Friday, May 17, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, May 17, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman had seized the railroads to prevent a strike set to begin the following day. He urged the parties to continue negotiations, with a view to settlement of their dispute. The Office of Defense Transportation would operate the railroads. Union leaders had stated that they would not instruct the workers to remain on the job were the President to make such an order, but would abide by the Smith-Connally Act, thus not urging or providing assistance in the strike.

There were no new developments in the coal dispute, despite the President's 5:30 deadline of the previous day for agreement to participate in binding arbitration.

In Havana, shooting erupted at Cuban Army headquarters, described as a seditious uprising by members of the military who had refused orders to be transferred to San Antonio de los Banos, a military base slated to be turned over to Cuba by the United States on May 20.

It should be noted parenthetically that this site, on the northern tip of Cuba, became a strategic installation for the Cuban Revolutionary Air Force in Castro's Cuba, and was identified on October 1, 1962 by Department of Defense intelligence analysts as possessing three surface-to-air missile sites and acting as the assembly point for Russian MiG fighter planes. It thus figured prominently as a target for any necessary intervention in Cuba during the ensuing missile crisis which began October 16, 1962. The report of October 1, made known contemporaneously to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs, provided unconfirmed information of a witness claiming to have seen medium-range ballistic missiles, capable of reaching 1,100 nautical miles, embracing an arc from Philadelphia to Dallas, Mexico City, all Central American capitals, the Panama Canal, and the oil fields of Venezuela, being unloaded in Cuba on or about September 11, 1962.

In Moscow, Izvestia allotted two pages to a statement by two German officers, Krappe and Remer, prisoners in Russia, contending that Spain had participated actively on the side of Germany during the war. The statement claimed that Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and Col. General Gustav Jodl arranged the Spanish participation, drawing up plans for "Isabella Felix", to seize Gibraltar and expand Spanish holdings in Africa. It said that the Spanish military attache in London provided military information to the Germans and that Spain acted as an economic base for the Reich.

As the foreign ministers conference adjourned in Paris and the representatives flew home, Secretary Byrnes was reported optimistic that the next conference would be able to settle differences between the West and the Soviet Union, especially with regard to Trieste. The Russians wanted the port city to be ceded to Yugoslavia. The British and French wanted it internationalized, while the Americans wanted it to remain a part of Italy.

Pravda charged that Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan, a member of the U.S. delegation to the conference, had acted as "grave digger" for the conference, as he had told a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune the previous week that the outlook was "pretty grim", comparable to attending the Munich Conference of 1938 everyday. Pravda said that the statements implied that success at the conference was impossible because the Western powers did not want to appease Russia as they had done with Hitler at Munich.

General Jacob Devers told the House Military Committee that he had not referred to Congress as "cowards" for not facing up to the issue of draft extension legislation in an election year, as he had been quoted from an Atlanta press conference the previous week. The managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution sent a telegram to the committee explaining that the General had not used the word "cowardly" to describe Congress, but that the reporter had opened his story intending to paraphrase him as conveying that impression, the copy reader then having inserted quotation marks around the attribution.

Another important issue to world affairs had thus been resolved by the Congress.

Harold Ickes, in his column, describes the appointment of George Allen to the board of directors of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation as the worst yet made by President Truman, one which added "fragrance to a skunk cabbage". Mr. Ickes wanted Congress to revisit the issue of RFC directors being allowed to hold positions in corporations which might act as conflicts of interest, influencing their decision-making. Mr. Allen was on the boards of directors of 25 corporations, most large.

It was not acceptable to hold such private positions, undermining confidence that decisions of the RFC board would be unbiased. Mr. Allen was especially suspect for the former hotel employee having become through the years such an expert in so many varied businesses—the result simply of his ties to the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations.

Near Boulder, Colo., on Flatiron Mountain, a graduate student at the University of Colorado fell 85 feet to his death while mountain climbing, as he tried to extricate a woman in the party who had become entangled in the climbing rope. She was rescued by other fellow climbers.

Following a similar move at the University of Illinois, as reported May 2, Michigan State, in response to an editorial in the student newspaper complaining of open necking on campus, indicated it would investigate the matter and would instruct campus police to do likewise.

It appeared the Spartans were becoming as Spartan as Champaign.

