Friday, April 26, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, April 26, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the westbound Burlington Railroad's Exposition Flyer smacked into the rear of the Railroad's Advance Flyer at more than 60 miles per hour at Naperville, Illinois, the previous day, killing at least 44 persons and injuring another 125, 31 of whom remained hospitalized. Frightened and screaming passengers had their fears compounded by rescuers using acetylene torches to carve holes into the mangled wreckage, worried that the sparks would ignite oil which had leaked into the cars. One woman who had initially been pinned in the wreckage pulled herself free and went about the car dousing the sparks to prevent ignition. Her mother, who was pinned under a seat, had to have her leg amputated.

The Exposition Flyer had a destination of San Francisco. Both trains had departed Chicago's Union Station a half hour earlier at 12:35 p.m. on separate tracks, but moved onto a single track after a few miles. The Advance Flyer, which traveled on a faster schedule, bound for Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., was in the lead. Each train carried up to 200 passengers. The Advance Flyer then made an unscheduled stop at Naperville and two minutes later the crash occurred, resulting in eleven coaches from both trains being overturned. Most of the screams of the dying came from the passengers in the rear coach of the Advance Flyer.

The engineer of the Exposition Flyer, who was reported to have had plenty of advance warning of the unscheduled stop by the lead train, was charged with manslaughter, but county officials stated that the charge was merely a formality to insure his appearance at an inquest and that no evidence of negligence had actually been adduced. The engineer, who suffered a skull fracture, told investigators that he had been warned by the train's fireman of the stop of the other train at Naperville just before the collision.

At Nuremberg, Hans Bernd Gisevius, a defense witness for Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, the Nazi Finance Minister and head of the Reichsbank, admitted during his third day of testimony, despite objections interposed by lead American prosecutor Robert Jackson to the questions eliciting the response, that he had been in "friendly and political contact" with the O.S.S. during the war. An American informant disclosed to reporters that Gisevius had worked for the O.S.S. in Switzerland since 1943. Earlier in the testimony, he had been presented only as a conspirator against Hitler and a member of the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate the Fuehrer. When the defendants on trial heard the admission, they appeared stunned by the revelation.

Nazi propagandist and Jew baiter Julius Streicher also began his testimony this date.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council appeared closer to acceptance of the Australian proposal to have a five-member sub-committee appointed to investigate Spain, as Poland and France were now in agreement with the proposal. Only Russia stood opposed to the proposal, favoring an immediate vote on severance of diplomatic relations, Andrei Gromyko stating that an investigation would only serve as a palliative and excuse for inaction of the Council ultimately on the matter. Mexico had obtained a weekend recess for further discussions to try to obtain unanimity on the proposal among Council members in the hope of convincing Russia.

The Government-controlled press in Spain asserted that representatives of "enemy nations" would not be allowed entry to Spain for the purpose of investigating the country. The Franco Government, however, had stated that "friendly members" of the Security Council would be allowed to enter the country to investigate the charge of Poland that Spain harbored Nazi scientists and provided aid in development of an atomic weapon and other weapons of war.

In Paris, an American informant stated that Russia was opposing placement of the issue of Austrian independence on the four-power conference agenda before a thorough study of the matter could be first conducted, but raised no objection to the French demands to detach from Germany the heavily industrialized Ruhr and Rhineland.

Harold Ickes, in his column, inveighs against "milk toast diplomacy" and asserts that the United Nations could effect peace only if it would face issues, not as it had been doing with respect to the issue of Spain. Franco was an accessory, he opines, to the war by providing Hitler aid during the war, and also had received stolen goods from both Hitler and Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War. If he were not punished for it, other such dictators would not be deterred from behaving similarly in future conflicts.

The State Department had urged secretly the passage by the Congress of the Neutrality Act, which was aimed at not selling arms to Loyalist Spain despite its being entitled under international law to buy them. The Act effectively gave aid to Franco's Insurgents in the Civil War. After the victory by the Insurgents in 1939, Franco received cotton and gasoline from the United States, some of which went to Hitler despite the blockade imposed by the British on Germany in September, 1939.

