Monday, May 6, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 6, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had announced a War Department budget for the ensuing fiscal year of approximately 7.25 billion dollars, somewhat higher than the 7.1 billion estimated in January. The budget included provision for an Army of 1.07 million men by the end of the next fiscal year, compared to the complement of 1.5 million set for June 30, 1946. A detailed breakdown of the proposed budget is provided.

The four-power foreign ministers conference in Paris had deadlocked on the issues of control of Trieste and establishment of the Italian-Yugoslav border, for the moment irreconcilably torn between the French plan, favored by the U.S. and Britain, and the Russian plan, opposed by the other three nations. Secretary Byrnes proposed that the conference therefore bypass the matter and begin deliberations on the Balkans treaties, starting with Rumania.

French voters, with an 80 percent participation rate, rejected a new constitution supported by the Communist-Socialist bloc. The constitution was opposed vigorously by the conservative Popular Republican Movement and other right-wing parties on the grounds that the party which would win majority control of the Parliament under its provisions would have virtual dictatorial power and that it would reduce the presidency to that of a mere figurehead. The result meant that a new constituent assembly would need be formed to propose another new constitution for the Fourth Republic.

Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alexander Vandegrift, made a plea to the Senate Naval Committee not to merge the Army and Navy as it would lead to virtual elimination of the Marines by the Army. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz had each made the same argument to the committee.

In Rome, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, War Minister under Mussolini's puppet government in Northern Italy after September, 1943, and former Italian commander in North Africa, faced the death penalty in a trial for treason, set to begin May 24. If convicted, he likely would be sentenced to death by being shot in the back, the sentence meted to traitors in Italy.

In London, the first woman barrister ever to plead a murder case before the House of Lords, Elizabeth Lane, cited the "unwritten law" against marital perfidy as a mitigating circumstance for her client having killed his wife, seeking to spare him the death penalty.

The Supreme Court, for the second time, ordered reargument of a case challenging a provision of the Hatch Act preventing Federal employees from participation in political campaigns. The case had been argued in December, additional argument ordered a month later, but then canceled, and indication issued of a decision having been reached. But after the death of Chief Justice Stone two weeks earlier, the case, brought by the CIO PAC, contending that the provision violated free speech, was again set for reargument.

President Truman asked the Congress to pass the Inter-American Military Cooperation Act, to afford joint military operations with other countries of North and South America, including Canada.

Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles told Congress that continuation of the coal strike might prolong the need for price controls, which he indicated should be ended by July 1, 1947.

Harold Ickes reports that enough coal to supply Europe was present in the mines of Germany but labor was wanting to mine it. Most of the coal before the war was mined from the present British zone in the northwestern sector of Germany, including the Ruhr; presently production in that area was at only 40 percent of the norm in peacetime. In the French and American zones, coal was being mined at about 65 percent of normal peacetime production. The slow rates of production in the British and American zones were the result of Army policy.

An expert in coal had recommended to Secretary of Interior Ickes the previous fall that the coal in all three Western sectors be placed under American civilian control. Mr. Ickes recommended that procedure to the President who then only stated that he would discuss it with General Eisenhower, who later told Mr. Ickes he had never discussed the matter with the President. Mr. Ickes, while in Europe during the fall, discussed the matter with both the French and British, to no avail.

Even if the United States, with the coal strike eventually ended, would begin mining coal again, the limits of transportation would not allow fulfillment of the necessary coal quotas for the requirements of Europe.

Hal Boyle, still in Coburg, Germany, tells of the lack of efficiency of German firemen compared to American firemen, as stated by an American captain, son of a district fire chief in Boston, now in charge of Coburg's fire and police protection. The Germans operated by having the chief first enter the building to evaluate the situation before water was applied to the fire based on the percentage of fire and smoke observed. They rode to the fire in the cab of the fire truck rather than climbing on the back as American firemen. The consequent delays meant that usually the German firemen saved the basement.

The captain also directed a police force of Germans in the 87-square mile no-man's land of the border region with Russia, which proved more efficient in performing its duties.

In San Francisco, the FBI moved into Alcatraz to collect evidence following the end of the 36-hour riot and attempted escape by six convicts, three of whom died in the gun battle. The three bodies were discovered by guards in a utility corridor on Saturday. The surviving three faced the death penalty under the felony-murder rule, despite the fact that only two guns were used by the men. Murder committed during the course of a felony is murder on the part of other participants in the felony, regardless of who actually fired the weapons.

Burke Davis had been to the 72nd annual Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville over the weekend and reports the results on Page 1 of Section 2—which we don't have.

