Friday, May 10, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, May 10, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that John L. Lewis, blaming the coal strike on the greed of the mine operators, called for a twelve-day truce beginning on Monday for the welfare of the nation's economy, provided only that local mine operators would agree to make retroactive any ultimately awarded pay increases earned during the truce period.

A close associate of the President indicated that he was considering a proposal for an 18.5 cent per hour increase in wages and an establishment of a health and welfare fund controlled by a three-member commission, one of whose members would be chosen by the operators, another by the union, and a third by the Government. The method of raising the money for the fund was yet to be determined.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi urged, however, that the fight to curb union strikes and outlaw the closed shop by Senate passage of the House-approved Case bill should continue unabated by the concession of Mr. Lewis.

The House voted to reverse itself on the emergency housing bill it had previously approved without subsidies, considered the heart of the bill, and approved 400 million dollars in builder subsidies as an amendment, to stimulate construction of low and medium-priced housing. The Administration had sought, and the Senate had approved, 600 million dollars.

House leaders, such as Representative John Sparkman of Alabama, privately expressed the belief that the House would also reverse itself on the severe limitations imposed on the bill to extend the life of OPA beyond June 30, such that the limitation that reasonable profits had to be included in any price ceiling adjustment and that such profits had to be assured retailers as well as manufacturers and wholesalers, meaning that they would be passed to consumers, would also be abrogated. Mr. Sparkman, to run for vice-president on the ticket with Adlai Stevenson in 1952, also believed the same would hold for the exemption of 18 and 19-year olds from the draft, that they would ultimately be included in the House bill.

The changes apparently came as a result of the Easter recess when members had gone home to their districts and talked to constituents—as columnists at the time were predicting would result in an avalanche of opinion against the House bills as passed.

Rear Admiral Austin Doyle testified before the Senate War Investigating Committee that a Navy-supervised gambling hall had been run in 1943-44 at Pearl Harbor, with no-limit craps, blackjack, and poker. A chief boatswain's mate was placed in the hall to maintain order and see that only proper persons entered. He described the atmosphere of the housing area at the camp as kindred to that of an "old-fashioned lumber camp". He said that Navy supervision, therefore, was deemed the lesser of the alternative evil of an uncontrolled gambling hall.

Admiral Doyle indicated that the matter was still being investigated and so hesitated to respond to Senator James Mead's question as to whether the Navy had obtained any part of the stakes. When pressed, however, he admitted that there were suspicions that it had taken place.

The House Military Committee summoned General Jacob Devers before it to explain a report that he had called Congress a bunch of "cowards, afraid to tackle the controversial draft bill". The General had denied the precise attribution, but stated that it substantially conveyed his thoughts on the matter, that they were afraid to make a decision. One Congressman, a Republican from Massachusetts, even wanted to know why the General was not being court martialed for the statement.

So what? Truth is truth. You cannot silence people, you stupid cowards. We have a Constitution. The Congress is not the Commander-in-Chief, dumb bells.

As previously reported would occur, Crown Prince Umberto was approved by the Italian Cabinet for the throne of Italy, pending the national election of June 2 on whether the throne would be retained at all. King Vittorio Emanuelle and Queen Elena had abdicated the previous day and entered voluntary exile in Egypt. Observers believed the move was entirely motivated by the upcoming election.

Greeks were also preparing to settle the question of whether to retain their throne.

Harold Ickes, in his column, criticizes the Army proposal to the Senate to be included in the Army-Navy merger bill, that a National Security Resources Board be established, along with a Council of Common Defense, comprised of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Common Defense, and the chairman of the Resources Board, that both in combination would effectively wrest power from the the Secretary of State for foreign policy determinations, in consultation with the President. It would also, by providing the Board with authority to formulate policies on natural resources and strategic minerals, do away with the functions of the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture. It would also duplicate the work of the Labor Department, the Employment Service, and the Commerce Department.

Hal Boyle, still in Berlin, tells of Brooklyn having won the war because its sons had provided the Army with the laughter necessary when one either had to laugh or go crazy. It had been Texans which served the role in the Air Forces.

The Brooklyn natives wanted the next war to have taxis instead of jeeps for getting about, and to be fought indoors. It was "bum management" that World War II had not met those requirements for comfortable fighting conditions.

They had done a lot of griping but always with a laugh somewhere in it. Many of them now were laying in the soil of the many lands in which they had died, side by side, whether Irish, Italian, Swede, Jew or Christian, just as it had been in Flatbush, where all were thrown together and came out as simply Americans.

They met every trouble with a jeer and a quip and carried Brooklyn with them everywhere they went.

Alright, already, knock it off. We have some fighting to do, you crazy Mick.

In Cleveland, following a three-year investigation, a woman pleaded guilty to a charge of forging stolen checks and was sentenced to two years in Federal prison. The woman had fooled bank tellers by wearing low-necked dresses such that her identity was not closely checked, and no detailed description of her could be obtained by the postal inspectors investigating the matter. She went throughout the state looting mailboxes of checks and then cashed them, yielding more than $10,000. Her husband pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of stolen checks and received a similar sentence.

