Monday, April 8, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, April 8, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that while the Security Council remained in recess until the following day, on Saturday, Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko addressed a letter to Secretary General of the U.N. Trygve Lie, indicating Russia's demand that the Iranian matter, postponed on the Security Council agenda until May 6, be removed entirely from the agenda as having been completely settled to the satisfaction of both Russia and Iran, with the scheduled withdrawal of Soviet troops to be completed by May 6. The note was accompanied by a telegram from Iranian Premier Ahmed Qavam stating his satisfaction with the agreement. There was no immediate word from the Iranian delegate to the U.N., Hussein Ala.

In Saigon in French Indo-China, a French ammunition dump exploded by accident, setting off a series of explosions for two hours through the city, injuring at least 60 people. The city's population was reported in near panic and trying to escape from the city along crowded roads. Normal press communication was severed as the Saigon radio station was in the blast zone.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson, in an address to the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlantic City, disclosed that the Army had developed a gas which would have rendered useless the Japanese gas mask. He also stated that had the war continued, improvements in fire bombs would have leveled Japanese cities. As it was, incendiary bombs had crippled 66 cities with more than 20 million inhabitants. Fire storms, a new collateral result, had been created by the incendiaries which caused columns of heated air to rise 2.5 miles plus an increased wind velocity such that at the edge of the vertex, trees three feet in diameter were uprooted.

He asserted that certain forms of mustard gas were showing results in the treatment of cancer and would be developed further.

Major General Alden Waitt stated at the same meeting that chemical warfare would be as effective as the atomic bomb in a future war. Agents had been developed which were thousands of times more potent than mustard gas, phesgene, cyanide, or arsenical gas.

General Eisenhower told the Senate Military Committee that America would face a manpower shortage in the occupation zones should the draft not be extended for another year from May 15 and unless it included 18-year olds, though expressing the realization that the younger men did not make the most efficient soldiers. He said that Russia, France, and Britain had expressed concern that America's Army would become so weakened that American troops would eventually withdraw from Europe. He was opposed to sabre-rattling but also cautioned that America was so peace-loving as to be unrealistic.

The Senate began debate on the housing bill, with Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana introducing his amendment to cut in half the 600 million dollar subsidies to encourage builders to construct low and medium-cost houses.

A high Administration official stated that it was likely President Truman would veto the OPA extension bill should it have an amendment added regarding farm parity to boost farm ceiling prices. It was estimated that the amendment would cause a 15 percent rise in food prices.

In Chicago, Gerald L.K. Smith, reactionary, anti-Semitic hate monger, was sentenced to 60 days for contempt of court, along with his publisher from Detroit. The specific nature of the charges was not provided on the front page, but presumably involved some publication of material which either directly violated a court order or was deemed to interfere with an ongoing court proceeding.

Harold Ickes, in his column, discusses UMW head John L. Lewis and his tendency to use coercion to obtain his way via opportune strikes at times inimical to the public welfare. He now wanted to tax every ton of coal with a dime royalty to go into a fund which he would control, for the health and welfare of the miners.

Mr. Lewis tried to persuade the public that he was not the undesirable citizen that he was, using every excuse to halt work in the mines. Mr. Ickes states that he had, while Secretary of Interior, advocated to President Truman "smashing" Mr. Lewis the previous October when he had called the strike regarding mine foremen. At the time, it appeared that Mr. Lewis was losing power with the rank-and-file and was thus vulnerable to being brought down.

Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach, assigned the task by the President of trying to resolve the dispute, had failed to do so in the fall and was failing at it presently.

While there were real issues to be addressed by the operators with respect to the coal mines, Mr. Lewis was simply trying to achieve more power and the enunciated goals of the dispute, which could have been reasonably negotiated, were not truly his chief concern. The cost to the country in losing its coal and thus its steel mills, compromising further the reconversion process, was too costly and Mr. Lewis needed to be removed from power.

Mr. Ickes compares him to Hitler and Mussolini and suggests that someone ought pluck his bushy eyebrows.

In Des Moines, two small children were hacked to death in their front yard by their father, a newspaper printer, who also killed his mother and wife, all with a garden tool, telling police, after being taken into custody following a shotgun battle with them, that he had an impulse that God had ordered him to kill his family. He also killed the family dog.

Probably that wino Jesus done it. He gets people into more trouble. They ought lock him up. Been coming around here for years like a thief in the night getting people all stirred up like 'at.

