Thursday, April 11, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 11, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York announced that the U.N., in conjunction with the City, had selected Flushing Meadow, the site of the 1939 World's Fair, as its interim location for the General Assembly. The Sperry Gyroscope Company at Lake Success on Long Island would serve as the offices. The City would advance 1.25 million dollars to improve Flushing Meadow Park and its Municipal Building.

The Flushing Meadow site would serve until the U.N. Building in Manhattan, begun in 1948, was completed and opened in late 1952.

Whether this pair of site selections led to the phrase "sit on it and rotate", we leave to your higher discernment.

The United States indicated that it would support the hearing by the Security Council of Poland's complaint against Spain. Britain was expected to join the U.S. in support of the hearing.

Herschel V. Johnson of North Carolina, Minister to Sweden, was named to be the deputy representative of the United States to the U.N., assisting Edward Stettinius, the primary delegate, who was now assisting Secretary of State Byrnes at the current conference, as told by Drew Pearson a couple of weeks earlier.

The Senate Military Committee recommended a full year extension of the Selective Service Act. The bill fixed the military personnel strength at 1.55 million men by July 1, 1946 and at 1.07 million by July 1, 1947.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson told a news conference that the United States would fulfill its commitment to UNRRA to supply wheat for Europe. He stated that there would be no rationing of bread or flour because the mechanics necessary to accomplish it could not be set up in time to provide the aid.

Britain offered to undertake food rationing provided the United States would do likewise.

Admiral Harold Stark, chief of Naval operations at the time of Pearl Harbor, told the joint Congressional committee investigating Pearl Harbor that he probably consulted with President Roosevelt before drafting a proposal for the Dutch to deliver to Japan in December, 1941, instructing Japan not to cross a line between Davao and Wiego or it would be attacked by the Dutch. He assured that the exclusive authority of Congress to declare war was not compromised by this proposal and that the threatened action was to be stated unilaterally by the Dutch, the Dutch having had colonies in the East Indies.

Morrie Landsberg, substituting for Hal Boyle reports from Seoul, Korea, on the conditions of the country, occupied during the war by Japan, now under a trusteeship of the United States and Russia, with the Northern part above the 38th parallel protected by Russia and the Southern part by the United States through 1950, at which point Korea was slated by the agreement to be provided independence.

The Russo-American occupation had been hard on Korea's economy, which had thrived under Japanese occupation. Korea wanted to import goods but had no way of paying for them as the Japanese had impoverished the silk industry, and the rice grown was insufficient to feed Korea's own population. Raw materials in the South were cut off from Northern industries, hampering industrial production. Inflation also ran rampant, some commodities costing a hundred times more than in 1937. The scarcity of goods was a prime contributing factor. Depositors withdrew their money from Korean banks out of fear of financial collapse. The Americans had removed all price controls when they had taken over occupation duties. They admitted that it had been a mistake. The daily rice ration had been doubled, causing black market prices to dip substantially.

An earthquake was recorded in New York, Philadelphia, Weston, Mass., and St. Louis, probably centered somewhere between Rumania and the Aleutians.

In an abbreviated short story, getting shorter all the time, Mrs. Speranza of New York City interrupted her trial for second degree murder of Mrs. Catalano, allegedly occurring May 5, 1942, to plead guilty. She had to be restrained several times during the proceedings to quiet her outbursts in the courtroom. She faced up to 20 years. The motive for the killing was a letter from Mrs. Catalano threatening to end her friendship with Mrs. Speranza. Thus, Mrs. Speranza killed Mrs. Catalano.

Also in New York, at the Little Church Around the Corner, as told by the caption of the photograph, a Ringling Brothers Circus bareback rider married his bride named Parley, of Salt Lake City, while Stranger looked on and nibbled at the bridal bouquet.

On the editorial page, "The OPA Argument Comes Home" reports that the Charlotte meatpackers were set to begin a strike against OPA regulations, which, by the following Monday, would produce a scarcity in the city of beef, veal and pork. The grocers supported the strike, as did a large segment of the public.