On the editorial page, "The Draft Act That Doesn't Draft" indicates that the emergency draft extension, which exempted 18 and 19-year olds, as well as fathers, made only 1,100 North Carolinians eligible for the draft. Only about half of those eligible would be deemed fit for service. It suggested that the whole system would be better junked.

Representative Sam Ervin had spoken plainly to his colleagues, warning them that by the exemptions, almost no one would be made available for the draft, and that the ability to perform occupation duties to preserve the peace would be severely limited. His opposition supported those in service who would have to serve longer absent the draft of 18 and 19-year olds.

Such a policy of disarming immediately after war had led to disaster following World War I, and, it opines, there was every indication that the same policy would lead to the same place again.

"The People Are Not To Be Trusted" finds the decision by the U.N. Security Council to hold its executive sessions in strict secrecy, even from representatives of other member nations, to signal establishment of a world organization which would operate in darkness rather than in the open, with only rumors trickling out of its deliberations.

It posits that the reason for the decision was the open season had in the press regarding the recent conflict anent removal of Russian troops from Iran pursuant to the tripartite 1942 treaty with the British, and the Russian-backed complaint of Poland to have the U.N. break off diplomatic relations with Franco's Spain for its threat to world peace, and the efforts to resolve those issues in the open.

But if the world leaders had to resort to secret meetings to preserve the peace, then the future looked dim insofar as having any form of security.

"A New Red Menace Confronts Us" informs that in Swain and Jackson Counties in the North Carolina mountains, Indians were attempting to register to vote. They had to be Reds, suggests the piece.

Some of the intrusive invaders to American tradition claimed to have been voters since 1908, were obviously subversive and un-American.

At least, so had gone the reaction to their temerity in showing up at the registrar's office. The piece opines that, without blacks to pillory, the hill people had turned their scapegoating onto the Indians.

Election officials denied the charges of seven of the registrants, a charge supported by the local American Legion post, that they were denied registration. Moreover, no Indians had been registered in either county for the previous fifteen years, further providing credence to the charge.

The poll tax had been abandoned in North Carolina in 1920 and the state had survived with the black franchise. It had increased the percentage of registered voters in the state and improved race relations.

If the Indians were the menace they had been branded in the Western counties, then they ought be deported as aliens. "...[S]end them back to China, or India, or Manchuria, or wherever they came from. Durned furriners."

The concept at The News was not new.

A piece from the New York Times, "The Second Burning of Books", comments on the order of the Allied Military Government in Germany that millions of anti-democratic newspapers, books, and other publications be burned. Destruction of all military and Nazi monuments erected since 1914, including those to war dead, was also decreed. Since German propaganda had extended into the area of the arts and philosophy, the ultimate extirpation of all such propaganda might finally embrace much of Germany's recent literary and artistic past.

The piece posits that it emulated and even exceeded the order of Hitler to contrary ends, the burning of all democratic, pacifist, and Jewish books.

It suggests that to the American people, the order would appear stupid, as it would only bring about the opposite of that intended, by delivering to martyrdom all which was Nazi and lumping Nazism with that which had been for generations venerated among Germans. It essentially outlawed German patriotism, driving it underground with Nazism.

It also drove home the idea that Hitler had been correct in his assertion that the Allies wanted to destroy Germany and its heritage, and by adopting his methods in so doing.

Drew Pearson remarks that during the coal strike, friends of Alice Roosevelt Longworth had wondered whether she might exert influence over her close friend, John L. Lewis. But many observers indicated that Ms. Longworth had leaned toward bitter, isolationist fascism of late, had influenced Mr. Lewis's thinking accordingly. She had recently made the remark that it was unfortunate the Kaiser had not won World War I.

Mutual hatred for FDR and his policies had formed the bond between Ms. Longworth and Mr. Lewis.

He next turns again to the subject of the Army caste system being perpetuated between officers and enlisted men, despite the ongoing War Department investigation, informs that recently, Mitchell Field in New York had issued an order instructing officers not to have dates with enlisted WAC's, with exceptions for relatives or old friends among the WAC's.

He next tells of President Truman stating through DNC chairman Robert Hannegan to Jim Pendergast, successor to father Tom Pendergast's political machine in Kansas City, that he was not taking sides in any of the Democratic primaries but did want defeated one Democratic incumbent, Representative Roger Slaughter, for his regular opposition to the President. Mr. Pendergast turned down the request on the basis that his organization, "the goats", had already committed to support the candidate favored by "the rabbits", that being Mr. Slaughter—across the wide Missouri.

