Saturday, July 13, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 13, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the OPA revival bill had passed the Senate at 1:56 a.m. with a long list of exemptions trailing in its wake, including those on meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, butter, milk and other dairy products, cotton seed, soybeans, grain, livestock or poultry feed, petroleum, and tobacco, extending the life of the agency, or what remained of it, by a year. Final determination of food controls was given to the Secretary of Agriculture, and a three-man board could trump either OPA or Agriculture, as in the former bill which the President had vetoed, citing, among other provisions, this division of authority as one reason for his thumbs down. It also included cost-plus amendments for automobile and appliance dealers. Southern pine for pulp would be as high as any other pine, thanks to Georgia Senator Richard Russell. Rent controls were left in place except in states with their own rent controls. Food subsidies remained out of the bill.

The one major amended provision, which had drawn the President's prior criticism, was the Taft amendment, altered to require that producers, manufacturers, and processors receive under ceilings the average increase in their costs since 1940.

The Administration now wanted the bill to go directly to conference for reconciliation with the House measure which had extended OPA until July 20 with its original provisions intact, thus permitting in reconciliation virtually any sort of change to the Senate bill.

OPA head Paul Porter warned in a radio broadcast that without a strong OPA, the rising prices of the prior two weeks would seem small by comparison to the chain reaction which would follow, likening it to that of an atomic bomb. The most worrisome increases would be in basic raw materials needed for manufacturing. The price index on the 28 basic commodities had risen 27 percent since the expiration of OPA, compared to a 13 percent increase for the previous three years.

The House overwhelmingly rejected an effort by Representative Emanuel Celler of New York to kill the British loan bill and, on a voice vote, refused to reduce the loan from 3.75 billion dollars to 1.25 billion. The votes bolstered Administration hopes that the loan would ultimately be approved by the House as it had been already in the Senate.

Secretary of State Byrnes stated that, after finalization of the European treaties, he wanted to convene another foreign ministers conference before the scheduled September 23 U.N. meeting. The conference had adjourned the previous night after Russia refused yet to support the proposal by Mr. Byrnes that Germany become unified economically, a proposal supported by France, with the proviso that the Saar would not be included. There was still some chance that Russia would join the plan, but wanted further time to study the condition regarding the Saar.

An unnamed B-29 pilot who had been captured by the Japanese told them the previous August of a plan to drop an atomic bomb on Tokyo on August 12, a rumor which encouraged the Japanese to surrender. The Air Force would not confirm whether such a plan ever existed.

Representative Andrew May of Kentucky, chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, had sought and been denied by the Senate War Investigating Committee the right to have his own counsel and to confront and cross-examine witnesses and recall them before the committee, in which case he was willing to testify pursuant to the invitation of the committee. The committee responded that his conditions proved that he could not explain to the satisfaction of the committee his actions with regard to the Batavia and Erie Basin Metal Products Companies in seeking to have the Army continue war contracts with the companies despite their high production costs causing the Army to cut back on the contracts.

Hal Boyle, still in Berlin, tells of his adventure in living in a bomb-damaged German house under repair in suburban Zehlendorf. Its plumbing on opposite sides of the house worked on alternate days, the roof was adequate, and despite the absence of window panes in his room, the bed was comfortable and rain did not blow in very far.

The dining room was a bit shabby, but they were eating out most of the time. The icebox was adequate and the piano was not missing important keys.

And there was no picture of Bismarck on the wall, only a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm.

When the housekeeper found out that the wife of the American A. P. correspondent who lived there was coming, she flew into a tizzy to try to get the place readied. Since then, workers were regularly on the premises making repairs and dust swirled around the place so badly that they woke up sneezing and went to bed coughing.

After two weeks of steady work, the place was beginning to resemble a home again. The A.P. correspondent told Mr. Boyle that he was concerned that his wife would still wish some changes to be made. He took it as a signal to find a new foxhole.

Burke Davis reports from Chapel Hill that the Business Foundation was organized in a meeting at the Carolina Inn, with an aim of accelerating postwar business and industrial development in North Carolina and across the South, and of building up the University's School of Commerce. Numerous business, professional, and industrial leaders were present.

As we pointed out last year, while still bearing the name of its founder and first dean, the former School of Commerce building is now the School of Journalism, formerly of Howell Hall.

In Chula Vista, California, an eighteen-year old laborer was buried a second time in a thirteen-foot sewage pit after a cave-in. He had almost been saved but was eventually taken from the pit dead.