The meatpackers argued that they could no longer make profit under price controls and Federal subsidies, forcing their customers into the black market. The grocers agreed and admitted of the black market's existence and their participation in it.

Meat prices in Charlotte had remained reasonable, the result of OPA controls, but if meat disappeared, no matter the cause, the continuation of controls presented itself as an evil. OPA would finally need remove the controls but, if so, the spiral of inflation would be set in motion.

The moral pressure for price control which existed during the war effort was no longer extant, as evidenced by the fact that the grocers' confession of dealing in the black market had not caused so much as a raised eyebrow among the citizenry.

Businessmen were convinced that price controls were no longer effective without this moral pressure in restraining inflation, adding to the pressure to eliminate them.

Still the hope of avoiding inflation lay in the continued viability of OPA. Continuing to exert some measure of control on prices, even if ceilings were being slowly raised, would buy time until production could equal demand. History pointed the way. In 1919, price controls of the war years were released, with the results of eleven billion dollars of lost inventory in 1920, six billion in profits in 1919 turned to a 500 million dollar loss in 1920, a 50 percent drop in farm prices, a 55 percent reduction in payrolls, 250,000 farm foreclosures, and 166,000 bankruptcies.

It suggests recalling in the meatless days which lay ahead that maintenance of controls was a complex issue, not to be determined by the disagreement of the Charlotte meatpackers with OPA, regardless of the correctness of either side's position. Removal of controls would produce the runaway inflation inevitably which would be hard to arrest once begun, despite the temptation to give in to the pressures for profits.

"The Republicans Look to 1948" comments on the rising hopes among Republicans for the 1948 election. In Winston-Salem, the North Carolina GOP had recently concluded its heartiest convention in some years. They saw little hope in the coming mid-term elections of 1946 and so set their eyes on the presidential election. They listened intently to their guest, former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, the putative front runner for the 1948 nomination at this juncture.

But to support Mr. Stassen would be to fly in the face of newly elected party chairman Carroll Reece of Tennessee, to whom the state Republican executive committee had provided its support, Mr. Reece standing in opposition to Mr. Stassen becoming the party standard bearer, favoring Robert Taft or John W. Bricker.

Yet, it appeared that practicality might ultimately win out to bring about the nomination of Mr. Stassen, for he alone had the potential of attracting disaffected Roosevelt liberals, many of whom had been Republicans in the past and had provided the Democratic majorities in four straight presidential elections.

Moreover, the bogey of the black man which led to his disfranchisement in the South, the basis for the one-party system, was rapidly disappearing from the Southern mind, based on more enlightened opinion at home and the pressure exerted by Supreme Court decisions.

The conservative Democrats, unable to take over party opinion, could only serve as a wrecking crew of the party, reducing Democratic chances for victory in 1948. Mr. Stassen would present a dramatic argument for having the ability to enter the breach and take the prize.

But more than merely the transitory effect afforded by a victory in 1948, breaking the one-party system in the South would provide the Republicans with a permanent gain, unlike the temporary breach in the Democratic Party based on Rum and Romanism in the 1928 campaign between Herbert Hoover and Al Smith, in which many Southern Democrats departed the fold because of Mr. Smith's Catholicism and his support of repeal of Constitutional nationwide prohibition.

Restoration of the two-party system would also provide a more striking choice for voters and free the South from the political bondage in which it had been maintained since the days of Reconstruction.

Of course, the Republicans, the sense of political momentum and opportunity to strike while the iron be hot in individual elections being what they are, would take control of both chambers of Congress in 1946 and, being without any cohesive program to effect the post-war remedies any more efficiently in the end than had the Democratically controlled Congress, the nation would provide attention in 1948 to President Truman's harangue against the Republican "do-nothing" Congress and re-elect him, while also turning back the substantial Republican Congressional majorities gained in 1946 to the Democrats. Thus, it became a matter for the Republicans of getting what they most wished for, beyond their dreams in spring, 1946, but then finding it a puzzle fraught with more difficulties than soluble in the course of merely two years.

