Thursday, September 19, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 19, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman communicated for two hours via teletype with Secretary of State Byrnes, still in Paris, presumably regarding the situation with Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace and his Madison Square Garden speech of one week earlier which had produced a firestorm of State Department protest for his making statements contrary to the foreign policy enunciated by Mr. Byrnes in Stuttgart on September 6, that is a get-tough policy with respect to Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe, which Mr. Wallace contended would only result in an arms race as Russia would respond with toughness of its own. The nature and subject of the conference, however, was not disclosed. It was conducted via teletype because of the continuing high sunspot activity interrupting trans-Atlantic telephone communications.

The previous afternoon, Mr. Wallace had met with the President and agreed not to make any public statements or speeches prior to the conclusion of the Paris Peace Conference. The White House insisted that there was, however, no quid pro quo, such as allowing greater input thereafter to foreign policy by Mr. Wallace, as some believed was the case. For the nonce, Mr. Wallace remained in the Cabinet.

Presumably, Secretary of State Byrnes objected to that conclusion as the following day, the President would fire Mr. Wallace.

Democrats stated their worry regarding the dispute. Representative John Sparkman of Alabama stated that he believed the rift would be forgotten, however, by election day. Republicans meanwhile demanded the resignation of Mr. Wallace and expressed delight at the controversy, believing it would help them in the fall elections. Beyond the fact of the dispute, itself, and the potential harm the gagging of Mr. Wallace would cause among his supporters who were already disenchanted with the direction of the Democratic Party, the Democrats would be deprived of an effective spokesman popular with labor.

Meanwhile, the release of the letter from Mr. Wallace to President Truman from July made a brief reference to the development of radioactive poison gas as a new weapon of mass destruction. Dr. Gerald Wednt, a scientist, gave a radio address in which he spoke of a "super-deadly" poison, a single ounce of which could kill everyone in Canada and the United States. And on the same panel, Major General Alden Waitt, chief of the Army's Chemical Corps, admitted, in response to Dr. Wednt's statement, that toxic agents had been developed by the Corps which were far beyond the potency of anything previously known to chemical warfare research and that these agents rivaled the atomic bomb in importance to national defense. He added that, unlike the atomic bomb, the agents could be directed against individuals. He declined to discuss the Wallace reference.

There is only one solution: duct tape.

Could it be, parenthetically, that the 2003 scare which produced that advice had something to do with the lingering childhood memories of some regarding "duck and cover", linked somehow in their minds with the misstated reference, sometimes even incorporated in packaging, to "duck tape" for duct tape?—so named because of its original use for taping heating ductwork, not taping up ducks or having anything at all to do with duck-and-cover.

We just speculate because it obviously had nothing to do with reality.

A society persisting on lockdown, and cocked, locked and loaded, cannot long endure.

Five members of the House Military Committee returned from a 10,000-mile tour of the Pacific during the previous month and stated that they were convinced that a ring of strong defenses had to be erected within striking distance of Russia. Representative John Sheridan of Pennsylvania who headed the subcommittee favored a line of bases from Alaska to Hawaii, with supporting bases extending to the area off the coast of Australia.

In Paris, James Dunn, Ambassador to Italy, told the Italian Political Commission of the Peace Conference that the four-power agreement on Trieste reached in July by the Foreign Ministers Council was, as far as the United States was concerned, an indivisible, integral decision which either stood in whole as agreed or not at all. He thus rejected the Yugoslav position desiring movement of the French line boundaries back to the city limits of Trieste and not including southern territory, as well as the South African and Australian positions favoring extension of the boundaries even further south than the French line, along the Istrian coast. Mr. Dunn reminded that the 1945 Belgrade agreement had not recognized Yugoslav claims on Istria—albeit that agreement having been only for the purpose of establishing the provisional Allied Military Government, expressly providing that it would not prejudice the ultimate determination of the boundaries and administration of Venezia Giulia, Trieste and its immediate territory.

The Commission then rejected the Brazilian proposal that the Italian-Yugoslav border be fixed north of Trieste, close to the Morgan Line, with Brazil being the only vote in favor of the proposal.

