Monday, May 27, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 27, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page begins with a statement by News Editor J.E. Dowd and publisher W.C. Dowd, Jr., indicating that because of the rail and coal strikes, the available newsprint had been cut to a minimum. It took two tons of coal, they explain, to produce a ton of newsprint. Thus, advertising was cut from the newspaper and an eight-page format was adopted, to continue until the end of the coal strike or resumption of normal supply of newsprint. The restricted format also presumably explains the unusual circumstance, occurring on both this day and Saturday, that the front page was without any photographs.

The coal strike had still not been settled as the Saturday deadline for ending the two-week truce ended. Most miners remained idle and there was no word from John L. Lewis whether he would direct them to return to work in the Government-seized mines.

With the railroad strike ended, the nation's railroads were running on a normal schedule, but the Office of Defense Transportation warned that restrictions on travel might need to be re-imposed should the coal miners not return to the pits.

A.F. Whitney, head of the Trainmen's union, stated that President Truman, by his actions during the rail strike, had "signed his political death warrant", vowed to use the resources of the union to defeat the President in 1948, upset about his strong-arm tactics utilized to settle the rail strike. He asserted flatly, "Truman never will be President again after 1948." DNC chairman Robert Hannegan responded that railroad workers should make it known that Mr. Whitney no longer spoke for them.

The head of the Switchmen's union agreed with Mr. Whitney that the President's call for new executive powers to limit strikes would damage his standing with labor. But he stated also that he did not believe the President's handling of the rail strike was damaging.

AFL head William Green denounced the President's labor plan as endorsing the equivalent of "slave labor under fascism".

Reaction on Capitol Hill was positive to the President's actions and, generally, members believed he had enhanced his political capital.

The House quickly passed the President's proposed labor bill, including drafting of labor to work in Government-seized industries and penalties for continuing to strike after seizure. The Senate was considering it. Senate Republicans, together with some Democrats, appeared prepared to try to defeat the draft provisions of the bill.

Russian Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov asserted that the United States and the British had formed a bloc against Russian interests at the four-power foreign ministers conference in Paris, concluded two weeks earlier. He stated that Secretary of State Brynes's proposal that the treaties with the European countries be formulated within the U.N. General Assembly was contrary to the Potsdam Agreement of the previous July. He viewed the proposal as being in furtherance of Anglo-American pressure and intimidation exerted on Russia. He stated that the bloc also raised its head on the subject of reparations, frustrating agreement.

The Government of Siam reported that 200 French troops had crossed the Mekong River from French Indo-China and occupied Thabo, driving toward Nong Khai. The French reportedly had utilized air support in advance of the ground operations. The only resistance to the advance was by the Siamese police forces stationed at the border.

The Doolittle board investigating disparities between officers and enlisted men in the Army recommended that the distinction between officers and enlisted men be abolished in favor of calling all men "soldiers". It also recommended elimination of the hand salute except on base and overseas in combat areas. Also recommended was the elimination of barriers to social organizations imposed by virtue of rank. It eschewed, however, the characterization of the Army as being possessed of a caste system, as officers were selected on a democratic basis. The report further suggested revision of differential pay, promotion, decorations, furloughs and food based on rank.

The president of Boston University asserted in an address to the graduating class that the U.N. would be better served were the delegates not to engage in routine guzzling of liquor. One of the first orders of business when they took up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in New York was to establish a bar.

But, when interviewed, one of the bartenders at the Hunter College facility said that business had been so bad that the concessionaire had considered closing the bar, that the delegates generally drank orange juice, Cokes, or nothing. One day, the bar's gross receipts had been 70 cents. Another bartender had reported taking in only ten cents. The highest single day's take was $30, more than half of which came from purchase of orange juice. Green and orange drinks sold for a quarter while Cokes went for 10 cents. (We take the liberty of not reprinting "Cokes" as "cokes", as the report has it, to avoid sinister implications, worse than alcohol consumption by the delegates.)