It is as certain as the fact of the changeability of the weather that the political winds coming up on any given election day will sway the voters more than even the most capable editorial columnists seeking to alter public awareness and opinion. For there is, at the end of the day, very little stock to be placed in the notion of party cohesion on a broad number of disparate issues in the face of individual political ambition, dependent for success on varied constituencies, wedded to particular interests economically and socially. The result most often thus achieved is a compromise between polar camps, a compromise most apt to be passionately supported by no one. For the very nature of the middle is just that, largely passionless and seeing good and bad in both sides, perhaps even overlooking the deeper issues at stake by seeking to adhere too rigidly to objectivity.

The extreme margins stake out the opposite sides of the argument which the less extreme but still polar opposite adherents then take up and to which provide a degree of rational expression, to prevent anarchy arising from the emotional tumult occasioned by the extremes, to form the more informed debate, which then winds up in the sharped middle music—which one hears in the supermarket and on the elevator until one cannot any longer tolerate the numbness occasioned thereby, driven then to one extreme or the other. And the process back to the middle music begins anew.

Drew Pearson indicates that the reason Secretary of State Byrnes had thus far been unable to convince the Russians to have a peace conference was the thorny issue of Trieste. The Russians wanted to delay the conference until Marshal Tito could station troops inside the port city, a contingency which would dare the conference to give Trieste to any other nation. Secretary Byrnes wanted the conference to occur immediately because American troops in Trieste were already at loggerheads with the Yugoslav-Russian troops and the longer the situation festered, the greater the chance of war.

Tito had recently forbidden American and British planes from flying over Yugoslav territory to conduct reconnaissance, had given orders to shoot down such planes. Twenty thousand Russian troops had moved into Yugoslavia from Hungary, as determined by the reconnaissance flights which had been conducted before the Tito order to desist.

Further complicating matters, U.S. troops had been provided orders to fire on any Yugoslav troops entering Trieste. The Italians had offered to provide 15 divisions to the Americans and British, but these soldiers were not equipped with heavy arms and so the U.S. had declined the offer.

The chance of war therefore with the forces of Tito was substantial, especially as Russia appeared to want a confrontation with the United States and Britain, one which, if it could be arranged with Tito as front man, would be all the better for the disguise.

Mr. Pearson next reports that Judge Sam Rosenman, former adviser to President Roosevelt, was the primary author of President Truman's Army Day speech in Chicago on Saturday.

Following a long conference with isolationist publisher Robert McCormick in Chicago, Randolph Churchill had departed the United States recommending that America abolish OPA, apparently taking a leaf from his father's book on stirring up trouble by advising the country on policy.

The Doolittle Army board investigating the officer caste system had heard caustic objection to the system from a former private, Malcolm Douglas, who had once served on the Byrd expedition to the Antarctic and subsequently with the air forces in Alaska. Mr. Douglas told of officers using as excuses accumulation of flight time and instrument checking for taking dates on flights. Also, enlisted men in Alaska were not allowed to wear the heavy Arctic clothes issued to officers for the reason of fear that some visiting general might think the men were posing as generals. As a result, many G.I.'s suffered to the point of illness from the cold.

General Doolittle had assured Mr. Douglas that efforts were being made to remedy the situation by standardizing clothing and also permitting complaints to get through uncensored, of which Mr. Douglas had also made comment. General Doolittle expressed his sympathy for the plight of the former private while in Alaska, as he had once driven a dog team at Nome.

Marquis Childs comments on a speech in London by former President Hoover regarding the food situation in Europe as threatening famine for 170 million people. Twenty million children were suffering from various diseases from undernourishment. The situation was far worse than that faced by Mr. Hoover at the conclusion of World War I.

Nevertheless, he also asserted that there would be no necessity for food rationing in the United States. But objective observers disagreed with Mr. Hoover on this point, believed that rationing was the only method by which to avert pandemic famine.

