Monday, August 5, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, August 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, Russia was objecting to a proposal by Britain, to which America agreed, that the Peace Conference would establish a two-thirds majority decision as a "firm recommendation" and a simple majority as having less weight vis-a-vis the decisions of the Foreign Ministers Council of the Big Four, which would meet simultaneously during the conference. Under the proposal, the Council would have final veto power over the decisions of the assemblage.

Foreign Commissar Molotov's rejection of the proposal appears muddled and confused, as it was Russia who originally wanted the two-thirds rule and also favored Council superiority over the other nations. He appears opposing for the sake of being obstinate at this point.

Near Hanoi in Indochina, the French fought a nine-hour battle against the Vietnamese or Annamese forces the previous day after an ambush of a French convoy in the streets of Bacninh, a village 19 miles northeast of Hanoi. The French stated that several of their trucks in the convoy had been captured, including one carrying a payroll of $140,000. Losses on both sides were described as heavy. It was not yet realized, but the long and bloody wars for Vietnamese independence and unity, to last for another 29 years, had begun.

A dispute over salvage rights to the American Farmer and its two-million dollar cargo, headed for Great Britain when the ship collided with the Riddle, was reported possibly or not developing, as a 2,000-ton, three-cylinder steamer was towing the American ship into port in Wales.

That process was interrupted by a United States Navy destroyer and two other privately owned American ships which arrived to tow the ship to port, boarding the Farmer, hauling down the British ensign, and ordering the British crew to leave the American ship.

The operators of the British steamer asked for the British Admiralty to intervene and declare the ship salvage, with rightful ownership belonging to the towing steamer. The Navy stated that its only interest was to see that the stricken ship got to port with its valuable cargo. The steamer was described as inadequate to pull the vessel, four times its weight.

In Palestine, the Jewish Agency Executive rejected the British-American Cabinet Committee proposal to partition Palestine into four zones, including a Jewish zone and an Arab zone. Britain intended to submit the problem to the U.N. should President Truman also reject the proposal.

Harold Ickes again counsels that the country not follow in the path of Britain with regard to Palestine, as in the past, at Munich, regarding Spain and the Argentine. The Anglo-American Commission had determined that Palestine could accommodate 100,000 Jewish immigrants from Europe. The President had stated his agreement with that recommendation. A Cabinet Committee was appointed to implement the recommendation. But the committee, after meeting with the British counterpart, appeared to change its mind and agree with the British position, opposing such immigration, that it could not be done without large military support, especially from the United States.

Under the British partition plan, both the Jewish and Arab sectors would have no more power than a county in the United States. Real power would vest in the British.

The President had recalled the committee to Washington and, Mr. Ickes hopes, would rebuke them and remind that only the President had the power to set policy.

Mr. Ickes views it likely that if left to govern themselves autonomously, the Arabs and Jews could work out their own differences, that dividing the country into sectors would only exacerbate the problems between them. If the U.S. and Britain were to stop dictating policy and instead lend aid to enable the people of Palestine to help themselves, then Jews and Arabs could learn to get along.

In Independence, Missouri, the President awaited the outcome of the next day's primary election results. He had thrown his backing to Enos Axtell against the incumbent Congressman Roger Slaughter in the Democratic primary, as Mr. Slaughter had opposed every proposal the President had thus far made to Congress. The President's prestige was thus on the line. He had sought openly and obtained the backing of powerful James Pendergast, son of Tom Pendergast, and his Goat faction of Democrats, for Mr. Axtell. A photograph appears of Mr. Pendergast greeting the President on his arrival in Independence.

OPA predicted a rise in cotton clothing prices by 6 to 8 percent and a rise in the price of household linens by 17 percent, as it ordered higher price ceilings of about 16 percent on cotton textiles. These increases were lower, however, than the previously predicted 10 to 20 percent rise. The basis was the fact of higher cotton prices, at an average now of 32.78 cents per pound, compared to the previous basis of 25.75 cents per pound.

In Los Angeles, Gracie Allen was in the hospital, but was expected to be able to return home in two or three days. George was said to be delighted.

Dorothy Knox, in her column, "I Believe Everything", on the back page, tells of Scottie, the pet dog at the Alexander Home, hit by a truck in front of the home and killed.

We wish to pause and pay tribute to Scottie. There will never be another like him. It was something in the way he used to "yip" while dreaming and stand on one hind leg when excited about dinner. Or the way he scurried after other dogs playfully. Yes, there was only one Scottie.