The Derby was won by Assault, an 8 to 1 favorite, ridden by jockey Warren Mehrtens, tying Whirlaway's 1941 record victory distance of eight lengths. Spy Song was second and Hampden, third. Assault, owned by the King Ranch of Texas, would go on to win the Triple Crown, the only horse not bred in Kentucky thus far ever to do so.

On hand for the race were Margaret Truman, daughter of the President, and Treasury Secretary Fred Vinson of Kentucky, about to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In 2013, this past Saturday, Orb won the Derby. Golden Soul was second and Revolutionary, third.

On the editorial page, "A Church States New Policies" reports that, while it was not unusual to see Southern churches involving themselves in world affairs anent labor, social welfare, and education, the Southern Synod of the Evangelical & Reformed Church in Kannapolis had taken matters a step further the previous week, voting to favor the Fair Employment Practices Committee, designed to eliminate racial, religious, and ethnic bias in hiring and wages, the 65-cent minimum wage, interracial education, and civilian control of atomic energy. It also favored a vigorous temperance drive.

The editorial finds the involvement of the church in such matters, previously verboten in the South, to be a significant indicator of progress.

"Petting Threatens Us Again" comments on the enunciated intent of the Dean of Men at the University of Illinois to replace public petting with more wholesome forms of recreation, wondering what it was he proposed and urging that it had better be good.

The Dean had displayed some naivete in suggesting that he would eliminate double features in movies to enable more students to attend, forgetting the while that the theater was an old locus of rendezvous.

Petting, it informs, had been so named after World War I, though the practice being as old as man. It became a symbol of the Twenties age of bootleg whisky and the flapper.

To reopen a campus ballroom and afford more recreational activities on campus appeared a step in the right direction to curb curbside petting, as undue restrictions usually resulted in decreased morality in any community.

It was, however, it suggests, beyond remedy, for the young people were members of the human race and would so act, whether in Champagne or elsewhere, such as in Freedom, formerly known as Whiskey Hill, California.

"The Root of All Evil" reports that New York Times correspondent Raymond Daniell had found that money was the primary influence which had led to the moral collapse of the American occupation forces in Germany, primarily because of the large profits available from the black market. The soldier, based on a low exchange rate for the German mark, could purchase at the PX at low prices goods such as cigarettes, costing a dollar per carton, and then sell them for fifteen to twenty times that price on the black market. The efforts of the military to interdict the trade had largely been unsuccessful.

More troublesome was the report that military government officials were accepting hefty bribes to allow Germans to reopen industries by providing the necessary certificate of de-Nazification. American approval could also be purchased with a fraulein and a bottle of schnapps, leading the German civilian populace to conclude that Americans were a vulgar and ignorant lot.

The piece suggests that if it was as bad as Mr. Daniell suggested, the occupation was likely doing more harm in Germany than good. And it was unlikely that General McNarney's recent order imposing discipline by demanding 7:00 a.m. reveille would appreciably improve the situation.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Caves Are No Solution", suggests that in the atomic era, if there were to be another war, then life would be driven underground or under camouflage within the United States, and cities would have to be dispersed.

As Herblock had succinctly commented on May 2, the Army and Navy joint Munitions Board was sending experts into the field in search of underground caverns for hiding aircraft and machinery.

It finds more reassuring than discovery of a cave big enough to contain the population of the country that near completion of the naming of members to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission had been accomplished with the appointment of Andrei Gromyko as Russia's representative and the appointment of Mexico's representative.

Drew Pearson, in the first of a series of columns on the Washington lobbies opposing price control, tells of the campaign being spearheaded by the National Association of Automobile Dealers, the National Retail Dry Goods Association, and the cotton and woolen textile industries. He then lists several members of Congress who acted as their primary spokesmen: Senators Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma and John Bankhead of Alabama, plus, not so effectively, James Eastland of Mississippi; Representatives Fred Hartley of New Jersey, Fred Crawford of Saginaw, Michigan, Jesse Wolcott of Port Huron, Michigan, and Ed Gossett of Texas.

The cotton lobby was the most active, albeit not supported necessarily by cotton farmers who owned only eight percent of their harvested crops. Nevertheless, the lobby used the rallying cry of the downtrodden farmer to garner support. The primary lobbyists in this group were Dr. William Jacobs of Charlotte, president of the American Cotton Manufacturing Association and close to Cannon Mills, who wanted a 15 percent increase in the price ceiling on cotton, and Roy Blake of the National Cotton Council of America, who also wanted price increases. Charles Cannon of Cannon Towels had a year supply of cotton purchased at 23 cents per pound with prices now running at 28 cents, and was desirous of even higher prices.

