Wednesday, April 24, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 24, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the United States Chamber of Commerce, in a statement to the Senate Banking Committee, had called for an end to all price controls within six months and rent controls within a year. It contended that the Administration was taking a too narrow view of controls and the relationship between wage and price increases, that one mandated the other by the dynamic of the marketplace.

The Combined Food Board of the U.S., Great Britain, and Canada announced it had increased allotments of wheat and other cereals for UNRRA from 363,000 to 460,000 tons for April. But UNRRA director Fiorello La Guardia stated that the increase was still far short of the needs of the agency to feed the starving masses abroad, whose nutritional needs were minimally 700,000 tons. Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson stated that the goal of a million tons of wheat to be shipped abroad in April from the U.S. might fall as much as 250,000 tons short, which would add to the deficits of February and March.

Edward Stettinius stated that the United States would support an investigation of the Franco Government in Spain by the Security Council. The British also were prepared to have the matter heard, as were Mexico and Poland, who originally brought the complaint. It was believed that Russia and France would join in the matter. A push to have an immediate vote on a diplomatic break with Spain, as favored by Poland, Russia, France, and Mexico, failed to win approval.

The previous day, the delegates determined not to remove the Iranian issue from the Council's agenda, set to be revisited on May 6. Andrei Gromyko indicated that the Soviets would boycott further deliberations in the case.

According to the Allied property custodian in Tokyo, a half million dollars worth of radium taken by the Japanese from Hong Kong the previous August had been recovered.

General Manuel Roxas, president of the Philippines Senate, had a 50,000 vote lead in the presidential election over incumbent Sergio Osmenas, but the gap was narrowing as returns were trickling in from central Luzon. Only 1,704 of 14,238 precincts had thus far reported.

Two of President Osmena's strongest supporters had been killed and a third wounded in Pamganga Province by three masked men.

Supporters of the President predicted a tight finish in the election, with its results possibly dependent on final tallies in remote provinces which would take weeks to determine. Returns from Pangasianan and Batangas Provinces bolstered the opinion, as rival factions elected one representative each. The former had the highest voter registration in the Philippines.

General Joseph McNarney ordered a crackdown on discipline of American occupation forces in Germany, stating that rapid demobilization and changes of duty assignments had resulted in deterioration of unit pride both among enlisted men and their officers, discrediting the overall performance of the troops. Targeted activities were participation in the black market, drunkenness, high AWOL status and other disciplinary infractions, high rates of auto accidents, excessive venereal disease, shabby appearance and lack of military courtesy, and complaining attitudes against military authority.

Senator Robert Taft of Ohio asserted that the United States was buying 50 years of friction with the proposed 3.75 billion dollar loan to Britain, as the British would come to complain of each annual payment of 141 million dollars in interest for that term. He favored reducing it to a 1.25 billion dollar outright gift. He viewed it likely that the interest would be forgiven during many years anyway, causing a rising anti-British sentiment among those already so disposed. He viewed the loan as an instrument of ill will rather than good will and suggested that it would likely not produce the expected freeing of world trade.

In Detroit, violence erupted as employees of the Stinson Aircraft plant sought to cross a CIO picket line involving a strike of 800 employees, ongoing since April 2, with rocks being hurled at cars, but no injuries being reported.

Harold Ickes, in his column, states that inflation was now a grim reality for the country to face, no longer just a threat. To a degree, it was the result of the Administration giving in to an extent on relaxing price controls, especially as to steel to obtain the settlement of the steel strike. Now, with the coal strike on, there was the likelihood that another such substantial bulge in the price line would be permitted.

So many bulges had developed, he suggests, on everything from cigarettes to automobiles, that OPA ought don a maternity gown.

The National Association of Manufacturers sought, however, even more pervasive releases of price controls, that the law of supply and demand would work to prevent inflation, an antediluvian textbook concept. The absence of a present supply coupled with huge demand had led to salesmen taking orders for merchandise not yet available, especially automobiles, even with consumers not knowing the prices. Releasing controls in such an atmosphere would result in immediate staggering inflation.

NAM had sought to brand OPA as profit control rather than price control, but the campaign had not resonated well with the American people, as polls showed that they favored, four to one, retention of controls.

