Wednesday, September 18, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 18, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, according to White House sources, the President was considering an ultimatum to Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace that he would need to refrain from making speeches about American foreign policy or leave the Cabinet. The President consulted with Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton and U.N. Atomic Energy Committee chairman Bernard Baruch on the matter of Mr. Wallace's statements the previous week at Madison Square Garden, initially approved by the President until after Secretary of State Byrnes and other State Department officials took umbrage at the statements against a get-tough policy with respect to the Soviets, contrary to the expression in Stuttgart September 6 by Secretary Byrnes. The President was scheduled to meet with Mr. Wallace during the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Drew Pearson had obtained a copy of a letter from Mr. Wallace to the President from July in which the former had suggested a policy of reasonable guarantee of Russia's security and forming a treaty under which all nuclear arms would eventually be destroyed by the United States. In consequence, Mr. Wallace's office released the letter, saying that it had been "filched" from the Commerce Department files, prompting a threat by Mr. Pearson of a libel suit.

Mr. Wallace, in response, stated that he would accept Mr. Pearson's statement that he obtained the letter from sources outside the Commerce Department but was interested in knowing the source. Mr. Pearson responded that his sources were confidential but gave a hint in saying that six carbons of the letter had been produced at the White House. He also stated that he would not pursue legal action.

The White House denied that any copies of the letter had been made. The text of the letter is reproduced in Mr. Pearson's column of this date and the following date.

In Lake Success, N.Y., the United States proposed to the U.N. Security Council that it create a fact-finding committee to study border incidents along the entire northern Greek frontier, including the areas adjacent to Albania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. It would also study the Ukrainian complaint of persecution of minorities by the Greek Government.

At the Paris Peace Conference, the military commission approved the military limits within the Italian peace treaty

From Nanking, there were increasing indications that China's idle Government armies in Manchuria were preparing to launch an offensive against the Communists to try to push them further north, with focus on Harbin.

In London, the squatters who had occupied Government-owned apartments in the West End were being evicted based on trespass laws, but 600,000 union workmen took up their cause and protested to the Government that the housing shortage needed to be remedied with greater celerity. The squatters had been in occupation of the facilities for ten days.

Hotel and restaurant associations vowed to take court action to test OPA's right to roll back prices of meat sold in restaurants to June 30 levels.

Harold Ickes continues his examination of the haphazard method in which decorations were conferred within the Army, with favoritism given to the Air Corps over the infantry. E. J. Kahn, Jr., in The Infantry Journal, had made a good case for there having been discrimination between fighting soldiers and "cocktail-party soldiers" and civilians within the War and Navy Departments compared to members of the military. Nearly everyone who had regular contact with high War and Navy officials were given decorations for extraordinary service.

He cites the Petroleum Administration for War as having been one of the most efficiently run of war agencies and with indispensable results for the war effort. It was responsible for coordinating the building of the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines which had supplied oil to the East Coast for shipment overseas. Yet only one decoration was granted to the agency, to the efficient Deputy Administrator Ralph K. Davies, while seven Navy officers received commendations for petroleum despite none of them having been responsible for the delivery of oil.

The Mead Committee of the Senate, investigating the Garsson combine and its improprieties with respect to obtaining and maintaining war munitions contracts despite higher than average industry costs, had found that an "E" had been awarded the companies for their excellent war production record. Mr. Ickes offers that it was likely not the only such instance of an undeserved award.

He cites a precedent for such awards coming as a result of political influence: Col. Robert McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, had served in World War I without an award, but in 1923, under President Harding, it was discovered that he deserved the Distinguished Service Medal for his "executive ability", that is, says Mr. Ickes, looking good behind a desk.

Heavy snow fell in the Rockies.

A trans-Atlantic Belgian plane, enroute from Brussels to New York with 44 persons aboard, mainly American and Belgian businessmen, was overdue, with its whereabouts unknown, last sighted northeast of Gander, Newfoundland. A Coast Guard vessel reported seeing wreckage northeast of Gander. Limited visibility, however, prevented immediate search.

Senator Charles Andrews of Florida, a Democrat, died of a heart attack in Washington. He had served for ten years in the Senate.

The American Federation of Musicians strike came to an end as it was agreed that the hotel musicians would be paid the same 20 percent increase in wages as the nightclub musicians were promised on Saturday.

The maritime fleet remained for the most part idle in American ports despite the AFL seamen having returned to work and the CIO having relaxed its picket lines to allow AFL members to cross them. In New York, longshoremen were at work on only 82 ships, 22 of which were American, of 432 ships at anchor. A thousand French seamen caught in the strike stated that they would not return to work until the CIO had won its wage demands.

