Saturday, June 1, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 1, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Senate delayed action on the military draft bill until Monday, with the prospect pending that proposals would be initiated from the floor to abolish the draft or to adopt the House bill, which would extend the draft by nine months while not allowing inductions for the first six months of the period. The bill emerging from the Senate Military Affairs Committee provided for extension of the draft for a year, automatic discharge on October 1, 1946 of those with 18 months of service, exemption of fathers from the draft, and discharge after August 1 of fathers in service.

U.S. troops in Japan and Korea had sent 13,700 "love and kisses" messages to Congress, encouraging passage of a draft extension.

The Senate approved a version of the President's proposed emergency labor bill, albeit without the labor-draft provision. Also missing from the Senate version were provisions for loss of seniority rights by strikers of Government-seized plants and a requirement of payment of just compensation by the Government from profits made by Government operation to employers whose plants were seized. The Fifth Amendment eminent domain clause would allow equitable compensation, determinable in ordinary lawsuits.

The Senate bill provided the President with authority to seize plants and then adjust wages and working conditions, as well the Attorney General to seek court injunctions to enforce the strike ban.

The House showed signs of intending to wait to take further action to join the Senate bill until the President acted on the Case labor restriction bill, delaying consideration until at least the following Thursday.

The Senate version provided for a one-year term for the legislation.

At Dachau, Germany, SS Major Gustav Knittel testified that he had ordered soldiers under his command to shoot unarmed American prisoners at Malmedy on December 17, 1944, but had scolded them for removing rings from the bodies of the dead soldiers as he thought the looting might bring bad luck. His decision to give the order during the initial stages of the Ardennes offensive was prompted by the fact that his unit had been cut off on all sides and his bravest non-commissioned officer had been killed in the fighting with the Americans.

At a press conference, President Truman said that he was in no hurry to name a successor to deceased Chief Justice Harlan Stone. He also replied negatively to a reporter's question as to whether Secretary of the Treasury Fred Vinson was being considered for the post. The President, in this instance, was not being entirely candid.

At Washington College, in Chestertown, Md., the President, addressing commencement exercises, said that he preferred small businesses over large corporations and urged the graduates to start such businesses, stating that no group of men would ever take over the Government.

A subcommittee of the U.N. Security Council recommended that the question of breaking off diplomatic relations with the Franco regime in Spain be referred to the 51-nation General Assembly for final determination, with the added proposal that the Assembly condemn the regime and advocate its removal by peaceful coup, the recommendation made the previous March by the United States, Great Britain, and France.

Siam sought membership in the U.N. in conjunction with a complaint that French troops out of Indo-China had crossed the Siamese border and engaged in military aggression, looting, and arbitrary arrest of Siamese nationals.

The State Department joined Britain in protesting curtailment of civil liberties by the Russian-backed Rumanian Government and demanded that a date be set for free elections.

Another national vote was scheduled in France for the following day to elect a new Constituent Assembly. An earlier vote on May 5 had refused approval of a new constitution drafted by the previous Constituent Assembly. The Communists had polled a 25 percent plurality of the vote in October to form the first Assembly, and had also run strongly in the May 5 election, but were expected to lose strength to the Socialists in the next day's balloting, thanks in part to a U.S. loan secured by the Socialist leader and former and future Prime Minister Leon Blum.

Italy was scheduled the next day to vote to determine whether to retain royal authority. Newly enthroned King Umberto toured the country amid protests, seeking to bolster his position.

In Tokyo, Allied headquarters reported recovery of ten cases of rare Chinese books, some dating to the Sung dynasty, taken in 1942 during Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

Representatives of the maritime unions, Harry Bridges and Joseph Curran, criticized the President for his adamancy the previous day in threatening to use the Army, Navy and Coast Guard to keep the country moving in the event of a strike in the maritime industry, set for June 15. They accused him of firing a torpedo into the ongoing negotiations with Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach.

The Department of Agriculture predicted that 1947 American meat supplies would be as much as a billion pounds less than in 1946 because of shortages in grains and the recent ceiling hike on prices of livestock feed.

In Little Rock, Ark., three Camp Robinson soldiers pleaded guilty to eight counts each of burglary and grand larceny in the local court and then were ordered publicly whipped with 20 lashes administered to each defendant by a deputy sheriff, under supervision of the judge. The whippings were administered consensually to the soldiers following a letter in which they agreed to the punishment in lieu of jail terms. The court then suspended three-year prison sentences and remanded them to the custody of military authorities.

