Wednesday, August 28, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 28, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Admiral William Halsey told reporters that it was "nobody's damn business" where the American Fleet cruised in international waters, that they would go where they pleased as the high seas were free. He was replying to Soviet criticism of the United States for deploying the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt and other ships to the Mediterranean in what Moscow Radio called a show of pressure on Yugoslavia.

In Paris, the Peace Conference voted 15 to 2 against the Australian proposal to delay for six months consideration of all demands for reparations against the five treaty nations. Russia had stressed that delay in reparations would delay the peace conference as Russia considered the question integral to the treaties.

The Big Four foreign ministers were planning a meeting for the next day to try to get the conference moving from the morass of some 300 amendments being proposed to the five treaties.

Meeting for the first time at its new temporary headquarters at the former Sperry Gyroscope Company complex in Lake Success, N.Y., the U.N. Security Council considered the complaint of the Ukraine that Greece was threatening the peace by trying to foment war with neighboring Albania. The complaint was temporarily postponed until a decision could be made on the applications of nine nations as members. The United States favored the membership of eight of the nations. Siam sought temporary postponement of its application. The Security Council had to pass on the issue of membership by the following day.

In Athens, Greece, it was announced that the Soviet Ambassador to Greece was returning to Russia, although a charge d'affaires would be appointed in his absence, indicating no diplomatic break in relations. The Greeks were about to hold a plebiscite on Sunday, which was expected to return King George II to the throne, a position opposed by Russia. Yugoslavia the previous week had recalled its Ambassador from Greece based on press attacks against Marshal Tito.

Meanwhile, two editors were convicted of libel for publication of stories in Greece regarding Josef Stalin and were sentenced to seven months imprisonment.

All five bodies of the crew of the C-47 transport plane shot down over Yugoslavia on August 19 had been turned over to American authorities for the trip back to the United States. Ambassador Richard Patterson stated that Marshal Tito had given him his personal assurances that there would be no repetition of the episode.

In Nuremberg, the British prosecution began its summation against seven Nazi organizations on trial along with the 22 individual defendants. The organizations were the former German Cabinet, the Gestapo, the SS, the Political Leadership Corps, the SA, the General Staff, and the High Command. The possibility loomed that if convicted, the organizations' members could also be brought to the bar for war crimes.

OPA was adding 200 staff members to enforce automobile price ceilings to stem a nationwide black market. Investigations had shown some cars being sold at 100 percent above OPA price ceilings, that is $1,500 to $1,600 above the ceiling. Most of the illegal sales were in the range of $400 to $500 above ceiling. About twenty percent of the nation's dealers were found to be violating price regulations.

OPA agents had arrested six men in Leesville, S.C., for allegedly operating a 100-million dollar black market ring in new and used cars. Other similar ring operations had been spotted in New England, selling cars at $1,000 above ceiling.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson ordered a revision of livestock ceilings which would entail a retail increase of about six cents per pound for beef compared to June 30 ceilings. Pork would rise about 2.5 to 3 cents. Hogs would go up $1.40 per hundred weight and cattle, $2.25. OPA director Paul Porter had advocated rolling prices back to or near June 30 levels.

Harold Ickes discusses the continued operation of the coal mines by the Government since May 21, as John L. Lewis and UMW were content to wait on negotiating a contract satisfactory to the owners. The previous contract negotiated with the Government meant a rise per ton of bituminous coal from 58 cents to $1.40 and by $1.25 for anthracite, used almost exclusively in homes. The last contract had lacked a clause requiring timely settlement with management, giving Mr. Lewis an indefinite amount of time to negotiate.

The Government was planning a conference in September to try to negotiate a contract with the owners, but with cold weather approaching, conditions would be favorable for Mr. Lewis. The bottom line was that the consumer was going to be hit with higher coal costs during the coming winter.

In Buffalo, a judge refused to accept a waiver of extradition from a 13-year old boy arrested the day before for the first degree murder of his 12-year old playmate, whose skeleton was found in a Pittsburgh cellar. The murder had allegedly taken place on New Year's Eve. The judge felt that the defendant was too young to understand his rights under extradition laws sufficiently to support a waiver and so the Pittsburgh authorities would have to institute formal extradition proceedings.

In New York, Mayor William O'Dwyer ordered the investigation of the activities and bank account records of 300 police officers in the NYPD gambling and vice squads. Preliminary scrutiny, however, had thus far turned up no evidence of corruption. The Department so far appeared as clean as a hound's tooth.