Well, so long, old Scottie. May all your future sailings be happy in the doggie hereafter.

It could have been one of Mr. Hoffa's men driving that truck, in which case, the death of Scottie may not have been as it at first appears. Better find out before it is too late.

On the editorial page, "Good News from the Indices" finds hopeful portents in the fact that production for July had apparently equaled the highest in peacetime history. Production had been declining in the winter during the strikes and retooling. In February, it stood at 18 percent below August, 1945, was back to 8.6 percent below that level by June, and it was believed July's figure would equal the previous August.

The news signified a hedge against inflation, as the higher production level to meet increased pent-up demand would inevitably work to check price increases.

There were many reasons for delayed parity between supply and demand. In building materials, that point could be yet years away.

It concludes that production was rising while OPA was in its original phase, continued during the 25-day hiatus between July 1 and 25, and was still rising. As long as that was the case, there was reason for hope of avoiding post-war economic calamity.

"Fortune Discovers a Warm Heart" comments on a poll taken for Fortune by Elmo Roper, showing that employers and the public generally favored employment of those in need with a family before employment based solely on efficiency. Mr. Roper suggested it as a disturbing sentiment because, translated into national policy, it meant reduction in competition to improve individual position and competition between businesses to maximize profits by reducing costs. To provide for heads of families by discarding the notion of efficiency would be to raise the costs of labor.

The finding suggested a need for return to Government planning. It was surprising, coming from Fortune. It implied a sense of responsibility that companies should provide a form of private welfare to keep the breadwinners off the welfare roles of the Government, even at the expense of business efficiency. Fortune found it wrong-headed.

But the piece questions whether efficiency was truly the goal of business in any event. Ultimately, human relations required otherwise for a business to suceed in the long run. In Germany and Russia, where strict efficiency was demanded, the result had been disastrous.

"We prefer to pay a little more for that white shirt, if we ever get it, and keep inefficient Uncle John busy puttering around his loom."

Does the country still think that way, or is it not the case that American industry has largely given way to the Nazi-Fascist model of efficiency first, human relations out the window?—as the jobs are shipped to Indonesia or South of the Border, and Uncle John is apt as not to be rendered homeless, certainly jobless or the functional equivalent. And has that mentality not slowly spread as a cancer over the whole of American society, into every nook and cranny of American life, especially during the past three decades, with the result that the "efficient" society has never been less efficient, just as in Nazi Germany?

We have said it before. We shall say it again. You cannot run a government like a business and expect anything but complete contempt.

"The Veterans Tackle the Housing Problem" applauds the creation of a veterans committee on housing to tackle the housing shortage. It was planning a survey of the community to determine housing needs. Many veterans were unable to build housing at the present day's inflated prices and the committee was placing stress therefore on construction of rental housing.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Bolsheviks and Divorce Mills", remarks on an editorial of the previous week regarding the Blanton divorce mill of Mecklenburg being investigated by HUAC, involving allegations of barratry, suborning of perjury, and like charges, but nothing to do with sedition, HUAC's usual field of inquiry.

It suggests that in earlier days of the republic, the institution of marriage was considered solemn and abiding, a tradition handed down from the Pilgrims and other strict religious sects among the colonists. But in more recent decades, divorce had become a leading American industry. Some experts had stated that the United States led the world in divorce rate.

Thus, it appeared, divorce was an American institution and HUAC, therefore, by definition, had no business investigating it for subversion of American institutions.

Drew Pearson gives his random impressions from the gallery of the Paris Peace Conference, quotes, as he had a year earlier, from "On the Western Front" by Alfred Noyes, suggests that most of the delegates present did not appear to hear the voices of the past who had died for their countries in war, save Herbert Evatt of Australia, and concludes: "Twenty-seven years ago, at the same place, in the same setting, at the same kind of Peace Conference, Clemenceau is supposed to have said: 'Listen! I can hear the soldiers of 1940 weeping.' Today, I can hear my sisters, sons, and all the sons of millions of mothers who put their hopes in you, Jimmie [Byrnes], I can hear them all over Paris ... weeping."

Marquis Childs comments on the difficulty which the President appeared to have in finding the right people to fill the five positions on the newly created civilian Atomic Energy Commission. Originally, he had hoped to make the appointments prior to the adjournment of Congress so that they might be confirmed, but now the members would have to be interim appointees. The delay in passage of the bill had made confirmation impossible.

