Wednesday, July 17, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 17, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley expressed optimism that the Senate-House conference would reach agreement this date on a new OPA bill, reconciling the House and Senate versions, considerably at odds. House confreres were reported to be demanding that controls on meat, butter, eggs and several other food items be taken out of the Senate bill. The President had taken the stand that he would sign the bill if this change were made. Senator Robert Taft stated that he did not want to compromise the Senate bill.

The UAW forecasted a strike by consumers on purchase of meat, a boycott to last a week. Meat, said union president Walter Reuther, was only the first target, and rents and other items would follow. The union had 800,000 members nationwide.

Montana Senator Burton Wheeler had lost his bid for a fifth term to Leif Erickson, a former judge.

In Arkansas, Brooks Hays won his race against Parker Parker and Homer Berry, both former Army officers.

Harold Ickes discusses the unfitness of Senator Theodore Bilbo, just re-elected, to serve in the Senate. While a state senator, he had once taken $645 by his own admission to vote for an opponent of Senator James K. Vardaman, claiming that he was playing the role of detective. The State Senate had rejected his defense and declared him unfit to serve in that body. Nevertheless, he had not resigned and went on to become Lieutenant Governor and Governor for two terms.

In his recent campaign, he had spewed his usual racist bile, calling upon the citizens of Mississippi to prevent blacks from exercising the franchise, through violence if necessary. Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho had called upon the Committee on Privileges and Elections to investigate Mr. Bilbo's campaign antics.

His opponent in the campaign, a long term Congressman, Ross Collins, had charged that Mr. Bilbo had received $25,000 as a bribe from a war contractor to obtain for the company war contracts, and Mr. Collins had presented evidence of the misconduct. In response to the allegation and proof, the Clarkesdale Daily Press had declared the Senator unfit to serve.

The Senate would not ignore the situation, but would not throw Senator Bilbo out of his seat. Under an arrangement, however, he would return to Mississippi where he would die of cancer in August, 1947.

The Senate Military Affairs Committee heard testimony from high-ranking Army officers asking for a million-man permanent peacetime Army.

In Nuremberg, Baldur Von Schirach asked the War Crimes Tribunal to remember that he had, while testifying, repudiated Hitler as a murderer and sought to eradicate his image from the minds of German youth, the reverse of the ideal he had inculcated while heading the Hitler Youth.

A secretary for the Illinois combine of 19 companies being investigated by the Senate War Investigating Committee testified that she received several calls from Congressman Andrew May, averaging two or three per week, and also several calls from the office of Senator Alben Barkley, though unaware of whether Senator Barkley ever personally called. The offices of House Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts, Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, and others had also either been contacted or initiated communication with the company.

A Federal jury acquitted Russian Navy Lt. Nicolai Redin of espionage and conspiracy charges. He had been accused of purchasing Government blueprints of a new type of destroyer tender from a shipyard engineer. Lt. Redin thanked the jury and judge for a fair trial.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson issued an order forbidding the tape recording of phone conversations without the knowledge of the other party.

For the first time in more than 20 years, cotton had surpassed 35 cents per pound and was expected to rise as high as 40 or 50 cents, potentially making the annual crop worth about 300 million dollars more than that of the previous year.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the attorney for William Heirens was said to be preparing his client's confession to three murders, including that of six-year old Suzanne Degnan on January 7. The attorney, however, denied the story.

A deal had been constructed whereby Mr. Heirens would avoid the death penalty if he confessed to the three murders. It had not been determined whether the sentence would be for his natural life or life plus 99 years, the latter virtually assuring that he would never obtain parole.

He subsequently would contend that the offer of the plea bargain was the only reason he confessed.

John McKnight, substituting for Hal Boyle, reports from Rome of a nine-year old child prodigy symphony conductor, Pierino Gamba, who had conducted at the Royal Opera House with perfection, even if the critics thought it a well-rehearsed trick. He possessed perfect pitch and could identify any note when played and any chord along with its constituent notes. There appeared to be no great wealth of musical talent in his family background and so from whence sprang his genius was unclear.

He preferred his scooter and young friends to practice of his craft.

Pierino Gamba continued to develop his conducting talent and from 1971 to 1980 was the conductor for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, later becoming director of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia and the Uruguay National Symphonic Orchestra.

The first Democratic primary in which blacks and 18-year olds had been permitted to vote in Georgia saw long lines at the polls, indicative of record participation, more than a million voters. The black vote was heavy in the cities. FBI agents were present as poll watchers throughout the state, acting at the direction of Attorney General Tom Clark.

