Saturday, April 20, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 20, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman had informed the country in his radio broadcast of the previous evening that it faced the greatest threat to mass starvation in the history of mankind and indicated that wheat reserves would be cut further than they already had been to accommodate the starving masses overseas. Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson then cut flour consumption by 25 percent through the end of the fiscal year. The flour reduction was estimated to provide an additional 25 million bushels of wheat. A Government bonus of 30 cents per bushel was to be paid to farmers through May 25 to obtain as much as 100,000 additional bushels of wheat. Another bonus was expected to yield 50 million bushels of corn. The Government also indicated its intention to buy unlimited oatmeal.

During the radio broadcast, former President Herbert Hoover, speaking from Egypt, stated that a goal of 1.1 million tons of wheat to be exported monthly was needed to feed the hungry and urged wartime measures be instituted to obtain it.

The Chinese Communists announced their intent to occupy the Northern Manchurian city of Harbin when the Russians vacated the following Thursday should a state of civil war persist. Government officials had fled Harbin for Mukden, 325 miles to the south.

A Government spokesman admitted that the situation in central Manchuria was grave following the loss to the Communists of Changchun. The withdrawal the previous Sunday by the Russians from Changchun had precipitated the violence in that city.

It was stated that, contrary to previous reports, the Government troops had not captured Szepinkai to the south, a city also in grave danger of falling.

Sgt. James Jones of the United States Army was sentenced by a court martial in London to six months hard labor for his convictions of three charges of simple assault on German prisoners at Lichfield Detention Camp. He was acquitted of five other counts of assault. The court, however, recommended clemency and determined that Sgt. Jones would not be confined until review of his case had been completed. He admitted hitting prisoners with his fists and with clubs, and that it was routine practice ordered by superior officers.

Sgt. Judson Smith had already been convicted in the matter and sentenced to three years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

An escapee from a Texas prison grabbed a plane in Columbia, Mo., and fled police after being stopped in a car with his fellow escapee and then fleeing on foot amid a hail of bullets. The former flight instructor, swooping over the heads of his pursuers, flew the plane to Walnut Ridge, Ark., where he abandoned it and remained at large.

Be on the lookout.

Hal Boyle reports from the Isle of Capri of a tour guide who, along with his two sons, rowed tourists along the beach at Grande Masina to Grotto Azzurra. The father had named various caves for the tourists. The business, however, had been curtailed by the presence of motorboats providing tours more rapidly. The family had the money for a motorboat but refused to give in to modernity because the speed of the trip would interfere with the sights, such as Champagne Cave and Donkey Ears Cave.

"Every American, he wants to go fast. What's all the hurry for?"

One of the sons described the motorboaters as BTO's, G.I. slang for "big time operators". He said that his family continued to be STO's.

"No, we no buy motorboat. We just want make enough money to eat, that's all."

W. E. Curtis reports from Cairo that Monday was Shem-El-Nessim or Sniff-The-Breeze Day in Egypt, which called for the population to arise at dawn and literally sniff the departing spring breeze to ward off the coming languor of summer. The sniff was followed by a day of picnicking. It was the only holiday celebrated by Moslems, Christians, and Jews in common. It originally was a Coptic feast and followed by a day the Greek Orthodox Easter.

Three Easter bands would play through the streets of Charlotte beginning at 3:00 a.m. this night, proceeding to the Moravian Little Church on the Lane, culminating in the 19th annual Community Resurrection Service, to be held at the American Legion Stadium at 6:30 the next morning.

The service was based loosely on the traditional Sunrise Service of the Salem Moravians. Pastor of the Little Church on the Lane, Dr. Herbert Spaugh, had also been a minister previously in Winston-Salem.

As told by the caption of a photograph, in a reverse from the usual trans-Atlantic sail of wives and children, 350 were departing New York aboard an Army transport for Bremerhaven in Germany to join husbands and fathers serving in the American occupation forces.

President Truman had loaned to the publisher of the Waterbury (Conn.) American and Republican his controversial black bowtie with a silver stripe, considered by sartorial purists inapropos to the Jackson Day formal dinner at which the President had worn it on March 23.

A little dab of black shoe polish would fix it right up.

On the editorial page, "We Get Our Money's Worth Here" welcomes back Chief Stanhope Lineberry of the County Police Department, who had taken a leave of absence to serve during the war in the Coast Guard. It remarks on his pre-war efficiency and that of his interim successor, Henry Severs, to return to his position as Assistant while still retaining his salary as Chief.