On page 6B, you may read of the johnny-come-lately channel bass having returned to the East coast, as reported on the sports page by Gene, and then, as it urges, reel in the "reel McCoy".

But, wait. Oh yes, wait a minute. It seems to us that we have been here before.

On the editorial page, "Why Feed the Starving World?" seeks to respond to the few letters received by the newspaper supporting a "root hog, or die" philosophy for Europe and other starving lands abroad rather than having Americans supply aid. There was little real sacrifice in feeding the foreign lands, it costing about as much as a day of the war and only taking surplus food for the most part. Moreover, the Christian faith makes every person his brother's keeper. Victory in the war carried with it responsibility. Feeding the world fed also the dreams of democracy. Allowing Russia to exploit the starvation or feed some of the hungry would only tend to encourage acceptance of anti-democratic principles.

There was no intention to feed the world indefinitely, but the root hog, or die concept was based on the invalid notion that people who had been so reduced by warfare in their midst that they had not the means with which to initiate basic subsistence could, of their own initiative, return to stasis—was as invalid as the laissez-faire principles which had dragged the country into the Depression in the Twenties, and left it there.

"Non-Political View of Our Labor Laws" tells of Congressman Sam Ervin, not bound by the constraints of desire for re-election, having disaffirmed any such intent when made the successor to his late brother Joe early in the year, having made several deft speeches on the floor of the House, the latest being anent organized labor and particularly John L. Lewis. Mr. Ervin favored immediate drastic steps by the President to end the coal strike. Mr. Lewis had acted legally and so his stubborn position required evolution of new laws for the aid of employers to counteract such moves to paralyze the country. Mr. Ervin favored the establishment of a labor court to enforce a comprehensive labor code, divorced from any alliance with either labor or capital.

The Wagner Act had been passed when employers had a huge advantage in labor relations and sought with good intent to rectify the imbalance. But, it ventures, with time, matters had transpired to create too much power with the unions under the Wagner Act.

While recognizing Representative Ervin's unique position to speak candidly, his strong logic acted as a gauge of the weakness of his colleagues who measured their response by polls. His contribution stood as the greatest service he could provide and the editorial expresses sorrow to see his service end.

Of course, he would return, being appointed to the Senate to fill the term of Senator Clyde Hoey of Shelby when the latter would die in 1954.

And the rest, as they say...

"Pity the Poor Sailor..." comments on the response of a sailor to Dorothy Dix, dubbing himself "A Broken-Hearted Gob", asking whether there was provision under the G.I. Bill of Rights protecting him from a broken heart, for he had returned from overseas duty to find his love in love with another.

Ms. Dix had responded by advising the Gob to fall in love with another girl.

The piece wonders what the Gob had in mind and whether he would settle for cash payment from the Government, such as in the case of alienation of affections. Or would he have the Government issue him a surplus WAC or WAVE as a replacement?

They have no other suggestions for him and advise that he go directly to Washington and consult with General Bradley, head of the Veterans Administration.

They should have referred him to the soldier from Roanoke who had in 1943, as reported at the time by Hal Boyle, formed the Brush-Off Club, a Women's Auxiliary of which, the WABOC's, was also formed a month later.

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Temperance, Abstinence, Prohibition", comments on the Methodist Church launching a national drive against intemperance, suggesting that "every agency of decency" would give it sympathy. But a successful capaign also required that it not tread into the territory of prohibition, as most other such drives inevitably had done.

Prohibition had made more criminals than liquor had made more sots. Education was the answer to ridding the population of the influence of liquor, not prohibition.

Drew Pearson comments that the coal strike had withdrawn attention from the very real issue of mine safety. Lumbering, coal, and metal mining cost more lives per working hour than any other industries in the nation, causing 50.5 disabling injuries for every million man-hours worked, compared to 14.46 disabling injuries per million hours in all industries.

In 1941, the National Coal Mines Inspection Act enabled annual inspection of the mines by the Bureau of Mines, but the mine operators were not compelled to implement the recommendations of the Bureau. It was usually only the smaller mines, however, which did not follow the recommendations.

Parenthetically, it might be pointed out, however, that under the law of negligence, the mine operators were made more subject to lawsuits if there were known dangerous conditions which they did not then remedy, effectively raising thereby their standard of care. So the Bureau did have real impact, even when mines did not follow their recommendations, even if the impact came after the tragedy and not preventative of it.

State inspections varied greatly, with political ramifications sometimes favoring the owners at the expense of miner safety. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky had laws governing use of flame safety lamps to measure the accumulation of methane in mines down to one percent. But the Bureau standards set the dangerous level of methane at one-tenth of one percent.

On the previous December 26, an explosion in Pineville, Ky., had killed 26 miners. The mine did not have a dangerous accumulation above one percent as set by Kentucky law and thus the men were using the open flame carbide lamps. Under the Bureau standard, they would have been using electric lamps. Accumulation of gases had occurred during the preceding three-day Christmas holiday when the mine had been closed.

Thus, there was merit in the notion of the need for a comprehensive mine safety act with enforcement capability at the Federal level. There was also need for a miner health and welfare fund, but administered outside the UMW.