Mr. Ickes says that he had advised President Roosevelt more than once that the country was writing one of the most shameful chapters in American history with regard to Spain, and the shame continued presently by refusing to aid in the overthrow of Franco, only urging a bloodless coup by democratic groups in Spain.

Severance of diplomatic relations, as advocated by Poland, was not enough. He favors economic sanctions and ostracism of Spain economically and diplomatically, to insure that the Franco Government would topple in favor of a government acceptable to the world.

It was not the time, he concludes, for stating piously, "'We come, not to bury Franco, but to investigate him.'"

The National Grange and the Farm Bureau Federation stated to the Senate Banking Committee that the House had curtailed too much the controls of OPA in its recent bill to extend the life of the agency for nine months. Both, however, favored adjustment of price ceilings to encourage production, and elimination of food subsidies.

Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, speaking during debate on the loan to Britain, launched into a bitter tirade of billingsgate against Connecticut Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce and her husband Henry, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, terming "Papa Luce Fickle" and "Capricious Clara" as both being "nigger-lovers" and Life, a "Negro social equality outfit". Prompting his outburst, a March 11 article in Life had described Mr. Bilbo as "the worst man in the Senate". He believed that the two "nigger-lovers", if they had their way, would defeat 22 of his colleagues and himself, none of whom, after all, were niggers. Only 10 of the 33 Senators up for re-election in the fall met, he informed, with the approval of the magazine and six of those were Republicans.

"Even Mortimer Snerd of Edgar Bergen's radio show would understand from these percentages that the fickle and capricious Clara and Papa Luce are trying to wreck the Democratic majority on this floor," said the Senator—probably with a degree of accuracy on that point, despite his being a nigger-baiter and hater. He also stated that the article had a "Communistic pattern" and believed that if Papa Luce was not a Communist, then the party ought send him a check for services rendered. He added that he had been the "Negro's best friend" and that Negro churches had held prayer meetings for him when he had run for Governor of Mississippi. What the nigger churches did, however, he did not say. He believed in segregation, not social equality and "the mongrelization of the white race"—as surely social equalization would lead to rampant miscegenation in the resulting integration.

Life, he said, was not the only publication among "the dirty pack of hounds" set upon him, which included The New York Post, PM, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Record, "the mongrelized papers of Los Angeles", and The Daily Worker.

Mr. Bilbo's assessment of the overall Life picture was skewed considerably. The scorecard for those Senators given favorable and, on balance, unfavorable comments was actually 15 favored, of whom 9 were Democrats, 5, Republicans, and one, Progressive, Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, while 14 were disfavored or negatively reported, 10 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Four, two Democrats and two Republicans, received essentially neutral reports as having had an inadequate scorecard on which to base an assessment, filling interim appointments to their seats. He was correct, however, in one respect: the magazine did label him "the worst man in the Senate."

A time bomb, which started ticking two days earlier after resting in St. James Park in London for five years at the bottom of a 30-foot shaft, was exploded by a bomb disposal squad, shaking windows of Buckingham Palace 350 yards away but causing no damage. Queen Mother Mary remained at the castle despite warnings but moved to the other side of the castle. King George, the Queen, and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were vacationing at Windsor Castle. Residents had been instructed to open windows to prevent the blast from breaking them.

A bill in Congress to provide the Keetowah Indians of Oklahoma full recognition as a separate tribe from the Cherokee had been held up by the Easter recess and by unrelated amendments attached to the Senate version of the bill, requiring a conference with the House to resolve the differences. The Keetowahs, also known as the Nighthawks, had formed an independent constitution in 1858 "in the dark of night" after being forced to the West from their homes in the North Carolina mountains. The constitution provided that membership would be limited to "full-blood Cherokees, uneducated, and no mixed-blood friends", with everything derived from the English or white being not recognized.

In Santa Cruz, California, the eleven remaining members of the California Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, all veterans of the Civil War, held their annual meeting. Their average age was 99 and nine months.

That's 99-9, suh.

