Tuesday, July 23, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 23, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in the afternoon, the House had passed the compromised OPA revival bill out of the conference and it was headed to the Senate where it was hoped it would be passed and go to the President for signing before midnight. Administration officials believed that the President would sign it.

Some Republicans in the House had sought without success to block the measure.

Senator James Mead of New York, chairman of the War Investigating Committee, demanded that the War Department discipline high-ranking Army officers in the Batavia-Erie Basin war contracts case for having traveled to a gay wedding party in January, 1944, under official military orders, the wedding being of the daughter of Murray Garsson, involved in the Batavia-Erie Basin combine. The committee wanted also to know whether the officers had their per diem expenses paid by the Government.

The former secretary of the munitions makers testified before the committee that the Washington operative of the combine and Henry Garsson had asked that she be "hazy" in testifying before the company. She, however, refused to perjure herself.

The Baker Test, the second atomic bomb in Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll, was scheduled for the next day at 4:35 p.m., Washington time, July 25 at 8:35 a.m., Bikini time. Seventy-five ships stood ready for the underwater blast in Bikini Lagoon. The Arkansas and the Saratoga were parked near ground-zero for the blast. Observers would be stationed a dozen miles away.

Be sure and bring your own party supplies.

Howard Blakeslee, aboard the Appalachian observation ship, again supplies the pre-blast description of what the explosion was supposed to be like, "a column of water and spray shaped like a graceful pine tree two or three miles high"—with a sprig of watercress adorning the column and a slice of pineapple added for accent and color to the otherwise white column with a narrow neck, an art-deco suggestion, resemblant to the columns of the Johnson Wax Building of Racine, Wisc., designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The water plume would not be boiling hot, according to the oceanographers.

The plume would shoot upward at a speed of about 2,000 feet per second. About a million tons of water would be thrown upward, in a dome shape initially, then forming a solid column with the familiar mushroom at the top, out of which would grow the atomic column. It would reach its apogee in about 20 to 30 seconds and then take 15 to 20 minutes to dissipate. A cavity about 2,500 feet across would form in the lagoon at the base of the column, baring the bottom of the lagoon a hundred feet below the normal surface. The hole would be produced by the water being pushed aside, rather than displacement from the plume. The Arkansas was expected to be within the hole created by the bomb.

Cables with intermittent instruments attached to detect absence of water would record the size and shape of the blast depression. Empty beer cans were set to record possible overflow onto Bikini—which could prove an unexpected but rude awakening to any sunbathers observing the blast. If the wave did reach the atoll, it would fill each beer can to the top of the water's rise.

The oceanographers expected 50-foot high waves within a half-mile radius of the blast, but waves could reach twice that height or only half of it.

Inside the blast area, there was expected a "green sea hell that nobody can foretell", with waves up to 100 feet within this 3,000-foot diameter circle.

Scientists and engineers from Oak Ridge sent a telegram to House Speaker Sam Rayburn, urging revision of the House bill on control of atomic energy for its security measures requiring "loyalty tests" to be conducted by the FBI of every employee. The group stated that it would drive away competent scientists and engineers because of the invasion of privacy. They stated that the bill resulted from "appalling ignorance" of members of the House, particularly citing the statements by Representative John Rankin that there were plentiful spies at Oak Ridge.

In Jerusalem, about 20 Jews were detained in connection with the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in which 94 British and Palestinian Army officials were killed or were missing from the day before. The known dead totaled 48, including at least twelve British officers. The explosives were planted inside milk cans by persons in Arab dress, believed to be young Jews as they spoke Hebrew.

Arab and Jewish leaders alike condemned the act. Both Arabs and Jews were killed in the explosion. British soldiers expressed outrage, one saying, after removal of a dead British Woman's Auxiliary soldier: "There'll be hell to pay about our girls."

Prime Minister Clement Attlee in London criticized the violence, vowing not to be deterred by violence in setting policy with respect to Palestine and finding a "just and final solution" to the problem of Jewish settlement and immigration.

In La Paz, Bolivia, the bodies of the President and his advisers, killed in the Sunday military coup, were cut down from the lampposts on which they had been hanging since Sunday. A female civic leader who opposed the oppressive fascist Villarroel regime, had urged the removal of the bodies. In other cities in Bolivia, local authorities had been ousted from government posts without incident.

According to the Department of Agriculture, record crops for corn and wheat promised whiter bread. To avoid contributing to inflation and because of uncertainty as to whether foreign governments would pay the higher prices, the Department had stopped buying meat and wheat for foreign relief after June 30 when OPA had expired.

In Philadelphia, a 53-year old man jumped from the ninth floor of the Land Title Bank and Trust Co. Building, wearing a canvas money bag over his head.

