Tuesday, September 17, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 17, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Acting Undersecretary of State Will Clayton stated, in response to the flak regarding the speech of Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace at Madison Square Garden the previous Thursday evening, conflicting with the enunciated policy toward Russia by Secretary of State Byrnes, that he assumed that henceforth all foreign policy statements would be cleared through the State Department before delivery. He also stated that Mr. Wallace had a right to make any speech he wanted, but whether it was prudent was another issue.

Secretary Wallace was scheduled to see the President the following day. Mr. Wallace was scheduled to deliver another speech in Providence a week hence. By Friday, he would be fired.

At the Paris Peace Conference, the Yugoslav delegate accused the West of trying to establish a bridgehead in Yugoslavia via Trieste. He wanted the so-called French line pushed back to the city limits of Trieste, saying that the extension beyond it could only be for the purpose of power politics against Yugoslavia. South Africa and Australia wanted the limits pushed even further south than the French line.

Britain and Argentina signed a treaty under which Argentina could use its sterling frozen in England over a period of four years and in return Britain could purchase nearly all Argentinian surplus beef for four years.

In Greece, operations of Greek troops and police were moved south from Macedonia into Thessaly against leftist guerillas of the Communist-dominated EAM, as violence, stemmed in Macedonia, had migrated south into Thessaly.

In Bulgaria, nine-year old King Simeon II went into exile in Egypt after being deposed from the throne by a plebiscite.

The CIO picket lines were shortened to allow AFL seamen to return to work, ending the thirteen-day old maritime strike except with respect to ships with contracts with the CIO National Maritime Union, pickets of which AFL indicated it would continue to respect. AFL also stated that if the Government seized any ships, it would consider the move a lockout and would cease work. The AFL had settled its dispute with the Wage Stabilization Board when John Steelman, Reconversion director, had the previous week granted the increased wage to which labor and management had already agreed but which the WSB had ruled was inflationary and denied. CIO seamen of the NMU were now seeking the same increase of between $22.50 and $27.50 per month granted to AFL seamen.

In Connecticut, Wesleyan College English Professor Wilbert Snow won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination over former OPA head Chester Bowles after winning a first ballot poll by 70 delegates at the state convention. Mr. Bowles then moved the convention to accept the Snow nomination by acclamation.

Then, no doubt, came the confetti.

In Miami Beach, Senator Claude Pepper of Florida stated to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen that reactionaries ought be purged from the Democratic Party. He also stated that President Truman had carried on "seething propaganda" against the Trainmen in the strike the previous May, crippling its effectiveness and betraying Brotherhood president A. F. Whitney who had offered conciliation to no avail. Mr. Whitney, who had previously declared his opposition to President Truman for 1948 and offered to put up substantial money to defeat him, then endorsed Senator Pepper as "presidential timber" and accused the President of encouraging fascism in the country.

OPA restored June 30 price ceilings on meat sold in restaurants to match the ceilings on live animals, but also raised the ceiling on cotton clothing. Bedsheet and pillowcase prices would rise about 2.5 percent, bad news for the Klan.

G.M. petitioned for a price hike following the six percent increase to Ford.

The ceiling on linseed oil was increased by two cents per pound to compensate crushers for the increase in flaxseed from which linseed is derived.

The Civil Production Administration stated that there would be enough hose for women to meet their desires for the rest of 1946, and that a fifteen percent reduction in nylon yarn deliveries would not adversely impact production.

In New York, the Teamsters agreed to the proposals by two trucking companies for a $7.50 per week increase in pay for drivers and a reduction in hours from 44 to 40, signaling a return to work for 4,000 drivers on strike for two weeks.

Also in New York, a two-year old boy who had been entrusted to a woman by his mother two years earlier after she had separated from her husband, gave his custodial guardian a kiss when the judge, in the midst of a custody dispute being waged by the actual mother, told him to kiss his mother. The judge thus ruled for the nonce in favor of the custodial guardian but told the mother that in six months, if she had a home for the boy, she could renew her petition for custody.

In Long Beach, California, the Coast Guard seized Tony Cornero's gambling ship, Bunker Hill, which had sought to evade the gambling prohibition by operating in international waters, the first time the Federal Government had so intervened, following a ruling by a California court that California had no jurisdiction. The action was taken pursuant to the shipping code which provided that a ship could be seized if used for purposes beyond its license. The Cornero ship was licensed for coastwise trade, not as a boastful wise-guy's gambling barge.

In Honolulu, Major N.O. Hays stated that there was a 50-50 chance of no haze impeding takeoff of the Superfortress Pacusan Dreamboat to Cairo, a 10,300-mile nonstop flight lasting 43 hours. All aboard.

Whether, incidentally, the pilot was related to Nishi No Kaze Hare was not clear.

