Monday, July 1, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 1, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the atomic bomb test on Bikini Atoll had occurred on schedule, Monday at 9:25 a.m. Bikini time, 5:25 p.m. EST on Sunday. Another test, Baker, would follow within three weeks.

Of the 73 ships in the blast area, only two transports, the Gilliam and Carlisle, were immediately reported as sunk from the blast, with eight badly damaged. A destroyer, the Lamson, was capsized and later sank. Another destroyer, the Anderson, was so badly damaged that it was expected to sink; the same was true of the Japanese cruiser Sakawa. The carrier Independence suffered more damage than any other vessel remaining afloat, was listing badly and was expected to sink. Heavy topside damage was done to the Arkansas, the Japanese battleship Nagato, the submarine Skate, the heavy cruiser Pensacola, and a tank landing ship.

No earthquake or tidal wave was triggered by the blast and palms on Bikini were left unscathed. No lives were lost in the blast, and the atoll remained.

Adam, however, was pleased.

The battleship Pennsylvania was only slightly damaged and goats aboard were observed after the blast eating hay, with "a gleam in their eyes" and appearing perfectly happy, according to Rear Admiral Thorvald Solberg. He also stated that he observed no fish-kill in the area of the blast, that minnows were swimming about afterward. No minnows, apparently, were lost.

He had not yet observed the impact on wildlife aboard some of the other ships in the outer periphery of the blast area, as was the Pennsylvania.

Correspondent John Carlisle of the Detroit News, aboard a B-19 flying around the blast area, described two bright, massive fireballs unleashing enormous power but not disturbing in the least the flight of their plane twenty miles away. The ground-zero target ship, the Nevada, survivor of Pearl Harbor, was still afloat after the blast.

Australia's Herbert Evatt, chairman of the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission, named the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, France, Mexico, and Australia to a special subcommittee to lay the groundwork for a plan to control nuclear technology. The goal of the subcommittee would be to make recommendations for a plan to reconcile the competing provisions of the U.S. plan and the Russian plan.

Rioting broke out in Trieste between advocates of cession to Yugoslavia and Italians favoring control of the port by Italy. The mob attacked Communist Party headquarters. At least five American soldiers were wounded the previous day, and six men and women were shot during the violence taking place this date.

Harold Ickes, in his column, discusses the decision of the President not to attend the July 4 ceremony in the Philippines to celebrate its independence from the United States and instead to send surrogates, Ambassador Paul McNutt, and Stuart Symington, among others, to act in his stead. The President was reported to be "too busy" to attend.

Mr. Ickes finds the action inexcusable, that the President had time on several occasions since assuming office to go fishing and to take other vacations, including regular yachting trips on the Potomac on weekends, and should have made time for such an important event. FDR had stated to President Manuel Quezon that at the time of Philippine independence, he would not only be present but that he would lead an armada of ships into Manila Bay. Mr. Ickes suggests that such a display would have been an admirable gesture.

Minimally, the President should have sent Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug, the replacement of Mr. Ickes, as the Philippines had for a long time been under the control of the Department of Interior. But that should have been done only if the President had not been physically able to attend. There was no excuse otherwise for not being personally present.

Mr. Ickes sees the failure as emblematic of the President's lack of feeling for history. The President had said on numerous occasions that he did not want to be President. "It becomes clearer every day," excoriates Mr. Ickes, "that he not only did not want to be President, but that he is disinclined to act the part of one."

Mr. Ickes had resigned in February after 13 years as Secretary of Interior in response to what he perceived as an attack on his credibility by the President when the latter asserted that Mr. Ickes could be mistaken about his recollection of the events surrounding the alleged offer by Ed Pauley as then treasurer of the Democratic National Committee to arrange from oil men a contribution of $300,000 to the Democrats in 1944 provided Interior would change its position on the assertion by the Federal Government of control of mineral rights in the tidal oil lands, in which Mr. Pauley had a substantial personal financial interest. Future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, then Undersecretary of Interior, had been present at the discussion, said he remembered some mention of the oil lands and an effort to raise funds for the 1944 election, but could not recall whether the two subjects were interconnected. The controversy had arisen in the context of Mr. Pauley's nomination, subsequently withdrawn under Senate pressure, to be Undersecretary of the Navy.

