Wednesday, April 10, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 10, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, as expected, Poland made formal complaint to the U.N. Security Council regarding Franco's Spain, that it threatened world peace and was acting as a haven for Nazi war criminals, both as to their assets and scientists who were conducting research to produce war. Citing Article 2, paragraph 6 of the Charter, providing for U.N. oversight of non-member nations to preserve the peace, the Polish delegate, Oscar Lange, alleged in the complaint that on February 26, Spain had closed the French-Spanish frontier and stationed troops along the border. He also cited the fact of the ban from membership in the U.N. imposed on the Franco Government by the General Assembly meeting in London on February 9. He opposed the State Department's position that the problem in Spain was internal.

The State Department had, however, recently issued in March a condemnatory statement of the Franco Government and urged a non-violent coup by republican forces interested in establishing a representative government.

And, of course, the State Department was correct. Neither the United States nor the United Nations had any business involving itself in the strictly internal affairs of another country, no matter how egregious the acts and untoward the motives of a dictatorship and the circumstances under which it maintained its reign, as long it did not invade the sovereignty of another nation. The Polish complaint, and the facts of Spain at the time, plainly indicate the contrary, insofar as the nation being invasive of the sovereign rights of another country. Stationing troops at a border is not an act of war, even if it could be interpreted as threatening to the peace. With Russian, American, and British troops aplenty stationed in Germany and in France, however, Spain would have been quite insane to undertake any aggressive move at this time along the plain bordering France.

Yet, that said, and history being a good teacher, one cannot blame Poland for raising the issue before the U.N., given its own experience in 1939. As Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel had testified on April 3 before the Nuremberg tribunal, had France and Britain attacked Germany on the Western Front at the time of the invasion of Poland, Germany, with only twenty divisions guarding the front, would have been vulnerable and vanquished.

Yet, again, Germany in 1939, with six years of steady building of its military and dedication of its entire state to the sole purpose of military conquest, was not Spain in 1946, without, despite sending troops in aid of the Nazis during the war and supplying tungsten, a critical element in the manufacture of hard steel, great military capability of its own. Nor were the Allies possessed any longer of only the relatively weak and unprepared military establishments which they had in 1939. Nor was the United States military safely tucked away across the Atlantic.

The policy explains why Franco was able to maintain power until his death in 1975. He restrained his megalomaniacal insanity and insistence on playing a god to oppression only of his own people. Had Hitler done likewise, undoubtedly he would have died in his sleep an old man.

In Dachau, a former concentration camp prisoner at Mauthausen, Izak Gruenberg, a Polish Jew, testified before the war tribunal trying the 62 Nazi camp officials, that a Nazi SS officer, Dr. Willy Robst, had ordered him to place living prisoners into the camp furnace because there was no place to keep them alive. Fifteen photographs were adduced in evidence taken with a camera procured from an SS officer.

Eight persons died in a Boston apartment house fire which, according to fire officials, appeared to have resulted from arson, as two other fires erupted within ten blocks of the fatal fire.

Harold Ickes, in his new thrice-weekly column, tells of his disdain for the Democratic Party having determined to make a traditional practice of having the party chairman become the Postmaster General, thus with a place in the Cabinet and therefore being a key adviser to the President. He particularly disliked the fact that Robert Hannegan now held both posts, having been appointed by President Truman to succeed Frank Walker as Postmaster General and having held the post as DNC chairman since early 1944.

Boss Ed Crump, former Mayor of Memphis, he suggests, was correct when he had stated to the Senate Naval Committee during the confirmation fight over Ed Pauley that no one should occupy both roles.

The dual posts had only been held, he points out, by three previous men, the first being George Cortelyou under Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, and then Jim Farley and Mr. Walker, both under FDR.

He found the appointment of Mr. Hannegan to the post of Postmaster General particularly troubling in light of the fact that he was not particularly competent even as party chairman in 1944, but was, nevertheless, brassily assertive. That, combined with the lack of assertive leadership shown by President Truman, he believed, formed a bad combination. Mr. Hannegan was, in the absence of executive authority exercised by the President, instructing Congressional Democrats how to vote and was forming a brain trust at the White House to determine presidential appointments, the latter leading to the disastrous appointment and sustained support of Ed Pauley to become Undersecretary of the Navy—that episode, resulting in Mr. Pauley finally withdrawing his name from nomination, having been the reason in early February for Mr. Ickes's resignation after 13 years as Secretary of Interior, when the President stated that he might be "mistaken" regarding his memory of the alleged offer of a bribe by Mr. Pauley, then treasurer of the DNC, to raise $300,000 from oil interests for the 1944 campaign were the Government to drop its claims to the offshore tidal oil lands, from which Mr. Pauley had made his fortune in California.