That's a joke, Son.

On the editorial page, "Judge Parker and the Supreme Court" comments on what it regards as the specious notion that the political bent of the appointee to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Chief Justice Stone would somehow signal the true nature of President Truman, whether he was a liberal determined to carry on the legacy of the New Deal or a conservative setting out on a different path. The piece finds the question without purpose as it was plain that the role of Mr. Truman was to be the executor of the political estate of FDR and, having shared the ticket and platform in Chicago in 1944 and elected on that basis, was bound to carry out that legacy.

It puts in a word then for Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, sitting on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Parker having been nominated by President Hoover in 1931 and refused confirmation in a controversial process, the seat then ultimately going to Owen Roberts. The News had plumped for Judge Parker to be appointed to nearly every Court vacancy which had occurred since, starting in 1937, including that of Justice Roberts in the late summer.

The piece suggests that he would fit the bill, as a Republican who was not a reactionary and who was also not a New Deal radical but nevertheless liberal in the sense of being a good student of the law who sought rationale for his decisions in the political theory on which the nation was founded. When he had been considered for the nomination for the seat of Justice Roberts the previous year, no voice from the right or left had opposed him. As a consolation prize, the President had named him as the alternate U. S. jurist on the Nuremberg Tribunal to former Attorney General Francis Biddle.

"A Weapon for OPA's Enemies" reports that tobacco controls had become a chief weapon used against OPA on the basis that the absence of a shortage in tobacco for a year indicated equalization between supply and demand. OPA had allowed a limited price increase to enable profits to the manufacturers while imposing control on the retail price, forcing retail outlets to absorb the increase.

While it satisfied the tobacco interests, it maintained the image of OPA as being more interested in controlling profits than prices.

The only reason for continuing controls on tobacco was the argument that removing them would enable profits to the tobacco manufacturers denied other industries, increasing pressure to eliminate all controls.

OPA's only chance of survival, however, with its existence already threatened in Congress, was to demonstrate an attitude that it would liquidate itself at the first opportunity, when production equaled demand. Instead, in the case of tobacco, it was demonstrating an attitude of wanting to perpetuate its own existence for as long as possible. It would be better for the future of the overall economy and for the continued viability of OPA for its necessary tenure for it to abandon entirely the field of tobacco price control.

"Who Ya Calling a Bum, You Bum?" comments on the baseball lingo which had been bantered about and explained at length during the trial of Leo Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, on a charge of assault after he had engaged a fan in insult after the fan called him a bum and a crook, leading finally to fisticuffs.

But, the Dodgers being lovingly called "bums" anyway by their loyal fans, that which finally pushed the manager over the line was an insult yelled at catcher Mike Sandlock, the fan saying that he was lucky to have oil wells in Texas because he could not earn a living otherwise. An attendant then brought the knight-errant big mouth to the locker room whereupon Mr. Durocher, stroking a black object eight inches long, asked the man how he would like it if he called his mother names—apparently implying to the fan that his mother was, in the eyes of Mr. Durocher, the equivalent of a field hand peeling corn husks off the corn.

At that point, a fracas ensued in which the manager broke the fan's jaw and chased him from Ebbets Field.

Mr. Durocher was acquitted, based on a finding by the jury of verbal provocation.

We are not so sure about who provoked whom the more though. More likely, the jury was convinced that the two men engaged in mutual combat. But we are a bit concerned about just how the attendant got the fan to accompany him to the locker room. It is one thing if the fan went obligingly, quite another if he was grabbed by the ear and informed that his feet would be pulled from under him were he not to accompany the gentleman.

The piece finds that it might set an unruly precedent under which baseball fans would lose their rights of freely speaking their objections during baseball contests.

But, it finds, Mr. Durocher had, after all, made a powerful plea in defense of his bums and for American motherhood. The trial had set the stage for what was shaping up as the greatest baseball season in history—the first in which the players who had gone into service during wartime were returned to the playing field.

"Play ball!"