It could have been that Devil's music they all play now in the juke joints or all the graphically violent movies.

Maybe he was the quiet type, a loner who hated the world. He was all bitter from being alone, hating the world like 'at.

Or it could have been that there was just somethin' wrong with his bean. Maybe he had printed one too many funny headlines and it all got stirred up in 'ere. You don't know. You got to watch out for them headlines if you don't read the stories carefully below 'em.

It could have just been the Printer's Devil. Watch out for him. He's the meanest of 'em all. Make you hack up not only your whole family, but your dog as well, and that's just not good. Ye know?

How about a haircut and a shave, barber.

A major hail storm lasting 30 minutes swept through Calhoun County in Alabama injuring eighteen persons and causing millions of dollars worth of damage, especially in Anniston.

A half-hour hail storm also hit Fulton, Ky., with hail stones the size of hens' eggs, but no injuries were reported.

Dr. Quo Tai-Chi, Chinese delegate to the U.N., became lost on two taxi rides in Lower Manhattan while trying to catch a boat ride with other delegates around New York Harbor. Eventually he was transferred onto the boat via a launch. But in the meantime, the piece suggests, the status of Quo among the delegates had been in doubt.

At least he inadvertently did not spit on one of the New York Yankees players, in which case he would have, undoubtedly, received in return a...

On the editorial page, "An Artilleryman's Foreign Policy" reports of President Truman's Army Day address at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday, placing his confidence in the military to preserve the peace, reflecting his stint in World War I as a captain of artillery.

It found the speech to be good, even if possessed of a couple of discrepancies. One was his expression that the U.N. was capable of settling international disputes, juxtaposed to his commitment to form an American common defense program with the sovereign nations of Latin America, that which would become the Organization of American States in 1948.

While he asserted that the United States was the strongest nation in the world, he also conveyed hesitancy to undertake world leadership in striking the peace. He advocated universal military training, extension of the draft, and unification of the armed forces under a Department of Defense—each of which, it might also be noted, his successor, General Eisenhower, chief of staff of the Army, also was actively supporting at this time.

The piece suggests that there were two avenues along which the country could tread, one moving backward into balance of power politics, trod during the inter-bellum period, or the other moving forward into the realm of international cooperation to be effected through the U.N., slouching toward establishment of true world government. In the former course, Russia would obtain the superior position, as they would determine the size of the American military apparatus in a race of arms.

The President, it suggests, was hedging his bets, but in the showdown, would follow the old ways, an approach which would be costly to the country in both money and freedom. Moreover, universal military training would be a necessary ingredient of this formula for maintaining the peace, especially with regard to encroachment upon weaker nations by other world powers. Thus, the President's enunciated foreign policy would have to be accepted or rejected as a whole entity. Nor could there be postponement of the choice if the peace was to be preserved.

"Why the Smoke Screen, Gentlemen?" finds troubling the parliamentary gamesmanship employed to kill effectively the bill to establish the minimum wage at 65 cents per hour. The opponents, Southern Democrats, had injected an amendment, coupling the bill with removal of price ceilings on farm products, a move which President Truman had already stated would earn his veto of the bill, though he actively supported the minimum wage.

So, the bill appeared dead. The piece asks why, if they had good reason to engage in opposition, the Southerners did not state those reasons in debate rather than engaging in such political chicanery. It wonders whether they had ever stopped to consider their actual motivation for thus tackling the bill or were simply reacting instinctively to preserve the status quo as good reactionaries. For the minimum wage would afford the most ameliorative effect on the workers of the South.

The Greensboro Daily News had argued that it would eliminate much of the wage differential between the North and the South, and provide workers long-needed benefits from the high wage economy.

The conclusion from the tactic was that the Southerners, though opposing the Administration, were also not convinced that, without such resort to obfuscation and inveiglement, their constituents would support them in the effort.

"Watchman, What of the Night Shift?" finds that two more prisoners had escaped from the escape-proof County Jail, following two jail breaks in February about which the column had made comment, then expressing hope for a report on the matter from the Sheriff. The Sheriff had issued no report, standing as he was for re-election, but had at least taken remedial measures by locking the outer doors to the cell block so that prisoners escaping their cells could not gain their freedom.

But, the report was that the latest escapees had effected their egress by means of simply stealing the keys to the outer doors.

The editors still awaited a report from the Sheriff.