Senator Pappy Lee O'Daniel of Texas blocked an effort by Senator Robert Wagner of New York to revive OPA temporarily until July 20 to try to achieve in the meantime legislation which would survive the veto of the President. Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley reported to the President that there was no hope of such an extension. House Speaker Sam Rayburn told the President that the House would vote for the temporary extension. Senator Barkley stated that, nevertheless, efforts would be made to extend the life of the agency by a year with permanent legislation acceptable to the President.

OPA head Paul Porter stated that he did not think a two or three-week lapse of controls would adversely affect the OPA if it were quickly restored. OPA personnel, he said, remained on the job under an executive order of the President issued the previous night. The Second War Powers Act gave the President authority to continue restrictions on livestock slaughter and sugar rationing. The agency still had authority to prosecute violations occurring during the period when price controls had been extant through Sunday

The House was busy drafting an emergency rent control bill. Only New York, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia had their own separate rent control laws.

Rents quickly jumped by a third while food and department store prices appeared to remain stable. Rents in Miami rose as much as 250 percent, as many landlords were handing out eviction notices. Industrial shares on the New York Stock Exchange rose from one to four dollars per share in the initial hours of trading, but then faltered later in the day. Cattle prices rose as much as four dollars per hundred weight, with choice loads rising as high as $22 per hundred weight.

And "Pigs is Pigs!" as the front page tantalizes the reader to turn to the Carolina Farmer pages of the newspaper.

You know where you can find them.

On the editorial page, "Well, We Survived This One" tells of the B-29 "Dave's Dream" having dropped the atom bomb which seemed like a colossal boondoggle for the brass hats to demonstrate military prowess, quickly becoming terror once detonated. The drop had been broadcast by radio on Sunday, enabling listeners to hear the sound of an atomic blast as a metronome ticked back and forth aboard the stalwart Nevada.

"This was man crossing a new threshhold, proud but none too sure of himself, privately doubting the evidence of his sliderule, not quite certain that he hadn't gone too far."

A former grocery clerk aboard "Dave's Dream" gave the "bomb's away" signal. Then the awe expressed in the tension of the correspondents' voices exposed the terror which had been unleashed before their eyes.

The knowledge of the audience remained that The Bomb was just another instrument of mass destruction.

"This was the knowledge that kept the belly muscles taut long after the coffee salesmen had replaced the correspondents on the drowsy Sunday air."

"They're Finally Driving a Nail" reports that, after a year remaining idle, at long last, the nails were being driven to establish temporary housing units for 404 families of veterans at Morris Field, the former Army Air Forces training facility during the war, transferred to Charlotte by the Federal Government. The Federal Government was paying for the housing.

There were still about 5,000 families of veterans in Charlotte in need of homes and so the temporary facility would accommodate less than ten percent of those. The gap would need to be filled in other ways locally.

"How to Draft a Tax Schedule" reports that the meeting between the City Council and the merchants complaining of the hike in licensing fees, in some cases as much as tenfold, had resulted in a better understanding of the complex tax formula and a promise by the Council of a revision of the rates to about 50 percent of the current rates, adequate to raise the needed revenue.

"The Personal War of W. J. Cash" takes a moment to comment on the death and life of W. J. Cash on the fifth anniversary of his death in Mexico City in 1941. The United States was still at peace, but, says the editorial, "Jack Cash was not." He had not been since he had seen the evil pattern of Nazism and Fascism emerging from Germany and Italy. Hitler and Mussolini had become his personal devils. He had warned of the fatal course of appeasement. "The world must destroy these monsters or be destroyed."