The Government was preparing to allow a penny price hike on milk per quart and 10 to 12 cents per pound on butter, plus a nickel per pound on cheese.

In an opinion delivered by Justice William O. Douglas in Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock and Repair Corp., 328 US 275, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 that veterans were not entitled to super-seniority rights upon return to their pre-war jobs. A veteran had brought suit in New York claiming that, pursuant to the Selective Service Act, he was entitled to a one-year job at his pre-war employer, Sullivan Drydock, even though it would necessitate laying off a non-veteran with higher seniority. Justice Hugo Black dissented, albeit only on the technical ground that the appealing party, the union, was not an aggrieved party, the lower court having granted a money judgment in favor of Mr. Fishgold against the company. Mr. Fishgold claimed that the legislative intent of Congress had been to allow such restoral of seniority after discharge from the service. The case therefore turned on interpretation of the Federal statute.

An argument had broken out the previous evening at the Royal Opera House in Rome during a performance of the opera Rigoletto, in which the audience demanded an encore for tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi following his performance of "La Donna e Mobile", refused by Conductor Robert Lawrence, not wanting to interrupt the performance, in keeping with American protocol. Mr. Lauri-Volpi walked off the stage after the third refused demand for an encore and was yelling from the wings that the audience demanded it and it therefore had to be given.

The Italian press was critical of Mr. Lawrence and informed that it was customary in Rome to allow encores when the audience so demanded. Mr. Lawrence stated that he deemed it unartistic to interrupt a performance for an encore.

He did have a point. Singing "Woman Is Fickle" once is enough, without sounding a bit fickle in the refrain.

On the editorial page, "No Time for Disunity" finds laudable the decisive move of the President in his speech to a joint session of Congress on Saturday, proposing a labor bill to permit drafting of labor in crucial industries seized by the Government to avoid loss of essential services to the nation during a strike.

The piece questions the legality of the draft, posits that it would likely amount to a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition against involuntary servitude, suggests that a more effective device would have been heavy fines to the union and possible dissolution of the union for continuing a strike against a Government-seized industry.

But the challenge had to be met and the President had met it. The House had already acted and it was incumbent upon the Senate to do likewise.

"Just What a Medical School Needs" seeks to point out the advantages of Charlotte as a locale for the new medical school for the University of North Carolina, while a site selection committee visited the Queen City. Both facilities and location made it ideally suitable, plus the fact that medical schools in Winston-Salem and Durham served the Piedmont section of the state, while the Western section had no such facility.

The argument would go for naught as Chapel Hill would get the nod.

"An Airport Needs Planning, Too" advocates setting forth plans for an enlarged airport facility following the transfer from the Government to Charlotte of Morris Field, training facility for the Army during World War II.

A piece from the Charleston News & Courier, titled "Some Questions for Labor", warns Southern textile workers of CIO organizing efforts in the South. For it believes that the CIO would advocate integrated working environs, with blacks working alongside whites, and maybe even integrated villages for both white and black workers to live side by side.

Drew Pearson discusses the four previous attempts by former Assistant Attorney General Thurman Arnold to bring organized labor within the ambit of the Sherman Antitrust Act, on each occasion failing. He started with the Carpenters Union in St. Louis which had challenged the Machinists Union's right to install certain machinery in the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The carpenters struck and effectively sought to put the Machinists Union out of business. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ruled it was not an antitrust violation.

The same result occurred in a New Orleans trucking strike in which a trucking association trying to carry out an NLRB order was boycotted by the Teamsters, refusing the trucking association its right to do business with New Orleans warehouses. Again, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of the Teamsters, and declined to hear the case.

They also declined to hear a case out of Chicago in which Mr. Arnold sought to prohibit the hod carriers from striking when cement mixers were used on construction projects.