OPA head Paul Porter urged the Decontrol Board to restore forthwith the June 30 ceilings on all dairy products.

Sunspots created a major interruption of trans-Atlantic shortwave radio and cable transmission.

A judge in Detroit recommended that the fee for divorces be raised from the current $5 to make them harder to obtain and hopefully to reduce the soaring divorce rate.

In Los Angeles, Sari Gabor was suing Conrad Hilton, the hotel magnate, for divorce. She testified that Mr. Hilton would not fire the butler who would not take orders from her. Moreover, he told her that if she did not like it, she could leave him. He had returned to his rebuilt home after a fire and took along his butler but did not want Ms. Gabor to join him. She then went to reside with her sister, Eva, who corroborated her testimony.

The Blanton divorce mill case was apparently consigned to the inner pages of the newspaper this date for want of any exciting development.

On the editorial page, "A Higher Pay Scale for Teachers" finds it significant that the most fiscally conservative journal in the state, The Charlotte Observer, had come out in favor of a substantial rise in teacher salaries to alleviate the crisis in education in the state generated by a shortage of qualified teachers. The Observer proposed a minimum annual salary of $1,560, with graduated pay increases which could go as high as $3,600 per year.

It would cause the general fund budget to double that established two years earlier, but it was necessary to insure the educational future of the state.

As it was, such an increase would only bring teacher salaries in line with that of the average cotton mill worker.

"The Handicap of No Opposition" comments on a story from the Concord Tribune stating that the Democrats of Cabarrus County had a problem with voter apathy being so great for the fall election that they stood some danger of losing the county or even the district, that of House Ways and Means Committee chairman Robert Doughton, to well-organized Republicans.

It exposed the fault in a system with only one party: the Democrats' worst enemy was lack of an opponent while the Republicans depended for victory on voter apathy.

"Mr. Petrillo Jerks His Jerks" comments on the strike by the American Federation of Musicians, that it was a strike in which everyone involved got what they deserved. The basic dispute was that union head James Caesar Petrillo wanted the musicians who played in clubs with floorshows to be paid more than those in clubs without. The result was that most of the fancy nightclubs had been doing without music, causing business to decrease.

It says that there was no one with whom it could less sympathize than either nightclub operators or nightclub musicians.

The patrons were so inured to the nightclub atmosphere that they were hooked on it, music or no music. Only for them was there any feeling of sympathy, for to leave them alone in silence with their thoughts was surely not a punishment befitting any wrong they had done.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Toward a Two-Party System", states its fundamental agreement with Virginius Dabney of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in his advocacy for a strong two-party system in the South. The South would not receive Democratic Party recognition insofar as having anyone on the national ticket as long as it was a foregone conclusion that it would remain solidly in the column of the Democrats nationally. And there was salutary effect on local and state elections from a strongly competitive two-party system. As things stood, the primary was the only election of consequence and little heed was paid to the general elections in the South.

The practical way to accomplish the goal was through revision of the electoral system, as advocated by Mr. Dabney and as pending in proposed legislation before the Congress, whereby the electoral vote would be split on the basis of the popular vote rather than a state-by-state winner-take-all system. Thus, the minority party in each state would have an incentive to get out the vote in the general election.

The consistent refrain in support of this complaint that the Democrats gave Southerners no prominent position on the Democratic ticket was belied by the fact of former President Woodrow Wilson, a native of Virginia, and former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas, Vice-President from 1933-41. Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky would run on the ticket with President Truman in 1948. Yet another pair of Southerners, Senator John Sparkman of Alabama and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, would run successively on the unsuccessful 1952 and 1956 Democratic tickets with Adlai Stevenson. And Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas would run on the successful ticket with Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960. Throughout this later period, one-party rule continued in the South, even if the 1952 and 1956 national elections found Texas, Florida, Virginia, and Tennessee splitting from the Democrats and voting for Dwight Eisenhower, and 1960 included the defections to the Nixon column of Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, while Mississippi voted for an unpledged slate of electors casting their ballots ultimately for Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia, who also garnered over half of the Alabama electoral votes despite that state's popular vote victory for Kennedy.

Drew Pearson, as indicated on the front page, reprints the first half of the letter from Secretary of Commerce Wallace to President Truman which had been mailed in July. He prefaces the letter by saying that the President, on the basis of it, decided to have Mr. Wallace make a public speech containing these ideas to gauge public reaction, and that it was on this basis that he had approved the New York speech of the previous week—which in two days would lead to Mr. Wallace's firing.