David Lilienthal of the Tennessee Valley Authority appeared to head the list of candidates. He had headed the State Department committee which drafted the proposal for the international commission to control atomic energy, the so-called Acheson-Lilienthal report. But Mr. Lilienthal was vigorously opposed by Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, who would want to get his own man on TVA to replace Mr. Lilienthal were he appointed to the commission. Whereas Mr. Lilienthal wanted TVA positions appointed on a non-partisan, merit basis, Senator McKellar was always looking for opportunities to dispense patronage and would try to see to it that the replacement at TVA was someone of like mind. Thus, Mr. Lilenthal's appointment to the commission was problematic by opening such a door.

The same sort of problems had troubled appointments to the Full Employment Board.

It was hoped that the membership would not, as a result, become simply respectable stuffed-shirts, as the commission was too important for it to suffer from lack of expertise. The chairman's salary was to be $17,500 per year and each member, $15,000. But most of the well-qualified persons for the positions would likely have higher salaries in the private sector.

Mr. Childs concludes by suggesting that the President perhaps place a want ad.

Peter Edson predicts that the War Investigating Committee expose of the Garsson brothers and the combine of companies they ran during the war by obtaining favorable treatment from Congressman Andrew May, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, might become the Democrats' Teapot Dome scandal, something Republicans had long hoped to find. With the Gallup Poll showing 51 percent of the people ready to vote Republican in the fall, it appeared to have stocked within it the makings of a Republican sweep.

Since the Garsson revelations, four incumbents in Georgia had been eliminated in the Democratic primary, while in Oklahoma, three had lost. It suggested to political insiders the proverbial handwriting on the wall.

Financially, the Garssons obtained only 78 million dollars worth of war contracts, compared to 138 billion for G.M. The Justice Department had prosecuted over 10,000 war fraud cases during the war and they had barely attracted any attention. The indictment of Mayor James Curley of Boston for war contracts fraud received no such attention as the Garsson case.

But the Garssons had captured the public and press imagination, with reports of lavish parties in New York given for generals and members of Congress, replete with photographs to go with them, the specter of bribery, and mortar shells manufactured by the combine which prematurely detonated, killing American soldiers. It had the makings of something out of Hollywood. And it occurred at a time when Americans needed a scapegoat for their problems.

Mr. Edson questions whether Senator Mead as chairman of the committee, while making political hay, might wind up one of the victims of the coming purge by the public.

A letter writer states that he believes that The News fanned the flames of discord by taking up the "hue and cry" of the Northern press in condemning the mass lynchings of two couples in Georgia at Moore's Ford Bridge near Monroe on July 25 and by finding atavistic the election of Eugene Talmadge as Governor and re-election of Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi.

He suggests that outside interference was in large part responsible for the elections in question and the attendant "flare-up" in racial tension.

The Communists were seeking the favor of minority groups and would pounce on the Moore's Ford incident to stir racial divisiveness to try to overthrow the Government.

And then he goes on a bit, concluding by asking: "Is the Irgun Zvai Leumi, which bombs and murders wholesale [at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem], less reproachable because it is a Jewish organization than the Gentile Ku Klux Klan which burns a cross on a mountain?"

The editors respond that "this eloquent effort to condone lynching in Georgia by pointing out that the South has no monopoly on brutality is an outstanding example of the type of self-delusion to which we have objected editorially."

It then proceeds to correct several falsehoods of the letter, including the claim of Governor Talmadge that there were no lynchings in Georgia during his previous three two-year terms in the office, when the record showed fourteen had occurred.

"If denunciation of men like Talmadge and Bilbo, whose record demonstrates their personal corruption and who themselves incite racial hatred as part of their political stock in trade, can be construed as part of a Communist plot to 'inflame and aggravate the situation' then we, along with at least 50 per cent of the Southern press, are guilty as charged."

The reply did not stop to ask the letter writer whether he also might have thought the armed G.I. uprising at Athens, Tenn., against the Sheriff's deputies trying to rig the ballot boxes in the local election, or the Klan action on March 5, running out of business a new Jewish shop owner from Red Bank, Tenn., near Chattanooga, on the ground that they did not want Jews in Red Bank, were also Communist-inspired activities, fueled by the Northern press.

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