Friday, April 19, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, April 19, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Australia had submitted a proposed compromise for dealing with the Polish complaint against Spain brought before the U.N. Security Council. It suggested that a five-person commission be appointed to investigate the matter and submit a report by May 17. The delegates were non-committal as they adjourned on Thursday for Easter. It was believed that the chances were slim that the Council would vote to sever diplomatic relations with Spain, as sought by Poland, with probable support by Russia and France.

The Council was first going to take up the Iranian issue again on Tuesday when it reconvened, to determine whether to take the matter off the agenda, as demanded by the Russians, or leave it until May 6, as previously determined.

In Manchuria, the Chinese Communists claimed to have captured Changchun from Government troops. The report claimed that a "democratic municipal government" had been established in the capital and order had been restored following a period of looting brought on by Government troops and remnants of the former Japanese occupiers.

In Nuremberg, a mysterious arsenic poison had rendered seriously ill 1,900 German prisoners maintained in Stalag 13. It apparently had come from contaminated bread from a local German bakery which normally supplied bread to the camp.

The American Counter-Intelligence Corps was investigating, had determined that only the crust of the bread had been poisoned, suggesting that it came from shelves sprinkled with the poison to kill cockroaches.

President Truman was expected to conclude a food agreement with Canada which called for mutual reduction of consumption of wheat and wheat products by equal percentages to enable shipments to those starving overseas. If the agreement was completed, Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson would issue his delayed order to cut flour consumption by 25 percent. President Truman told newsmen that the food crisis was much worse than previously reported.

Former President Hoover had determined to delay return to Washington with the President's approval after discussing the matter by telephone. The President had the previous day urged him to come home immediately to make a report to the American people. The former President was next heading to India.

Both President Truman and former President Hoover would make a joint broadcast via radio on the night of this date.

Harold Ickes asserts that the Government had fiddled about this and fiddled about that, from the Spanish Civil War to the build-up of the Italian and German war machines, to Iran and Russia, to John L. Lewis and UMW, and now regarding the feeding of Europe, especially the former allies.

Former President Hoover had been sent to report back on the food situation and had provided only information which was already known.

OPA's idea of asking millers to conserve flour to make up the deficit in shipments abroad was not likely to find success, any more than would voluntary rationing. He favors the Congress thinking less about re-election and more about the starving former allies, that it should institute a program of getting more wheat to Europe while preparing the machinery for rationing should the program fail to meet the needs.

The Administration expressed hope that the Senate would pass a bill without the restraints of the House bill passed the previous day to extend the life of OPA. OPA head Paul Porter stated that price controls would need be removed from about 50 percent of commodities by July 1 under the House bill, triggering runaway inflation.

General Eisenhower awarded the second Oak Leaf Cluster to General MacArthur for his heroism on Luzon, advancing to within 75 yards of the enemy lines to a point where two men had just been killed and several others wounded, serving as an inspiration to the men of the 25th Division.

Hal Boyle reports from Cassino in Italy, reflecting on the ruins he found from the long battle for the town in the winter of 1944 before its fall to the Allies in May. It had been a muddy, cold battle zone for months in which many died for the sake of gaining a few yards. "It wasn't hell," he says, "because hell is heated. It wasn't life because life has moments of rest. And it wasn't death because you still could move—any direction but forward. It wasn't anything but Cassino—and Cassino was life and death and hell in one bitter draught."

The barren rock slope of "million dollar hill" which, along with other such hills, led to Cassino, was now covered in verdure with sheep grazing and purple flowers blooming where Germans and Americans once engaged in "mortal scrimmage".

Tom Fesperman reports of the barkless dog now available. The dog, a Basenji hound, could only emit a tiny whine. Canine reporter for The News Tom Revelle had ordered the hound from New York. It had not had its vocal chords altered but was a breed apart, over a century old, developed in the Congo for hunting reed rats.

So, if instead of a watch dog, you want a reed rat hunting hound as quiet as a mouse, you now know what breed to buy. A photograph of the dog appears.

On the editorial page, "Whole Hog Costs Little More" discusses the upcoming local bond issue and urges that voters approve all twelve million dollars, including the two million allotted for special projects, a new library, a new auditorium, a new airport, and street improvements, in addition to the necessities, water, sewage and schools.

"Can This Be Us?" wonders whether James Thurber might have been correct when he wrote "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox", that perhaps Grant had surrendered to Lee after all. For the South suddenly appeared possessed of mysterious power over the nation, orchestrating the entire programs of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and holding the White House in check in the bargain.

Perhaps, the nation had simply confused the South with other sections. "Or perhaps, the spirit of Claghorn has seized the nation, so that stalwart souls like Harold Ickes and Hook of Michigan reel, just as if they'd heard an Orson Welles broadcast: The Invasion Of The Men From Dixie."

The broadcast would soon change to "The Men from California and Wisconsin, Plus Assorted Sordid Southern Gentlemen in the Bargain".

"The Brakes Are Slipping" finds the job the House had done in emasculating OPA by limiting its controls of price hikes to include costs and to be passed all along the line to consumers was completely premeditated, not dreamed up in the middle of the night. The motivating force was big business.

If the bill, extending the life of the agency for nine months, passed the Senate in its current form, then OPA could do little in the future besides warn of inflation and then raise prices to afford "reasonable" profits as required by the bill.

The piece suggests that the House action was inconsistent with public opinion which was consistent with the estimate of Chester Bowles, Economic Stabilizer, who asserted that the public would vote four to one, if given the opportunity, for continued food subsidies, also ripped away by the bill.

