Monday, July 15, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 15, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President signed into law the 3.75 billion dollar British loan which had finally cleared the House, saying that it cleared the way for re-establishment of free trade among nations.

Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley stated that he hoped to adjourn the Senate by July 27, sending the message that the current OPA bill would likely be the last effort at its revival. It came as the President vowed to veto the bill if sent to him in the form in which it had passed the Senate. The bill was now in conference for reconciliation with the House version.

In Belgrade, the Yugoslav military tribunal had convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad General Draja Mihailovic and ten of his 23 co-defendants for collaborating with the enemy during the war. The other co-defendants were sentenced to long prison terms. The trial had been ongoing since June 10.

In Ottawa, the Royal Commission on espionage declared that Canada had an active fifth column of Russian agents, involving several spy rings.

Harold Ickes reminds of the first anniversary the following day of the Trinity test in New Mexico to begin the atomic age, and, as quickly, reminds that in a year since that test, the governments of the world had accomplished nothing toward control of atomic energy for the preservation of mankind.

It had been a month since Bernard Baruch had proposed to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission the plan for America to turn over the atomic secret to an international commission after destruction of its entire cache of atomic bombs, on the conditions that first safeguards and inspection would be implemented to insure use of the technology only for peaceful purposes, and that the commission members have no unilateral veto. Five days later, the Soviets proposed that the Security Council control atomic energy, with the unilateral veto maintained intact.

Even while the efforts proceeded to reconcile the two divergent plans, America proceeded with its atomic bomb tests. Mr. Ickes stood perplexed and appalled at the Bikini tests and their cost. The Federation of American Scientists had declared in May their lack of scientific interest in the tests, leaving only military curiosity to be satisfied. The scientists participated with reluctance. Biologists and ichthyologists, however, were interested in the effects on sea life.

Assuming they were not military tests, Mr. Ickes asks whether they might be intended as diplomacy by intimidation. If so, he finds them in bad taste and poorly timed. He turns the tables and suggests that if it had been Russia testing the bomb in the Aleutians, Americans would be deeply troubled. Distrust would beget distrust.

He favors a suspension of further tests until some agreement could be reached internationally. Peace was in the balance in Paris, not at Bikini.

"The experiments at Bikini mean suspicion of our purpose; they mean rivalry generated by desperation; they mean more tests, more bombs, and more tests, until that hapless day when the reckless misuse of God's power explodes and sweeps us all into the rubble-littered dust-pan of oblivion."

In Metz, Winston Churchill spoke the day before in celebration of the 157th anniversary of Bastille Day, urging Europe, including the "heroic ally" Russia, to rise from its ruins to avoid a third world war and "possibly fatal holocaust". French President Georges Bidault, speaking at another celebration in Paris, expressed gratitude to the United States for its role in the liberation of France. President Truman expressed by shortwave broadcast his salute to France.

Secretary of State Byrnes returned from Paris the previous day and gave a report to the President on the foreign ministers conference.

The price of cotton, and live beef and hogs reached their highest points since World War I and shortly thereafter, while butter, eggs, and poultry dropped sharply. Hogs reached $19 per hundredweight. Choice steers reached $25. Cotton was up to 35 cents per pound, the highest since 1923.

The Washington agent for Batavia and Erie Basin Metal Products Companies testified before the Senate War Investigating Committee that Congressman Andrew May had proved helpful to him six or eight times regarding war contracts given the companies.

Hal Boyle, still in Berlin, tells of a fraulein who had started a relationship with a young American officer. But this night, he was later than on other nights. The night before, his usual ready laughter had suddenly turned to a cold reaction when she spoke of wanting a new, strong Germany. Misunderstanding her meaning, he said that she was, after all, simply an unreconstructed Nazi, like all the others. They had parted unhappily.

In New York, a five-year old boy sought to sleep in his mother's bed and, after she assented, she went to get him a glass of water. When she returned, he was gone, having fallen from a window in the bedroom to his death three stories below. Police theorized that he mistook the window ledge for his mother's bed and, half asleep, fell out the window.

