Monday, July 29, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 29, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Georgia Governor-nominate Eugene Talmadge deplored the killing of the two black couples at Moore's Ford Bridge near Monroe on the previous Thursday afternoon. He vowed that there would be a minimum of such violence during his administration as Governor. He stated that during his prior three terms as Governor, each for two years, there had not been a single lynching in Georgia. He further expressed his sympathy for Governor Ellis Arnall that a lynching had occurred during his term and knew that it caused him "chagrin and embarrassment".

The State Police reported that they had run into a "stone wall" in their investigation, that they believed that they knew who some members of the lynch mob were, but could not prove it. The Sheriff of Walton County declared that the authorities of the county were prepared to cooperate with State authorities.

In Paris, the 21-nation peace conference got underway. French President Georges Bidault welcomed the delegates and urged that they construct world peace, warned that the reason for the failure after World War I was that the United States and Russia had sat on the sidelines. It was decided that the texts of the treaties to which the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia had agreed at the earlier foreign ministers conferences would be published on Tuesday. Secretary of State Byrnes proposed that the conference be open to the press.

Comptroller General Lindsay Warren of North Carolina told the Senate War Investigating Committee that it was "damnable" that Army officers were able to obtain lucrative private sector jobs from war producers whose contracts the officers helped to draft and settle while in service. He named three specific officers who had so benefited.

Members of Congress indicated that they had given up hope of action in the current session of Congress regarding the long-term housing bill, calling for 1.5 million new units per year during the ensuing decade.

Howard Blakeslee reports from Bikini regarding preparations for the contemplated third test of the atom bomb, "Charlie", to take place deep under sea, scheduled for the following spring. Meanwhile, radiation from Baker continued to prevent inspection crews from boarding ships in Bikini Lagoon four days after the blast. Live animals had been found on at least two ships within the outer circle. Sixteen vessels had been sunk or damaged in the Baker test.

Harold Ickes discusses the dead Canol Project, pet of Lt. General Brehon Somervell during the war, designed to provide an oil pipeline into Alaska to supply the American troops. The project had been envisioned in 1942 and wound up costing 138 million dollars before being canned. It had been kept so secret that neither the Petroleum Administration for War, headed by Mr. Ickes, nor the Congress were informed of its details. Yet Canadian magazines printed stories about it. The Foreign Liquidation Commissioner had now, however, deemed the project of doubtful value, even in the event of another national emergency.

In mid-1942, Mr. Ickes had recommended, instead of the pipeline, that a storage facility be established at Whitehorse such that in eight trips, a tanker could provide 800,000 barrels of oil within a year at a cost of four to eight million dollars.

As it was, it took Canol until April, 1944 to begin operation. Canol did not produce 800,000 barrels until May, 1945, at a cost of 120 million dollars. But with the war over in Europe and the Pacific war by then on the far side of the Pacific, Canol was shut down. The facilities were rusting and it was doubtful that the United States would realize much return from sale of the equipment.

Mr. Ickes suggests that General Somervell operated much the way he had at the War Production Administration, that if a project was expensive and required a lot of men to build, it had to be good, especially if it was worthless.

Julian Miller, 59, Editor of The Charlotte Observer, had died of a heart attack in Lumberton while having lunch with members of his family, on the way back to Charlotte from a week-long vacation in Wrightsville Beach.

In Caruthersville, Mo., an automobile ferry collided with two oil barges resulting in the deaths of at least ten persons aboard the ferry. Thirteen others were saved. Five or six vehicles with as many as thirty occupants were tossed into the waters when the ferry overturned.

In Chicago, the Sheriff reported finding a note from William Heirens to his parents stating that he was contemplating suicide in the wake of the weekend announcement of his expected confession to three murders, including that of six-year old Suzanne Degnan on January 7. Guards were stepped up around his cell.

In Texas, Beauford Jester, member of the Texas Railroad Commission, held a commanding lead over his gubernatorial opponent in the Democratic primary, former University of Texas president Homer Rainey. The primary was held the previous Saturday and a runoff between the two leaders in the balloting would be held August 24. Mr. Jester, a moderate, would ultimately triumph.

Dr. Rainey was responsible for inviting W. J. Cash to speak at the commencement exercises in Austin on June 2, 1941. He was subsequently ousted as president of the University because of his liberal views.