The House had worked overtime to cripple the legislation to continue the life of OPA for another nine months. Meanwhile, a fifth of the Senate was working to abolish it completely. OPA was partially to blame for not recognizing the rule that there was no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.

Just ask Vida Pierce.

The Fabian tactics of the agency had invited the abortionists to have at it. But Congress could not afford to kill off OPA, as it would invite ultimately reprisal from the people, blaming them for the resultant inflation.

In Pittsburgh, the wife of the former Army Air Force sergeant who had fathered quadruplets with an English WAAF was granted a quick divorce. The father stated that he was hopeful of bringing his girlfriend to America shortly, along with the surviving three of the quadruplets, and marrying her. He already had a four-room apartment promised to him when they would arrive.

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce added 400 new memberships worth $10,000, elected to its directorate John Watlington, Jr., senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank, to replace former Police Chief Walter Anderson, who had gone to Raleigh to head the S.B.I. The directorate thanked for the new memberships Al Bechtold and Philip Van Every of the Lance, Inc.

The results of the previous day's bond election were approval of the 10.5 million dollar package for sewage, water, streets, and schools, but disapproval of the remaining 1.75 million dollars for special projects, including the new auditorium, airport improvements, library addition, and parks and recreation facilities. Mayor Baxter expressed disappointment in the latter result but satisfaction with the approval of the necessary expenditures.

A majority of those voting had approved the special projects but not enough under the questionable requirement that the vote be a majority of those registered. The Mayor vowed to challenge the constitutionality of the undemocratic law, which effectively permitted a non-voter to register a negative vote.

Mussolini's body was reported from an anonymous telephone caller in Milan to have been taken south across the Po River at Caorso, near Piacenza, in a boat. The caller refused to disclose how many persons were aboard the boat. It appeared to be the same caller who had, the previous day, disclosed the theft of the body from Maggiore Cemetery.

The Minister of the Interior, Giuseppe Romita, ordered police to block all highways from Milan to prevent the bodynappers from bringing the corpse to Rome. He also stated that only one unidentified man knew the location of the unmarked grave in Milan.

Milan police disclosed the contents of a note from the Democratic Fascist Party, left beside the grave: "Duce, finally you are with us. We repeatedly requested of the authorities that you be given a worthier tomb, but this always was denied us. Now you will have a [worthier tomb]."

Hal Boyle, in Rome, finds Italy one of the most hopeless countries in the world, as the people found it impossible to make both ends meet in the midst of low wages and shortages coupled with high prices. People found it futile to work, paralyzing the effort to recover from the devastation of the war. This attitude in turn led to lowering of moral standards and indifference to everything except seeking amusement and obtaining food.

Most office or technical workers, even college graduates, earned less than $45 per month, when it cost an average of $89 per month to feed adequately a family of five. Consequently, all wages went for food, at half rations. Rents were low, but clothing was so high, a cheap suit costing $70, that most could not afford it. Patching old rags was now the custom, setting a new fashion trend, consisting of mosaic al fresco in cloth.

On the editorial page, "Well, We've Got Sewers Anyway" finds Charlotte residents unwilling to accept the responsibilities falling on city dwellers to improve their city by their rejection in the bond election of each of the special projects by uniform margins, when they could have selectively approved some and not others.

While the vote-against-registration system was unfair, it was no excuse for the failure of approval, especially in light of the unprecedented campaign to promote these projects and the opposition to them only by scattered critics, who had remained anonymous and unorganized. The money was presently more available than it would likely be in years to come, with wartime prosperity having built up savings, and the cost would have been a minimum obligation to the taxpayer, amounting to only pennies per $100 of property valuation.

The voters had voted down the city's future.

"The Convocation's Full Program" comments on the Seventh North Carolina Convocation of Churches in session in Charlotte, having a broad and varied agenda and attracting churchmen of high rank and reputation from around the country. The piece welcomes them to the city.

"It's a Strange Revolution, Sam" comments on the piece by Samuel Grafton of Monday, declaring the coalition of House Republicans and Democrats voting to emasculate OPA to have been the end of the Roosevelt era and nothing less than a revolution, finding his analysis to be an oversimplification.

He posited the absurd notion that liberal ideas were brought to Washington by FDR in 1933, when such ideas had been around since the Founding, even if having suffered through bad years in the interim, had been in good shape when FDR arrived.