Mr. Pearson next reports, among a series of items regarding Washington, that Postmaster General and DNC chairman Robert Hannegan had submitted his resignation the previous week, but it had been turned down by the President, saying that he was needed too much for the fall elections.

The President had asked Secretary of Interior J.A. Krug to set up a committee from the Interior, Navy, and War Departments to coordinate oil issues, that which Harold Ickes had advocated when the fight had begun regarding the confirmation of Ed Pauley as Undersecretary of the Navy, leading to the resignation of Mr. Ickes after the President questioned his memory of a meeting with Mr. Pauley in which Mr. Ickes claimed that Mr. Pauley had, as treasurer of DNC in September, 1944, offered to raise $300,000 for the Democrats provided the Government would relinquish its claim to control of tidal oil lands in which Mr. Pauley enjoyed a direct interest.

The "Bring Back Daddy Club", comprised of wives and children of servicemen stationed abroad, were going to Washington May 13 to demonstrate, had vowed to remain until their husbands and fathers were released from the service.

UNRRA director Fiorello La Guardia was preparing to register protest to the White House regarding the policy of the State Department on issuance of passports, Earl Browder, previously convicted of passport fraud, having no trouble obtaining a passport to go to Moscow, while UNRRA members had been refused passports to Norway, White Russia, and China.

Samuel Grafton discusses the food situation, forecasts of drought the previous summer having predicted the crop shortage in the producing areas outside the Western hemisphere and the prospect therefore for famine, while the United States had record-breaking crops. Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson should have been acutely aware of the situation and the consequent indispensability of American food to the rest of the world. But instead of reacting accordingly, he had lifted almost all food controls a month after the prospective drought report was released, leading to a winter in which a hundred million more bushels of wheat than usual were fed to fatten livestock, being kept from market in anticipation of higher prices.

Throughout the period, Mr. Anderson had remained eerily optimistic, even at present stating expectations that the May-June wheat export goals would be met, along with the previously accumulated deficits of prior months. But the following week, it was reported that the U.S. had fallen 150,000 tons short of its wheat quota for the first week of May, 881,000 tons short since January 1.

Thus, just a day after his "cheery little tweet-tweet of Monday", Mr. Anderson had to backtrack and characterize the situation as "extremely grave".

Mr. Anderson's undue optimism had led the President into the same box, first stating in mid-April that the food situation was improving, then six days later saying it was worse than anticipated. The resulting "flips and flops" were freighted with meaning, causing enunciation alternatively of optimism, then instilling fear in the people, "until both the hope and the gloom come to seem only satiric footnotes to each other."

Then floating into this picture had come Herbert Hoover, an enemy of rationing, who corroborated the optimism of the White House by saying that the crisis would be short-lived, that it would last three or four months until the next harvest in Europe. So, instead of asking for Government intervention to establish some control and rationing, he set out on a fact-finding tour of the world food situation for the President. The result was that no Government action had taken place.

The same reactionary situation which had inhibited reconversion had affected the world food situation, "blotting out light abroad as it is trying so hard to do at home".

Bertram Benedict discusses the four-power foreign ministers conference in Paris and the need for it to reach agreement on the treaties for the Balkans and Italy, setting the boundaries finally for these lands, lest the divisions between East and West grow deeper and more troublesome than they already had.

The U.N. had no power to force the hand of the Big Four powers. The effort of retired Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts and former Governor Harold Stassen to promote the idea of a world superstate with surrender of sovereignty of the member nations on international matters had fallen largely on deaf ears in the country, concerned as it was about retention of sovereignty while paying lip service to the concept of the United Nations.

The question arose as to whether lack of agreement was worse than compromise among the Big Four, which could inevitably lead to the same weakened form of agreement reached in Paris in 1919, causing ultimately the League of Nations to fail.

A letter finds Winston Churchill's exhortation to cooperation with Russia in his recent speech at Westminster in London to be remarkably changed from his iron curtain speech and exhortation to form an Anglo-American alliance, made at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in March. The new stand would be welcomed by Americans, but was tardy. Russia now was so suspicious that the late invitation of cooperation would do little to ameliorate the situation.

The writer, Mr. Bassett, states that his puppy consumed page 6A of The News on this story of Tuesday, and so left him—as also we are left—with baited breath on what Mr. Churchill had said beyond "the British Empire might pass..."

The editors remain mum and offer no assistance to him whose puppy gnawed his newspaper.

A letter from the Belmont Banner in Gaston County asks what the candidacy of the attorney from Mecklenburg for Solicitor had to do with whether Mecklenburg County would be separated from Gaston into a new judicial district, and why the County needed a separate district, urging the newspaper to comment. It points out that many Mecklenburg lawyers did a thriving business on wearing down cases to the point of obtaining a dismissal by nolle prosequis. It opined that having a Mecklenburg Solicitor would not appreciably impact whether the Legislature would divide the district, was a weak argument against the candidacy of the interim Solicitor from Gaston who had done an efficient job of eliminating the backlog of cases which had persisted under his deceased predecessor of 24 years, John Carpenter.

The editors respond by rehashing the argument presented several times in the column, and then asking the Banner what the problem was with a contested election for the position.


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