And likewise, they had declined hearing when the case of Musicians Federation head James Caesar Petrillo was brought to try to prevent him from banning non-union high school bands from playing on the radio. No rival union could exist because Mr. Petrillo had the power to shut down radio stations who did not march to his musicians' music.

A bill by Congressman Mike Monroney of Oklahoma had been pending for several months to make the Sherman Act applicable to unions, but, despite the anti-labor mood in Congress, it had thus far not received any action.

Marquis Childs discusses the practical idealism of Sir John Boyd Orr, head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization presently meeting in Washington. He was a devotee of the theory that inadequate food was the root of most human ills.

Following service in World War I, he had worked in a basement laboratory at Glasgow University in his native Scotland and, during the ensuing decade, built it into the largest food research center in the British Empire. He led a team into Kenya and East Africa to observe two related tribes and their food consumption. One consumed only milk and cereals, while the other drank blood and ate meat. The study confirmed his beliefs in a type of determinism based on food.

He then began studying food consumption in Great Britain and issued a report in 1934, stating that half the people did not have sufficient incomes to support a proper diet while ten percent were living on a starvation diet.

The report compared to the report in the United States by the National Resources Planning Board which found that a third of the population in the country was ill-fed, poorly housed, and badly clothed. The report, however, never got into the mainstream and the Congress liquidated the board.

Mr. Orr was principally responsible for strict British rationing during the war, rationing which persisted, and for a program to feed children. It was reported that as a result of the latter program, England had the best fed children in the world, with the expectation that the new generation would be 3.5 inches taller than previous generations. And it was all due to Mr. Orr's efforts.

Mr. Childs suggests that it may have had something to do with why his granddaughter called the food expert Popeye.

Bertram Benedict indicates that a strike in a strategic industry, such as the railroads or coal, had the impact of a general strike in the country.

In February, the tugboat operators' strike had brought New York to a virtual standstill.

In 1934, a general strike was called in San Francisco and the city had been brought to a standstill for several days prior to it by a trucking strike.

A 1926 general strike in Britain developed from a walk-out by miners. The strike was anticipated because of approaching expiration of Government subsidies for the mine operators, and so the country had been divided into ten districts with a central recruiting station in each to attract volunteer workers for the mines. After the general strike was called, the Government put this program into effect. The strike lasted nine days before petering out.

The Trades Disputes Act was passed in England in 1927 to outlaw any strike called for the purpose of inflicting hardship on the country or directly to coerce the Government. Picketing was banned if likely to incite violence and union funds were made liable for damages caused to an employer by an illegal strike. The Act had been recently repealed by the Labor Government of Clement Attlee, installed the previous July.

A second short piece by Mr. Benedict discusses the balance of power which was tried and failed following World War I. Now, two power blocs, Russia and the West, were forming to re-strike the balance of power interests. All Eastern European states, save Greece, were under the influence of the Soviets, while there were strong Communist parties within France and Italy.

The way to avoid these blocs was through international diplomatic unity.

Because of the newsprint shortage, Harold Ickes appears on the editorial page in lieu of the "People's Platform", begins by admitting his previous error in assuming that the Army had been solely responsible for putting forth the bill to consolidate the armed forces into a Department of Common Defense. It was the Navy which had originated it.

But regardless of who had initiated it, he finds the bill ill-advised. The current proposal, he says, would set up the Secretary of the new Department, the Secretary of State, and the National Security Board with broader powers than any other agency in the history of the country, and reduce the remainder of the Cabinet to the status of errand boys.

Moreover, the bill did not address the major issue at stake, coordination of the armed forces, a major problem after Pearl Harbor, with conflicting and duplicated chains of command, costing lives in the process.

But the bill proposed to merge civilian agencies within the Government, not the armed forces. The times demanded that such a merger be done. The pending bill would "brassify, and probably ossify, the Government". For the mistakes during the war were within the military, not the civilian departments.

"The confidence of the Navy in this instance might warrant one in believing that a sailor has a Congressman in every congressional district in addition to a 'wife in every port.'"

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