And, in August, 1964, as we have previously pointed out, the bodies of the three dead civil rights workers killed on the night of June 21 near Philadelphia, Miss., were found in an earthen dam on the Old Jolly Farm. While Sheriff Lawrence Rainey was acquitted of charges of Federal civil rights violations in connection with those slayings, his Deputy, Cecil Price, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

In Philadelphia, police found a five-year old boy weaving through traffic on his tricycle at midnight. Attempts at the station to question him proved futile as he insisted on grilling the police in his own right as to who they were and what the equipment in the office was doing. After a night's rest, their further efforts to ascertain who he was beyond "Paul" went for naught, as he continued the interrogation of the police. They hoped that his parents might show up.

On the editorial page, "Julian Miller...Editor and Advocate" laments the loss of the Editor of The Charlotte Observer. He had been a newspaperman for over 40 years, serving on the old Charlotte Chronicle, The News, as Editor from 1915 to 1932, and then The Observer. He was considered one of the prominent citizens of the Carolinas.

"Julian Miller believed in God, higher education, an industrialized South and the men who made it possible. He extolled their virtues, and defended them against all those he deemed to be their enemies. His editorial methods were those of the earlier days of personal journalism: he praised without stint and condemned without quarter, and he built as loyal a following as any editor in the region."

A story went around that in earlier days, a citizen had stopped him on the street to remark that he was writing some powerful editorials, but the man did not agree with all of them. Editor Miller was said to reply, "Hell, neither do I."

He was known as an orator as well, but would twist uncomfortably in his seat awaiting his turn at the rostrum, before providing an eloquent delivery.

The piece says that he was cherished as a colleague and a competitor and that he would be missed.

"The Wagner-Ellender-Taft Bill" finds the 79th Congress hastening toward adjournment for the elections, leaving much unfinished business, not the least of which was the long-term housing bill. Wilson Wyatt, the housing administrator, had stated that the bill was killed by lobbying groups for the builders and real estate interests. If true, it was a blot on the Congress.

The bill could not be viewed as a left wing New Deal proposal, as it was trying to afford decent housing for veterans over the course of the ensuing ten years. It enjoyed bipartisan support and sponsorship. Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana and Senator Robert Taft of Ohio were both conservatives.

The objectionable part to the lobbyists was the inclusion of a 60-million dollar provision for slum clearance, to be undertaken in cooperation with local communities. But it was only a tenth of the bill. The remainder was designed to stimulate construction of low and moderate-income housing. Most of the 415 million dollars which was to be spent under the bill would be recouped by the Government, as it was primarily for the purpose of making FHA loans.

The cry being raised against the bill that it smacked of "socialism" was simply untrue. While not a perfect piece of legislation, a long-term housing program was necessary. It urges that the Congress act on it, that leaving the problem to the builders and real estate interests, which tended to be self-serving, would not resolve the substantial housing problem facing the nation.

"Who Called Out the Witch-Hunters?" wonders at the presence of HUAC investigators in Charlotte to examine a charge that Ward Blanton, W. T. Shore, and Vivian Baird were operating a divorce mill. Such was not within the ordinary purview of HUAC. Surely it had not now branched into attempts to assure every American a fair trial, when normally the committee was operating under guidelines which denied due process, depriving Americans of civil liberties.

Such extension of its authority appeared to intrude on the province of the Department of Justice and should be considered improper even by the most ardent witch-burners.

The piece urges an investigation by the State into HUAC's investigation.

Unfortunately, as the case in question has not been elucidated on either the editorial page or the front page thus far, we have no means of fully understanding the issues which brought HUAC to Charlotte.

Drew Pearson examines the start of the 21-nation Paris Peace Conference to finalize the treaties of Europe and formally conclude the war. Hanging over the conference was the looming possibility of another war. Critics of Woodrow Wilson had found fault with his sloth in establishing the peace at Versailles after World War I. Yet, he had begun two months after the war and completed the task six months later. The longer peace was delayed, the more the freed nations would forget their gratitude. Russia had deliberately sought to delay the peace so that it could establish itself in the Balkans, Hungary, and Austria, and afford time for unrest to develop in the non-Soviet-occupied countries of Central Europe, to favor the position of Communism. Additionally, Russia did not want its armies coming home as there was not enough food for them and quick demobilization could have produced economic and social revolt.

