Monday, August 12, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, August 12, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that two additional ships had anchored in Haifa Harbor, bringing to 3,900 the estimated illegal Jewish immigrants from Europe either aboard ship in the harbor or en route.

Meanwhile, the Jewish underground radio warned Jews in Palestine to stock up on food as long curfews lay ahead. The Jewish underground organization Haganah stated its determination to resist any British attempts to blockade immigration.

A decision by the British on the blockade of illegal immigration was expected to be announced this night.

A recess occurred in the trial of 22 young Jewish men and women, members of the Stern organization, on charges that they had attacked the Haifa railway station on June 17. The defendants, under heavy guard by British and Arab troops, sang in Hebrew for ten minutes at the beginning of this day's session.

Secretary of State Byrnes assumed the position as chairman of the Paris Peace Conference in the normal three-day rotation schedule, and was challenged by Soviet delegate A. Y. Vishinsky for allowing Yugoslavia to begin debate of the question raised on Saturday by Italian Premier Alcide de Gaspari, asking for less strict treaty terms. Mr. Vishinsky wanted immediate open debate. Eventually, after an hour of contention, Mr. Byrnes ruled that he would entertain a motion for further debate after the statement of the Yugoslav delegate.

A witness told the House Surplus Property Committee that in April he had offered $800 each for 181 refrigerators to the War Assets Administration, which then told him that they could be had instead for only $295 each, an aggregate savings to him of $91,405. He then ordered the refrigerators, but had not yet located a buyer. The witness pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked about his pre-war dealings. He had been accused by Senator Hugh Mitchell of Washington of offering him a $5,000 bribe to try to stop the investigation into the Garsson brothers combine.

A group of North Carolina veterans met at Pinehurst to organize each of the State's twelve Congressional districts. Many of them had been candidates in the recent primary. Adopting the name "G.I. Democrats of North Carolina", they pledged themselves to "orderly achievement of progressive aims through our democratic government."

The only readily recognizable name of subsequent North Carolina politics was L. H. Fountain of Tarboro, who served as a Democrat in Congress for thirty years, from 1953 to 1983. He also served as assistant to U. N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg during the Security Council debate after the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel in June, 1967—that war, involving also Jordan and Syria, being the principal cause, according to Sirhan Sirhan, for his assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy a year later, occurring June 5 on the anniversary of the beginning of that war, for Senator Kennedy's enunciated stand in favor of U. S. support to Israel.

In Berlin and Paris, the Army had arrested two members of a five-member New York City family on charges of smuggling through the black market. A father and his four sons, each of whom had been in the service, were said to be involved. One family member had confessed to the crimes.

In New York, a sympathy strike of the American Communications Association stopped the flow by wire of press dispatches, leaving telephone as the only means by which overseas correspondents could communicate their stories.

Harold Ickes discusses the President's belated executive order creating in the Department of Interior an Oil and Gas Division, with a director and associate director. The powers of the division were vague and it had thus earned the support of an Inter-Agency Committee, comprised of representatives of the War, Navy, State, and Commerce Departments, plus the Federal Power Commission and Civil Production Board.

The problem lay in the agreement by the President that this Government organization would work in cooperation with the National Petroleum Council, inevitably, in peacetime, designed to maximize profits of the oil industry. During the war, the Petroleum Industry War Council had worked in close cooperation with the Petroleum Administration of the Department of Interior, to coordinate production and transportation of petroleum resources for the war. Such cooperation was required and was advisable for the war effort, but in peacetime, such an arrangement, Mr. Ickes believes, was impracticable. Moreover, the Council was heavily peopled with Republicans, expected to operate within a Democratic Administration.

Mr. Ickes recommends that a small and cohesive Division be created instead, which would recognize the need for access to petroleum resources as much by the Army and Air Force as by the Navy.

In Madison, Ind., the 62-year old housekeeper, arrested for attempted poisoning of one employer and murder of at least one other, proclaimed her innocence and insisted that she only helped her former charges for whom she was caretaker. She granted permission for the State to exhume the body of her late husband, who was a suspected victim as well. Three other exhumations were also being sought. The murder charge resulted from a finding of traces of mercury in the remains of the mother-in-law of the woman whom the housekeeper was charged with attempting to poison, presumably by the same means.

A 29-year old Army overseas veteran was charged in Salem, Mass., with murdering his mother after calling police and telling them to come to the home where they would find "something funny". There, they found his mother strangled. He said that he had done the deed for the "welfare of the citizens at large."

In Chicago, an unidentified female corpse, from a woman about 18 years of age, had washed ashore at Lake Michigan and a North Side street. The woman had been dead for about one month.