In Zurich, Winston Churchill called for an end to retribution against Germany once it had been stripped of its war-making capability and recommended that France, Great Britain, the United States, and Russia should combine their efforts to form a United States of Europe and that a separate European organization should exist within the U.N. He also called for a Federal government for Germany, as proposed by Secretary Byrnes in his Stuttgart address. He warned that within a few years the proliferation and further development of the atom bomb could be such as to threaten the incineration of the earth.

Duane Hennessy of the Associated Press reports that the Japanese War Crimes Tribunal heard opening statements of the prosecution, charging that Hideki Tojo had been so confident of Japanese victory that he told German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop in 1940 that only a portion of the Japanese Army could defeat the United States.

The prosecution also charged that Germany had told Japan, after the Marco Polo Bridge incident in Manchuria which sparked war in mid-1937, that it bore responsibility to the world; but that a year later, Germany withdrew its military advisers from China and recognized Manchukuo, Japan's occupied area in Manchuria. Also in 1938, Germany and Japan agreed that Russia was a mutual enemy and that they would conduct spy operations against Russia, exchanging information obtained.

Thereafter, however, Japan's leadership became frightened of the August, 1939 Russo-German non-aggression pact, and by 1940 was worried that Russia might be overrun by the Germans such that they would continue into Southeast Asia, taking French Indo-China and Siam, eventually occupied by Japan—French Indo-China being occupied in latter July, 1941 with the acquiescence of the Nazi puppet government at Vichy. Japan, according to the prosecution, sought to appease Germany therefore by telling it that Japan was occupying the attention of the United States Fleet in the Pacific, keeping it out of the war in Europe.

Two thousand postcards left Japan for the United States and other countries, the first mail from Japan to non-Axis countries since before the war.

Five to seven persons apparently had survived the crash of the Belgian airliner headed from Brussels to New York, crashing the day before in Newfoundland, north of Gander. A TWA pilot spotted seven persons walking about four miles from the crash site. A Coast Guard plane had reported seeing five persons who were waving coats in the air and appeared active. The TWA plane circled the crash site, in hilly terrain, until other planes could arrive.

Not surpisingly, a Federal arbitrator gave the CIO National Maritime Union seamen the same wage increase, $5 to $10 monthly, provided the AFL seamen the previous week by Reconversion director John R. Steelman. The NMU strike was, however, not ended by the award, according to the NMU spokesman, until a contract was actually formed embodying the wage hikes.

John L. Lewis asked the Decontrol Board to remove price controls on meat, just restored to June 30 levels, that a famine was taking place among the UMW coal miners who could not mine effectively on cereals and vegetables, producing "grave unrest" in the mines. The Board responded that no action could be taken at the time.

Another sell-off of stocks for the third week in a row took place on Wall Street, with prices declining from $1 to $8 per share before rebounding somewhat, though not fully, by the end of trading.

In Oklahoma City, the first blind man ever known to have been tried for murder, was convicted of first degree manslaughter for the slaying of his former mother-in-law.

In Standard, Alberta, an eleven-year old boy, Gordon Grant, prevented a fire from breaking out in an overturned school bus with 23 of his fellow students and the pinned driver aboard. Smoke was coming from the ignition switch when he fought through the students to get to the front to free the driver, stuck between the steering wheel and the driver's seat. The driver then pulled the ignition wires. At least, that appears to be the scenario related. The ambiguous concluding sentence reads: "Gordon managed to release him and Grant pulled out the wires." The driver's name was Arthur Grant.

But, was that what really happened? Was it the boy, in fact, who saved the day?

The second mass break from the Tijuana jail in five months took place, involving seven inmates, one of whom was wanted for questioning as a suspect in the Los Angeles murder of Lucas Baca. The seven had sawed the bars on a window to effect their egress, after having seen the bars to affect their egress, and were presumably headed for the United States.

Be on the lookout for any Mexican carrying a small saw and if you see one, do not approach. Call the police forthwith.

And, remember, when they are caught, as they will be, where to send the mail.

In Hollywood, Hedy Lamarr was ordered to bed by her doctor for a week because of the flu.