He concludes by analogizing to the case of Mark Hanna as President McKinley's right-hand man at the fin de siecle, saying that while he provided ample advice to the President and exerted heavy influence in the Administration's policy, he did not engage in "shouting from the house-tops", as did Mr. Hannegan, who would stand well advised to become more muted in his public expressions.

Much of the bickering within the Democratic Party, Mr. Ickes suggests, had come from the fact of Mr. Hannegan having such a key role in the Administration.

Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, during testimony before the Interstate Commerce Commission regarding railroad freight rates, was sidetracked by Republican Senator Clyde Reed of Kansas into a discussion of the Secretary's reported statements regarding Democratic Party discipline. Mr. Wallace assured that he was in favor of a strong two-party system and had opposed the 1938 Roosevelt purge of Democrats not supportive of the New Deal, that he only had intended in his recommendation of discipline to wayward party members of the South that such discipline be self-imposed, not imposed from without. He had reportedly recommended not allowing such Democrats to use the party label in running for re-election. Mr. Wallace stated that he had only encouraged the parties to make clear their separate goals and that the candidates should clarify their positions during campaign appearances.

The Senate Banking Committee voted to send the proposed 3.75 billion dollar loan to Britain to the full Senate for debate. Various attempts to add amendments which would dilute its effectiveness were defeated.

A farm parity provision was removed from the House bill to extend the life of OPA. The provision, if left in the bill, would have condemned it to certain presidential veto.

The UMW committeemen walked out of wage negotiations with the bituminous coal operators and stated their intent to remain aloof from the negotiations until the operators would discuss the proposed welfare fund for miners based on a ten-cent per ton royalty. Thus, the ten-day old strike appeared not close to resolution.

A report surfaced in the wake of the escape from the D.C. jail by two inmates the previous week, during investigation of the escape by a special House committee, that, according the testimony of a former superintendent at the institution, high times had been enjoyed by inmates during their time of incarceration. He had obtained his information from a written statement by an inmate housed at the facility during the term of a previous superintendent, describing inmates running business ventures, importing liquor by the case for gambling parties, entertaining out-of-town models, leaving the facility with permission to conduct business in a luxury hotel, providing bribes to jail officials, described as "lavish tipping", and using Government stationery to correspond with the outside world.

The recent escapes were added to the previous 571 escapes from the facility since 1933. The former superintendent testifying had been suspended from his duties a few months earlier following a series of escapes.

In Cedar Raids, Iowa, a man had his 15th marriage annulled, the other fourteen having concluded in divorce, this one having lasted a month. His newlywed, he said, had married him for his money rather than his intended purpose of having her cook his meals and take care of him. She ran away.

Richard Cushing reports from Shanghai of the curious and fretful voyage of the Ada Rehan, an American freighter which departed San Francisco on August 16, 1945, bound for New Orleans, but then was requisitioned by the War Shipping Administration to go to Santiago, Chile, to obtain a load of nitrate which it was then ordered to transport to Tripoli. During the ensuing voyage on what was described as an incarnation of The Flying Dutchman, a mine field on the water was mistaken for a herd of sea turtles. The ship became lost when its compass was thrown abaft by a powerful magnet possessed by one of the seamen on watch.

The captain went ashore at Tripoli, suffering from a nervous breakdown, and the first mate took charge of the ship. At an Arabian port, the crew refused to sail any further with the first mate and he had two crew members removed for insubordination.

The ship sailed on to Khorramshahr in Persia to pick up railroad equipment. Also picked up at that port were a baboon from a nightclub which was closing its doors, three pretty Persian women, and three or four men plus a boy of seven.

At sea, some trouble erupted over competing male gravitation to the three women, but all of the passengers arrived at Shanghai, via Colombo and Hong Kong. The vessel was set to return to San Francisco.

The baboon, incidentally, had turned out to be an alcoholic, began suffering from delirium tremens aboard ship, broke out of its cage, jumped ship ahead of pistol fire, and escaped into the jungle. A safari was then launched from the ship, for reasons unknown, tracking the baboon until he was shot.