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Better Sharpen Your Claws", finds the House attempt to emasculate OPA while ostensibly extending its life for nine months to be a death knell to the agency which, if continued by the Senate, would reinstitute dog-eat-dog as the rule of life in the country. The average person's savings would go out the window with OPA. Inflation was bad enough as it was.

It advises: "Better sharpen your claws and grow a coat of hair."

Drew Pearson reports of a conference with Secretary of the Treasury Vinson and Democratic National Committee vice-chairman Dick Nacy regarding the Southern revolt against Robert Hannegan as DNC chair. Mr. Nacy told the President that the Southern Democrats wanted a letter from Mr. Hannegan endorsing all Democratic candidates to counteract the erroneous letter sent out to local chairmen urging selection of "proper candidates", interpreted by the Southerners as an effort at purge as in 1938 under FDR.

Mr. Truman adamantly refused the suggestion, saying that it would place Democrats who sought to contest incumbents in the primaries at a disadvantage.

He next relates of the need of support by Secretary of State Byrnes as he sought to work out the final peace treaties in Paris, relying on the good will of the Russians. The State Department had sought to generate good will through submission of a publication titled "America" which had been allowed into Russia thus far only to the extent of 10,000 copies. But Representative Louis Rabault, as chair of a sub-committee of the Appropriations Committee, and his fellow members, had cut funding for the project in the middle of negotiations with the Russians to try to increase circulation of the publication to 50,000.

"America" had its impact on the people of Russia, as proved by a report from the American Embassy in Moscow, which Mr. Pearson reprints, explaining that the people were taking extraordinary steps to try to obtain copies of the scarce publication. Radio repairman offered free repairs in exchange for a copy; dentists and doctors refused treatment unless a copy were provided them by the patient. Getting a copy was as difficult as obtaining tickets to "Days of the Tarbius", the reigning theater hit in Moscow. Each well-thumbed and tattered copy, glued and re-glued together, was being read by 15 to 50 people.

He then notes the other members of the sub-committee which had knifed the appropriation for further copies: Hare of South Carolina, Rooney of New York, Gary of Virginia, Stefan of Nebraska, Gillespie of Colorado, and Jones of Ohio, of whom only Hare and Stefan had voted in favor of the appropriation.

Samuel Grafton alludes to the statement by former President Hoover from Cairo during the week, indicating that to base food shipments to Europe on 1,500 calories per person per day was a false premise in that such a caloric intake afforded no more than a starvation diet, one on which older people died and children became ill.

Another problem with the food "program" was that, even at this level, the plan only called for four months of food until the next harvest in France. Yet, no one knew whether the next harvest would be normal, if the weather would be accommodating, whether people had the physical energy and equipment to accomplish the task.

But the resulting combination of these rationales had enabled the country to escape rationing without compunction.

The third problem was that the drive focused on cereals, but not meat, whereas shipping more meat would reduce the demand for grain, much of which was consumed by farm animals being fattened and kept from market until prices would rise. Fat was so scarce in some areas of Europe that a single pound of meat was sometimes provided 300 persons through a medicine dropper, drop by drop.

Oils could be conserved from paint and soap, yet rationing even in these areas was not being undertaken. All which the country was failing to do could be excused if it were engaged in rationing. But the country continued to consume 3,200 to 3,400 calories per day.

Mr. Hoover was fighting a domestic political battle entangled with his program to feed the hungry, and one hung as a cloud over the other.

As on other issues, the world waited while the people of America eyed each other and wondered how far they could go in saving themselves and the world.

Marquis Childs finds the expression of sorrow by President Truman at the passing of Chief Justice Stone on Monday to have been sincere, that the President had always been on the side of the strict constructionists on the Court, of whom Mr. Stone was one. Mr. Childs asserts that New Dealers misread Mr. Stone's dissents in the 1930's when they hailed him as a liberal. In fact, he was only opposing legislating from the bench, that if Congress wanted to pass foolish laws, then they had the right to do so as long as they remained within the framework of the Constitution.

The Chief Justice had been disappointed that he could not lead an unanimous Court. The decisions had continued to be split during his four years as Chief.

