract law, he says, was insufficient to prevent bloodshed, but if law were enforced promptly, bloodshed could at least be limited.

The same object lesson could be applied, he ventures, to the world situation.

Oh, just blow it up and start over.

A fellow can go over there and fight like a dog in a foxhole or muddied pit and come back and can't even get a decent house, buy a new car, or find a job which isn't being struck. It just isn't worth it to save.

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