A photograph appears of Shorty, 18, and Mattie, 79, of Cat Hollow, Ky., enjoying the Steeplechase Park at Coney Island, riding the "Chanticleer", as part of their complementary honeymoon. The young lovers appeared blissful and set to enjoy a fruitful marriage of 50 years or more.

What's that, Shorty?

Come here, kid.

Yeah, you. Ray Barboni of Miami would like to speak with you about your id and your est, ergo: why would you put Mattie on the "Chanticleer" when there are plenty of ordinary merry-go-rounds with horses in Steeplechase Park?

On the editorial page, "The Incident at Thomaston" comments regarding the support by the Thomaston Times given Georgia challenger James Carmichael to former Governor Eugene Talmadge in the gubernatorial primary which Governor Talmadge won. At least Mr. Carmichael had carried the county in which Thomaston was situated.

The editor of the newspaper had, along with most other Georgia newspapers, editorialized that the election of Mr. Talmadge came from ignorance, distinguishing the ignorance in the rural counties from the cities. An angry mob then appeared outside his house threatening that unless he apologized and retracted the editorial, they would destroy the offices of the newspaper. He then accompanied the mob to the offices, found a mob of a hundred additional persons at that location, and then and there promised an apology and retraction. He then printed it, saying that it was "just one of those things in politics".

The editorial begs to differ, that a threat to destroy a newspaper's physical plant had not occurred in many years and it was simply a product of the retrograde politics which Eugene Talmadge had used to achieve election.

It was a sign that Georgia would head down a regressive road unless the decent majority who had voted for Mr. Carmichael and been sidetracked by the county-unit voting scheme were to assert themselves in a battle to preserve civil liberties. While the supporters of Mr. Talmadge had won the first round, most Georgia editors would view the situation for what it was, a challenge to be met and to which no apology could be made for exercise of freedom of the press and speech.

"Victory for the Witch-Burners" finds the House amendments to the atomic energy control bill out of the Senate not, at first glance, outrageous by providing for strict loyalty checks to insure tight security over military secrets and providing for military oversight of the otherwise civilian commission.

But on closer examination, the amendments nullified the intent of the Senate bill which had been passed after months of careful inquiry of the most responsible Government and military officials. The House measure was primarily the work of the Military Affairs Committee chaired by Congressman Andrew May, and supported by John Rankin, leading witch-burner on HUAC, and fellow HUAC member J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, "who normally hands John Rankin his faggots"—meaning cigarettes, we think.

It suggests that these zealots had sought increase of military control when both the Army and Navy had expressed before the Senate committee satisfaction with a civilian commission out of the concern expressed by Mr. Rankin that the Government was full of Communists, and Oak Ridge beset by spies. Mr. Rankin had never heard of a traitor graduating from West Point. The piece comments that while it had never heard of a traitor holding a seat in Congress, "some of the most unmitigated asses on earth frequently do."

It finds these amendments suggestive of distrust of all foreigners and most Americans, that they would do great damage if passed and unwisely administered by the likes of Mr. Rankin and HUAC. It would open the "greatest witch-hunt in our history" and smacked of a police state.

The amendment providing for loyalty checks had passed by voice vote without serious debate. It hoped that the House-Senate conference would be able to amend the measure.

"The Final Pearl Harbor Report" finds the recent Congressional joint committee investigation of Pearl Harbor to have only confirmed what was known before and presented in the Army and Navy reports of 1944, released in September, 1945, and the Roberts Commission Report of January, 1942, simply adding some further detail. It doubts that the isolationist interests, so determined to place blame for Pearl Harbor at the feet of President Roosevelt and who had instigated this latest investigation, would be at all satisfied by the report.

The only purpose it had served was to underscore the need for better coordination within the armed forces, but had finally only recommended better coordination of intelligence services.

The Navy appeared to have won in its efforts to resist merger of the Army and Navy into a Department of Defense, as the President had given up on any such legislation in the 79th Congress. It appeared that he would not continue to fight for merger.

It remarks, from a photograph which had recently appeared on the front page of the newspaper, that one of the sailors had scrawled on the side of one of the surviving ships from the July 1 Bikini blast, "Old Sailors Never Die". It suggests it as an appropriate slogan for the merger plan as well.

The plan, however, would be revived and passed in 1947, ironically by a Republican Congress.

A piece from the Salisbury Evening Post, titled "On Talking Out Loud", expresses pride in the North Carolina press for criticizing the election to another term of former Governor Eugene Talmadge in Georgia after he had run on a white supremacist platform. The editorial asserts the belief that overcoming the tendency to defend the South based on sectional pride would aid considerably in enabling it to free itself of its worst tendencies.