In Columbus, Ohio, an aggravated painter, pestered by a three-year old boy, painted the back of his head red the previous day and then, when he returned, painted his whole body gray. Juvenile authorities told the boy's mother that she could prosecute, but she declined, although the exercise in clean-up had been quite aggravating.

Source of the particular irritation to the painter was left unclear, but it may be that the young lad was just whistling Dixie.

On the editorial page, "Congress Ignores the Handwriting" suggests that Congress ought be able to determine from the previous two weeks of unregulated prices what would occur without OPA. Food prices had risen 10 to 20 percent, and clothing was expected to rise by that percentage. Rent was up 15 percent. According to the New York Times, it was just the beginning. Prime steers were up to record highs of $23 per hundredweight from $18 under price control. The average citizen was now paying about ten percent more of his income for essentials, food, clothing, and rent.

The apparent expectation that increased production would lead to reduction in prices was ignoring the handwriting on the wall.

But there was also self-interest involved in the delusion. Most of the opposition to OPA had come from the West and South, farm states likely to profit without controls. Most of the industrial areas had sided with the President.

The House was likely to be more temperate in its approach, as each Congressman served smaller constituencies and many depended for support on large metropolitan areas even in the 28 farm states. The country was divided into 74.4 million people living in urban areas and 57.2 million, in rural areas. Only a third of the Senate faced election in November.

The piece is pessimistic that anything good would come out of the House-Senate conference insofar as re-establishing controls on the essentials or removing some form of the Taft cost-plus amendment which insured rising prices.

The irony was that the farmers, for whose benefit the Senate was acting, would be hit the hardest in an inflationary spiral. The benefits would only be transitory.

"Mr. Broughton Suggests a Trade" comments on a speech by former Governor J. Melville Broughton to the American Farm Bureau Federation, in which he placed the racial issue in the South as only one facet of a larger effort to bring Dixie into competition with the rest of the country.

He cited as one issue lack of dairy production to meet the needs of North Carolinians, despite the state being ideally suited for dairy production, and consumption being less than half the national average. He also urged improved education, better housing, and health care, and that it be extended without regard to race. He had found, however, the Fair Employment Practices Commission to be "coercive and politically inspired", unnecessary in view of the friendly spirit of cooperation between the races.

He had made no direct reference to the racist campaign run in Mississippi by Senator Bilbo or in Georgia by former Governor Eugene Talmadge, but he did say, "The South could well afford to trade some of its full-fledged demagogues for some purebred bulls."

The editorial finds it a good platform on which to lead the people from the wilderness.

A piece from the Salisbury Evening Post, titled "Reasonableness and Intelligence", finds laughable the exhortation of the vice-president of the National Association of Manufacturers that consumers behave reasonably and intelligently and, if so, everything would be fine without OPA.

It suggests that if the qualities urged were so universal, then there would be no need for the armed forces, the U.N., or any other institution of society. Even God in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament did not rely on such positive human traits.

It urges the vice-president of NAM henceforth to have his stenographer's children instead issue his public statements and not bother the newspapers with such meaningless verbiage.

Drew Pearson reports that the appointment of Leighton Stuart as the new Ambassador to China had been on the recommendation of General Marshall based on Mr. Stuart's ability to get along both with the Communists and Chiang Kai-Shek. He had been in China for 50 years and spoke fluent Chinese. Prior to this recommendation, the President was preparing to appoint Lt. General Al Wedemeyer to the post.

He next informs of the President's direct hand in trying to defeat Democrat Representative Roger Slaughter, representing the district neighboring the President's home district. Mr. Slaughter had opposed almost every piece of Administration-backed legislation. An effort had been made to persuade James Pendergast, son to deceased Boss Tom, to work to defeat Mr. Slaughter. At first reluctant, he finally acquiesced after the President personally appealed to him. Mr. Pendergast's "Goat" faction of Democrats had thereafter backed the challenger. The "Rabbit" faction had split between two opponents.

Mr. Pearson notes that the Kansas City Democratic Party had for years been split between the "Rabbits" and the "Goats".

He reports that Bernard Baruch was opposed to monthly rotation of the chairmanship of the Atomic Energy Commission. Under the leadership of Herbert Evatt of Australia, Andrei Gromyko had encountered tough going as Mr. Evatt knew how reduce Mr. Gromyko to silence. Mr. Pearson relates some of the verbal exchanges.

