Tuesday, July 9, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 9, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin had proposed that Congress let OPA sleep awhile longer to afford free enterprise a "reasonable chance to demonstrate its integrity without controls". It was apparent, according to Majority Leader Alben Barkley, that the Senate was going to adopt the Wherry amendment to remove price controls on meat, poultry, and eggs. It was believed that if this amendment were successful, then another amendment to remove controls on oil would follow and likely another regarding dairy products.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson stated that the Government would likely suspend until fall meat buying for famine relief abroad if meat controls were not restored. The summer season was the time when livestock marketing was low and the Government did not want to bid against the American consumer and thus drive up prices. Under OPA, the meat producers were required to set aside a certain portion of their livestock for the Government at ceiling prices. With controls gone, the set aside also was gone and thus the Government was left to bid on the open market for the meat. In the fall, marketings would be higher and so it was believed the impact on prices by Government bidding would be less.

Debate in the House on the British loan drew a warning from Representative Roy Woodruff of Michigan that the loan might sow the seeds for World War III by neglecting to provide a similar loan to Russia and implicitly thereby threatening Russia with a Western bloc build-up. Republicans were heavily split regarding support of the loan.

The Senate Military Affairs Committee approved a White House plan to pay in the form of both cash and Government bonds missed furlough time to soldiers. The House had already unanimously approved the back furlough pay.

The four-power foreign ministers conference awaited a declaration by Russia of its policy toward Germany as France was authorized to send out invitations to the 21-nation world conference to begin in Paris on July 29. The invitations would be accompanied by a few suggested rules of procedure, not the body of mandated rules as Russia had initially sought. Britain and the United States favored an end to rigid zonal boundaries in Germany, favoring economic unification of Germany. France wanted the Saar incorporated into France economically, political detachment from Germany of the Rhineland, and internationalization of the Ruhr. Britain, the U.S., and France wanted Germany divided into states which could later be unified into a federation. France had suggested unification of the French and American occupation zones.

The U.N. Security Council had received applications for membership from Transjordan, Bangkok, and Albania, each of which would be controversial.

Miguel Aleman continued to lead former Foreign Minister Ezequiel Padilla in the returns from Mexico's presidential election held Sunday.

In Frankfurt, Germany, the Countess Von Hesse, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, along with relatives, found that a large number of the family jewels were still missing after return of the loot recovered after the arrest of Col. J. W. Durant and his wife, Kathleen Nash, a former WAC captain, and alleged accomplice, Major David Watson, for the heist from the basement of Kronberg Castle while it had served as Allied occupation headquarters.

The Durants had been arrested at the La Salle Hotel in Chicago on Monday, June 3, some 38 hours before the devastating fire had swept the hotel at 12:30 a.m. on June 5, killing 61 people.

In Bad Nauheim, Germany, a lieutenant was fined $300 and reprimanded by a military court martial for his role in permitting guards to strike American soldier prisoners at the Lichfield prison in England.

The Senate War Investigating Committee heard testimony that the Erie Basin Metal Products Company of Illinois had charged over $19,000 worth of liquor and miscellaneous gifts to Government expense under war contracts during 1944. The War Department had disallowed the expenditure, although it did allow nominal charges for entertainment and gifts, especially when provided to materials suppliers.

Republican Senator Henrik Shipstead of Minnesota had been defeated for re-nomination to the Senate by Governor Edward Thye, the candidate favored by former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen. Senator Shipstead had opposed the U.N., while Governor Thye supported it. The Stassen-backed candidate also won the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

In Malden, Mass., a man trapped in conveyor belt rollers which were crushing his legs was able to throw tin cans at the switch until he successfully was able to turn off the machine. It took him 30 attempts to hit the target six feet away. The cans had spilled from the belt. He had already cut the belt with a jackknife which he had in his pocket but that effort did not stop the machine, which had caught his legs above the knee. It was believed he would recover without amputation.

The War Assets Administration was preparing to sell off about 600,000 surplus compasses. They cost the Government $1.50 each and would be sold for 60 cents to $1.15.

Perhaps one of them could determine the proper heading for the country and the world to follow back home.

On the editorial page, "Log-Rolling Even on OPA" finds the Senators trading votes on commodities favorable to their constituents in exchange for controls on prices on commodities in which their constituents had no interest, old fashioned log-rolling.