William Heirens, the confessed "lipstick killer" of two women and confessed killer of six-year old Suzanne Degnan, had been in custody since latter June.

OPA raised the price of automobiles an average of 7.3 percent, meeting a new requirement that OPA restore the peacetime profit margins of automobile dealers. A Chevrolet Fleetmaster, for instance, was to rise in price by $63, while a Cadillac would go up $293. Plymouth and Ford De Luxes would go up $73 each, a Buick 40, by $96, and a Chrysler Royal, $99. It was the fourth hike in auto prices since the previous November, with a total increase estimated at 15 percent over 1942 model prices, the last new cars produced prior to cessation of production for the duration in February, 1942.

A photograph appears of Aguila, the bald eagle, being held by its owner in Philadelphia. Aguila had been frightened by some dogs and had run away, but was caught after a night on the town. Aguila had been in movies.

On the editorial page, "Teachers' Pay Must Be Raised Now" comments that the State Superintendent of Education had estimated a shortage of 3,000 teachers in North Carolina. The shortage was so acute that in Johnston County, high school graduates were being impressed into service as elementary school teachers after a two-week training course.

The trend had been growing for years. In 1946, only 52 percent of the number of teachers would graduate college who had in 1941. The simple reason was poor wages, less than $1,500 per year. The State Auditor had recommended an immediate 25 percent pay increase. The editorial agrees with the recommendation, to encourage better quality education.

"Ingannation and Obfuscation" discusses the charge against President Truman by Representative Clarence Brown, Republican Party national campaign director, that the President's encouragement of a balanced budget and the estimates he had given to achieve it were "misleading either through the use of imagination or ingannation", the latter meaning deception—or, as we thought, Paul Gannism, meaning fascism masquerading as "democracy in action", paid by corporate obfuscators and propagandists wishing ultimately only to line their pockets and achieve power through bribes to the stupe-dupes who cannot read so well and are therefore placed in high positions to practice ingannation with respect to those who can.

The President replied that he seldom used $40 words because they led to obfuscation, and that the Republicans were trying to mess him up.

The budget would have been balanced had not the Congress voted the 2.7 billion dollar furlough back pay to veterans. The President signed that bill, but noted that it had been uniformly supported by the Republicans.

The Republicans were also favoring tax reduction, which would make it harder to balance the budget unless there would be commensurate reduction in expenditures. The GOP had, however, not outlined any such policy, leaving question marks as to what they would seek to cut. It was good politics to talk of balancing the budget and reducing taxes, but without a concrete plan, it was cheap politics.

The editorial joins the President in demanding that the Republicans show their cards.

"Liquor Prices Can Be Prohibitive" finds that liquor revenues in South Carolina had precipitously declined in recent months, suggestive of reduced consumption. But The Greenville News had found alternative explanations, that spending, given inflation, might be down generally, that the carefree mood of spending after the war had ended, or that illegal liquor sales were increasing.

The South Carolina Legislature had repeatedly increased the liquor tax to produce needed revenue, to the point where the liquor tax was the highest in the nation. The result had been to cause liquor prices to be out of reach of the average consumer, a form of roundabout prohibition.

Legal restrictions did not, however, end liquor consumption but rather drove it underground. Thus, it appeared time for South Carolina to look to its invaluable source of revenue and re-examine the high tax.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Exit Miss Hahn, Enter Mrs. Boxer", states that Emily Hahn's autobiography, China to Me, telling of the capture of Hong Kong by the Japanese, was one of the most sensational works to come out of the war. In it, she had told incidentally of giving birth out of wedlock to a child whose father was a British Army Major named Boxer.

When Major Boxer returned from Japanese captivity, journalists pressured him to state that Ms. Hahn had described their romance in embarrassing detail; but instead, he had married her after his first wife had divorced him. The couple had now sailed with their six-year old daughter to England from the United States.

Drew Pearson writes from Vienna an open letter to his daughter, telling of his previous visits in 1920 and 1923, during the latter, sitting in a cafe, listening to "Yes, We Have No Bananas". At the time, he was assigned to interview Europe's "twelve greatest men"—though he did not think them so great, as they included Mussolini. In Austria, he had interviewed President Hainisch and Chancellor Seipel.

Vienna was now disheveled by war, the opera house being a hollow shell, the broad boulevards, full of debris.

He had called upon the new President and Chancellor that day for interviews. They, unlike their predecessors, were most eager to see him, to share the plight of Austria. Chancellor Figl he found to be a tough peasant, determined to get Russian occupation forces out of Austria. He found General Mark Clark to be a good negotiator with the Russians. President Renner was a traditional Socialist.