Apparently, the first mate was a prohibitionist and did not want the monkey getting into some more rum.

Whether the baboon was afforded the opportunity to show his point before being dispatched, is not stated in the account. Only Mrs. McGaha probably knows for a certainty.

In Chicago, a workman on a steel scaffolding, seeking at the end of the workday to lower himself via rope from the fifteenth to the fourteenth floor of a Loop hotel, lost his grip on the rope and began to plummet toward the ground. His fellow mason grabbed the rope, gave it a twirl and managed to loop a hoop about the falling man, such that he was able to catch the rope within his field of grope and then lower himself, at least to the second floor, where he again lost his grip and fell to the ground, yet without gripe.

He came out of the ordeal with only rope burns, no doubt feeling a bit the dope. His fellow worker, 53, who saved his life with his accurately twirling hurl, probably being in his younger years a hoopster, took the elevator to the ground to greet the younger 29-year old who, perhaps suffering most from impetuosity, chose the fast track.

On the editorial page, "The Funeral Ceremony at Geneva" comments on the end of the old League of Nations and its turning its files over to the U.N. The Argentine delegation had walked out of the final ceremonies at Geneva, providing a morbidly humorous twist to the affair. The reason was that it had not been given enough deference at the ceremonies.

The old League had provided the seeds for the U.N., but it was hampered from its start by the absence of both the United States and Russia. France was the primary force in its creation and now was a second-rate power only by virtue of the largesse of the other four permanent powers on the Security Council.

The primary problem with the League, it ventures, had been the unwillingness of its members to surrender any sovereignty for the good of all, not providing the League with any enforcement tools, giving it only moral authority to issue resolutions.

The same problem appeared plaguing the present incarnation as well. And the lesson of the League had to be better embraced by the nations to prevent a repeat of the past. The old League, it ventures, should find a way to package that lesson along with the old files and send it along.

"A Georgian's View of Palestine" remarks on the five-part series printed the previous week from Atlanta Constitution Editor Ralph McGill, giving praise for the contribution to understanding of that part of the world and the nature of the Jewish problem, facing displacement in Europe and needing a home, which Palestine had the means to afford.

Mr. McGill had found that there was no great conflict between Arab and Jew on a day to day basis, that the Arabs had benefited from the agricultural and industrial acumen brought to Palestine. Only within the leadership positions among usually corrupt Arabs, over-zealous Zionists, and over-complacent British colonial administrators was there to be found discord. Mr. McGill believed that this problem would disappear were the United States to enter the picture.

Mr. McGill, the editorial posits, saw the problem as Zebulon Vance of North Carolina saw the problem of diaspora forty years earlier in his speech, "The Scattered Nation", as a dispassionate observer of humanity with knowledge of farming, untainted by feelings of prejudice.

The Jews asked for very little, only an opportunity to carve from a barren wasteland a place of refuge, offering the skill and labor to bring it to fruition. Mr. McGill had elucidated the problem and the solution well and the editorial finds no flaw in his judgment.

"Another Note from Never-Never Land" comments on a news clipping from The Boston Herald regarding an event from "the other side of the looking glass" which had occurred the past April Fool's Day. The comic-strip artist Milton Caniff had produced a strip devoted entirely to Charles Charles, the pilot sidekick of Terry Lee in "Terry and the Pirates".

Hotshot Charlie, it says, had returned to civilian life in Boston after serving during the war in the Air Forces in the Pacific. Mr. Caniff had depicted his readjustment to civilian life, trying to select a new hat. A knock at the door brought news via cablegram of an offer with an airline in China. The strip ended with Hotshot Charlie putting his old Air Force cap back on, getting ready to depart for the job.

The strip had included a close-up of the cablegram, replete with Charles Charles's address, 72 Revere Street, Boston. The address was real, that of an apartment house with seven apartments. So, on April 1, the manager began receiving phone calls from renters interested in renting Mr. Charles's apartment.

It suggested not only a bad April Fool's joke but that the line between reality and fantasy had grown "taut and thin"—much as the rope which Nikita Khrushchev described during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, albeit in the latter situation a rope being pulled for at least 17 years prior to that Crisis mutually by certain factions within the two countries, not by President Kennedy in October, 1962, merely reacting to a real crisis, even if in some quarters that we know, he received, for purely political reasons, the convenient blame which Mr. Khrushchev suggested.