Controls on meat, poultry, eggs, cotton, tobacco, petroleum, lumber, all were being traded back and forth by the Senators from the states which produced them.

But, as the successive heads of OPA since its creation, Leon Henderson, Chester Bowles, and Paul Porter, had consistently advised, effective price control required a uniform program and could not be accomplished piecemeal.

The Congress did not seem to understand this concept, that ceilings could not be placed on the things consumers of a given state bought while being removed from the things they sold.

"Yes, Your Honor, Mecklenburg's Unique" reports that on this week three members of the Grand Jury were missing in Superior Court, following a week in which a circuit riding judge was nowhere to be found. The Judge was without power to dismiss the Grand Jury and impanel another and so the missing jurors had to be found. Eventually they were located on Monday afternoon.

To add to the comedy of errors, the only prisoner the law could maintain in custody was one against whom there was no criminal charge, a material witness in the case against the private detective accused and convicted of homicide, now on appeal. The hapless witness had been in custody for two months without benefit of counsel, under a $5,000 appearance bond, the equivalent of that fixed for defendants accused of murder. He was being held, now permitted visits from his family and provided a radio by the Sheriff, just in case the state Supreme Court might reverse the conviction and order a new trial.

The editorial suggests that should a judge and grand jury ever appear together in the court again, they might look into the matter, as it would make an excellent starting point for examination of the slipshod administration of justice in Mecklenburg County.

"Rube Graham was the Southern" suggests that the traditional belief that the railroads were large, soulless corporations could not be proven through the conduct of the general passenger agent in Charlotte for the Southern Railway, Rube Graham, who had just passed away after 47 years on the job. Never cross or rude, always endeavoring to find space on trains for travelers, he had always been around or so it seemed. He played official host for the Southern when football specials took fans from Chapel Hill or Durham to Charlottesville.

Other agents would likely find the necessary space on the trains for the passengers, but it would not be the same without Mr. Graham. The warm and human quality which he had brought to his job could not easily be replaced.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "By a Handful of Earth...." begins by quoting Shakespeare from King Henry IV, Part 2 re Richard II, that "the blood of fair King Richard, scraped from Pomfret stones," was once carried to London to foment rebellion against his successor, King Henry IV.

The people of the liberated towns of Belgium had such a thought in mind, it suggests, when they sent the blood-soaked earth of Bastogne as a gift to President Truman on Independence Day, as a gesture of thanks for the American effort at the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944 and January, 1945. Some 11,000 Americans had perished in the battle, most of them during the initial two weeks. Yet, Germany suffered 300,000 casualties in its last-ditch offensive through the Ardennes.

When the German drive had collapsed, the heart had gone out of the German fighting effort. It was then understood by all that it was only a matter of time before the war would end with German collapse.

It states that all who were there would remember the "strange hush" which had fallen over the American troops and over all of Western Europe during that December. "It was as though men were listening for the footsteps of destiny, even as the armored vehicles plunged forward to sustain our wavering lines."

Victory had never been certain until that battle had ended. It would be well, it urges, to remember it.

The greater victory for which the sacrifice had been made remained uncertain, "and memories are short".

Parenthetically, we note that significantly higher numbers of Americans killed in the battle, about 19,000, may be found in other sources, likely because of confused reliance on the substantial American casualties suffered during the same period on other parts of the Western Front or because of inclusion of those listed as "missing", subsequently determined to be prisoners. The piece appears to have relied on the counts provided contemporaneously by the War Department. By the same token, substantially lower estimates of German casualties may be found, around 100,000, in part because of the variance between casualty figures which included prisoners, over 100,000 Germans having been captured during the battle, and later counts which subtracted prisoners or those listed as "missing" and determined subsequently to have survived. Regardless, the Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest Western Front battle of the war on both sides.

Drew Pearson reports that Senator Alben Barkley's son was an employee of the Erie Basin Metal Products Company, part of the combine of 19 Illinois companies being investigated by the Senate War Investigating Committee. His son had been employed by the Elgin Watch Case Company, part of Erie. The Senator stated that he had been unware of the association with Erie when he recommended that his son take the job, thought it was part of Elgin Watch.

