Thursday, May 23, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the railroad strike had not been settled by its extended deadline of 3:00 p.m. this date, with the railroads beginning to cut down their movements. The Government had seized the railroads in anticipation of the strike a week earlier. The President's settlement offer of the previous day had been 18.5 cents per hour in wage increase in exchange for abandonment of the two unions' 45 other demands for changes in working rules. No word had come from the Trainmen's union or the Locomotive Engineers as to their position on the matter.

According to the vice-president of Greyhound, eliminating non-essential services, such as sightseeing, resort trips, magical mystery tours, and the like, would enable the bus lines to carry 25 percent more passengers, with 25 percent fewer cavities. But the passenger load would increase four times were the railroads to strike.

In New York, the crack passenger trains were canceled, probably better off for that eventuality.

In Washington, Southern Railway passenger trains scheduled to leave between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. were also held at the station.

Representative Albert Thomas of Texas informed the House during debate on the Navy appropriations bill that the Navy had developed a presently usable weapon more deadly than the atomic bomb. He did not elaborate.

The Government stated that Russia was still negotiating to obtain a one billion dollar loan from the United States. There was still no agreement, however, on terms of the proposed loan.

The coal dispute still had no new developments suggestive of an end before the Saturday conclusion of the two-week truce period. During the first day of Government operation of the mines, 243 mines returned to idle status as the miners refused to return to work. Fully 2,100 of the 4,500 bituminous mines were now idle.

The Chinese Government announced that Government troops had recaptured Changchun, capital of Manchuria, from the Communist forces, holding the city since its seizure in mid-April. Withdrawal of the Communist forces, save remnants with which the Government forces engaged and easily overcame, had taken place prior to the recapture. General Marshall's truce commission had appealed to the Communists on Tuesday to withdraw from the city.

A fuel expert for the Allied occupation effort in Japan blamed the Japanese Government and the Japanese coal industry for an economic crisis which threatened the rehabilitation of the country. The miners had engaged in slowdowns, rioting, and seizure of control of the mines, while owners had not been sympathetic to the demands for better conditions.

The special joint Congressional committee re-examining Pearl Harbor, having begun its work the previous November 15, ended its investigation after compiling a record of 181 exhibits and 36 volumes of 800 pages each. Senators Homer Ferguson of Michigan and Owen Brewster of Maine both sought to continue the hearings to examine 1,200 to 1,500 messages passed between FDR and Prime Minister Churchill, citing the failure to do so as a gap in the investigation.

The investigation concluded with a written statement from former Secretary of War Henry Stimson that President Roosevelt had undoubtedly been planning an attack against Japanese forces in South Asia late in 1941.

In Charlotte, a man entered a Kress dime store on Independence Square and twice shot his wife, an employee, before being subdued by the manager. The woman was in serious condition. No one else was injured. The man said the reason for the shooting was that he found a pair of shoes under his bed which did not fit him. He wore size 11 and the shoes were size 10. His wife, however, said that he was angry because she had purchased a new dress. The size was not indicated.

The couple's home address is provided should you wish to pay a visit. Maybe the shoes will fit you.

In Gilead, near Huntersville, N.C., a few miles outside Charlotte, a black man confessed to having murdered another black man. Before being traced to the rifle which did the deed, the man had originally helped remove his victim's body from his house and even helped push the stuck hearse from the mud. He also helped dig the grave of his victim and sang a sweet tenor in the church choir at his funeral.

During his confession, he told police that he had removed the money from his friend's pockets for safekeeping so that no one would rob the body, and that he would turn the money over to the victim's family.

In Reidsville, N.C., a woman had quadruplets, all girls. The mother was a deaf mute and had six other children. The father was awakened to impart the news. He went back to bed.

A photograph shows an eighteen-year old girl who had fainted during a concert of Frank Sinatra in Chicago—his kind of town.

On the editorial page, "The Court Itself Is the Vital Thing" discusses the Saturday election for Solicitor, the first contested election for the position in more than twenty years, with two candidates vying for the position, one from Mecklenburg, one from Gaston. Both were able, but the newspaper favored the Mecklenburg candidate over the incumbent interim appointee, appointed following the death of John Carpenter, in office since 1924, the previous January.

Although the incumbent had proved far more efficient in disposing of cases than his predecessor, at stake was having in place a Mecklenburg prosecutor to make division by the Legislature of the over-large judicial district more practicable.

"A Start in City-County Consolidation" recalls the problems a few months earlier with the county abattoirs not being regulated by the City, such that carcasses deemed unfit for consumption by City health inspectors wound up being butchered in county facilities, outside the jurisdiction of the City. The County lacked staff to conduct proper inspections.

Thus the entire inspection process would benefit by consolidation of the two departments. Winston-Salem had benefited by such consolidation between City and County departments.

"We're All Filibustering Now" discusses the filibuster, now ended, during the week by Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, seeking extended debate on the labor bills pending in the Congress before too hasty action would take place.

Though his colleagues from the right had regularly filibustered when it suited them, on anti-lynching bills, anti-poll tax bills, and the FEPC, the right was calling Senator Pepper names. Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia had accused him of playing a dirty game with mine operators and called him a skunk.

Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico and Senator Albert Hawkes of New Jersey also had unkind things to say of Senator Pepper's challenge.

The nation in the process had lost sight of the central issue, that Senator Pepper was counseling deliberative action to avoid wholesale wiping out of properly operating welfare funds by passing legislation to outlaw them wholesale, aimed only at curbing the power of John L. Lewis.