"Who will laugh, ha, ha, at the poor fools who really thought a man named Charles Charles was moving out of his apartment because they had read it in the funny papers?"

The editors confess that they would not laugh because they had long been convinced that the funny papers were both more interesting and made more sense than either the front page or the editorial page.

As we have said before, we never read the strips, and thus beg to differ. But that perhaps is because of a different time, where one learned rather early in life this discrepancy of some which leads on to something other than mere practical jokes, to the point even of outright murder. They, no doubt, in 1946 understood it, but until it had been visibly brought home to every American in ways other than the Grand Illusion of warfare, that is, the deaths of our leaders by gunfire, one could not fully, perhaps, come to appreciate how vividly some pursue this realm of the absurd, seeking thereby to deny the reality of an act by crawling vicariously into the guise of a comedic actor, whether from film or comics or what have you, much as John Wilkes Booth had done with the plays on April 14, 1865.

But, by 1946, most had not any longer the memory of the nuances accompanying that act, occurring as it had before the age of modern psychology. And unless, perhaps, one were involved in some manner in the criminal justice system, some of those nuances might escape even the most discerning and detailed-oriented journalists.

That which might at first appear to the misunderstanding eye as ironically poetic or beyond life, in the realm of Alice, often suggests the insight to the animus of the perpetrator of the act, whether it is consciously or unconsciously left behind, or a bit of a mixture of both.

Parenthetically, it might be questioned whether some of the readers who called about Hotshot Charlie's apartment on Revere Street in Boston were either reacting in jocular mode or had become genuinely confused regarding the story out of Washington, related by Drew Pearson in his column Saturday, of the 6,300 persons who had called in, according to a prior Washington Times-Herald story, to inquire of an available rental when it was reported that the Russian Purchasing Agency would vacate its digs.

In any event, we wonder if Hotshot Charlie took the M.T.A. to his point of departure and if so, whether he will ever be heard from again.

Whatever the case, Mr. Caniff ended Terry's existence at the end of 1946.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "The Passing of the Cavalry", indicates that, while elimination of the Cavalry as a separate branch of the Army would be lamented by old cavalrymen, it was in keeping with the requisites of modern warfare. The tank and jeep had replaced the horse in all save mountainous terrains and World War II had seen little cavalry action—except among the Cossacks of Russia.

It remarks, however, that its loss would be missed as it had produced the likes of General Patton, with spit-and-polish discipline, and had been revered during the Civil War and Indian Wars through the Rough Riders of Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba in 1899.

But now the age of the machine, the ability to operate a gearshift, shoving it into high and stepping on the gas, had replaced the former gentlemanly art of horsemanship.

Drew Pearson reports that Secretary Wallace had proposed to President Truman that the president of the University of Chicago, Robert Hutchins, be appointed as a civilian observer of the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll set to occur in July. Acting on the request of President Roosevelt, he had helped to pioneer the bomb in 1942 by having the University put up $150,000 to set up a laboratory for research into the bomb. At time, for its risk, Harvard and M.I.T. did not want to have truck with the project.

The President, however, as well as Secretary of War Patterson vetoed the idea of having Dr. Hutchins on the panel of observers.

He next comments that the President and Secretary Wallace got along well and consulted with one another often, but, when pressed recently, Mr. Wallace had admitted that the President did not appoint very many of his selections for the Commerce Department.

He next tells that the Japanese had come to like the American occupiers, that the anti-American propaganda of the Imperial Government during the war had backfired. Likewise, the G.I.'s liked the Japanese people.

He reports also that the G.I.'s were insisting that Japanese men accord Japanese women equality in society. Labor organizing was taking place apace, but when the Japanese workers struck, labor took over the factory and refused to take orders from management, trying to run the plant more efficiently than their bosses to show entitlement to a raise.

Major General Graves B. Erskine, chief of the re-training and re-employment administration, a champion of the veteran, had worked to have worsted and woolen clothing manufactured for men rather than women, as had been the case because of higher profits in women's clothing following the war and removal of the constraints on supply of fabric for the military.

The Civilian Production Administration had stated a goal of manufacture of 28 million men's suits during 1946, but only 1.5 million suits costing below $35 thus far had been produced, two million less than targeted for the first quarter.