Drew Pearson comments that following World War I, the Army had allowed its best officers to retire, permitting it to become a refuge for misfits who could not adjust themselves to other walks of life. The danger existed that the same might occur again, but with the osmotic pressure being exerted by the threat from Russia, it was less likely. Yet, little was being done regarding internal organization of the Army. Aside from the board investigating the caste system, there was little effort to restructure the system of promotions, the method of selecting officers, or the system of eliminating misfits.

Reorganization might make the Army more attractive to good men and thus eliminate the necessity of conscription. A volunteer Army, he ventures, was more efficient than one drafted.

He then lists areas of Army inefficiency: lack of adequate personnel records showing who had been overseas prior to the war or which officers were disabled; lack of any system to remove inefficient officers; an inadequate system of promotion based, in peacetime, entirely on seniority; and officer privileges. On the latter topic, G. I. objections primarily gravitated around the weakness of some regular Army officers, who sought to cash in on the power and money suddenly placed within their reach, some being oblivious to the rights of the enlisted man, hurting the reputations of their fellow officers. He notes that younger officers who were of the rank of major and below usually sympathized with the enlisted men.

A major G.I. complaint relative to the caste system revolved around drinking, officers using cargo planes to transport their whisky rather than G.I. mail or Christmas gifts, as had occurred in at least four instances he cites. He also cites other instances of particularly egregious misuses of the transport system by generals, as well as other examples of officers not feeding the men properly while getting them to perform chores to accommodate parties for the officers, and the like.

Marquis Childs finds the fledgling U.N. to have passed its first test on Iran but concludes that the real tests still lay ahead. The agreement between Russia and Iran was rumored to contain a provision whereby 50 pro-Russian Deputies would be allowed to sit in the Iranian Parliament. With Russian money, the time could be foreseen at which a pro-Russian majority would hold sway.

A political scientist, A.C. Millspaugh, who had directed Iran's finances between 1922 and 1927 and between 1943 and 1945, informed that Iran was nearly completely disorganized with an incompetent government comprised of a corrupt oligarchy. In such a scenario, the Soviets could easily take control of Iran from within.

The solution appeared to lie in establishing a guardianship proposed by Mr. Millspaugh, by the U.S., Britain, and Russia, to guide the country in the direction of social and economic progress. The objection of interference with Iran's sovereignty was unrealistic in a world in which the atomic bomb had threatened every nation's sovereignty and since Iran's sovereignty could not be equated with that of the major powers in any event. Either such a guardianship would need to be created or Iran would find itself eventually gobbled up by Russia. It would be best therefore, he posits, for Iran to request such a joint guardianship, thereby putting pressure on Russia to accept it.

With the technical victory in the U.N., such a move needed to be accomplished quickly.

Samuel Grafton discusses the renewal of price control, proposed by the Administration for one year from June 30. It had passed the House Banking Committee. One proposed amendment over which there would be likely a fight on the House floor was to alter the extension to only nine months. The difference would mean that employees of the agency would become unsettled about three months before the expiration date regarding their own job security, which would be reflected in the efficiency of the agency that much sooner. Thus, there would be effectively only six or nine months of renewal depending on the extension chosen.

Another amendment, adopted by the House Banking Committee, would provide the President personal responsibility for terminating price control on particular commodities rather than leaving it to OPA. It was designed to place political responsibility with the President so that opponents could paint him as bad for particular businesses. It would turn press conferences into an arena in which the President would be asked to indicate when he would "decontrol peanut butter and brassieres, mooring winches and leather suspender trimmings."

Just why, parenthetically, those particulars came to mind, only truly Freudian pressmen might fathom. Of course, they must also, in the process, bear in mind that Mr. Grafton was no piker, understood, as any regular writer must, the inner workings of the subconscious mind, did not write mindlessly, and understood well both his reading audience and their predilections, especially those of Republican readers and of Southern reactionary Democrats.

Prithee, pity poor Truth.

He questions why, if it was deemed appropriate to leave termination of individual controls to the President's judgment, it was also deemed desirable to extend the life of OPA only for nine months or one year. He saw it as a double practical joke, saddling the President with a political liability through the duration of OPA while limiting its life span to a fixed time frame.

OPA head Paul Porter then had to conduct rear-guard action: "he raises the price of grapefruit, and then of suits, of pepper and then of fans; he is forced backward, step by step," into the crab-walk. Each time he was able to get an amendment killed, he lost also a ceiling.