In the case alleging subornation of perjury in Charlotte against Ward Blanton and two other defendants for running a divorce mill, witnesses presented by the prosecution contended that Mr. Blanton had threatened them not to appear and testify against him in the case. The defense was seeking to show that Mr. Blanton was only the secretary for a deceased attorney and not the counsel of the plaintiffs seeking divorces through perjured statements.

One witness claimed that Mr. Blanton had told her that the deceased attorney's death was the result of a murder by lethal injection committed by an SBI agent in conjunction with the secretary of the North Carolina Bar Association as part of a political frame-up against him and the other two defendants. He then, she said, had threatened her by saying that she would never be able to walk into the courtroom and testify against him. She also denied that the prosecution had granted her immunity for her own perjury in connection with her divorce, but stated that SBI agents told her there was no indictment against her but that there could be if she did not willingly testify on her own.

Whether, assuming the accuracy of the quote, she was actually threatened appears to depend entirely on Mr. Blanton's inflection. There is a difference in his saying that she would never be able to walk into a courtroom and tell her story because she, herself, had committed perjury, and that she would be unable to do so physically because he intended to stop her.

The Solicitor was seeking perjury indictments against several witnesses from South Carolina who failed to appear in the case. These persons had allegedly secured divorces through perjurious statements that they had been residents of North Carolina for six months or separated from their spouses for two years, both being requirements for divorce in North Carolina at the time. The only way to secure their appearances as out of state witnesses was for them to be indicted.

And in deference to the reporter, Tom Watkins, we note that today's report uses properly "suborn" rather than "subordinate", as the previous day's root, in relation to the subornation of perjury charges. He must have had a word with the linotypist.

On the editorial page, "It's Still a Two-Sided Argument" finds understandable the fact that President Truman saw nothing objectionable in the speech of Secretary of Commerce Wallace before he delivered it. Mr. Wallace was simply recognizing the fact that the world was being divided into two spheres of influence, East and West. The President understood the fact as true. The fact that the State Department had reacted as it did must have shocked both the President and the Russians.

No one any longer clung to the facile belief that the United States was truly interested in complete self-determination by peoples of the world, the State Department line, even if they wanted to become Communists. The negation of that notion was the very essence of the Byrnes statement at Stuttgart, that the United States had to get tough with the Russians.

The piece then quotes the part of the speech to which the State Department took offense, that being the frank recognition of the creation of the two separate spheres and that they ought be allowed to cooperate with one another peacefully and not bullied by each other, a situation potentially fraught with war.

It suggests that it was improper for Mr. Wallace to make the statement in light of its embarrassment to Mr. Byrnes's enunciated policy. And it was a naive suggestion in any event. But it was not the heresy of a fellow-traveler, as some complained. The New York Times had pointed out that the speech merely echoed the policy set in motion by FDR and would have produced no ripple a year earlier. But that policy had been materially altered during the year, changed secretly "behind a facade of pious phrases". The secrecy was underscored by the President's own confusion about the speech appearing to comport with U.S. foreign policy.

Mr. Wallace, it concludes, had performed a public service in raising one side of a debate, a side in danger of being beclouded amid the rising anti-Soviet sentiment in the country.

"Now Is the Time for All Good Men..." reports that Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina had accepted the invitation of DNC chairman Robert Hannegan to stump the doubtful states for Democratic Senate candidates in the fall elections. The piece asserts that Mr. Hannegan could not have chosen a better stump orator.

Senator Hoey expressed optimism that the Democrats would retain the Senate by a margin of 56 to 40, a loss of one seat and net gain of two for the Republicans. His optimism would prove badly misplaced as the Republicans would take both the Senate and the House, the latter an anticipated result.

The editorial is puzzled by the Senator's statement that the Democrats intended to maintain control of the Senate. Control meant being able to pass the legislation promulgated by the Administration, which the 79th Congress had not done despite nominal control of both chambers. The fact was that there was no real Democratic control of the Senate at present.

Moreover, if Mr. Hoey condemned bureaucracy, desired elimination of controls on business and a return to free enterprise, as he had previously advocated, the electorate in a two-party state might have trouble discerning for whom he was stumping. And he had opposed the principles of both the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations.

Yet, his oratorical skills would nevertheless prove valuable, it asserts, to the Democrats.

"Two Museums Coming Up" comments on the Children's Nature Museums having already received their funding from the William Hornaday Foundation of New York, practically before they had been announced. One museum would be for white children and the other for black children.

The editorial did not comment upon how moronic that situation was.

Drew Pearson cautions that the Truman Administration was so much in support of Secretary of State Byrnes's policy of turning Germany back over to the Germans that it was possible that old Nazis would be back in power and the entire history leading to the war would repeat.

The Treasury Department was studying the former Nazi Arbed steel cartel to determine whether its assets should be unfrozen, as advocated by several powerful lobbyists. Arbed had operated from Argentina to Brazil but had its headquarters in Luxembourg, and produced munitions for the Nazi war machine. It was headed by Aloyse Meyer during the war and he remained as its head. The American charge d'affaires in Luxembourg, George Waller, recommended unfreezing Arbed's assets and claimed that Mr. Meyer was not a Nazi.