Charlotte furniture stores which had been closing at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays during the summer would continue to do so through the month of September. Buy your furniture early on Wednesdays.

On the editorial page, "It Looks Good on Paper" finds that the per capita annual earnings in the country for 1945, $1,150, showed a dramatic increase over the $515 of 1938. The Richmond Times-Dispatch had found that all Southern states, except Florida and Louisiana, had shown a gain greater than the rest of the nation, while still lagging behind the nation in income.

But North Carolina was in eighth place among the Southern states on income and tenth in gain.

Besides that gloomy news, the gains to income came about under wartime conditions. With the war over, the question remained whether the relative prosperity could be maintained.

Furthermore, arose questions of inflation's impact on the increased earnings and whether individual savings had increased.

It concludes that the evidence on gains during the war years could not yet adequately be assessed.

"The Career of Maxim Litvinov" discusses the former Soviet Foreign Commissar and Ambassador to the United States, a proponent of internationalism, who, at age 70, had just been removed as Assistant Foreign Commissar. During the twenties he had favored total multilateral disarmament but was dismissed as a radical. He achieved recognition for Russia by the United States in 1933 and enabled his country to obtain a place in the League of Nations in 1934.

In the same year, he had warned the League that it was failing to control the growth of the Axis and favored agreements to isolate the three powers. Along with Winston Churchill during the latter half of the thirties, he favored mutual assistance pacts for all the powers.

But after Munich in September, 1938, Mr. Litvinov ceased being a major player in Russian diplomacy, as the Kremlin began its preparations for war by signing the non-aggression pact with Germany in August, 1939.

When Germany attacked Russia on June 22, 1941, Mr. Litvinov was sent to the United States as Ambassador and in that capacity arranged lend-lease for Russia. But when he could not deliver the second front to take the heat off Russia's war with Germany, he was called home in 1943 and given an unimportant post in the Foreign Ministry, the post from which he had just been dismissed.

The piece concludes from his removal that there was no place in isolationist Russia of 1946 for an internationalist.

"Punishment to Fit the Crime" finds the mere fining of American officers responsible for the cruel and unusual punishment of American soldiers at Lichfield Prison in England to be farcical in light of the fact that the soldiers who administered the beatings and other improper punishment had received stiff jail sentences for simply following the orders of their superiors. It cites the $200 fine just imposed on Major Richard Lobuno after the tribunal found him guilty of knowingly permitting the cruel and unusual punishment.

The only officer left was Colonel James Kilian, Army commander of the camp, and were he too to be let off with a small fine, it would prove that the Army was scapegoating the enlisted men while allowing the officers to escape punishment. Only by a stiff sentence against the Colonel would military justice be able to recover in the public mind its lost sense of fairness.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "There Could Be Two Parties", suggests that when Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia had recently stated that there would never be two parties in Georgia as long as one of them was Republican, he may have overlooked one avenue to it while keeping the Republican label on the alternative. That would be to tie the Democratic organization with the CIO PAC. Southern Republicans would not go along with it, remembering too well the labels of radicalism from the period of Reconstruction.

It concludes that many Democrats in the South would be willing to sacrifice Democratic votes for awhile and accept Republican support.

Marquis Childs finds the sale of the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines by the Real Property Disposal Board of the War Assets Administration to have been efficiently accomplished, despite pressure from the oil companies to leave the lines as they were, without product flowing through them, as it was more profitable for the oil companies to ship the oil by tanker.

Built for the war at a cost of 146 million dollars to bring oil to East Coast ports, the two lines had received bids from companies at between 70 and 135 million dollars. It would yet be a couple of weeks before a decision was made as to the successful bidder.

The coal industry had opposed use of the lines for natural gas because it would displace the coal market substantially. And it was determined that in the event of another national emergency the lines would be useful again as conduits for oil, but conversion from natural gas used by homes would not be easily accomplished to enable the lines to be used again for oil. So the lines, once sold, would likely again be carrying oil.

Peter Edson suggests that insects had the advantage over the atom in the race to destroy civilization. The invention of DDT was thought to bring a new era in insect prevention in agriculture, but it had numerous limitations. It was used for instance to try to stem the worst outbreak of boll weevils in the South since 1941, but was found to destroy insects which fed on the red spider causing a red spider infestation.

Previous insect problems had been dealt with by crop destruction, such as in the case of the Mediterranean fruit fly infesting Florida in 1929-30, eliminated through crop destruction by 1931. The same had been true of the California date palm scale. The trees were sprayed with kerosene and set on fire, destroying the scale.