In Miami Beach, William Pierce of Dallas was elected to become the president of the Optimists International.

President Truman sent a telegram to Howard Hughes wishing him well and stating his confidence that the flier-industrialist would pull through following his airplane crash on Sunday in Beverly Hills. The condition of Mr. Hughes had not improved since a turn for the worse was announced the previous day.

Mr. Hughes was said to be resting, and had not determined yet to whom the other half of his estate would be willed.

Better send your cards and letters wishing him well and a speedy recovery.

In Gorizia, Italy, the U.S. 88th Division reported that an American Army patrol had killed two Yugoslav soldiers in skirmishes the previous day after a Yugoslav patrol opened fire when it was caught west of the Morgan Line, dividing the British-American zone from the Yugoslav zone in Venezia Giulia, the area of Trieste.

In Paris, actress Madelaine Carroll was wed to Henri Lavorel. Ms. Carroll had recently divorced actor Sterling Hayden. She had worked for the Red Cross during the war.

In Akron, it was hoped that the 12-week old National Match Workers Council strike would soon end at the Diamond Match Co. and the Ohio Match Co.

On the editorial page, "Report from Under the Bed" discusses HUAC's investigation into subversive activities at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, atomic facility and their finding of several scientists favoring international control of nuclear energy and some form of world government. One scientist had stated that the bomb was more important as a political tool than as a weapon.

These certainly sounded as subversive activities which HUAC properly was ferreting out for the safety and security of the nation.

What was more, some of the scientists were communicating with persons outside the United States and arrogantly avowed to continue such contacts.

To top it all, CIO was seeking to organize Oak Ridge workers, obviously a Communist-inspired plot.

In consequence, Representative J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey stated that it would be too much of a risk to surrender control over atomic energy from the Army to a civilian agency.

The absurdity of this report, it suggests, should provide the best argument for civilian control. The supposed subversive thinking was identical to that proposed by Bernard Baruch to the U.N. in June, with the blessings of Bolshevik Harry Truman, a proposal which included abandonment of the unilateral veto on a civilian commission, which would control all atomic energy after the United States would cease production of atomic weapons and destroy its existing cache.

The kind of thinking which had been expressed in HUAC was confined to a minority which found a Communist lurking behind every bush. But the report had at least elucidated the thinking and made it clear that civilian control would be the best option to avoid a retreat into isolationism and nationalism with the atom reserved only for production of weapons.

"Could This Be Revolution?" tells of Walter Davenport of Collier's making a swing from Washington to the Rio Grande, reporting in an article, "Headache Down South", that "revolution" had hit Dixie, with liberals, while still behind conservatives in the South, making great strides forward.

The piece views Mr. Davenport's assessment as superficial, but making cogent observations with respect to defining the distinction between Southern conservatives and Southern liberals, that the former were "traditionalists" who wanted a non-unionized industrial South, while the latter were "realists" who wanted industry without conditions.

The young were almost uniformly realists, who also numbered among their lot some elders, including bankers and businessmen who saw no Communist threat in organized labor.

He was correct in asserting that industrialization would change the character of the people, making them less rural and more urban. The agrarian regions of the South were given to modern conservatism which was traditional liberalism, while the cities had given birth to the collectivist theory which now defined modern political liberalism.

It was a gradual process and the agrarian South had not yet by any stretch passed from the scene, as Mr. Davenport seemed to assume was transpiring. The regional attitude was still reflected in the members of Congress who were busy dismantling the New Deal. It was the most reactionary assemblage in Congress produced by the South in generations, forming a coalition with Republicans to wreck social progress, receiving in state after state approbation at the polls in the process.

It was hardly indicative of any revolution.

"In moments of depression we sometimes conclude that Mobile Bay will be frozen over when it finally arrives."

"Brother Tobin's Strange Boycott" comments on an editorial penned by Teamster leader Dan Tobin, urging that unions should punish the anti-union Southerners of the Democratic Party in Congress by boycotting cotton goods. It was a ploy which played to the interests of the textile industry at the expense of the AFL and CIO efforts to organize textile mills in the South. For it sought to punish the people of the South for the actions of its representatives in Congress, who Mr. Tobin had always contended were tools of special interests and not the people.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Coming South with the Birds", reports of a Philadelphia business coming south to borrow money from two Greensboro insurance companies, Jefferson Standard Life and Pilot Life, for the purpose of purchasing a radio station. It represented a shift from conventional thinking, which had it that the South always had to borrow from the financiers of the North. It was not surprising when the Northerners came south to obtain talent for their radio programs, but to venture in that direction for their capital was quite a startling change.

