Friday, June 14, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, June 14, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Bernard Baruch had informed the Atomic Energy Commission of the United Nations that the United States had offered to destroy its entire cache of atomic bombs and cease manufacture of them provided adequate controls of atomic energy, with condign punishment for violations, would be established under an international authority, one in which no nation would have unilateral veto power. The authority would be fully informed of the technology by which atomic energy is produced.

President Truman commented that he had not seen the speech of Mr. Baruch but assumed it followed the authorized directive on policy issued by the President and Secretary of State Byrnes.

While the maritime dispute had not yet finally been resolved, the President was confident that it would be accomplished prior to the midnight strike deadline. Harry Bridges had agreed to accept a 22-cent per hour wage increase for the Longshoremen's Union. Previously, his objection to the adequacy of this wage hike had held up resolution. Joseph Curran of the National Maritime Union had already accepted the offer, plus a shortened work week from 56 to 48 hours.

The House refused to accept the Senate curtailments on extension of OPA, and the bill was sent out to joint confreres for reconciliation. The Senate had approved a one-year extension of an emasculated OPA, taking away price controls as of July 1 on many goods which would impact significantly the cost of living: meat, butter, milk, other dairy products, eggs, chicken, leaf tobacco, cigarettes, other tobacco products, gasoline, and other petroleum products. Only eleven Senators voted against the bill because of the short time prior to expiration of OPA's life on July 1.

There was no comment from the White House as to the likelihood of a presidential veto. Senator Alben Barkley had previously reported that the President had assured him that there would be a veto of any final bill similar to the House measure. The Senate bill was perhaps worse.

James Marlow reports on OPA, urging readers to watch what would occur to it in the ensuing two weeks, before its expiration date on July 1. The House and Senate had now voted to strip away many of the controls. If the finally reconciled bill were to become law, over a probable presidential veto, then prices would begin to climb rapidly.

The gambit into which the President was being maneuvered, however, was the Hobson's Choice of having no OPA at all by the time the bill got to his desk, should he veto it.

Meanwhile, an off-the-record OPA official reported that sugar prices would soon rise a penny per pound to consumers to reduce production of cake and other pastry products to make more flour available for overseas distribution. Commercial producers would pay about ten cents more per hundred-weight.

The President refused to comment on how he might react to a planned emergency labor bill to extend until July 1, 1947 the wartime executive authority to seize vital plants after a strike, with some of the less objectionable parts of the vetoed Case bill included as riders.

Despite the speech to the Labor Party conference by Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, the President indicated that the United States still supported immigration of 100,000 Jews to Palestine. Mr. Bevin had stated the Labor Government's opposition to it because of the need for British military support, but also indicated support for creation of an independent Jewish state in Palestine.

By way of clarification, a British Foreign Office spokesman stated that Mr. Bevin's remarks were meant only to outline a constructive solution to the problem and not intended to suggest that Britain would not go along with the recommendation of the Anglo-American Palestine Commission that 100,000 Jews be permitted to immigrate to Palestine.

In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, General Draja Mihailovic, on trial by the Tito Government for treason for allegedly collaborating with the Nazis during their occupation, admitted that a letter produced against him proved his collaboration with the Axis. It stated that "yesterday 22 helped us well", "22" being code for the Italians. General Mihailovic admitted that his personally handwritten letter amounted to "intrigue" and "collaboration".

He further stated that Col. Robert McDowell of the American forces told him that the United States would support him in his resistance to the Red Army, that Americans were not fighting for Communism. Apparently, he interpreted this purported statement to provide tacit authority for collaboration with the Axis forces.

Harold Ickes, in his column, discusses the intent of the Navy to achieve dominance over the Pacific islands which had belonged to Japan by way of mandate under the old League of Nations following World War I, including the Marianas, the Carolines, and the Marshalls. He says that the Navy wanted to establish the type of "irresponsible and dictatorial" government which it had in American Samoa and Guam for many years, apparently regarding itself to be independent of even the President.