There are alternative explanations.

In Pasadena, Mount Wilson, site of the world's largest telescope of the time, went on sale for $425,000. It was also a hot property for future television transmitters.

In Hollywood, Linda Darnell, model and actress, had separated from cinematographer Peverell Marley, and shortly intended to institute divorce proceedings.

On the editorial page, "Unemployment and the Labor Shortage" discusses reporter Reed Sarratt's series on the Unemployment Compensation Commission in Charlotte, finding that 4,673 of the 14,000 veterans in the county had filed unemployment claims. In May, the rolls had dropped to 2,477 from a high of 6,397 in October. All of them were employable and had previously held jobs. That was so despite wages being high and there being a labor shortage.

Many civilian workers held jobs which had ended at the conclusion of the war, and many of the available jobs offered wages no higher than the unemployment payments, which averaged $12.59 for blacks and $14.03 for whites.

The veterans received a flat $20 per week and now comprised the bulk of the UCC business. Many of them had little or no background in employment because of their youth when entering the service. Many had acquired specialized skills in the service and wanted employment within the capacity of those skills. There was a constant turnover on the veterans' rolls and many stayed only for a short period on unemployment.

Yet, many of the veterans were taking advantage of this "rocking chair money" merely to enjoy a vacation for a year, the so-called "52-20 Club".

The piece favors amendments to the law to give a worker only a month to find a job within his set of skills and then be forced to accept any job which met minimum wage-hour standards, keeping him on the rolls in case a better job arose.

The Employment Service, now administered by the state, should also be merged, it recommends, with the UCC.

"When Wee Doubts Come Creeping..." comments on Dave Clark's Textile Bulletin editorializing in favor of continued price controls to avoid the prospect of runaway inflation, a strange departure for the conservative Bulletin, which usually inveighed against any form of government control as being Communist-inspired to achieve Socialism.

Now, it was seeking divine providence to guide the country into safer waters. The piece concludes that The News was doing likewise, but keeping its powder dry.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Git-tars Strummin' in Tennessee", comments on the success of political candidates in the South who had employed hillbilly bands as adjuncts to their campaigns. Big Jim Folsom had recently succeeded with one in his run for Governor of Alabama. He had been preceded by Governor and then Senator Pappy Lee O'Daniel of Texas and Governor Jimmie Davis of Louisiana, author of "Bedbug Blues" and "You Are My Sunshine".

Now came Edward Carmack of Tennessee, backed by the Wally Fowler Band, running against incumbent Senator Kenneth McKellar, backed by the powerful Crump Machine of Memphis. The Nashville Tennessean was supporting Mr. Carmack, finding that the songs of Wally Fowler were the good, traditional ones which all good Tennesseans would welcome into their homes even if Mr. Crump would not. Mr. Crump had hurrumphed that people were tired of such "patent-medicine vendor" antics by candidates.

And Roy Acuff of "The Grand Ole Opry" had announced his candidacy for Governor of Tennessee.

The piece concludes that, while Virginia was so far free of such candidates, Andrew Jackson apparently could not be elected in Tennessee unless backed by a hillbilly band or able to croon, himself.

Drew Pearson reports on the relatives and friends of Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky. His brother-in-law and cousin had previously been sent to prison for relief fraud; his political machine had, before that, burned down the county courthouse to try to destroy the records; and fourteen of his friends and political supporters had been sent to jail for relief fraud, a case in which Mr. May had been their attorney while a Congressman. It was against the law for a Congressman to act as an attorney for any party against the Federal Government. He had also exerted pressure on the Post Office Department to have the case dropped.

More people had been found in 1934 to be on relief in Prestonburg, Ky., the Congressman's hometown, than there were people in the town. A hundred of them were laying in the cemetery. It was simply a town racket to obtain funds from the Federal Civil Works Administration and then pocket the proceeds.

It thus should have come as no surprise that Mr. May was exerting influence on the Army to maintain war contracts with companies which had high production costs relative to others producing the same artillery shells.