He comments on the lone dissent of Mr. Stone in Gobitis while still an Associate Justice, the majority upholding compulsory flag salute in public schools, reversed by the Court three years later in 1943 in Barnette, siding with the original dissent of Mr. Stone, finding the practice violative of the First Amendment.

The Chief Justice's closest friend on the Court had been Robert Jackson, also a strict constructionist who usually sided with Mr. Stone. Both men had been raised on farms, Mr Stone in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and shared a common view. If the new Chief were to be selected from the Court, Mr. Childs suggests that Justice Jackson would be the logical choice. President Truman also admired Mr. Jackson and was deeply grateful for his acceptance of the role at Nuremberg as America's lead prosecutor—which was at least one reason why Mr. Jackson would not get the nod, interrupting his continuing duties at Nuremberg, another being Mr. Jackson's seething feud with Justice Hugo Black, which erupted into the open during the interim until the appointment of Fred Vinson to be Chief, when Justice Black was acting Chief. Indeed, Justice Jackson's acceptance of the appointment to Nuremberg had caused resentment by Chief Justice Stone, as reported months earlier by Drew Pearson, because of the increased workload left behind for the other Justices, especially in light of the retirement of Owen Roberts, who had served as chair of the first Pearl Harbor inquiry in early 1942.

As Mr. Childs points out, Mr. Stone believed that Justices, being appointed for life, should not leave the Court for any special assignment. He also opposed any Justice leaving for political reasons.

President Truman, Mr. Childs continues, took very seriously his role in appointing Federal judges, a role which the President believed President Roosevelt did not take seriously enough.

One of the Chief Justice's last public appearances, he informs, was attending the play, "The Magnificent Yankee", based on the life of the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. The passing of Chief Justice Stone marked the end of that era, the era of Justices Holmes and Louis Brandeis.

A letter wants the "Communist-Socialist, though so-called Democratic Government" of the United States to tell the people of Europe, influenced either by fat royalty, dictators as Franco, or Communists as in France and Russia, that they could not have any food or aid until they ceased support of such regimes. The writer, a veteran of World War I, would divide all he had with the women and children, but not with the "strutting armies of Europe". And the women raised the boys for the purpose of becoming part of these armies and so got little of his sympathy. The Government ought make sure that all the aid went to feed the women and children and not the armies.

The editors note that no American food had been supplied since the end of the war to feed foreign armies. UNRRA's mandate was to feed the hungry, regardless of nationality. Food was not being used for political purposes, to encourage a country to install or remove a particular government. It refers the letter writer to the report of former President Hoover, who, it remarks, was neither Communist, Socialist, nor "so-called Democrat".

A letter states that white supremacy in South Carolina, as pure Aryan philosophy in Germany, had suffered eclipse. The Southern voter was no longer so susceptible of the influence from the demagogue as in the past.

"The South of Cotton Ed Smith and Tom Tom Heflin is, like them, dead!"

The editors caution not to place any bets, however, until Georgia had voted on whether to return Gene Talmadge to the Governor's Mansion—as it would.

"Gene, like the Man Bilbo and Brother Rankin, is still very much alive."

Mr. Talmadge, however, would die before being sworn again into the office, and Mr. Bilbo would die in August, 1947, after again being elected to the Senate in 1946, but refused his seat by fellow Senators for ethical reasons.

A letter thanks The News for cancelling the column of Randolph Churchill, son of the former Prime Minister, just two weeks after he had met with isolationist, anti-British publisher Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune.

The editors cryptically remark: "Communism makes strange bedfellows, among those who believe in it and those who fear it beyond reason."

A letter suggests looking on the bright side of the coal strike rather than announcing in headlines that it had cut steel production to 70 percent of capacity, by instead producing headlines that the strike was aiding national health, holding out for the per ton royalty on coal to go to a fund for the welfare and health of coal miners.

The editors respond that if they thought that John L. Lewis really had in mind the welfare of coal miners by calling the strike, they would announce it in the biggest headlines ever seen.

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