The Department of Interior was responsible for the administration of Hawaii, Alaska, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, plus five uninhabited atolls, Howell, Baker, Canton, Enderbury, and Jarvis. The Army controlled the Panama Canal Zone.

The previous October, President Truman had appointed a committee consisting of the Secretaries of State, Interior, War, and Navy to make recommendations on administration of the Pacific islands in question. But Mr. Ickes was unaware of a single meeting of the committee, despite the President's exhorting it to make its report without delay, the fault of the State Department.

He favors turning the islands over to the United Nations. Only the U.S. and South Africa opposed such a move, placing the Navy in bed with bad company, as the shocking abuses against the black population of South Africa by its Government were just coming to light.

Mr. Ickes recommends making it clear to the Navy that the Commander-in-Chief's authority superseded that of an Admiral or Captain, and further, that Hawaii was not to be taken over as Guam and American Samoa.

In Winston-Salem, Mrs. R. J. Reynolds, whose husband, the son of the tobacco magnate, was seeking a divorce from her in Florida for, among other things, calling him a drunk and being unenthusiastic about his successful campaign for Mayor of Winston-Salem in 1941, agreed to a settlement on support. The couple had been married since 1933 and had four children. She had estimated that the couple's lifestyle during the marriage had cost $100,000 per year to maintain.

The judge was in the closet with Mrs. Reynolds for over half an hour working through the settlement. Whatever occurred was, he said, to be maintained in confidence—hush-hush and on the Q.T.

Whatever it was, she said that she was satisfied with the results.

On the editorial page, "A Tax by Any Other Name...." comments favorably on a moderate ad valorem tax increase of ten cents passed by the City Council to meet its shortfall in revenue, covering all save $215,000, to be raised from a 25 percent charge for sewer services to be tacked onto the water bill, and removal of a discount incentive for early payment.

"The Air Lines Battle Is Joined" indicates that the first round of Charlotte's hearings before the Civil Aeronautics Board to obtain more passenger service via Eastern Air Lines had ended successfully, with Charlotte receiving support from other regional cities in its effort.

"Is It the Case Bill or Nothing?" argues that the President's approach of desiring only temporary legislation on labor to get through the reconversion period was sounder than that of Congress, which favored immediate permanent restrictive legislation. The President wanted permanent legislation deferred until it could be thoroughly studied.

Those newspapers and members of Congress who had accused the President's veto of the Case labor bill to be a sell-out of the public interest for political gain with labor, were ignoring the fact that he had sent a more stringent proposal to the Congress, seeking authority to draft labor into vital industries to avert strike shutdowns, but only as a one-year measure to get through reconversion.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Decline of the Culinary Arts", comments on the report from novelist Ben Ames Williams that he had found it hard to come by certain native Southern dishes during a recent tour of the South.

Indeed, it says, it was hard to find any good restaurants in the area and those which did serve acceptable cuisine were always crowded to the point of interfering with enjoyment of the meal. Tourist trade was being adversely impacted by the deficiency. Even the coffee had the consistency of rain water. Sanitation was also erratic.

It suggests that the State, with all its many attractions in the way of scenery and historical interest, should establish a school for restaurateurs or the rest would go wanting for visitors.

Drew Pearson reports that insiders in the Supreme Court believed that behind Justice Jackson's letter to the Senate and House judiciary committees criticizing Justice Black was a combination of factors: the strain of the Nuremberg trial, the disappointment in not being named Chief Justice, and the conspiracy by certain groups to undermine the impact of Justice Black's liberal opinions.

The reaction fit a pattern. Justice Jackson had been groomed by FDR as the next New York Governor during the late thirties, then to be in line for the presidency, but he could not obtain approval from New York Democrats. Mr. Jackson was thereafter promised appointment as Attorney General. But then Frank Murphy was defeated as the incumbent Governor of Michigan and FDR appointed him Attorney General instead. Mr. Jackson brooded over the disappointment and held it against Mr. Murphy, who would also be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1940.