Mr. Pearson points out also that the husband of one of the Senator's secretaries regularly hung around Erie to provide advice on where the company could obtain priorities and materials during the war.

He next informs of a battle which had occurred in committee between Senators Abe Murdock of Utah and Robert Taft of Ohio regarding Senator Murdock's offense taken to Senator Taft not allowing OPA head Paul Porter to complete his answers to questions and constantly interrupting the testimony to make statements. Senator Murdock asked Senator Barkley to establish order. Senator Barkley stated that he intended to maintain order and Senator Taft demurred.

He next relates that Democratic Governor Jack Dempsey of New Mexico had assured the Presidnt that Senator Dennis Chavez, also a Democrat, would be re-elected as Senator over the challenge by former Ambassador Patrick Hurley, a Republican. It had been rumored that Governor Dempsey might throw his support to General Hurley after the Governor had nearly caused the defeat of Senator Chavez in the primaries.

It was reported that 61 percent of veterans could not afford to pay rents above $30 to $40 per month, and that the removal of price ceilings would soon place rents and building costs out of reach of most veterans.

The president of the New York State Association of Real Estate Boards stated that the end of rent controls was the worst thing which could have happened to property interests in New York.

Marquis Childs reports that Administration officials were receiving reports from the House that the chances of victory for the British loan, already passed by the Senate, were not good. Former Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones had been a major lobbying force seeking defeat of the loan. Its defeat promised problems for the foreign ministers conference in Paris, as Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan, part of the U.S. delegation in Paris, had stated that the success of the conference was predicated on approval of the loan.

Mr. Jones had worked on amendments to the bill which were said to be so offensive to the British that they would have to reject the loan even if approved. Mr. Jones would be aligned with the Communists if the move to defeat the loan proved successful.

At 72, he was attempting to maintain his power and influence in Washington politics. In early 1945, he had sought and failed to block the nomination of Henry Wallace as his successor at Commerce; but he was successful in removing the power over the RFC from the Commerce Department, limiting his successor's reach as his own had not been. He had developed personal enmity with Mr. Wallace during the war when the Vice-President contested him regarding the Board of Economic Warfare and his failure to procure certain war materials fast enough, especially synthetic rubber. Mr. Jones had prevailed in that fight, costing Mr. Wallace a rebuke by President Roosevelt at the time.

Samuel Grafton, still in Los Angeles, likens the opponents of price control to a child trying to topple a table to reach a cookie. It had stimulated a whole host of new issues, among them whether labor would need to make up for a rising cost of living if controls continued unckecked and what to do about the open debate over price control which had not ceased as the opponents had hoped when controls ended. In consequence, the opponents were seeking to make calling attention to rising prices seem unpatriotic while pointing out that price increases had been minimal.

So, having first weakened price control until "one of the meekest Presidents who ever lived could not sign the bill," they had gone further and were attacking the press for being a watchdog on prices.

A letter responds to a letter which had appeared July 4, missing from the records, from a landlady defending rising rents. This writer tells of the woes of the hapless renter who could not get the landlord to fix anything despite higher rents.

A letter writer relates that he was born in Cleveland County in 1890, had served in the Army from 1909 to 1920, participated in the Pershing Punitive Expedition into Mexico in 1916-17 and in World War I in France in 1918. He had been active in the Disabled American Veterans of World War I.

He now lived in Phoenix, had been a police officer, a deputy sheriff, game warden, time-keeper on the WPA, a publicity man in political campaigns, and had helped to organize the Veterans Protective & Welfare Association, now operated its official news organ.

He says that he would like to walk down West Trade Street in Charlotte and see the trains again as he had done when a boy.

Any veteran of either world war who wanted to come to Arizona would have a job with him.

A letter writer wonders why sugar and other things were in shortage, suggests that it must be the black market. Yet there were more cigarettes than people could smoke.

The OPA, he says, should be put to a vote or the American people should not have to pay taxes.

He wonders why Congress wanted to make a law to hold down old-age pay to people 65 years old as most of those people were dead, and the old age pay was so small, he would be ashamed to say what it was.

He wants to see everyone have the guts to "throw it into them" as he had in his letter.

And, as the sports page told the story, the American League defeated the National League in a lop-sided All-Star Game, 12-0.

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