It would be better to clean its own house than have to rely on outsiders for such assistance. The election of Mr. Talmadge and "Claghorn" Bilbo—albeit doing a distinct disservice to Senator Beauregard Claghorn by implicitly comparing him to Senator Bilbo—constituted two black marks on the South within a month.

But, given time, the Southern press, it suggests, would enable the people to clean their own house.

While true as far it would go, the only problem was that the virulence of reaction and resistance to new ideas and progress in race relations in parts of the South, so implicitly tied up in traditional economic pursuits and caste structure of the society of the region, would be so violently potent that such progress was far too slow and halting, such that nothing short of a societal revolution as took place in the 1950's and 1960's with the considerable aid of the Federal courts and the three Administrations and concomitantly serving Congresses, especially during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, could finally arrest the decadence and begin to get the people of the South to follow, en masse, their better consciences.

Drew Pearson reports of the angry confrontations which had taken place during the House-Senate conference to reconcile the varying OPA revival bills, which resulted in two of the House confreres walking out of the conference in protest of two absent Senators, one of whom was Majority Leader Alben Barkley.

House members had walked out after an angry confrontation with Senator Robert Taft regarding his efforts to decontrol food prices and his insistence on the cost-plus amendment.

He next tells of the effort of California Attorney General Robert Kenny to try, before the Supreme Court case on the issue could be decided, to obtain passage of the bill pending in Congress to relinquish Federal control of tidal oil lands to the states that they might continue to lease lands and collect substantial royalties. He had done so by filing an 822-page brief in the case, one of the longest in the history of the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department, in response, then moved to strike the brief for its length, citing the British case of Richard Mylward—decided when Shakespeare still trod the streets of London, in 1596. Mr. Mylward had filed a 120-page brief causing the court in that instance to fine him and then order him brought to the court on a Saturday, whereupon a hole was to be cut in the middle of the brief and his head placed through it, then led through the streets about Westminster Hall while the courts were in session, exhibiting him to one of every three of those courts.

Mr. Kenny had replied that the Justice Department's motion to strike the brief would deprive the State of California of its rights to be heard.

Justice Black summoned both Mr. Kenny and the Justice Department attorney and, while rebuking Mr. Kenny for the prolixity, stated that if it were not the State of California involved, he likely would grant the motion.

In the end, however, Mr. Kenny had successfully stalled the case such that it would not be heard until the following fall. Meanwhile, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada was pushing his bill regarding tidal oil lands, which, if passed, would moot the Supreme Court case.

Mr. Pearson notes, however, that the whole of the effort would likely go for naught as the President would almost assuredly veto the legislation if passed, as he had counseled the Justice Department in the first instance to move forward with the case to have declared the rights of the Federal Government in the lands.

Marquis Childs responds to his critics of a column of June 17 anent Justice Hugo Black published contemporaneously with the letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees written by Justice Robert Jackson from Nuremberg, accusing Justice Black of threatening "open war" on Justice Jackson unless he covered up facts in the Jewel Ridge Coal Corp. case of May 7, 1945, and for the assertion, along with Justice Felix Frankfurter, in the concurring opinion denying rehearing of the case, that Justice Black, though not mentioned by name, should have recused himself because his former law partner represented UMW in the case.

In the column, Mr. Childs had made mention of a dinner given for Justice Black in early 1945 "by a group representing labor and left-wing politics". He had also indicated that among those lionizing Justice Black were labor legal representatives who, a few days later, appeared before the Supreme Court to argue cases for their union clients. (The reference does not appear in the column which ran in The News, likely because those columns were often truncated from the original.) It turned out that the latter statement had been inaccurate, that the individuals in question had not actually spoken at the dinner but had sponsored it.

The column had gone on to list several prominent guests including then Vice-President Truman and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

He apologizes if the column made the testimonial dinner to Justice Black seem something other than it was.

Fred Vinson, now Chief Justice, then Economic Stabilizer, had spoken at the dinner, praising Justice Black for his courage in challenging forthwith, upon taking his seat on the Court in 1937, some of the widely held legal maxims of the time. The general tenor of the speeches had been to praise the Justice for his being a champion of civil liberties and social justice.

But Justice Jackson and the strict constructionists on the Court, including Justice Frankfurter, accused Justice Black of legislating from the bench to reach these decision for which he had received such praise.