Mr. Pearson leaves out the fact that Mr. Jackson was appointed Attorney General following the appointment of Mr. Murphy to the Court.

The third disappointment came when Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes retired in 1941 and Mr. Jackson believed he would be made Chief. Instead, Justice Stone was elevated. Mr. Jackson, however, was appointed to fill the seat of Justice Stone, another fact Mr. Pearson omits.

Since that time, Justice Jackson had labored under the impression that he was next in line for appointment as Chief. Justice Frankfurter had lobbied for his nomination after the death of Chief Justice Stone.

As things had not been going well with the Nuremberg trials, this disappointment apparently had proved too much, resulting in spilled over emotions.

Justice Frankfurter had, for some time, been leading a quiet effort against Justice Black, and whereas Justice Jackson had appeared outwardly cordial to Justice Black at conferences, Justice Frankfurter was openly hostile to Justice Black and to Justice Murphy, and not very friendly to Justice Douglas.

The Attorney General of Florida, reactionary Tom Watson, had sought recusal of Justice Black from sitting on the case to determine the validity of the Florida anti-closed shop legislation because Justice Black always sided with labor in his decisions. The petition was ignored.

One Justice commented privately that Chief Justice Stone had not disqualified himself from sitting on a case when members of his old law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, argued a case before the Court. The same had been true of Justice Douglas. Justices who had been members of large New York law firms might wind up disqualified in a great many cases were a bright-line rule followed.

Marquis Childs, in the first of two columns dealing with abuses in the training of veterans, tells of unskilled labor "training" at the rate of $65 per month for a single veteran and $90 per month if married, all paid by the Government. The training employer meanwhile received a free employee for the duration of the training period.

In another instance, an executive returning to his pre-war job could still receive his base salary while receiving the training period stipend if he certified that he was in training for a higher paid position.

Often, employers and employees connived together to obtain the payments, making it little more than a racket. The V.A.'s attempt to insure proper adherence to regulations had gone for naught.

Over 620,000 veterans were in job training, including 478,000 in college, and 142,000 receiving on-the-job training, the latter being three or four times that of three months earlier and likely to increase in percentage as veterans shied away from overcrowded colleges.

The law forbade the Federal Government from exercising control over how the states spent the money on veterans, beyond the general provision of training or education. Counties were hiring veterans for low-paying jobs and, during training, receiving the subsistence Federal payments, sometimes in excess of the regular monthly pay from the county.

The veterans were able to receive the payments for three and a half to four years. Thus far, over two million applications had been filed. With the outlay feeding inflation, it would reduce the spending power of the veteran in the long run.

He promises in the next day's column to show how the law was being circumvented in industry and on the farm.

Peter Edson discusses the problems facing Wilson Wyatt, Housing Administrator, with regard to veterans: the black market, misuse of priorities in building materials, definition for criteria for receipt of payments by builders from the 400-million dollar subsidy approved by Congress and signed into law, developing a plan for a guaranteed market for new materials, modernization of building codes to permit the use of prefabrication and the like, and finally to recruit enough labor to perform the construction.

The black market was holding up many necessary materials, thus obstructing construction. It was a function of OPA to control the materials and to that end it had granted more than a hundred price ceiling increases to stimulate production of materials for low-cost housing without resort to the black markets. The OPA legislation pending before Congress would have a lot to do with the authority of the agency to continue in this regard.

Mr. Wyatt was making progress on the other five problems. But strictures in the legislation prevented more than 200,000 prefabricated houses, meaning the necessity for 2.5 million conventional new units to be begun by the end of 1948.

A letter writer from Pittsburgh responds to an editorial of April 17, as reprinted in The Saturday Review of Literature, regarding the threat of censorship brought on by the publication of Forever Amber, The Manatee, and Duchess Hotspur, and wonders what it was that the editors feared in these books. The best-seller status of the books suggested a large audience and the public was entitled to read them.