If the Senate continued the course, the the people could only hope that Mr. Bowles was a poor economist when he predicted that there would be a 50 percent rise in the cost of living under the House legislation.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Group Initiative at Work", comments favorably on the efforts of a group of African-Americans in Charlotte to raise $750,000 for construction of a hospital, about half to be from private subscriptions and the rest from the Federal Government and possibly the Duke Endowment or other philanthropic organization.

It found the effort commendable in taking the initiative to get something constructive done for the black community and suggested that it become the attitude generally in seeking political and economic equality.

Drew Pearson comments on a discussion by former Ambassador to Russia Averell Harriman to the 78-79 Club, Congressmen serving in their first and second terms of Congress. He told them that Russia had made great strides in eliminating illiteracy and the people were eager to read the news and opinion being disseminated by the Soviet Government. It distinguished the Communist system from the Fascist systems of Hitler and Mussolini which had kept as much from the people as they could.

The average Russian believed in the Soviet program but soldiers coming back from Germany told of the high pay to American soldiers and the relatively high standard of living evident in Germany and other Western countries, causing some doubt at home as to the effectiveness of the Soviet five-year plans. But the Government answered that if it had first built up the standard of living in the 1920's rather than stressing the country's industrial and military strength, it would have crumbled before Hitler's armies. They also sought to discredit the soldiers making these charges. Red Army officers were not being provided positions in the Government because of distrust, were being maintained under surveillance by the secret police, the most powerful force in Russia.

Mr. Harriman also stated that Russia offered no immediate threat of war to the West as its people were tired and its industry decimated by the war. But he also cautioned that trouble could arise in the future. The Soviet leaders remained suspicious of the West because of prior attempts to overthrow the Communist regime following the Revolution of 1917. They needed to be convinced that the West bore no hostile intent toward them.

He also asserted that Russia was the most fertile field in the world for educational propaganda.

The column concludes with an exchange between President Truman and Congressman James Fulton of Pennsylvania, who had served as a Navy lieutenant during the war and was the first Congressman to see the President after the first anniversary of his coming to office on April 12. The President told the Congressman, a Republican, that he was happy to see more young ex-servicemen in Congress, reflecting the views of the people back home. Some of the older Congressmen, he stated, rarely returned to their districts and had lost touch with the people they represented.

Marquis Childs discusses the enormous job of General Omar Bradley in administering the Veterans' Administration. In July, 1945, there had been 2.68 million veterans of World War II; there were now 11.31 million. Including veterans of other wars still living, the total was 15.296 million. Inclusive of families, it meant that nearly half the total population of the country was within the purview of the V.A.

General Bradley had begun to revitalize a worn-out system which he had encountered when he took over the job the previous summer. The backlog of paperwork when he assumed the helm had now tripled from week to week. More office space had to be acquired and hundreds more clerks had to be hired. The number of claims pending at the end of February had been 660,899. A month later, the backlog was down to 554,917.

There were now two million veterans paying premiums on the insurance which they took out during the war and those two million monthly letters often bore incorrect addresses and lacked other necessary identifying information.

Bids for the construction of V.A. hospitals were exceeding the Congressional allotments for construction, adding to the problems. Contractors were no longer interested in building for the Government because of the building boom in the country. Congress had authorized funds for 75 hospitals but placed limits on how much could be spent on each one, preventing any of them thus far from being built. Moreover, Congressmen wanted hospitals in their districts, further complicating the process.

The editors note that Mr. Childs would continue the topic the following day.

A piece, again bearing the by-line of Bertram Benedict—though appearing still more in the nature of a Samuel Grafton piece, Mr. Benedict usually being confined to Research Service pieces setting forth an outline of various historical facts and figures on a given topic—addresses the subject of the Security Council still dealing with the Iranian issue though ostensibly settled between Iran and Russia, the Iranians wanting the matter off the agenda, but the Council still debating whether to leave it as previously decided until May 6.

Andrei Gromyko was seeking removal of the matter as if trying to save face, but Russia's continued presence in Iran beyond the March 2 deadline had been a violation of the 1942 Russo-British-Iranian treaty and so continuing to bring up the issue only reminded of this fact. It appeared, however, to be in the best interest of the Council to drop the matter and then restore it to the agenda if necessary on May 6.

But the American, British, and Netherlands delegations took the position that once a case was presented to the Council, it could not be withdrawn. The French delegate thought it a bad precedent for making the Security Council seem as a judicial body.

It suggested the reason for the Russian concern was to try to restrain the Security Council and fashion it in its own conception, as a conference of nations, making the departure from the Council of Mr. Gromyko for ten days seem as acceptable conduct. The West wanted it to be more of a judicial body.

Thus, at stake in this apparently innocuous procedural question was actually a much more salient principle, the very nature of the Council and what form it would take into the future.

A letter from the executive secretary of the Society for the Prevention of World War III expresses dismay and shock at the discovery that German textbooks used in Hitler's Germany before the war to spread propaganda about the mistreatment of Germany under the Treaty of Versailles, and other such nationalistic propaganda, had been distributed to German students by the Allied Occupation Forces. She cites several examples and suggests that it could form the seeds of revenge and rebirth of nationalism within the German mind.

A letter finds absurd the argument that Dry forces were in favor of bootleggers and wonders why alcohol should be made legal when habit-forming drugs were made illegal.

The editors respond that they agreed that the association of drys with bootleggers was an absurd argument and that they had never made it, that it was as ridiculous as the notion that legal distillers were in league with the proponents of the ABC controlled sale system. It remarks, however, that legal sale would make it unprofitable for bootleggers to conduct business and would likewise shut down ancillary enterprises, in numbers running and prostitution, as well as other illegal activities.


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