But Herr Meyer had been a district fuehrer, says Mr. Pearson, for the entire steel industry of Luxembourg. He continued to receive Nazi funding while pretending in early 1945 to exile himself from Germany, the latter move having spawned the confidence of Mr. Waller.

Reconversion director John Steelman had informed the WSB of his intention to overrule their wage ceiling decision in the maritime wage dispute. He told them without fanfare, as the strike was costing the nation too much daily, with other sympathy walkouts, from the carpenters and lumbermen, threatened. Moreover, the shippers had agreed not to increase rates, to absorb the costs, and so the increased wages would not prove inflationary.

Mr. Pearson next imparts his "Capital Chaff", among which is the item that a young candidate for Congress from Idaho, Pete Leguineche, a protege of Senator Glen Taylor, still wanted to come to Washington despite having his pocket recently picked at the Mayflower Hotel. He had also engaged in a conversation in Spanish with Henry Wallace, who demonstrated also a fluency in the Basque language, native to Mr. Leguineche's parents.

Peter Edson reports that Congressman Schuyler Otis Bland of Virginia and his Committee on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries would begin hearings the following week on the large profits made by shipbuilders during the war. Nineteen companies, all the shipbuilders under Government contracts, had been asked to produce their books. A primary focus would be on the Liberty ship program, accounting for nearly half the 5,600 ships built during the war and at a cost of 4.5 billion dollars, with each ship costing an average of 1.8 million, rendering an average profit of $66,000 per ship or a total of 170 million dollars.

The Kaiser shipyards built 489 Liberty ships in an average of 42 days each with average profit of $59,000 each. The Vancouver yard of Kaiser built only two ships with a profit of $110,000 each, the highest on record. But in Florida, the St. Johns shipyards built 82 Liberty ships in an average of 88 days, with an average profit of only $23,000 each. The other shipbuilders were in between these two extremes.

The Government had put up the bulk of the capital for the production. The column then provides a state by state production record with average profits. North Carolina yards, for instance, built 126 Liberty ships at an average of $79,000 profit on each.

Mr. Edson cautions that the figures were based on pre-tax profits and that taxes consumed 72 percent of the profits, with Government renegotiation to lower profits eating up even more.

In the final analysis, it would probably be the case that the shipbuilders, being criticized for excessive profits by Comptroller General Lindsay Warren of North Carolina, did not earn so much after all and, given the use of the ships to supply men and materials for the war effort, it would likely prove in the end worth the cost.

Samuel Grafton remarks that Walter Winchell had been saying that America was too soft on Russia, that the State Department was full of appeasers. But such commentary made little sense in current times when the State Department had become the leader in world opposition to Russia. The statements of Mr. Winchell, a shrewd commentator, implied that the old lines used against Fascism could be employed against Communism.

Walter Lippmann favored achieving a balance of power with Russia by mobilizing the fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean, thus to establish peaceful coexistence. But the past had shown that such a policy produced only a struggle for power rather than balance, leading to an arms race. With the atom bomb in its arsenal, America was plainly stronger at the moment than the Soviet Union. Thus to increase deployment only made America that much stronger, urging the Russians to compete.

Secretary Wallace, in his Madison Square Garden speech, had envisioned two worlds, East and West, in friendly competition, each agreeing not to interfere with the other. But, comments Mr. Grafton, how long such an amiable policy could last in the atomic age without it turning to raw competition was questionable.

In his utterance of this moderate line, Mr. Wallace had exposed, out of the violent reaction to his speech, just how badly Soviet-American relations had deteriorated. The speech was thus symptomatic of the problem rather than a solution.

"And the head of the American Legion says we ought to aim an atomic bomb at Moscow, and we and the world are in trouble."

A letter comments on the controversy stimulated among neighborhood residents to be affected by the proposed right-of-way of what would become Independence Boulevard. She advocates liberal compensation to homeowners whose property would either be taken or depreciated by the road.

The editors remark that the owners whose property would be taken for the right-of-way would be compensated, but whether it would be "liberal" was doubtful.

The Government, in any taking of property by condemnation, such as for the right-of-way of a road, must, by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, provide reasonable compensation, meaning the fair market value of the property, often subject to contest. As to property adjoining the right-of-way which is merely impacted and depreciated by the presence of such a road, that is more problematic and depends on whether the impact is sufficiently adverse to constitute a "taking".

A letter from the chairman of the Brown Creek Soil Conservation District thanks the editors for the editorial praising Hugh Bennett Day in Wadesboro, celebrated in honor of its native son for his work in national soil conservation as head of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service.

A letter from a State conservationist thanks the newspaper for its September 9 agricultural edition.

A letter from the secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina Hairdressers & Cosmetologists thanks the newspaper for the publicity given the organization during its recent convention in Charlotte.


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