Such was the heart of the quarrel on the Court, whether it should be an interpreter of the Constitution or extend beyond that role to determine the reasonableness of laws—and, corollary to that notion is always the concomitant that determining who "legislates" from the bench and who strictly construes the Constitution is most usually a function of determining which side of the issue, narrow viewing of the language of the document or expansive viewing of it, is being championed in any given case on any given point. For instance, taking an expansionist view of states rights doctrine under the Tenth Amendment or rigorously narrowing the scope of the First or Fourth Amendment to riddle it with exceptions, could just as easily be subject to the charge of legislating from the bench as standing firm for a strong central government by strict construction of the Supremacy Clause and strict construction of the First and Fourth Amendments as being expansive of individual rights, not delimiting of rights, by virtue of their language meant to constrain government.

Mr. Childs cites The Theory of Social Revolutions, published in 1913 by Brooks Adams of the famous Adams family of Massachusetts, consisting of a series of essays, one of which was titled "American Courts as Legislative Chambers", pointing out that early in the history of the Court, Justices were considered free to pass on the reasonableness of legislation, not merely its technical adherence to the Constitution. As Mr. Adams saw it, the Court eventually became the protector of the propertied interests of the country. Justices Joseph Bradley and Joseph Story, as well as others, had sought to redirect the Court from this track.

Mr. Childs states that Chief Justice Harlan Stone had sought to do likewise, turning the Court away from its pattern of repudiating New Deal legislation under FDR. He had counseled self-restraint by the Court. But very few of the Justices through the Court's history, Mr. Childs suggests, had possessed such self-restraint. It was what made the quarrel regarding the role of the Court so bitter.

It should be added that the term "strict constructionist" has, in times since the Warren Court, come to imply conservatism, while "legislating from the bench" came to be applied to the Warren Court liberal view of civil liberties. But, again, it is quite as easy to reverse those terms and suggest that it was the Warren Court majorities which were actually strictly construing the document and the so-called conservatives of the era since the Warren Court who have been "legislating" from the bench by considerably narrowing those doctrines without overturning previous cases by simply carving an array of case-by-case exceptions, a poor man's way to have any certainty for the society in the law, as it becomes a political tool of the right.

The "left", after all, in its strictest sense, is synonymous with a liberal government, which is plainly the thrust of the Constitution from its Founding. Such statements as that by Robert Bork that original intent cannot be discerned is so much poppycock. The document was born of a Revolution, a liberal revolution, not a reactionary one. If one can read without chicanery in mind or word games in play, the document, a quite serious affair, becomes plain as day, that it is intended to preserve the inherent rights of liberty for which the Revolution was fought pursuant to the Declaration of Independence. It did not imply in any respect an effort to curtail those rights, except with respect to the expressed limitation of the Second Amendment. It only becomes beclouded when personal interest and personal politics intrude to try to protect friends rather than serving the public interest.

Samuel Grafton writes from Los Angeles that Americans were congratulating themselves that isolationism was dead, and the view appeared to have basis in fact, the passage of the British loan in Congress the previous week to enhance world trade and rebuilding of Europe being a prime indicator. But at the same time, the Congress was busy dismantling OPA, which had a direct impact on foreign trade by raising prices, an effect missing from the debate on OPA. The British loan would be devalued by the inflation in prices in American goods, as the loan was constrained to use for purchase of American raw materials and products.

Cotton was one raw material which Britain wished to buy and the price was now skyrocketing, about 50 percent higher than the previous year.

The reaction in Belgium, for example, to such American inflation had been gleeful, on the premise that Belgium could thus better compete for trade with Britain.

And by taking price controls off of meat and dairy products, the grain needed to feed Europe and other areas would be diverted to the feeding of livestock.

So, while the defeats of Senator Wheeler and Senator Shipstead had signaled a turn from the isolationist past of the country, there were still aspects of it which survived indirectly because of inattention to the effects abroad of changes in domestic policy.

Editor Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly playfully takes issue with The News for suggesting it had no right to meddle in the politics of Georgia and its unit voting system, despite the editorial in question having gone ahead and ventured its opinion against the unfairness of that system and wishing well the legal challenge to it.

He finds the concept of not meddling in the business of others a frequent position taken in newspapers, but begs to differ, that it was the function of the newspaper to do so, not speaking of personal affairs, but rather in terms of public affairs of another state or community.

So, he counsels to The News that it issue to itself a cease and desist order against ever suggesting again such self-restraint. Moreover, he stresses that most of the persons in whose business they would be thus meddling would rather it happen than not be mentioned at all by the newspaper.

The editors respond that Mr. Graves was the most "thoroughgoing and entertaining meddler" of whom they knew, and had issued the cease and desist order upon themselves, yet reminding that they had appended "strictly speaking" as an exception to their pronouncement of the general rule in the first instance.

The "Box Score" is provided on the vote of the North Carolina Congressional delegation regarding the OPA revival bill and its various attempts at amendment, plus the vote on the British loan, the President's reorganization plan, and the sale of Treasury silver.


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