Yet, the United States was also at least as responsible, perhaps more so, for the delay, as the State Department was completely unprepared for the peace. In October, 1942, Secretary of State Hull declined to provide his views on the post-war peace to Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin. The reason, asserts Mr. Pearson, was that Mr. Hull had not begun to think about the peace.

Mr. Hull had surrendered a point to Russia during the 1943 Moscow Foreign Ministers Conference, in advance of Tehran, regarding participation of the smaller nations in construction of the peace. Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt had agreed to a comprehensive plan to include the smaller nations, a plan authored by Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. The timing had been good to get Russia onboard because Russia then needed the West more than the West needed Russia. Yet, nothing was done to obtain Russian approval for participation of the smaller nations. Thus, it had been left to Secretary of State Byrnes since the end of the war to use all of his diplomatic skills to obtain Russian approval for the 21-nation conference, precipitating months of delay.

Marquis Childs looks at three myths which had attached to OPA, first that it was unpopular with the people. Elmo Roper of the Roper Poll had dispelled that notion via his determination that every major poll in the country showed that at least 65 percent of the people supported continued price controls after the war. Second, the black market was not so pervasive as promoted. No one to whom Mr. Childs had ever talked had any idea where to obtain meat on the black market. While it had been utilized perhaps by restaurants, the average consumer did not partake of it. Third, it had been said that the rise in prices would be temporary until demand and supply roughly reached parity. But that prediction ignored the reality that there was pent-up demand and buying power from war savings and shortages. Thus, it would take some time before supply and demand would be equal. Moreover, the grain supply would be diverted again in the fall and winter to feed Europe, leaving a meat shortage.

Bernard Baruch, at the start of the war, had said that only a comprehensive program of price and wage controls, together with taxes, would work to prevent wartime inflation, and that it would be necessary to continue those controls for two years after the war. Political pressure had intervened to render price control now a patchwork quilt. The bill the President signed the previous week was better than nothing, but, stripped of much of its power, it remained to be seen whether OPA could now be at all effective in controlling inflation.

Samuel Grafton discusses the elevation of the Big Five unilateral veto power, both on the Security Council and on the proposed U.N. atomic energy commission, to a position of central importance while, in fact, the real issue lay beneath it: the failure of the West and the Soviets to agree on basic issues.

The peace did not depend on whether the veto was eliminated. Even without a veto, it would be present in an informal sense, as no major nation would permit a majority vote of the Security Council to exact punishment against its will.

The internationalists in America had been knocked out of the debate by the extremists both in America and in the Soviet Union, the hardliners who brooked no compromise. It was these polarizing opinions on both sides which were driving the engine of discord and preventing assurance of future peace.

A letter writer takes considerable umbrage at the newspaper's "crusade" against the "52-20 Club", the veterans who were living off "rocking-chair money" for a year at $20 per week. He finds the veterans legally entitled to that money and that what made The News the "liveliest newspaper in the Carolinas" [sic], (it is the "Livest"), were "those big black headlines and these silly controversies".

The editors respond: "Well, they help. And it's so easy to stir up a silly controversy when our readers manage to interpret three factual stories and two mildly critical editorials as a crusade."

A letter from a veteran who had been receiving the $20 per week for awhile thanks a previous objecting letter writer who believed that the veterans were goldbricking. He now had a job paying $27 per week and had four dependents. So he thanks the previous writer for paying the tax bill to support him temporarily.

A letter defends the newspaper from its criticism by the Chicagoan who had been involuntarily cast as a Charlotte resident and found the editorial of January 14 in the aftermath of the Suzanne Degnan murder to be unduly critical of Chicago's crime rate compared to that of Charlotte and North Carolina—even though the editorial was actually taking exception to the high murder rate of Charlotte compared to Chicago.

A letter from the U. O. Colson Co. of Paris, Ill., tells of its policy in holding the line on prices of its calendars during the 25-day period in which OPA was not in effect, despite the company's pre-announced price increases six months earlier. It urges other companies to follow that practice, and, if so, the country would shortly be "in the groove".

A letter writer, who often wrote cursory, cryptic letters, writes another one, comparing the War Investigating Committee to a shell game. "The truth shall rise again."

The only thing we can say to that is that when Colson holds the prices down, their hearts and minds will follow.

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