Entomologists reported that if cotton farmers would agree not to grow a crop for a year, the boll weevil would starve and the menace, begun with migration from Mexico of the weevil in 1892, would disappear. But the Southern farmer would not hear of such a radical solution.

For if you took away the cotton to be rid of the boll weevil, from where in tarnation would your unawares derive? Rayon? Sheep?

Perhaps, he concludes, the scientists would be able to eliminate insects in 15 or 50 or 500 years. Entomology had been on the scene but 50 years while insects had been around, said the scientists, since before Adam.


Dr. Louie D. Newton, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has reprinted on the page an excerpt from his speech in Atlanta the previous Sunday on the state of Baptists in Russia. The speech had prompted criticism, as elucidated in an editorial of the previous day, for Dr. Newton having reported that he had found during his visit for 25 days in Russia that Baptists were faring well with a good degree of freedom of religion.

He began by clarifying that he believed that "Christian Democracy" was the only answer for the world, not Communism.

He found three major religions in Russia, the Russian Greek Orthodox Church, Jews, and Baptists. He was assured by Baptist preachers in Russia and by the Government that all religions were now free to carry on their work.

At the turn of the century, few Russians could read and write; by 1946, 91 percent were literate. The Government was spending vast sums of money on education and Russians read voraciously. They particularly were fond of American authors such as Hawthorne, Irving, Whitman, and Mark Twain, but did not like America's "sexy novels". They also read the Bible.

There was no freedom of press in the country but citizens of Russia could publish letters critical of the Government. Radio emanated exclusively from Moscow. Dr. Newton had made several broadcasts and was never asked for an advance manuscript of his remarks.

He concludes that he was not nearly so afraid of Russia as of the United States, as it would be a long time before Russia would be in a position to start a war. Moreover, the Russian people did not want another war. He reiterates that democracy was the only way to progress, but the country had to get to work and stop wasting its time in "riotous living and divided loyalties".

Debs Myers, former associate editor of Yank, who had just finished helping to edit Yank: The G.I. Story of the War, substitutes for vacationing Drew Pearson, writes of the soldier's life during the war.

Some fought, some stayed stateside cleaning latrines in Mississippi. The soldier was bored most of the time, was not always brave and usually was scared.

He might have been 20 or 37; he still fought and died. Some could not understand how they survived. One soldier from Chattanooga, while overlooking a bunker on the Siegfried Line, had said: "Beats the hell out of me what I'm doing here except I always did kinda have an itch to pat my behind at that feller Hitler."

He finds that the man who went into the Army came out not much changed, except maybe that he realized that a man's color, which meant nothing on the line, "means something in South Carolina, where a former soldier's eyes were gouged out with a policeman's club because the former soldier was guilty of being born black."

Or maybe he thought democracy ought be practiced at home after having fought a war to preserve it abroad, hence the uprising in Athens, Tennessee, to insure an honest count of votes.

Or maybe he did not understand why a country which could carve airfields out of jungles could not also level domestic slums and build decent housing for people without a place to live.

"Maybe he listens to the people who say the war is a bore, and they are tired of hearing about it, and maybe he wonders why it is that we should somehow be ashamed that once the country did great things. Maybe he wonders what happened to the great men and the great dreams."

He concludes that maybe the G.I. got a cold feeling when talk suddenly had turned already to the possibility of another war. Maybe he felt like the G.I. who wrote on the walls of the old fortress at Verdun:

Austin White, Chicago, Ill., 1918.
Austin White, Chicago, Ill., 1945.
This is the last time I want to write my name here.

And it would be 17 years hence from this date, eight years after the brutal beating to death of young Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi, August 28, 1955, that a great man with a great dream would provide at the Lincoln Memorial one of the great speeches of our time and in American history.

Fifty years ago today—we still remember it well—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stepped into the bright sunshine of Washington and stated his dream to a deeply divided and troubled nation, one then still experiencing manifest growing pains present since its earliest days, having gotten better through the years of fitful starts and regressions, but still beset by the corrosive disease of racism and bigotry.

Dr. King that day struck a moral chord which, while not reaching the most deeply rooted prejudices ingrained generationally in some of the nation, that which only time and the passing of generations can hope to heal completely, would live on as a great testament to the times and to the courage it took to stand forth in a prominent role of symbolic leadership against the tide, full well knowing that the risk in doing so was his life, with which he would pay less than five years later, on April 4, 1968 in Memphis.

His courage and his testament which rang forth that day in August, 1963, live on, continuing to inspire hope and dignity, not just in one race or in one nation or in adherents to one religion, but in all humanity.

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