It suggests that it would be strange for a citizen of New York to find one day the area of Wall Street to be a ghost town. It might never occur, but if it did, the New Yorkers would know where to come for their financiers.

Drew Pearson continues from two days earlier his transcript of the investigation by the Army and Justice Department into the activities of George Sylvester Viereck, as related by the former first secretary of the German Embassy in Washington, Dr. Herbert von Strempel, re the relationship between Mr. Viereck and deceased Senator Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota, former Congressman Hamilton Fish of New York, and former Congressman Stephen Day of Illinois, to get them to distribute pro-Nazi propaganda.

Dr. Von Strempel had stated that Mr. Viereck had told him that Senator Lundeen was an old friend and that Mr. Viereck had written ideas for some of his speeches, had, in addition, good relations with Senator Rush Holt of West Virginia and Congressmen Fish and Day.

He also stated that Berlin had been interested in getting the Embassy involved in efforts to lift the ban imposed by the Vatican on broadcasts by Father Coughlin because he was such a strong advocate for isolation.

Whispering campaigns had been orchestrated to spread anti-British and anti-Semitic propaganda and to try to dispel belief in atrocities committed by the Nazis in Europe.

Mr. Viereck published and helped to distribute books which spread such propaganda.

Marquis Childs discusses the Canadian Parliament holding the line on price control so that the Liberal Government of Prime Minister MacKenzie King would not be dissolved, requiring elections. In the United States, the Senate had no such fear as it could bank on short memories of the voters, whether the Senators had to stand for re-election in four months or two years or four years.

Meantime, they could therefore trade back and forth price controls on various commodities, as prices continued to rise.

The U.S. had recently made a loan to France and with higher prices, the loan proceeds would not enable France to buy as much. Similarly, UNRRA would not be able to purchase as much food.

The OPA staff had remained on the job, but they also knew that their time was growing short. And tenants who could least afford to protect themselves were being evicted.

Samuel Grafton, in Los Angeles, tells of the strategy of the opponents of price control being to delay a new bill as long as possible so that the new goods bought while it was not in effect would result in such a hopeless tangle that control could not easily be restored. The more that was purchased at high prices, the more committed were the purchasers to maintain the absence of controls.

Higher prices would have many effects, for one, making it more difficult to ship wheat abroad, as the higher prices on meat and livestock would result in grain being fed to raise livestock rather than turned to wheat.

A similar climate to that now prevailing had occurred in the wake of World War I and led the electorate to elect in 1920 by a comfortable margin the worst President in the nation's history, Warren G. Harding. The result was that products were made for the wealthy but not the average citizen.

"It becomes a time when the ride in the limousine mocks the quiet walk in the lane; a time tough and coarse and filled with envy: a kind of night-time for the clearer side of men, and this will come upon us in a period when we shall need all our perceptiveness and our unspoiled instincts to keep us right-side up in a chancy world." It was odd, he says, that this time was being passed off as a return to a simpler and more straightforward form of life than recent times.

A letter from Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder criticizes the President for not voicing more confidence in the people to keep prices under control after the death of OPA, that the notion conveyed to foreign observers that Americans could not live except under strict economic controls, similar to the countries they fought in the war.

He then provides a list of prices on commodities after World War I and a year later, without price controls, comparing them to current prices with price controls in place, finding the former free-market method to have resulted in lower prices while controls had led to higher prices.

He concludes that he was not in favor of the way OPA had died but since it was moribund, he believed the people ought be given the chance to prove that democracy still lived in the country.

The editors note that the high prices of 1919 which Mr. Burkholder had used for his starting point to show lower prices in 1920, were an average of 108.4 percent higher than pre-war prices in 1914. The difference between the 1919 prices and the lower prices of 1920 was the result of a deflationary economy which had led to depression. Hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies and foreclosures had resulted. The depression of 1919-1920 had ruined the South and the farmers had never recovered from it. These 1919-20 figures were the worst possible argument, therefore, which he could have made for suspension of controls, especially in a district where many farmers were wiped out and well remembered the ill effects of that disastrous, unregulated period.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.