He had earned personal success with the publication of The Mind of the South on February 10, 1941 at a time when he least cared about it. His mind by then was elsewhere, in Europe and the Pacific.

"His personal war with Hitler and Mussolini had already destroyed him." The journey to Mexico on the Guggenheim Fellowship was "a flight from reality, and a futile one." The world was going up in flames around him. "Exhausted, believing his cause lost, Jack Cash died in terror."

"It is peculiarly tragic that this eloquent and tortured man could not have lived a few more months, long enough to see the mighty spectacle of the decent people of the world aroused at last against his enemies, long enough to understand that he had earned a place in the little group of dedicated men who fought fascism with words and insured its ultimate destruction by those who fought with guns."

While the piece, probably by Editor J. E. Dowd, as Harry Ashmore never knew W. J. Cash, never mentions the word suicide, implicitly running through the piece is the notion that the official account of Cash's death was correct.

Or, by avoiding use of the term, was the piece hedging a bit, not quite confident, maybe, in the hasty conclusion reached in Mexico City five months before America's involvement in the war? an involvement initiated by the events occurring just two days after Cash would be provided posthumously the Mayflower Literary Society Cup in Raleigh, with recently retired Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels expressing his complimentary remarks for both the book and its author.

Whatever the case, even in the aftermath of the war, no one was taking into account as bearing on Cash's death the dramatic images and stories of the Nazi spy arrests in New York and New Jersey which, as the largest single spy ring arrest in U.S. history, netting 32 in all, had hit the front pages of most newspapers, including The News, on June 30, 1941. That fact and its overlooked connections inevitably to the death of W. J. Cash—more likely than not the result of a murder perpetrated by or at the behest of the members of the Nazi spy network in Mexico, frantically seeking as they were to shut down the spy operation and obtain passage back to Germany in the wake of the news of the spy arrests in the United States during the weekend—was the reason for this project originally.

Add to the scenario the intriguing fact that William Rhodes Davis—Texas oil millionaire who had arranged the Mexico-Nazi oil deal of 1938-39 which enabled the panzer divisions to roll into Poland on September 1, 1939 before the British blockade cut off the flow after the start of the war—had been in Mexico City in mid-June, 1941, staying at the Reforma Hotel, where Cash was found dead, hanging by his own necktie from a hook on a bathroom door at around 10:00 p.m., and the circumstantial evidence mounts. Add again the fact that Cash, in January, 1941, had written critically of Mr. Davis and his Nazi dealings, calling him a traitor, and the potential for personal animus held by Mr. Davis against Cash becomes manifest. Mr. Davis would die August 1, 1941 in Texas, some historians having speculated that it was the result of an action by British intelligence to prevent him from further interfering with the war effort.

Add that the German Abwehr had a plan under which, should the Mexico spy ring be compromised, a specific Mexican journalist living in Berlin would be kidnaped and held for ransom until the authorities would release the German spies in Mexico, and the inferential basis exists that a similar plot was initiated by the spies themselves, without money or means to leave Mexico at the time, only with the object changed to an American journalist in Mexico—a botched kidnaping or a determination that Cash might be worth more dead than alive, as a threat to others should there be interference to the members of the spy ring as they departed for the Fatherland.

Add the cloak and dagger associated with the cremation of Cash's remains, admittedly done without the consent of Cash's parents, to whom wife Mary and Ambassador Daniels admittedly dissembled by telling them that Cash's body had already been cremated before they had told Mary that cremation would be out of the question and that they would pay for his remains to be shipped back to North Carolina if necessary, and the case takes on even more mystery. Why dissemble? To avoid a train ride with the body, as Mary weakly offered as an excuse? Why not fly the remains back?