Whether they would be allowed to stand during transport to the military base was not reported.

On the editorial page, "The Speculation on Speculation" comments on the textile industry and the speculation on its stock by Northern capital, sending some stock prices to four times par value. The Raleigh News & Observer had found the practice to be confirming of faith by Northern investors in the profitability of raw cotton, affirming the notion that Democratic rule of North Carolina since 1900 had created confidence in the future of the state.

While the conclusion was one shared at base by The News, it was premised on scattered figures, as textile transactions were, for the most part, kept under wraps. The Victor-Monaghan stock out of Greenville, S.C., had climbed $100 per month in value to $405, four times its par. It derived from the fact that the largest amount of the stock had been cornered as part of a vast consolidation involving twelve mills. New owners would pay less for the stock, but still more than in earlier lean days. The company earnings, however, did justify a high stock price.

The absentee ownership of the company did not portend absentee management, as its officers continued to come from the immediate territory.

There were many reasons for the consolidation, some perhaps going beyond competition to embrace tax avoidance, circumvention of price ceilings, and ridding of some stockholders.

The consolidation could lead to greater productivity and higher profits, or it could lead to a bust, harming the entire textile industry. It was too early to predict the outcome.

"Well, It Couldn't Be a Coincidence" discusses the allocation by Eastern Airlines of only 51 seats to Charlotte for air transportation as nevertheless an advance over that available just a few months earlier, even if likely only a temporary allocation, as 21 of the seats were for Northern routes on a special flight out of Charlotte, begun shortly after the City Manager had complained of lack of service out of Charlotte on Eastern.

Seasonal flights from the North to Florida depleted available room on Eastern flights and it was likely that, without a dramatic increase in the number of planes flown by the airline, the fact would repeat the following winter.

Other airlines were also competing for routes out of Charlotte, prompting Eastern to increase its service.

"Don't Send My Boy to Congress...." remarks on the results of a recent poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, which had found that 65 percent of the respondents said they would not favor their offspring entering politics. Only 25 percent had stated that they would so favor such a career, but of those a third admitted that they had not voted in the previous national election.

The results were found to be not surprising given the low estimate in which the Congress presently was held by the American people, a low estimate well deserved, it adds.

But it likewise could not be forgotten that to serve in public office was an estimable accomplishment and one which entailed the public trust, no matter how badly its present occupants had tarnished its esteem.

"When we cease to believe this it will cease to be so, and when it ceases to be so all government, as we know it, will lose its meaning."

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "The Kettle and the Pot", finds the mutual admiration between the head of the National Association of Manufacturers and John L. Lewis not to be surprising since each wished the end of controls, NAM favoring the end of price controls while Mr. Lewis wanted an end to wage controls. Each complemented the other, as the end of one set of controls would mean the end of the other.

But the American public, which would suffer behind these trends, could not likely agree with NAM president Robert Wason who had described Mr. Lewis as working in the interests of the mine workers and the American people. The bond between them was instead founded on an attitude that "the public be damned".

Drew Pearson discusses the issue of whether seized German patents, especially those of G.A.F., would be shared among several companies or issued to only one. Thus far, G.A.F. had been permitted to hog most of the former Nazi patents. It had hired patent attorney Will Davis to try to enable the company to retain the patents as against American companies. The Government's Cartel Committee vetoed such an arrangement, ruling that since all Americans contributed to winning the war, they should enjoy the fruits of victory, among which were these patents. The President supported the decision, having accumulated a great store of knowledge on the subject during his days in the Senate as head of the Truman Committee.

Even so, the Alien Property Custodian, James Markham, favoring G.A.F. ownership of the patents, had not yet distributed the patents, which remained in the possession of G.A.F.

He next discusses the powerful lobbies seeking to kill OPA. One such lobby was the National Association of Purchasing Agents, led by Heinz Ludecke, a former member of the Nazi Party, who lived in New York City. He had been picked up by the FBI right after Pearl Harbor as a dangerous alien and interned until June, 1942 when he was released on parole, ended in November, 1945. He had been indicted in September, 1944 for violation of the Alien Registration Act, but the case was subsequently dismissed in October, 1944.

Mr. Pearson cites him as an example of the type of lobbyist seeking to end price control, which would assure an inflationary spiral, the like of which had ensued World War I and, in the wake of its precipitated worldwide depression, beckoned to the world stage Adolf Hitler.