Marquis Childs reports that the U.N. was searching for a better temporary home than afforded by Hunter College in the Bronx. Its facilities were inadequate to house staff and offices, being as they were stuck in classrooms spread about the campus in several buildings. Moreover, the lease of the campus by the U.N. was set to expire on May 15.

He relates that some incidents during the current conference had caused chafing between the organization and the surrounding bustle of the city. One delegation housed in a lesser known hotel had several rooms, one of which remained vacant, awaiting arrival from Europe of a diplomat. The hotel sent word that the room would need to be reserved and paid for in advance to assure that it remained available.

The likely new temporary site would be at the abandoned Sperry Gyroscope Co. plant at Lake Success on Long Island, used during the war. This location was 18 miles from central Manhattan and would thus require longer trips to hotels, but also afforded better work facilities.

Some of the delegates spoke wistfully of the old days of the League of Nations, meeting in quiet Geneva. Others felt it had been too isolated from the world. He suggests that William Wordsworth's poetry in "The World Is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon" was apt for the setting of the U.N.

New York had a proposed fiscal operating budget of $857 million dollars for the coming fiscal year, more than that of the Federal Government in 1910.

It would, he suggest, have been nice for more of a welcome mat to have been spread forth by the city for the U.N. and its delegations. New York appeared indifferent at times to everything save its own roar. The U.N. needed a settled locale to carry on its important business for maintaining world peace.

Well, perhaps, the U.N. would have done well by itself at this incipient stage to have asked for a gala performance by Frank Sinatra, to attract the attention of New Yorkers to its presence and need for deference.

Samuel Grafton finds the redundant insistence by President Truman, in his Army Day speech in Chicago the previous Saturday, that America was strong to have been an utterance in virtual admission of weakness. Military preparedness and such demonstrations of strength were unimpressive to the masses of the world after the previous decade of war waged by bullies of the Axis nations. The speech did not tap the real source of American strength: its magnanimity and humility while engaging in chivalrous service.

Mr. Grafton believes that the President would have better served the nation by engaging in praise of the former allies, by announcing that rationing would be newly instituted to feed the hungry of Europe, and by announcing that the 50,000 displaced persons in Europe would be admitted to the United States. That would have been a show of true strength, rather than suggesting danger from foreign powers to the only nation with the atomic bomb.

The theme was not interrupted by his reference to the U.N. as he ignored its central purpose.

He concludes that the word "strong" should not be included in any speech by the President which was designed to inspire confidence in the country's strength.

A letter from Galveston, Texas, sets forth praise of The News for its editorial stands in support of the U.N., of which she had become apprised during a CBS radio broadcast providing views of Charlotte youth on the prospects for the U.N.

She encloses her suggestion for a seal for the U.N. and a motto, "The Gold Chain of Fellowship Links the United Nations in Unity, Freedom, Peace."

The editors provide her detailed description and explanation of her proposed seal.

While presenting good ideas, stressing the Four Freedoms enunciated in a speech in early 1941 by President Roosevelt, neither were accepted by the U.N.

A letter writer begs that the editors would place a statement at the head of stories carried over from late to early editions on the successive day, so denoting that carry-over to avoid confusion in references to "today" and "yesterday".

The editors state that usually they made the corrections, but in the particular case, Emery Wister's account of Federal court proceedings, they had overlooked it. A general statement, they had found, was even more confusing.

A regular letter writer wonders at the Southern Democrats blocking the President's program, the latest example being the attachment of removal of farm price ceilings to the minimum wage law, condemning it to a presidential veto if not ultimately taken out of the bill.

He wonders what would happen if, in 1948, the President determined not to run and immediately, Henry Wallace, the favorite of Liberals, became the nominee. Would he, if elected, encounter any the less reaction? despite having support of the party in the general election.

He refers to Mr. Wallace as being likely acceptable during the election process because he was "white, Protestant, has a good old-fashioned Scotch name so the congenital Claghorns [would] climb on the Wallace wagon to a man and, with tongue in cheek, clamor for Henry and all he stands for."

The editors respond: "Out of the question and out of this world. White. Protestant. Scotch though he may be, the Claghorns will never climb aboard Henry's little, red wagon. They will, long before 1948, have succeeded in fixing it."

Maybe not, with cowboy singer, Senator Glen Taylor aboard.

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