Marquis Childs comments on the series of articles by Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times regarding his ten months spent in the Soviet Union, finding that the Russians had plentiful cause to be irritated with the critical nature of the report. He had sought to erase the notion that the Soviets wanted an ideal of Socialism for the masses, that the Government was in fact reactionary and repressive, creating in the process a cultural vacuum in the arts. Even in ballet, an area in which the Russians excelled, such hackneyed presentations as "Swan Lake" were the usual fare. There was no experimentation in dance as was the case in the United States.

Some good journalistic writing was taking place, such as Konstantin Simonov's Days and Nights, but the long tradition of Russian literature was not continuing under Soviet rule.

In social attitudes, repression was also prevalent. Birth control was heavily regulated and rewards were provided mothers to have children, similar to the methods employed by Hitler and Mussolini. Averill Harriman had reported that during the two years he had been Ambassador, he had never seen a single woman present at a state function. Women performed the same work as men and fought side by side with them during the war.

The Politburo suffered from severe group paranoia regarding the intentions of the West. Such a prevailing viewpoint suggested poor prospects for peace.

Mr. Atkinson had advised the United States to continue dynamic growth through production to raise the standard of living and remain ahead of Russia.

Mr. Childs suggests that the country, however, seemed to be headed instead into a boom-to-bust cycle as after World War I.

Samuel Grafton writes from Los Angeles regarding the difference in stance between Russia and the United States on reparations to be paid by Germany, that it was the attiude of the Russians that they could accept large quantities of German goods as reparations because of the country's ability to absorb imports. Such imports to the United States would put Americans out of work. Even Army surplus goods were not being brought home for sale to Americans.

Zeiss optical works in Jena was producing a large output, most of which was going to Russia. American optical companies found it to be an unfavorable development for producing competition.

It was through this lens that the Russian plan for Germany was understandable, that is the opposition to limiting Germany's size or cession of the Ruhr. The West objected to the size of the reparations sought by Russia, that it would take a century for Germany to repay it. Russia also wanted a strong German central government, probably with the idea of having it turn to socialism to repay the debt.

If the West continued to favor deindustrialization of Germany, it could aid Russia in being perceived by Germans as their best friend. The West wanted some of Germany to remain as a bulwark to Russia, leading to a plan for allowing Germany to produce and export enough goods to pay for its food.

The British were reported to be considering allowing the Germans to manufacture the Volkswagen for export, until they realized it would compete with export of British small cars.

The position therefore of the West, not in need of reparations and not wanting competition from Germany, left a choice between allowing Germany to produce for Russia and a Germany producing contrary to Western interests.

Britain and America were spending 520 million dollars per year to feed Germany while Russia was obtaining a net profit from occupation.

The situation was complex and for resolution would require more than a couple of conferences.

A letter writer proposes a buying strike after finding actual prices on food higher by as much as 30 percent, belying the ads run in local newspapers by merchants promising reasonable prices after OPA's expiration.

The editors reply that they were in agreement and had been editorializing as much as they could against ending OPA.

A letter from a state forester remarks on a part of the "Carolina Farmer" section of the newspaper published weekly and its recent inclusion of a section on forestry and control of forest fires, which the office had found interesting.

A letter from the associate superintendent of the Charlotte City Schools thanks the newspaper for its support shown for the establishment of a temporary college in Charlotte as part of the University system, to receive the overflow of applicants caused by the glut of veterans seeking admission to the regular University.

A letter asks the newspaper to supply any basis for a belief that Britain would repay the 3.75 billion dollar loan just signed into law by the President. He asks that the argument be good as he hoped to use it on his banker to obtain a personal loan.

The editors respond that the British had never defaulted on any previous loan from the United States, though they did not repay the war debts accumulated from World War I, arguing that the money had been spent in a common cause of war and so was not in the nature of a loan. The United States had accepted the argument.

They further analogize to a situation in which the writer and his banker had to fight off a neighbor with a baseball bat. The banker would likely loan the money for the bat and then, after the battle was won against the neighbor, advance another loan to the writer, especially if the writer could only purchase goods sold by the banker.

A letter from a man named Andrew McGill takes issue with the newspaper's editorial query on July 12 as to who was responsible for Senator Bilbo, finds the answer self-evident: FDR, who had brought Bilbo to Washington and made him a big shot after the people of Mississippi had years earlier rejected him. But, he continues, "Your Jewish masters in Washington don't let you print things like that do they?"

The editors respond: "Okay, we withdraw the question. Now we want to know: Who is responsible for Andrew McGill?"

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