On the editorial page, "Wallace Muffs His Cue to Bow Out" expresses the opinion that the furor which had ensued the Wallace speech was not in proportion to any minor issue presented by it. It did not believe there would be any fallout from it affecting Mr. Byrnes's ability to deal effectively with the Russians in Paris. Nor did the letter from Mr. Wallace to President Truman reveal anything startling lying behind the words of the speech.

While disagreeing with much of the policy suggested by Mr. Wallace, as well as that espoused by Mr. Byrnes, the piece asserts the belief that it was time for this disagreement to be heard and debated.

And certainly Mr. Wallace had every right to set forth his opinions publicly, was not likely trying to produce any crisis in the Cabinet. He had, after all, sought and obtained the President's approval of it before its delivery.

Instead of doing the graceful thing, in light of the President supporting the State Department in the matter, and asking for Mr. Wallace's resignation and Mr. Wallace tendering same, Mr. Truman had taken an awkward stance, hushing Mr. Wallace until the end of the Paris Peace Conference while retaining him in the Cabinet.

It destroyed Henry Wallace politically as he had accepted this arrangement rather than bowing out, depriving him of martyr status among his followers. Nor would it likely help Mr. Byrnes or Mr. Truman.

The country was suffering from an overdose of false unanimity when the country at large was in fact divided on the new get-tough policy with Russia, with much of the nation uninformed of the basic issues underlying it in the first place.

The new toughness was the policy of the Truman Administration, not an extension of the Roosevelt doctrine, though the piece makes room for the late President having come around to it had he lived.

It concludes that discrediting Mr. Wallace might not be a great loss to the country but losing the only major opposition voice to the present Administration policy was detrimental to democracy.

"A Source of Pride and Regret" comments on a mob action which had taken place in Waynesville, in Western North Carolina, Monday night. A few white men briefly seized a black man suspected of being involved in an interracial homicide. The Sylva police intervened and rescued the man, rushed him to another town for safekeeping.

The Sheriff reported that rumors that an armed mob had marched on Waynesville were untrue.

It was regrettable nonetheless that the lynch spirit was evidently still alive in the state, if a source of pride that it had been quelled by the police without violence. As long as such a contravening spirit prevailed, North Carolina would not need apologize for the unbecoming conduct of any of its citizens.

"The Increase in Telephone Rates" informs that Southern Bell had filed a petition with the state utilities commission, requesting permission to increase its rates by seven percent on business telephone service and long distance. The requested increase appeared moderate in light of rising costs, those of Bell having risen 102 percent while its gross revenue had increased only 76 percent since the current rates had been established. Construction costs for new lines had also skyrocketed. The company's rate of return on its investment was only 2.7 percent, dangerously low in light of the cost increases.

Bell had not profited during the war despite an unprecedented increase in business. Its rate of return was now lowest in its history.

The piece supports the rate increase for an efficient company providing a good service.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Enter the New Glacial Age", comments on the Associated Press report of the new 15-minute frozen dinner on a pulpwood plate, the forerunner, it appears, of what would come to be called the "TV dinner", leading the editorial to resort to verse:

Man works from sun to sun;
Woman's work begins at 6:46 and ends at 7:01.

To which we might add:

Or so she thought, until she was caught.
Now, she swims with Luca Brasi and his fishes,
All because she didn't want to prepare any fresh dishes.

Drew Pearson reprints the second half of the letter from Secretary Wallace to the President in July, which formed the basis for his controversial speech the previous week and which, according to Mr. Pearson, the President had used as a basis to urge Mr. Wallace to make such a public address.

Mr. Wallace states that Russia had two cards to play: the U.S. ignorance on Russian research into atomic energy; and lack of information on its uranium and thorium resources. A change in policy by the United States might trigger the Russians to expand their sphere of influence and spawn an arms race.

Two approaches existed with respect to Russia: abandonment of hope of getting along and thus risking World War III on an atomic scale; or admitting that war with Russia was not acceptable and thus leading the way to peace.