The County Police had proved itself through time, it remarks, more efficient than the City Police Department.

"Mr. Reece Shoots the Breeze" comments on Representative Carroll Reece of Tennessee, new RNC chairman, claiming to want to restore liberalism to the Republican Party, despite fellow Republican Harold Stassen charging that he was reactionary and much too conservative to be the chairman.

Mr. Reece appeared to be setting out on a similar campaign to that of Alf Landon in 1936, designed to try to appeal to as few as possible. He had alienated the Southern Democrats, who would naturally vote Republican if given a chance, by calling them an extension of the "slaveholding oligarchy", maintaining power through racial discrimination. He generally assailed the Democrats and CIO, and told a Washington crowd that he saw an opportunity to obtain Congressional seats in the border states of Kentucky and Tennessee and perhaps in one or two more Southern states.

He appeared to rest somewhere to the right of the middle and was clearly not seeking the votes of the liberal Willkie-Stassen wing of the party. He also believed that the Republicans could make gains in the South without the support of Southern Democrats.

In any event, the editors apparently decided that he shot rather than sniffed.

"The Case of Spain: An Encore" finds much the same status in the West with respect to Franco's Spain that had predominated during the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Then, the United States and Britain maintained silence on the basis that it was an internal struggle. France took a similar position. Only Russia had sought intervention on the basis that Hitler was sending troops and planes to the fight, along with Mussolini, both countries using it as a training ground for warfare.

Now, while France was more aggressive against the Franco Government and while America and Britain were openly opposing the Franco regime, still little was being done. The enemies of Russia within the United States had been opposed to Franco before the Polish complaint, supported by the Russians, to the Security Council. At that point, the anti-Franco ardor cooled, suddenly becoming tainted as a Communist conspiracy.

A piece from the Washington Times-Herald, titled "Prohibition Coming Back?" suggests that wars and prohibition appeared to go hand in hand, based on the two world wars. The Eighteenth Amendment establishing national prohibition had gone into effect in January, 1919, two months after the Armistice. The Volstead Act was shortly thereafter passed over President Wilson's veto and went into effect to enforce the Amendment.

Prohibition, with the aid of President Truman, was sneaking in again. The piece recommends looking at what had occurred to the Democrats after Prohibition went into effect: they had lost in 1920 and President Wilson became ill in his last year of the term and died after leaving office.

President Truman, by approving grain reduction by 30 percent in February to conserve food for Europe, had ushered in a new era of prohibition. Such grain reduction for food during wartime had triggered the movement to Prohibition in 1917-19.

The piece asserts that food conservation would be de minimis and would only lead to bootlegging and its concomitant crime and corruption. Brewers and distillers had used the previous year but a small percentage, one and two percent respectively, of the total corn, barley, wheat, oats, malt, rice, and rye. It finds therefore the surreptitious entry of prohibition under the guise of food conservation to be a political maneuver of the Administration to garner support in the South.

Southerners liked to drink, but tax free, and so the moonshine trade was an old tradition. So, the piece concludes that the President's order to conserve grain was simply an effort to win Southern support for the 1946 and 1948 elections.

Candidly, rarely have we encountered on the editorial page, except in letters to the editor, such a ridiculously convoluted argument as this one: The President, to save the starving masses of Europe, was bowing to the South to bring back Prohibition. Moreover, how there was any connection between the advent of Prohibition and the illness and death of President Wilson escapes reason, except in the realm of witchcraft. And he did, after all, oppose it for as long as he could without declaring martial law.

We therefore give this fanciful editorial the Tweedledum and Dumber Argument of the Year Award.

Drew Pearson discusses Lewis Douglas, slated to become the first director of the new World Bank, created by the Bretton Woods Agreement. Mr. Douglas had been Director of the Budget under FDR until 1940, but then quarreled with the President over the latter's desire to spend to prosperity, Mr. Douglas favoring a balanced budget. He had resigned and organized "Independent Democrats" to try to defeat Roosevelt for a third term. He left the United States and became president of McGill University and then became head of M.O.N.Y.

A former Democratic Congressman, Mr. Douglas had operated successfully within both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as in Canada, having family ties with the neighbor to the north.