Claudius Murchison, former president of the Cotton Textile Institute and former University of North Carolina professor, was another prominent cotton lobbyist, but represented mills with short supplies of cotton which would lose money if prices were raised.

Arthur Bease, president of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, was one of the most important wool lobbyists. Mr. Bease was in a longstanding feud with Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire, whose family represented wool workers. One of the coups of Mr. Bease was to obtain postponement of the Civil Production Administration order to shift some of the wool production to men's clothing from more lucrative women's clothing.

Mr. Pearson promises to tell the following day of how these lobbying efforts by the wool and cotton men managed to pull the wool over the eyes of certain Congressmen.

Stay tuned for the excitement.

Marquis Childs reports that Senate mailroom clerks stated that the volume of mail regarding the House bill on OPA, stripping it of its primary provisions, requiring inclusion of reasonable profits in any established price ceiling, was running higher than at any time since the 1937 Court-packing plan of President Roosevelt—under which as many as six additional justices would be appointed as assistants to the sitting Justices when they reached age 70.

The problem which the bill faced in the Senate was lack of leadership on the Banking and Currency Committee, its chair, Senator Robert Wagner of New York, having been ill for some time. Other Democrats on the committee were in favor of amending OPA to death, as had the House.

It was thus uncertain as to what would occur, but public opinion clearly favored retention of a strong OPA, not a hollow shell.

Samuel Grafton, still in Manteo, N.C., and providing his own version of The Compleat Angler, tells of having caught his channel bass, weighing about 35 to 44 lbs., the latter weight approximated by an upstanding looking member of the community, the skimpier estimate having been provided by Mr. Grafton's guide. And so, the approximation of the heavier weight would rest as the verdict on which he would forever rely in his bass stories.

The bell hop at the hotel said that his wife canned fish, which saved buying of food at the market, enabling more food for Europe, and so told Mr. Grafton that if he caught another, he might give it to the bell hop.

On Roanoke Island, most vestiges of the war had passed, only occasional discussion of tangential issues being heard as lingering talk among schoolboys.

People rushed to meet their destinies in spring by taking fast boats to catch the channel bass.

The same held true at Elizabeth City where David Rubinoff, with his $100,000 violin, was set to play a benefit concert for the high school band. The other major news in the town was a new air service comprised of six-passenger Cessnas.

In Manteo, quieter than Elizabeth City, a man inquired of the boxing matches in New York, saying that times were better in Manteo before the bridges were built enabling traffic to traverse other than by ferry. It had taken five years for the depression to reach the area after it had reached the inlanders, but was a "corker" when it came. The fishermen put all their money in fast boats and did not raise their own gardens any longer.

They did not care much about OPA and price control.

"The local talk in these small towns is about fast boats and fast airplanes, swifter and swifter means of getting to that place which no one can quite give the name of, or describe."

A letter complains of the number of persons drawing unemployment, whom he classifies as "vagrants" and "parasites", against the plentiful number of want-ads for employment in the newspaper. He favors return to the days of WPA when people had to make a pretense of working to obtain relief.

A letter from the president of Queens College, Hunter Blakely, thanks the newspaper for its editorial regarding the drive to raise funds for the college.

A letter from Inez Flow finds the May 1 editorial, "How to Avoid a Tax Increase", recommending legalization of controlled sale of liquor in the county as the substitute revenue raiser, to avoid the more salient issue of limiting increased drinking. She contends that control in Durham County did not decrease drinking and probably, according to a local judge, increased it.

The editors add to the incomplete quote of the judge that he had also stated that at least the legal liquor was not poison or driving people crazy, implying the reverse concomitants of bootleg whisky. He had also commented that now Durham sent two persons per year to Dix Hill, the mental asylum, whereas prior to control, it sent 30 per year.

Incidentally, we nearly forgot to mention that the front page also reports that in Milan, with Mussolini's corpse still missing from its pauper's grave, the widow of the son of Il Duce, Bruno Mussolini, killed in August, 1941 while testing a bomber, drowned after the boat in which she was riding sprung a leak on Como Lake during a boating party with three British soldiers and another woman. Two of the soldiers apparently drowned as well, as they had not been found. The daughter-in-law was probably fortunate to have survived so long following her father-in-law's death, as he had his son-in-law, Count Ciano, shot in January, 1944 for treason, and, according to the BBC, had the execution filmed.

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