The Famine Emergency Committee, running the conservation program in the country, had determined that there was little chance, except by rationing, of reduction of wheat consumption by the necessary 40 percent, even less chance of saving the required 20 percent of fats and oils. Relatively few families in the Washington area, for instance, were engaging in any substantial efforts to cut back consumption despite widespread publicity urging same.

Food rationing, reports Mr. Childs, would have been eliminated by the Administration three months before it finally was in November, had it not been for the efforts of Food for Freedom, an international group which sent an appeal to Mr. Truman. Chester Bowles had been alone among high Government officials urging the President not to end food rationing immediately after V-J Day when gas rationing was ended.

Samuel Grafton suggests that Americans had fallen into the habit of using Russia at every chance as a convenient bogey by which to measure its fears, treating Russia in the same breath with Germany. When Russia announced a decision to increase the production of steel, it became front page news; other countries' similar efforts were reported in the financial section.

On the Security Council, the United States and Britain were always to be found on the same side, in response to mutual fear of Russia. In Germany, the U.S. could not work with the right for fear of Nazi influence, could not work with the left for fear of Russian influence. The result was stultification.

Russian attitudes toward the West had not helped to alleviate these fears, as the Russians appeared as quick or quicker to abandon hope of cooperation, had been quite as irrational in their expressed fears of the West. The agreement reached independently with Iran on the Russian troop withdrawal from Azerbaijan suggested the changes in attitude which had taken place in the year since the end of the European war.

"Surely there must be men on both sides who, seeing the picture laid out, and noting the scabrous marks of deterioration, will realize that the solution is not to be found in dispute; not in Pravda answering Hearst, or Hearst, Pravda; but in a fresh start," agreement, rather than conflict.

A letter writer asks what had become of $75,000 of the $100,000 approved some ten years earlier for the improvement of Tech High School, and what had become of the donation of six acres in 1892 by Mrs. Phifer for the purpose of a public park. His section of the city would receive little or no benefit, he claims, from the proposed parks under the currently pending bond measure and urges therefore defeat of it.

The editors respond that the history of past failures should not work to preclude attempts to remedy the situation in the future with the current bond measure.

A letter writer says, seeing The News was wet, that he used to be a wet until someone erected a beer and dance hall across from his home, and now he was dry.

Strong drink, he says, was never intended as more than an elixir for that which ailed, that the Apple Jack his father had kept under the bed when he was growing up was utilized only as a tonic, never intended to be drunk.

He goes on to express the belief that a change to the Republicans in Washington might be a good tonic, and wonders also when a draft had ever prevented war, that the other dogs would gang up on the top dog.

"Well, wet or dry, Demo or GOP, we all seem to be on the make, scrambling for success, for money, for the easy job, for prominence, trampling on the weak, the young pushing out the old and leaving them stranded and helpless. Brother, it just ought not to be so."

The editors respond: "Brother, you said it."

A letter writer says all he knew he heard on radio or read in The News, and he had concluded that Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico was one of the most naive individuals of whom he had heard in a long time, as shown by his taking umbrage at the remarks of Senator Claude Pepper of Florida that the United States was acting quite Anglo-Saxon of late in its attitude toward Russia. The latter, he posits, was so obvious as to require little expression.

A letter compliments the newspaper for publishing the series on Palestine the previous week by Atlanta Constitution Editor Ralph McGill, that the articles were wise and timely, as all of the pieces in the newspaper on race relations were. She expresses the hope that the articles might be expanded into a book by Mr. McGill.

She adds that alcohol was a habit-forming poison.

A letter from Los Angeles, written by the editor of The National Voice, "Pioneers in Temperance Broadcasting", asks for a copy of the picture from the March 25 News showing a group of students holding signs protesting legal sale of liquor through ABC stores.

The editors respond that it was on its way.

Apparently, the "front page" to which she refers was the local news section of the newspaper, which appears as a second front page at first glance. Our front page does not carry such a photograph, and so is not on its way to you.

And, as suggested on the front page, be sure to catch "Mirror of Your Mind", a column by psychologist Lawrence Gould, available on the back page, which we also do not have. Just read and understand of Alice, and we suspect that it wlll serve an equivalent purpose.

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