He managed to repair relations during that third term and was named head of the War Shipping Administration. FDR had nearly appointed him Undersecretary of State to replace Sumner Welles in August, 1943, after the latter's feud with Secretary Cordell Hull, but Mr. Douglas was considered in the end too close to Wall Street and so Edward Stettinius got the appointment.

Subsequent to the death of FDR a year earlier, Mr. Douglas served as a War Department adviser and, in that capacity, persuaded his brother-in-law, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, not to implement President Truman's executive order imposing a "tough peace" on Germany.

Mr. Douglas favored creation in Germany of a buffer state against Russia, running into opposition from former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau who had been the architect of the tough peace plan, designed to strip Germany of all of its war-making capability and render it essentially an agrarian state. Mr. Morgenthau opposed the appointment of Mr. Douglas as head of the World Bank and had let President Truman know of his feelings.

Present Secretary of the Treasury Fred Vinson, in June to become Chief Justice, favored Mr. Douglas, as did the British and Wall Street. Thus, he would probably get the nod for the position.

Marquis Childs follows up his previous day's piece on General Omar Bradley's job as administrator of the Veterans' Administration. At 53, looking older than his years, the General was working tirelessly, adorned simply, without his ribbons of war.

A major advancement was the introduction of first-rate medical care to the V.A. facilities, including care for mental cases.

A book, Top Secret, had just been published by Ralph Ingersoll, a member of General Bradley's staff through most of the period following D-Day, which told of the General's wartime experience, including his struggles with the British high command. He had favored in September, 1944 punching forward so that the Germans could not have opportunity to regroup following the loss of most of France. But Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery wanted to get control of all American forces and penetrate Germany through Bremen and Hamburg to the north. General Bradley nevertheless persisted.

In the same manner, he was conducting himself as the head of the V.A., having headed off charges of incompetence aimed at him by the head of the American Legion during the early part of year.

Bertram Benedictówe suppose, though it still reads as Samuel Grafton, strangely absent on the by-line for the previous two days of opinion editorials, unlike the usual informational pieces of Mr. Benedictódiscusses the food situation, reminding the President that it was he who dropped food rationing in November and so if Americans were eating too much, that decision had been to blame. It left Americans concerned as to whether to believe the Truman who reassured or the Truman who sought to frighten with warnings of impending famine.

The piece favors a return to controls on food consumption.

Former President Hoover was also opposed to rationing and so fit the President's team. While Mr. Hoover had been abroad inspecting the food situation, matters had rapidly grown worse as the United States had not been able to ship its promised quotas of wheat.

Chester Davis, head of the Famine Emergency Committee, stated that the crisis would last another year, not just the four months until the next crop in France, as predicted by Mr. Hoover.

The more terrible the President made the situation sound, the more absurd it became that rationing was not reinstituted.

The removal of wheat from the market would create a domestic bread shortage and force livestock to market, bringing about a temporary meat surplus, followed by a meat shortage in the fall.

In the end, it might become necessary to return to rationing because of the imbalances created by a premature end to rationing.

"We end where we started, but with the work undone, and with giant America presenting a bewildered picture to the world, as of one who can't quite remember where he left his other shoe, and who can't search because he has misplaced his eyeglasses, too."

A letter from an anonymous soldier who remained in Japan after his discharge tells the story firsthand of the occupation of the country in a letter to his brother in Charlotte. He had taken a job with Radio Tokyo and tells of the state of Japanese broadcasting when he first arrived, programs having irregular times, no producer who maintained any discipline, announcers and other staff occasionally simply walking off the job, leaving dead air for two or three minutes.

The Japanese still had ultimate respect for the Emperor, but also admired the Americans, constantly asked questions about American life, marveling at such notions as officers not striking enlisted men, women having equal rights to men, and children able to disobey their parents after age 21.

If the Emperor were prosecuted as a war criminal, the fighting would start again. But for that fact, the writer thought he ought be. The American occupation forces were busy whittling away this deification of the Emperor, but the average Japanese considered the Emperor still infallible as a deity.

No one had sought to sabotage the radio programs. The Nisei in Japan had assisted enormously in easing the occupation chores.

Food was pitiful. Clothing was scarce. All that was good, the Japanese associated with America: B-29's, cigarettes, K rations, clothing, lighters, toothpaste, butter.

Women idolized the G.I.'s because of their unusual consideration toward them, not knocking their teeth down their throats for talking back, the role to which they had become accustomed.

He found himself liking the Japanese people and believed that a new country could be forged which would make a good contribution to the community of nations.

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