A letter from a regular writer comments, probably quite astutely, on the shape of things at the time, with his "A Militarist Prays", which has to be read in full to be appreciated. Mr. Smith, the author, had a strong penchant for augury of the age to come.

He concludes: "O Most August Final Arbiter, keep us mindful of thy precepts: 'Men must dominate, be dominated—or die.'

"Even as the surviving cock mounts his dunghill throne to crow, so shall we some day ascend a pyramid of bones to announce your conquest of the world—if you but aid us now ........

"In other words, Mars, help us keep 'em scared until we can establish conscription permanently, and improve compulsory military training."

A letter writer from New York touts the G.I. Bill permitting veterans to receive free college education for up to five years following three years in the Army.

A letter responds to an article in the newspaper which explored orthography, by encouraging the use of phonics as a means of achieving it with accuracy.

We agree that it is a sound method of learning proper spelling, especially at a young age, at least up to a point, that point being reached when confronted with the confusion in some young minds when they encounter such words in profusion's breach as "fix" and "six", and then, in erratum, think that "phonix" would be the proper othographical representation, thus becoming completely asphyxiated when encountering, in round, such as the latter while climbing the rungs wrung, sometimes grudgingly, from the sweat, blood, tears, and toil of life and its petty frustrations in pace creeping moment by moment, 'til one must across, bare, relieved of the coil, by nature's foment, the foeman, or preconceived machination, finally row with the steady oarsman, to him given the last lost share, the River Styx dratted in sum.

We are not certain that there is any sure method to improve errant spelling, especially that occasioned by the latter confusing conundrums found within the thickets of English wickets, in great prolixity, other than the old-fashioned rote method of word lists, copied and memorized, both for spelling and accurate definitional conceptualization, primary, secondary, and even, if applicable, tertiary, and poetic alternative, and then from that study through the primary and secondary years of education, having, through some osmotic process, the absorption of certain principles of the English language which might serve to effect the proper spelling when the effect of phonetically based orthography would ordinarily disaffect the student to the point of alienation before an alienist affected by the effect of the student's improper othographical representations to the point of distraction, at least in the abstract.

It also helps to take Latin.

In any event, fortunately, these days, we have spell checkers, even if they would not help you a whit with the foregoing, which is where philosophy comes in to play a vital role in one's educational development.

Incidentally, we cannot help but note that underlying one of the several links in our Saturday's child was the handwritten lyrics of Mr. Lennon in which he spelled out "poloticions", probably not thinking that someone would ever notice that, some 42 years after he penned it. Whether it was a misspelling or a deliberate lyric portmanteau, we do not venture to know or even bother to guess. We simply note it in passing.

We also suggest to those who venture freely so many opinions, especially on the internet, that they pause a moment in their paws and reflect on whether they are really sure of much of anything, beginning with their own existence. Again, we highly recommend slow and careful readings, selectively, from such sources as Plato and Aristotle to feed the hungry mind, less stress on who's dating whom, who's lying to whom, who's got what and not, who's whose, who used this substance abusively and that word perfectly and those and this and them, and such and such and such, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

A letter from a cotton manufacturer notes that the University of North Carolina Press was not sponsoring an ad he had placed referring readers to a University Press published book on Judge Walter Clark for explanation of Congressman Bulwinkle's bill to exempt railroads from antitrust legislation. The ad suggested that the reason why it was consistent with elimination of freight rate discrimination was that antitrust legislation had led to the dismemberment or attempted dismemberment of certain North Carolina railroads in 1904 and 1908, which in turn had led to higher rates imposed by Northern owners.

It still remains, per the editorial on the subject of the previous Friday, difficult to understand how Mr. Bulwinkle's proposal would have led to lower freight rates. Perhaps had we the ad before us, the subject would be freighted with less difficulty, elucidated with facility, but insight is discriminated against by our being unable to access it readily. Thus, you may explore it and find out a nugget of truth or untruth as you will, bearing in mind Governor Ellis Arnall's unique and audacious, and ultimately successful, effort to take the matter of discriminatory rates up with the Supreme Court, representing the State of Georgia himself before the estimable body.

If, in so doing, you wind up in rocky territory, try to resist the obstacles and throw off the ballast and set sail, free of cartoon imagery, the greasy kid stuff, which impedes the unrestrained flow of logical processes.


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