The House action, it says, was no revolution, but reaction, for revolution required leadership and design. The Congress appeared weary and without rudder, and this sort of reaction was more dangerous than the revolution of the right feared by Mr. Grafton.

Revolution required replacement of one positive philosophy for another. The present was a crisis, a moment when decisions had to be made if economic collapse at home and another war abroad were to be avoided. If it took a Revolution of the Right, then, it suggests, it would be better to have that than aimless drift for years to come.

Well, we are not so sure about that one. In fact, we know better, can say with certainty that it is a very bad idea. We are founded as a liberal, even radical, country, not a reactionary, conservative, fascist, militaristic country or corporate state. Get it through your head.

Don't like it? Move to Argentina, corporatista-fascist-militarist. And good riddance. Take your guns and bombs, and absurd concatenation of para-militaristic lockdowns of society and childish chicken fears as a result, with you.

We cannot make rubber bathtubs and rubber duckies for all the little children to be happy-go-lucky little daisy pluckers. Life has problems. We did not invent them. Maybe you did. Comprende, el stupido?

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Piece Work or Space Rates?" reports that men with bald pates and thinning hair were complaining about rising haircut costs, ranging from 65 cents in Winston-Salem to $1 elsewhere. The Chicago Sun had reported of a man from Evanston, Ill., who proposed an hourly rate of $6 for barbers to equalize the situation, so that men with bald heads would not need to pay the full fare in the chair

The piece suggests the rising costs of a haircut had made the situation less than trivial.

Yeah? Just you wait 25 years or so. You'll see what's trivial and what isn't, Piker.

Drew Pearson tells of the failed effort of House and Senate confreres to obtain mutual assent on the Senate restoration to the House housing bill, originally sponsored by Congressman Wright Patman of Texas, of the 600 million dollar subsidy to builders of low and medium-cost housing, stripped from the bill by the House on the floor. Three Republican Congressmen, led by Jesse Wolcott of Michigan, and one Democrat, Paul Brown of Georgia, were determined to eliminate the subsidies provision in its entirety, unwilling to compromise to reduce it to 400 million dollars, as offered by the other three House Democrats and seven Senators, including Majority Leader Alben Barkley.

The four reluctant Congressmen were using the part of the Senate bill providing for the Government guarantee of sale of 200,000 new prefabricated homes to encourage their manufacture as a bargaining chip to try to eliminate the subsidy provision.

The meeting adjourned before the Easter recess without resolution. Mr. Pearson suggests, however, that when the Congressmen, labeled VAV's by the veterans, that is "voted against veterans", heard from their constituents at home, they might resolve to be in a more compromising mood upon return.

He next prints a diet of 1,500 calories daily which nevertheless insured proper minimal nutrition and, to conserve consumption of food, would serve to limit each American's intake to that of Europeans. Contrary to instruction of Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, the bureaucrats in the department had refused to give out any more of the prepared diets.

So, you can try it for yourself for a few days, should you wish to take an experiment in post-war European near-starvation dieting. When properly handled, it actually does not sound that bad.

But, no substitutions. Read the menu. No chicken salad to hold in the first place.

Just a chicken and vegetable pot pie with mashed potato topping.

Samuel Grafton discusses the findings by The New York Times that the daughters of Germans were acting as interpreters and translators for American occupation officers. In one instance, the daughter of Hans Frank, the Butcher of Poland, on trial for war crimes, was found working during the fall for American counter-intelligence in Germany.

Germans were working in distribution of food and clothing, sometimes turning out to be Nazis still living in nice homes. German democrats were nervous and reluctant to speak to American reporters except in cloak of darkness. The Nazi underground was still active, especially on university campuses where former soldiers vowed to revivify the movement and believed that Hitler was still alive. The right was stronger than at the end of the war. That was what the American zone had to show from a year of occupation.

He suggests that until trade unionism would thrive and liberal thinking was made more the order, nationalism would continue to grow within Germany. Too much concern was being placed on micro-management of occupation and not enough on the overall system of government and daily life in the country. A timorous approach to restoration of liberals to administrative positions in the country, fearing they might be Communists, had led to this result, with the right becoming cocky and stronger since war's end. It was so despite having terminated 279,000 Nazis from positions in the country.

Fear, he concludes, often led to such results.