Again, as we suggested several years ago in the photographic area of the site, compare the two telegrams of July 2 from Josephus Daniels to the elder Cashes, one, re the cremation, not bearing a time stamp, the other, expressing condolences, having a time stamp of 1:10 p.m., to the time-stamped telegram of Mary to the Cashes on July 2 at 8:33 a.m. From close analysis of these documents, plus the July 3 letter sent by mail by Mr. Daniels containing the script of his telegram on the cremation, the "big story" becomes evident, confirmed by the following excerpt of Mary's letter to Cash's first biographer, Joseph Morrison, in 1966:

It was Mr. Daniels who suggested that Cash be cremated and that I return by air with his ashes. Hard as that would be, it would nevertheless be easier than a four-day train trip endlessly aware of the baggage car. For the first time I remembered that Cash had once sourly remarked that he would prefer cremation to embalming—it seemed the lesser of two evils. I therefore gladly agreed and Mr. Daniels wired Cash's father it was being done by way of honoring Cash's own request. Mr. Cash immediately wired back to stop the cremation, but it was too late. (Joe [Morrison], big story. It had not been done but Mr. Daniels thought it best to say it had. I think for the sake of the remaining Cashes this little item had better stand as written. It wouldn't help anything to report that their father had been duped, and you can go unnecessarily far in the eternal Search for Truth.)" [Emphasis supplied.] (Manuscript of Mary Cash Maury, "The Suicide of W. J. Cash", p. 21, available in Joseph L. Morrison's papers at The University of North Carolina Southern Historical Collection in Wilson Library, the working draft for her 1967 piece for The Red Clay Reader, accessible herein; W.J. Cash: A Life, by Bruce Clayton, L.S.U. Press, 1991, mentioned at p. 187.)

To insist on cremation for the sake of convenience, against the wishes of the closest blood kin of the deceased, would appear for an American Ambassador quite an unseemly matter in which to participate, especially with a widow of only six months of marriage. Yet, according to Mary, she and Mr. Daniels agreed to do just that, to save her the long train ride with the casket. If shipping the casket by airplane was not practicable, obviously there was no sound reason why Mary would have to ride a train with her husband's casket. There were not, after all, people lined up along the tracks awaiting the train to say their last goodbyes—as was the case in April, 1945 at the death of FDR, such that a certain protocol had to be followed. Was it more unseemly therefore for Mary not to ride the train with Cash's casket, as Cash's parents certainly would have understood, or for her and the Ambassador to lie to the elder Cashes about this central fact of supposedly already having had the body cremated before their demand that it not be done? thus depriving the Cash family of any examination of the body by a friendly physician before interment, a cover-up inevitably of a crucial fact, the edema or contusion around the neck.

No autopsy report was ever made available by the Mexican authorities despite some form of autopsy apparently having been performed. Thus, the presence of the edema or contusion on the neck, either in a complete circle indicative of strangulation, or in an incomplete circle, indicative of hanging, was not ever stated in any report ever made available by Mexican authorities, despite the efforts in the mid-1960's by Joseph Morrison to obtain it through the State Department.

Add that, as we have recently noted again, the written statement issued July 12, 1941 to Mexican Foreign Minister Ezequiel Padilla by Ambassador Daniels that three specifically named Nazi agents should be arrested, a statement issued for no particularly stated reason at the time and in response to no particular international event at the time other than the invasion of Russia on June 22, an event which should not have triggered such a statement with regard to three specific spies, and the evidence begins to become compelling that there was interconnection between the Nazi spies and the death of W. J. Cash, at least that it was strongly suspected by Ambassador Daniels, perhaps also by FDR, who was made aware of the death of Cash by Mr. Daniels.

The Ambassador had sought intercession by the President with the State Department during the July 4 holiday to expedite Mary's departure from Mexico, stuck there because of the couple's passports having been locked by Cash in a safe deposit box on the morning before his death and her being unable to obtain access to the box until officially declared executrix of his estate, which would have taken several days to accomplish. She was thus able to leave finally by airplane on July 5.