Marquis Childs discusses labor's growing dissatisfaction with President Truman, especially in the wake of the coal and rail strike settlements, with A. F. Whitney, head of the Trainmen's union and vice-president of the CIO PAC, registering his intention to devote his union's resources to defeating the President in 1948. The PAC had proved powerful in 1944, and had bolstered the renomination of Henry Wallace as vice-president, nearly succeeding on the first ballot, while nixing the nomination of James Byrnes for the ticket, leaving Harry Truman as the compromise choice. Now, it could prove a decisive force in the 1948 election.

Mr. Whitney had always been a conservative within labor, as had the railroad brotherhoods. But the liberal and Communist elements of PAC were trying to establish either a third party candidacy or replacement on the Democratic ticket of Truman with Wallace or Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, perhaps both as presidential and vice-presidential nominees, respectively.

But the problem with the latter scenario was that it would split the Democratic Party wide open, triggering a Southern revolt—which, in the form of the Strom Thurmond-led Dixiecrats, would occur anyway, in response to the strong civil rights plank in the 1948 platform.

DNC chairman Robert Hannegan predicted that the acrimony now evident within labor against the President would subside and that he would again have labor's support by 1948.

Some of the Democratic Senators meanwhile, forced to vote up or down on the President's proposed emergency labor legislation, had requested that he withdraw it at the conclusion of the rail and coal strikes. As such a move would have angered those who praised his forthrightness in making the demand the previous Saturday before a joint session of Congress, it was not in the cards, especially with the maritime strike looming.

Mr. Childs concludes that politics is a thankless business and that should the Republicans succeed in 1948, with Harold Stassen presently labeling the President's move "fascism", when many leading Republicans the previous week had been calling for the President to exert a strong hand in the rail strike, they would quickly find that the rule held true for them as well.

Peter Edson describes the underlying competitive struggles within the railroad brotherhoods for membership to have been at the heart of the recent railway strike of the Locomotive Engineers, led by Alvanley Johnston, and the Trainmen, led by A.F. Whitney. The other eighteen unions which had not struck had been charging that the Engineers and Trainmen were raiding their membership rolls and trying to gain dominance over the industry. Many had asserted that Mr. Johnston and Mr. Whitney had called the strike to advance their own positions and present themselves as the real leaders of the railroad brotherhoods.

Both Mr. Whitney and Mr. Johnston were old railroad men rising through the ranks, now in their 70's. It was believed by the other unions that they would not be around in the union leadership much longer. A great amount of resentment was now aimed at them from the other eighteen unions, especially at Mr. Whitney.

The Trainmen's union was the largest of the unions, with 218,000 members. The Engineers followed with 80,000 members. Three other unions were in conflict with the two, the Firemen, with 118,000 members, the Conductors, with 60,000 members, and the Switchmen, with 15,000, the latter being financially strong despite its relatively small size. The other fifteen non-operating unions sided with these latter three.

With the fight characterized by extremely bitter feelings, it could take years to heal the wounds resultant of the recent strike and restore amicable relations among the brotherhoods. Mr. Johnston and Mr. Whitney were thought by the other unions to have endangered the collective bargaining machinery set up by the Railroad Labor Act.

A letter from the president of a group seeking to establish a National Industrial Training School for black veterans within the birth county of Booker T. Washington, Franklin County, Virginia, gives praise to Mr. Washington's accomplishments in building up the South. Mr. Washington had recently been honored at NYU with a bust in its Hall of Fame.

But, shouldn't NITS been in the Garden?

A letter finds it worth observing that Senator Robert Taft of Ohio and his Republican colleagues had suddenly aligned themselves with labor after the railroad strike had been settled and now that the Senate was considering the President's proposed emergency legislation to permit him to stop a national strike against the Government.

It finds the victory in the current strikes to be hollow if it deprived labor ultimately of the right to strike, and wonders who would decide when a strike affected the national interest.

He finds it worthy of Julius Caesar: "Wherefore rejoice—what conquest brings he home?"

A letter writer, a physician, pens verse, an ode to Charlotte.


The City motors seek the square,
Coming in from every side,
They quick unload then onward rush
That other folks may have a ride.

The editors remark that with so few people having kind things to say in these post-war days, they made an exception to their usual rule against the publication of "posey".


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