Marquis Childs comments on the stalemate prevailing in Congress and that President Truman was not the first President to face such a challenge. Between 1930 and 1932, President Hoover had been held in place by a reluctant Congress, though contributing to the paralysis through his own apparent fear to take action to stop the deepening depression. But had he undertaken a broad program to cure the depression, the Congress, with a deeply entrenched Republican old guard on one side and a new Democratic majority on the other, would have done nothing to enact it.

The present stalemate could be summed up as party and individual irresponsibility. At one end of the political spectrum of defeatists was John Rankin of Mississippi, the pure demagogue who labeled OPA as "communistic". At the other end was Senator Robert Taft, high-minded, wealthy son of the former President, whose mind seemed stuck around 1910. In between, there was stalemate.

Much had been written of President Truman's failure to show leadership and some of that criticism was fair as he had been overly timid and cautious. He cites the example that when word got around that the President would oppose re-election of Congressman Clarence Cannon of Missouri for opposing the President's program, the Congressman had sent an emissary to see the President, after which the President stated he had no intention of opposing Mr. Cannon's re-election.

President Roosevelt had encountered this same condition after the midsummer of 1937, when the disastrous court-packing plan took away all of his enormous political capital gained from the landslide victory over Alf Landon the previous November. It led him to have to prepare the country for war-footing in tentative, halting steps, which were not turned into strides until the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This recurring trend suggested that only in times of crisis did the American system of government actually function effectively, with the great machinery of Congress otherwise hamstrung by internal bickering and factionalism.

"We Americans had better do some hard thinking on these underlying questions. They look to 1948 and beyond."

A letter writer states that the county was fortunate to have Judge John Clement of Forsyth County as one of its judges on the Superior Court. During the seven week term of court just past, he and Solicitor Whitener had disposed of 249 cases, bringing the criminal docket nearly to date.

The author suggests that the reason for the backlog was ultimately the antiquated 1868 State Constitution, approved in the wake of the Civil War during Reconstruction. The rotating system of judges, requiring them to be away from home 80 percent of the year, attracted less capable lawyers to the bench.

Often, judges did not conduct themselves as well away from their own community as they would at home, where they had to face the electorate. In one instance he cites, a judge came to Charlotte for a one-week term of court and was picked up by the police for drunkenness while a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. The judge, when it was discovered who he was, was released and allowed to sober up.

Another judge complained regularly of the people of Mecklenburg and stated that he did not drink. But while the drunk driver mentioned above was convicted by a jury, the judge then reduced the charge to reckless driving with a fine of $50 and costs. Solicitor Whitener had protested this action to no avail.

He recommends changes in the Constitution to have judges sit within the county of their residence and to abolish the ability of the Governor to appoint special judges, one of whom had been sentenced to prison some years earlier.

A letter finds the editors unfair to the critics of Pete McKnight for his criticism of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra's performance of Brahms the previous Wednesday night in the Charlotte Armory—a "cold barn", as the editors had explained, necessitating that Mr. McKnight wear a trench coat, "proper equipment for the evening", in response to the letter writers who found him appearing snooty, having failed to remove his "overcoat". This writer thinks Mr. McKnight's criticism to have been amateur.

He says that the performance was not only good but admirable and believes that had Arturo Toscanini been present, he would have approved, and that were the orchestra to have half the experience of that under the baton of Bruno Walter, they could play Brahms well enough to satisfy the Maestro.

The editors respond to this peculiar letter by saying: "The trouble with amateur critics of amateur music critics is their failure to read the criticism carefully. Mr. McKnight was loud in praise of the North Carolina Symphony, although he questioned the interpretation of two movements of the Brahms symphony." They go on to state that he principally criticized the "cold barn", a comment he made with regard also to the performance there of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The 1st Symphony would be repeated on May 5 by the Charlotte Symphony, and Mr. McKnight counseled that Brahms lovers attend that one in warmer weather. They could then have a means of comparison of the two orchestras attempting the difficult second and third movements.

The astute musical critic, incidentally, will naturally ask how it was that, two days ago, never having read this letter and its response and, in the former letter and response, no mention having been made of which Brahms symphony had been performed, we happened to know that it was the 1st. Not the 2nd, though we referenced it also; not the 3rd; not the 4th.

Well, we just knew. That is all we can say.

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