A piece from the Morganton News-Herald, titled "Back-Home Restlessness", comments on the huge, unprecedented influx to Burke County and to Morganton of returned servicemen from other parts of the country, looking for new opportunity, having traveled the world and heard through other servicemen of new places of which they had never heard. By the same token, returning natives from service had wanderlust and were seeking new opportunities elsewhere.

It counsels that the way to keep these servicemen at home in the community was to provide them with new opportunity.

Drew Pearson discloses that former President Hoover, during his trip to the Argentine, the first since he was President-elect in 1928, at which time he put his foot in his mouth at every turn, was going to find an offer by President Juan Peron to have his country go on a rationing program, something he was contemplating anyway, provided the United States would do likewise. That way, he would get credit if the U.S. accepted the agreement, and would be able to show up the Americans if the deal were declined. Meanwhile, Argentina had no grain or wheat to provide Europe and so the trip by Mr. Hoover appeared only a superficial gesture to show the genuine humanitarian efforts of the Americans.

He next discloses the growing concern within the Railroad Brotherhood regarding the increasing aloofness of President Truman since becoming President. They had told his labor adviser John Steelman that they liked him better than FDR, could rely on him more, and had always found him friendly and open while he had been a Senator. But now, he was shutting them out and they were concerned. They were being courted by Republicans and, while they preferred to stay with the Democrats, they had to go where their interests led them. Mr. Steelman informed them several months earlier that he would do his best to arrange a meeting.

There was no indication that they held a continuing grudge, but the exchange was indicative of the growing coolness in which labor held the Democrats. The railroad brotherhoods had a great deal to do with re-electing Mr. Truman to the Senate for his second term in 1940, when even his best friends, such as John W. Snyder, thought he would surely lose. The railroad unions raised $18,000 for his re-election and it enabled him, ultimately, to become President.

Marquis Childs discusses the difficulty of the President in recruiting able men for Government positions because of the prosperity luring men, especially younger Government employees, into the private sector.

One such person was former Undersecretary of Interior Abe Fortas, future Supreme Court Justice, who had accepted a job representing the Government of Puerto Rico in the Federal courts. Previously, the legal matters of Puerto Rico had been handled by the Departments of Interior and Justice at no charge, having compiled an impressive record of winning 17 of 18 cases handled during the prior three years.

Mr. Fortas, a year earlier, had drafted an opinion letter in which he stated that it was unseemly for private attorneys to represent governments and government agencies, that they should only be represented by public officials.

Mr. Childs finds the previous advice to have been sound, that no matter how unimpeachable the private attorney's character might be, for him to leave Government service and then take up a position which might lead to a conflict of interest with his former employer presented an unseemly relationship, in which his previously acquired confidences and knowledge of inside operations might benefit his new client to the detriment of his former employer, the Government.

The prototype was Tommy Corcoran, who had been a chief adviser to FDR and then left the Government to practice law, obtaining large fees to exercise influence with his friends in Washington.

Samuel Grafton, in Birmingham, Ala., tells of Ilya Ehrenburg, a Soviet journalist visiting the country, touring the South, at which point Mr. Grafton interviewed him. Mr. Ehrenburg had dubbed him "Samuel Nahoumovich", a fate Mr. Grafton never expected to encounter in Alabama.

One reporter asked Mr. Ehrenburg through an interpreter whether he preferred zippers or buttons for his pants, and after some difficulty understanding the translation, he responded that were Ernest Hemingway to come to Russia, no one would ask him how he fastened his trousers.

They went to the Birmingham World, a small black newspaper run by Emory Jackson, so that Mr. Ehrenburg could glean some insight into the economic, political, and social status of blacks in Alabama. Eventually, Mr. Jackson had to depart for a funeral, at which Mr. Ehrenburg was nonplussed as he had just begun his questioning. So he left ten written questions for the editor.

They then went to visit a black official of a steel union local who told Mr. Ehrenburg that labor relations were amicable between whites and blacks on the job.

The Soviet journalist showed dismay at some of the sensationalist stories in the American newspapers, shaking his head at a photograph of a woman suing a man for seduction.

He had a dry wit, said that he had not had "even a little drop of dew from the heart of a poppy flower" that day, meaning that he had not had a drink. He wanted to visit Moscow, Alabama, but they never got there.

A letter finds the shape of things in an altogether unacceptable mode, humanity spoiled by modern invention and not appreciating its many benefits, ripe for a cataclysmic adjustment, possibly by the atomic bomb.

He concludes: "The consumer be damned. A feeble attempt to satisfy the two most powerful is already in evidence. But aside from alterations of the GI Bill of Rights, that is all, brother, that is all."

A letter from a writer who had previously written on May 16 in favor of letting the foreign nations starve to prevent another war, advocates more of the same, adds: "Any kind of ism ought be banned from our country. Unity in democracy will win out."

He favors putting a stop to Soviet aggression presently before it could start another war.

The editors ask: "Are there dissenters?"

The sort of simplistic thinking expressed, of course, that of a policy of preemption, was what drove the sewer-dwelling pols to curry favor with this aberrant mentality, to advance their political capital and drive the Cold War engine for 45 years, nearly driving the world into the ground with it. The economic consequences are still with us, in the United States and abroad, and will be for decades to come.

What the letter writer advocated, when he favored banning "isms", was, in fact, a chief hallmark of fascism, not any facsimile of democracy, but having everyone thinking the same in lock-step, the antithesis of democracy.

Too many people of a simple minded nature still adopt the same stance and too many pols still latch onto the rhetoric to try to advance their otherwise obscure and worthless political stock, worthless and obscure for very good reason.


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