Cash had checked into a room at the Reforma during the evening hours of July 1 after Mary had gone to summon help at the Associated Press offices at around 4:00, following the complaints of Cash, starting the previous night, that Nazis had been following them and were threatening their lives, prompting him to demand that they leave the small apartment where they had been living since arrival in Mexico City three weeks earlier, and move to a new hotel, ultimately settling, at Cash's insistence, on the Geneve as a safe haven. Once there, however, according to Mary, her husband of six months behaved as he never had prior to the previous 24 hours, cowering behind a bed, stating that the Nazis were close, prompting her to seek the aid of A. P. correspondent Ben Meyer, who had befriended Cash upon their arrival in Mexico City.

And of course, there was no suicide note, nor any appliance, such as a chair, nearby the hanging scene.

Add to the scenario that Mexico was notoriously corrupt, was walking a diplomatic tightrope between friendly relations with the United States and Germany at the time, trying to remain out of the war and not displease the large German population of Mexico or their Good Neighbor to the north, plus the generally tense time, with the Russian invasion of June 22, the President's May 27 declaration of a national emergency, and the efforts to negotiate with Japan regarding removal of its troops from Manchuria getting nowhere, all hanging fire, and the world, in consequence, left on tenterhooks as to whether ignition for world war would at anytime be in need only of a small spark somewhere to spread the already burning blazes of Europe and Manchuria, and the motive emerges for covering up Cash's death at the time as a suicide rather than having it established as a murder by Nazi spies—freighted with the possibility that the murder of an American journalist in Mexico by Nazis might prove the final straw to ignite war, with the Robin Moor having been sunk in early June and the Zamzam a month earlier, each by a German U-boat, and the Russian invasion already prompting calls in Congress during that period for a declaration of war, one which the President did not want.

But after the war, as we have stated before, the cause for that secrecy was gone, with Hitler dead, Mussolini dead, the Japanese Empire ended, and the ashes of Germany and Italy now being slowly swept away to make room for a new Germany, Italy, and the occupied lands of Europe.

The only reason for perpetuating the myth of suicide was to accommodate the reactionary interests in the South for whom a scene of suicide for the likes of W. J. Cash, who, to the reactionaries, had played traitor to the whites of his native South, offered a romantic footnote to their tale, threatened as it was by Mr. Cash's book, a manner of death which would consign Cash to the realm of the unstable madman against whom he had railed, and with it, his book, full as it was of the worst calumny hurled against these honorable men, to the realm of so much crazy nonsense, the ramblings of a madman.

Or, so the honorable men hoped.

Continue that nonsensical myth of Cash's suicide and, unwittingly or not, one enables the reactionary enterprise, the racist-xenophobic complex, to find its continued sustenance today—just as it would thrive in Dallas, in Memphis, and in Los Angeles over two decades hence.

Perhaps indicative of our world mental state, there is far more concern for whether Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess was murdered or was a suicide by hanging in 1987 at age 93 than any attention ever paid, publicly at least, by anyone to the death by murder at the hands of Nazis of W. J. Cash. We suppose that the reason for that ironic state of affairs is that Rudolf Hess sells more cornflakes than W. J. Cash. We note parenthetically, for what it's worth, that Cash's sister died July 18, 1987, a month before Herr Hess.

Some forms of justice may transcend the grave.

We also note that just yesterday we learned for the first time that former Governor Gray Davis of California is the grandson of William Rhodes Davis, albeit his parents having married after the death of the elder. We note it only because it is stated in other sources. It obviously has nothing to do with anything except in the minds of complete idiots. We cannot hold subsequent generations unborn responsible for the acts of the sires. In our estimate, the majority will of the California voters in 2003 was stuck somewhere between Fascism and Nazism in their recall of Governor Davis, who had done, in our estimate, a fine job as Governor for five years.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Drew Pearson comments on the effort in Congress, being led by Arkansas Representative and future House Ways & Means Committee chairman Wilbur Mills, to repeal the tax carryback provisions which allowed for huge tax refunds to corporations for their wartime excess profits taxes, a refund which had caused large corporations such as G.M. not to worry about prolonged strikes as they would have as much operating capital without production as with production. Mr. Mills and many of his colleagues wanted the revenue and it appeared the repeal would make it through the House, before a Treasury report would issue from new Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, awaiting which, the House had delayed since January a determination of whether to repeal the credit.