She regards the label "bedroom literature" as unduly pejorative, asks where the publications of Cardinal Spellman, Dr. John Haynes Holmes, Faith Baldwin "and all the other woman-despisers" would be without it.

She admired Forever Amber as a well-constructed novel, with an admirable heroine, seeking to be free of male domination.

We feel compelled to note that the column in which the Harry Ashmore editorial appeared in The Saturday Review, maintained by Bennett Cerf, had as its last entry a notation regarding the etymological derivation of the verb "to goose", an inquiry begun by H. L. Mencken. The consensus, according to Mr. Cerf, was that it came from Book I, Chapter XIII of Francois Rabelais, the chapter titled, "How Gargantua's wonderful understanding became known to his father Grangousier, by the invention of a torchecul or wipebreech", the etymologically elucidatory portion of the text of which, appearing at the tail-end of the chapter, runs as follows:

There is no need of wiping one's tail, said Gargantua, but when it is foul; foul it cannot be, unless one have been a-skiting; skite then we must before we wipe our tails. O my pretty little waggish boy, said Grangousier, what an excellent wit thou hast? I will make thee very shortly proceed doctor in the jovial quirks of gay learning, and that, by G—, for thou hast more wit than age. Now, I prithee, go on in this torcheculative, or wipe-bummatory discourse, and by my beard I swear, for one puncheon, thou shalt have threescore pipes, I mean of the good Breton wine, not that which grows in Britain, but in the good country of Verron. Afterwards I wiped my bum, said Gargantua, with a kerchief, with a pillow, with a pantoufle, with a pouch, with a pannier, but that was a wicked and unpleasant torchecul; then with a hat. Of hats, note that some are shorn, and others shaggy, some velveted, others covered with taffeties, and others with satin. The best of all these is the shaggy hat, for it makes a very neat abstersion of the fecal matter.

Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.

Whether the timing of this response to Mr. Mencken's query was subliminally intended in reference to Mr. Ashmore's editorial warning of censorship being brought to bear on publishers publishing the like of that on which he had made comment, should they continue to publish it, we could not say. But we would have suggested to Mr. Ashmore that he adequately protect his back side should he have come in contact with Mr. Cerf.

Perhaps, that is a reason he eventually moved to Arkansas.

In any event, one would have to admit that there are certain amenities of modernity which we tend to take for granted and which have it hands down over ages past, without which life would be rather raw, of which one is quickly always reminded should one go camping in the wilderness for a day or two.

A letter writer from Rockingham tells of the rotten deal being given the American people by Congress, taking the food and giving it to people, such as the Belgians, who would then trade it for French wine. Americans in many cases had not had butter in three years while the best meat and butter went to Europe. The steak was being used for the soles of shoes.

She tells of seeing, out her doctor's window, children in Rockingham in an alley fighting for garbage.

The editors respond that millions were starving in Europe and Asia, that the children of whom she spoke would be no better off were no food being sent abroad. The item to which she made reference on the wine exchange was unsubstantiated rumor imparted by Drew Pearson in his column earlier in the week.

A letter from a member of the Brotherhood of Trainmen responds to a writer from another newspaper expressing the belief that the trainmen had no right to strike. He sets forth evidence to support the right of the trainmen to strike, that they had sought higher pay in July, 1945 and were practically ignored by management, that they did not strike in response to the coal strike settlement, that there was no intent to cause hardship for the starving abroad, that A. F. Whitney and Alvanley Johnston, respective heads of the Trainmen and Engineers, had not misled the trainmen, that most of the returning veterans who were trainmen supported the strike, and that the trainmen were not highly paid. Switchmen, he cites as example, received $42.70 per week, less than carpenters, plumbers, shipbuilders, electricians, and other such trades.


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