A year earlier, Mr. Pearson tells his daughter, he had been hopeful that the day of the dictators had ended. But now, in Moscow, two or three dictatorial hands could determine war. He was discouraged by the Paris Peace Conference for its lack of resolve to improve humanity and thereby avoid further war.

He ends by saying that he had begun the bit of reminiscing by looking out the window of his hotel at the bombed out apartment house across the street, in which families still resided. But at least there were flowers in some of the windows, "and where there are flowers, there is always hope."

Marquis Childs reports that in the closing days of the 79th Congress, State Department employees coming to the Hill to testify were being badgered by Senators Styles Bridges of New Hampshire and Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, presenting mysterious lists containing the names of supposed Communists or Red sympathizers inside the Department. The lists sometimes contained the names of junior officials who would in no wise be considered Communists. The Senators, however, demanded that the men be fired without benefit of the due process allowed civil servants. The House had responded to the State Department's standing on procedure by placing a rider on the Department appropriations bill authorizing Secretary of State Byrnes to fire anyone at anytime for any reason. It suggested a dangerous precedent.

The worst offenders in the witch hunt were members of HUAC. As an example, Mr. Childs cites the case of Gustavo Duran, an assistant to Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden. Mr. Duran had served with the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War, in which he spent three years as a combat soldier. When the war became hopeless, he escaped aboard a British cruiser, and never took part in any Communist activities. He had since served responsibly for four years at State. Yet HUAC accused him not only of holding Communist sympathies but of actually spying for the Russian secret police, the NKVD. Shocked, he was contemplating leaving Government service.

Such bungling was making it hard for the Government to keep well-qualified personnel. There was a place for an unbiased committee which could investigate both right and left wing influence on American life, including such organizations as the Klan, but such an investigative body was not to be found within the incompetence displayed by HUAC.

Peter Edson comments again on the adherence to Potsdam during the previous year, notes that Poland, Austria, Hungary, and the Balkans were, with the exception of Austria, under the complete control of Russia. Western European and American officials had received only confused reports as to what occurred in those satellites and could do little except protest reported violations of Potsdam in those countries.

Regarding Poland, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Averill Harriman had agreed six months before Potsdam to the Provisional Government of National Unity, which included elements of the Peasant Party and the government-in-exile in London during the war, a Government recognized by the U.S. just before Potsdam.

The Big Three agreed to facilitate the return of all Polish refugees to Poland who wished to return. There was little available appropriate transportation during winter, but during spring and summer, more refugees had been returning. Yet, more were leaving Poland than entering as political conditions were not to their liking. No elections had yet been held, save referenda to determine a unicameral legislature, nationalization of industry, and the desirable frontier of Poland. And those elections were not truly free, as required by Potsdam. Elections announced for November held out no appreciably greater hope for realization of a democratic process.

Regarding Austria, the provisional government established by Russia had been recognized the previous October after three months of study following Potsdam. Elections had been held in November, with seats in the new parliament being split between the Catholic Party and the Socialists, and but four seats going to the Communists. Since that time therefore, dissension had been the order of the day between the Government and Russian occupation authorities. Only a formal peace treaty with Austria could remedy the situation. In April, however, when Secretary Byrnes proposed drafting such a treaty, the Russians had balked.

Mr. Edson concludes by stating that the most constructive matter to come out of Potsdam was the proposal for peace treaties with Italy, Finland, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. But those treaties were only now being finalized in Paris, a year after Potsdam.

Excerpts are reprinted from an address on Memorial Day at Arlington by General Omar Bradley, which he had begun by quoting from Ecclesiastes the lines subsequently made familiar in popular culture by Pete Seeger. General Bradley stated that it was the time of the season to listen to the voice of America, to hear the dreams and hopes of the nation.

Many had died to preserve freedom against the tyranny of hatred. But as the people gathered to pay homage to the dead of the war, they were fearful of failure in preserving for long the peace.

Many were asking what the war had accomplished. He reminds that wars were instruments of destruction and did not purport to accomplish anything positive, that they could not create peace, being only sufficient to remove the barriers to peace. There was a difference between victory and peace. Peace had to be pursued, requiring much work to achieve.

Peace, he cautioned, could be lost through timid leadership or abandonment prematurely of armed strength. It could be lost when self-interest superseded the international role of the nation.

Peace could not long endure in a world half-gaunt and half-fat, half-naked and half-clothed, any more than it could 85 years earlier in a nation, as Abraham Lincoln had stated, "half-slave and half-free".

To assure the future peace required assumption by the country of a huge responsibility to help rebuild the shattered lands.

He thus urges dedication anew to "building a world in which men may live in freedom without fear."


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