The letter has already been reviewed on the front page and so we suggest that you read it for yourself to glean further points. His basic premises were that an arms race leads to war, not peace, and that the present track of American foreign policy, the Bikini tests and continued development of atomic and conventional weaponry coupled with the desire to establish bases around the globe, was stimulating such an arms race. With the presence of the atom bomb, such a race could, within five to ten years, lead to world destruction.

He warns of the concept which would come to be called "mutually assured destruction", its adverse psychological impact on the nations and its futility manifested in the inevitable fact that enough bombs would eventuate to destroy each nation many times again.

"In a world armed with atomic weapons, some incident will lead to the use of those weapons." The school of military thinking which recognized this fact advocated a preemptive strike on Russia before it could obtain atomic weaponry.

"This scheme," Mr. Wallace urges, "is not only immoral but stupid." Russia would respond by immediately occupying all of continental Europe. He questions rhetorically whether the United States would then be prepared to destroy all the cities of Europe, suggesting that only under a dictatorship could such a thing occur.

Marquis Childs, returning from vacation, looks at the Wallace speech and its aftermath, concludes that it had done great harm. He reveals, contrary to that implied by Drew Pearson, that the President genuinely did not know what specifically was to be said in the speech as he had not read it before its delivery, had only had it summarized by Mr. Wallace, a summary which stressed the political aspects of the speech and that Mr. Wallace intended to say that he was not anti-British, nor Anti-Russian, but in favor of American foreign policy. To this point President Truman readily agreed.

The President's long association with Mr. Wallace caused him not to want to offend him, especially as Mr. Wallace had supported the President in his conflict with Harold Ickes earlier in the year.

When subsequently pressed at a press conference, the President had said that the speech represented American foreign policy. The unfortunate remark resulted from the President's eagerness always to please the press and respond to their questions.

Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton had called the President about ninety minutes before the speech was to begin and told him of its conflict with the Byrnes policy enunciated at Stuttgart. But it was decided that since the speech had already been released to the wire services, it would be worse not to have it read at White House insistence than to have the words go forth.

Contrary to popular assumption, Secretary Byrnes and his staff, in Paris, did not respond after the speech, instead remained in icy silence.

Incidentally, Mr. Childs describes Will Clayton as "Acting Secretary of State", a position which, at last report, was occupied by Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson while the Paris Peace Conference occupied the attention of Secretary Byrnes. Officially, Mr. Clayton was now Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, a title which may have prompted confusion in the press as no one previously had held such a position, and traditionally there had been only one Undersecretary. Mr. Clayton has been described more than once as "Undersecretary" without the qualifying limitation, and so we continue to refer to him, without intending to diminish his importance, as an Assistant Secretary.

Perhaps part of the problem in the eruption over the Wallace speech was that no one seemed to know who was minding the store at the State Department. Or was Mr. Wallace, the last of the prominent FDR New Dealers in the Administration, set up for a fall out of the continuing effort since the summer of 1945 by the "Missouri gang" to clean house?

Samuel Grafton also looks at the Wallace speech, saying that Mr. Wallace had articulated a new form of isolationism, letting Russia alone in Eastern Europe, that the United States had no more business in meddling in that region than Russia had in Latin America, Western Europe or the United States. An isolationist writer for the New York Daily News had in consequence welcomed Mr. Wallace to the fold.

Mr. Grafton recognizes that Mr. Wallace did not mean his statements to be taken as an endorsement for isolationism, as he also proposed in the speech international control of atomic energy. And to confirm it, the Republican Old Guard had not been pleased by the speech, decrying a return to spheres of influence or attenuating the wartime alliance with Great Britain.

During the mid-thirties, he reminds, the isolationists had been associated with liberal ideas, being anti-war and against war profiteers. But shortly before the war, the reactionaries took over isolationism to make it primarily an anti-Russian movement. Now it appeared that anti-Russian forces were moving among the internationalists.

This new isolationism expressed by Mr. Wallace was as bankrupt as the old version in terms of ability to solve world problems, but liberals, he suggests, might eventually turn to it out of expedience.

The wheel, he concludes, had turned full circle, defying the blueprints of a year earlier.

A letter writer, formerly of Georgia, who was proud for nine years to reside in North Carolina, sends along an editorial from The Atlanta Constitution, written by Harold Martin, titled "North Carolina Outdoes Georgia". The piece, in part, had been reprinted on August 26 from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Beyond education, the primary differences Mr. Martin had observed were that in Georgia the farmhouses lacked paint and in North Carolina, even the impoverished farmer always managed to coat the side of the house facing the road; and whereas the old shed was torn down in North Carolina when a new one was erected in its stead, in Georgia, the old one was left standing to rot away in the sun.

A letter from Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia thanks The News for its recent editorial on his book, soon to be published, The Shore Dimly Seen.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.