He next reports of a confrontation recently at a dinner between RCA president Warren Lee Pierson and former Ambassador to China and former Secretary of War Patrick Hurley regarding a remark made by Mr. Pierson that General Hurley had been an "old mule skinner", something which General Hurley usually bragged about but to which he took grave offense on this occasion, taking off his coat and challenging Mr. Pierson to fisticuffian duel. Mr. Pierson apologized, said he was only kidding, but General Hurley persisted—apparently, quips Mr. Pearson, believing Mr. Pierson to be him. So Mr. Pierson stated that he would oblige. As both headed for the door, friends interceded. Former Attorney General Homer Cummings announced that he was the moderator and wanted order.

He next tells of the problems faced by Civil Production Administrator John Small in trying to stimulate construction of housing for veterans. The proposed cure during the previous fall to avoid high unemployment was to encourage construction. Thus, all controls were removed on construction. But then the unemployment estimates of ten million proved wrong and instead of a surplus of labor, there was a shortage. The result was that all types of construction was already underway before the Congress could get to the issue of veterans housing. Thus the racetrack improvements, amusement parks, and other such inessential projects were already ongoing. It was not until March 26, that Mr. Small had issued the stop-work order on such projects.

Marquis Childs discusses the prospects of resigned Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles to run for the Senate from Connecticut, probably against Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce, likely to become the Republican nominee despite her declaration six months earlier that she was retiring from politics in light of her becoming a Catholic, to dispel any notion that her religious conversion was meant as a ploy to attract Catholic votes in her district. Senator Thomas Hart, appointed to fill the seat after the death of Senator Francis Maloney, was not seeking re-election.

Ms. Luce had voted against the President's proposed emergency legislation to allow drafting of workers who struck in industries vital to the functioning of the country. She had also voted against the Case labor restriction bill, and with the more than one-third of the House to sustain the President's veto of that bill.

Either Mr. Bowles or Ms. Luce, he opines, would provide a good choice for Connecticut, each having come from areas outside traditional politics, and either one would make an above average Senator.

Instead, Governor Raymond Baldwin would be nominated by the Republicans and would become Senator, filling out the remaining two years of the unexpired term.

Samuel Grafton, still in San Diego, tells of the curious mindset gripping the country, as betrayed by the newspapers, that of speaking furtively about the prospects of an economic depression, speaking in tones not seen during wartime even regarding the war itself and the enemy. The fear was much more residential and parochial than foreign. It could be felt palpably. Yet, when one got out and rode about the countryside, there was little evidence of the fear conveyed by the newspapers.

The bitterness in the throats of the newspaper writers was the result, he suggests, of failure to plan for reconversion during the war and thus, in its immediate aftermath, the cry had gone up to release all controls, which, to an extent, the President had accommodated.

A letter from a member of the Brotherhood of Trainmen quotes from a transcript of conversations of May 18 between President Truman and A. F. Whitney of the Trainmen's union, Alvanley Johnston of the Locomotive Engineers, and Dr. John Steelman, as published in PM on May 30 and during early June.

The writer thinks that the quoted excerpts showed that the President double-crossed the Trainmen and Engineers and backed the Wall Street capitalists to keep the railroad workers in 27th place in wages, as railroad profits rose 1,164 percent above the prewar average. He predicts that the President and his "Pendergast political stooges" would swallow their own medicine in due time.

A letter finds the President and Congress to have bungled the handling of the strikes and price control, such that the consumer and unorganized worker was left to hang. The writer questions whether talk about the starving in Europe was any more than merely a smokescreen to line someone's pockets.

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