Meanwhile, Secretary of War Robert Patterson had been going to Mr. May with hat in hand, as had Assistant Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, because Mr. May had carried the ball for them on the 1945 labor conscription bill and, more recently, during the previous fall, the bill to provide a measure of military control over atomic energy.

Marquis Childs again discusses the proposal for a National Science Foundation, to stimulate research through Federal aid, tied up in the House Interstate & Foreign Commerce Committee after it had passed the Senate with the only major change being elimination of a provision for encouraging social science research.

The House committee had members who appeared to want to suppress competition, such as Congressman Alfred Bulwinkle of North Carolina, but it also had members who appeared to want the legislation to reach the House floor, such as Representative Percy Priest of Tennessee.

A bill to provide 100 million dollars for research into cancer also was bottled up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Sol Bloom of New York, who favored it. But it remained a question as to whether it would emerge to be voted on by the full House.

The two bills were, says Mr. Childs, a test of the country's intentions regarding the use of science for peaceful purposes versus its use for war.

Samuel Grafton, in Los Angeles, again finds the country apathetic on political matters, the debate on OPA only transitorily having awakened a little spark of change from the otherwise prevailing attitude of insouciance.

When Wendell Willkie and Franklin Roosevelt had been alive, issues meant something to the people, but their absence alone did not appear to account wholly for the change. Something else had left American life when they had died, perhaps preceding their deaths. A sense of hope and conciliation appeared lost, with no liberal-minded persons seen on the landscape who could effect a sense of unity between right and left.

The price control fight had been dirty, just as many other recent fights in Congress, resembling a putsch mentality. It seemed to be characterized by the likes of Senator Pappy Lee O'Daniel on one side and the labor unions on the other, with the vast majority of Americans left out of the fight, sitting in the middle awaiting the outcome. Both Mr. Willkie and President Roosevelt did not believe in such polarized politics.

In international relations, the Russophobes were joining battle with eager Russians, not recognizing the large number of Americans who genuinely sought a peaceful world.

Moderation was in short supply, as those who had previously infused political opinion with it had turned away from the polarized debate to become mere spectators, concerned about more personal matters than the larger concerns.

A letter responds to the unwilling visitor to Charlotte of the previous Thursday who had found apparent fault with The News editorial of January regarding the death of Suzanne Degnan, expressing the writer's belief that the editorial snubbed its nose at the high crime rate of Chicago in deference to Charlotte, when its point had actually been in complete agreement with the letter writer, who found the crime rate 1.5 times higher in North Carolina than in Illinois and the top ten states for per capita murder by whites to be in the South.

This letter rejects regional prejudice as the worst sort of bias. He suggests a fund be established by the stupid readers of The News to provide the previous letter writer with a one-way ticket back to Chicago and plenty of rocking-chair money until he could find a job there.

A letter is reprinted from The Greensboro Daily News from Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, responding to an editorial which had been reprinted July 6 in The News, indicating how the North Carolina Congressional delegation had voted on whether to sustain President Truman's veto of the first OPA bill, listing Mr. Doughton erroneously as not voting when in fact he had, as well as Congressman Weaver, also listed among those not prsent, voted to override the veto. Moreover, Congressman Ervin, he points out, was paired with another member to override, and Congressman Cooley was paired to sustain, when both also had been listed as missing the vote.

He explains further that he had considerable misgivings about how to vote, as had many of his colleagues. Some voted to sustain because they believed it would mean that there would be no OPA, while others hoped for a better bill. This coalition of diametrically opposed members had joined to sustain the veto.

He says further that he never dodged deliberately a vote to avoid responsibility and was surprised at the editorial remarks of the Daily News, that it had in the past been highly complimentary of his efforts in Congress.

A letter from four WAC's, writing from Swannanoa, thanks the newspaper for its editorial "The Reception of the Nisei" from July 6, and hopes that all people would have the courage to fight for racial tolerance and world brotherhood.


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