Mr. Pearson notes that FDR had a similar problem with Hamilton Fish in his home district in New York, that, though the district was redrawn such that Mr. Fish no longer was his representative, the President had succeeded, in 1944, in finally defeating Mr. Fish, a Republican.

Finally, he reports of the clothing industry rushing to support an unfettered OPA bill, the result of an amendment introduced to end price controls on rayon, nylon, and cotton having caused these three industries to hold up production in anticipation of removal of price controls, such that clothing manufacturers suddenly were without material.

A letter from John L. Lewis published in The New York Times comments on his demand for a seven percent payroll tax to supply a miner welfare fund to be controlled exclusively by the UMW.

He clarifies that the reports in recent weeks during the strike that UMW had been demanding a ten-cent per ton royalty on coal were in error, that the welfare fund had been demanded in principle but the method of its funding had been left to negotiation. The ten-cent per ton royalty had been sought for a short time in fall, 1945, but then dropped and not renewed since.

Now that the operators had accepted the welfare fund in principle, the UMW had for the first time presented its proposal for its funding and control, via the seven percent payroll deduction, based on gross profits.

Mr. Lewis then proceeds to present the six reasons for the welfare fund, which had also been presented to the operators.

He asserts the belief that only the miners could operate such a fund with efficiency, that the Government would eat up the fund in overhead and clog it with red tape, that the operators would have no business in operating such a fund.

He concludes by assuring that the fund remained a condition precedent to any agreement, then or in the future.

Marquis Childs informs that former President Hoover had proposed that a save-the-children relief organization be formed after the initial relief work overseas had been completed by UNRRA, to be operated through a combination of a large Government appropriation and voluntary contributions. It would thus be similar to the organization which he headed after World War I.

But doubters of the wisdom of such a project wondered whether 400 extra calories per day, as the plan proposed for children, would be adequate to prevent starvation, and whether it would not serve to ease the consciences of Americans, such that they would do no more.

Organizers of a food conference set to convene the following week were pushing for a more complete, long-range program for conquering starvation abroad. Among the points to be presented was a plan for U.S. rationing of foods needed to be sent overseas, and to enable the Government to requisition food stocks stored, awaiting higher prices, in grain elevators and warehouses, including wheat and evaporated milk.

Arguments against rationing included not only exploitation of it by political opponents of the White House but, more practically, that it would stimulate further the black market, no longer conscientiously limited by the presence of a war, which could make food even more scarce.

But the delay and partial response to the crisis were serving only to confuse the domestic supply situation, meanwhile, not feeding the hungry.

Samuel Grafton explores the Western view being revived that a united Germany was necessary as a bulwark to Russia, asking whether the world had not learned its lesson via Hitler anent the vagaries of this device. Russia now stood in Middle Europe not because Germany had been weak prior to and during the war, but rather the converse. The war had been the direct result of such a bulwark policy.

One of those supporting the theory was Gardner Cowles, Jr., publisher of Look, who had just returned from Europe. But his plan was unworkable. First, the Russians were not going to leave their occupation zone so that the West could use it as a bulwark to Russia. Second, such rhetoric only intensified the level of fear in Russia that the West was planning aggressive action. Russia would never agree to a united Germany unless assured that its purpose would not be development of a hostile state to Russia.

Those asking for a united Germany, including columnist Dorothy Thompson, wanted a democratic Germany, but that, too, would be at present impracticable of accomplishment as Russia could not be allowed much input to the structure and leadership of such a Germany, lest it be interpreted by Western observers among the anti-Red faction as something other than a democratic state. Trying to construct a state as a bulwark would create the tendency to restrict the freedom of Germans to pro-Western ideals.

Mr. Cowles wanted the new Germany to be strong economically but not strong enough to become a military threat. It would need enough trade to maintain its industries, but the question would then arise as to who its trading partners would be. It would likely be the case that such a Germany would become anti-Western in orientation within a decade and use its bulwark status to blackmail the West to obtain greater economic and political concessions.

The result would be, in most essentials, likely a repeat of the past under Hitler. The better option was to improve relations with Russia.

Herblock depicts again the lantern-jawed man in the fedora, last seen sitting atop the lamppost, now stationed, Napoleonically, before a newsstand sporting caricatures of John L. Lewis.

Who is this mystery man? Is he a steel worker?

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.