Russia's history of resisting invasion had long preceded the Soviet system. The perception that the West's security measures were pregnant with aggressive intent created suspicion and reaction in Russia. Providing a loan to Britain and not Russia had also created enmity. Likewise, resistance by the West to Russia's attempt to obtain a warm water port through the Dardanelles into the Mediterranean was another signal which sealed its distrust. Attempts to establish democracy afresh in Eastern Europe created the feeling in Russia that it was being surrounded by unfriendly countries, to serve as a basis for destroying it.

The United States had no ground on which to act threatened as it was undisputedly the most powerful country militarily in the world, the only major nation to emerge from the war without devastation. Talk of increasing defenses could only appear as hypocritical, he concludes, to other nations.

Marquis Childs finds the accidental nature of the controversy surrounding the Henry Wallace speech, insofar as the President's initial approval of it without apparently having read it, to be remindful of the manner in which the tension with the Soviets had been ratcheted up following the previous March 5 speech by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in which he had stated that an iron curtain had descended over Eastern Europe.

The President had stated after the speech that he did not know in advance what the former Prime Minister would say. Thus, having been on the same stage with Mr. Churchill when he delivered the speech, the President accidentally got a portion of the blame for it from the Soviets, or, conversely, a portion of the credit from admirers of the apparently stricter policy vis-a-vis the Soviets.

The March speech had been arranged by the President's military aide, Maj. General Harry Vaughn, a graduate of Westminster College, and the President had, incidentally, added to the invitation that he would accompany Mr. Churchill to the speech. Before the speech, Secretary of State Byrnes and Bernard Baruch had flown to Florida to meet with Mr. Churchill and presumably might have raised the subject of the speech, though that was speculation by Mr. Childs.

Whatever the circumstance of the making of it and the President's foreknowledge, it had the effect of altering Soviet-American relations. The effect of the presence of the President on the dais at the time could not be measured but it likely had an impact on the alteration in course of the policy.

Before the speech, such important foreign policy commentators as Walter Lippmann had advocated a role for the United States as mediator between Russia and England. After the speech, the possibility of effecting such a role was compromised.

The change, he posits in conclusion, might have been good for the country, but his point was that it should have developed out of the considered judgment of the President, not by accident.

"The man who sits at the White House console must know the tune he wants to play."

Samuel Grafton suggests that only in the Democratic Party could such a debate be taking place on foreign policy; the Republicans were much too narrow and homogeneous in their membership to admit of such a controversy. The Democrats ran the gamut from left to right and thus such a quarrel could readily erupt.

The criticism that the Wallace controversy would give ground to the Russians to take advantage of a rift in the country was to ignore the fact that a carefully orchestrated facade of unity would not long disguise the festering presence of such a rift. Russia was quite aware of the division of opinion in the country prior to the Wallace speech. Nor would silencing Mr. Wallace eliminate the controversy.

Nor was it clear, with the controversy in the open, that Russia would seek to take advantage of it; it might just as well see the emergence of reconciliation in the Wallace speech and seek ground which would enable its fruition. Mr. Wallace had already made it impossible for the Russian press, with any credulity, to continue the assault on America as comprised only of imperialists and atomic blackmailers. Now, the Russians had choices to make with respect to the approach they would take. Thus, it was difficult to understand how the Wallace speech had harmed the chances for reaching agreement with Russia.

Mr. Grafton ventures that it appeared to be those who did not want such an agreement who were raising the hue and cry, seeking to hide away the fact of the division.

R. F. Beasley of the Monroe Journal offers a piece titled "Responsibility and Regularity", in which he comments on Josephus Daniels having expressed dismay at Democrats voting with Republicans against Administration policies. He further comments that Harry Ashmore, Associate Editor of The News, supported a strong Republican Party in the state and the South generally, viewed the Democratic opposition to the Administration to be a sound argument in its corner.

But The Monroe Journal, says Mr. Beasley, took a position in between the Raleigh News & Observer and The News, finding no problem with either the Democrats voting with Republicans or with the absence of a strong Republican Party in the South.

Both newspapers assumed that the President set the standard for party regularity. He disagrees with the notion.

As to party responsibility, some argued that the national platform was the standard while others claimed it to be only the state platform. The Congress was elected locally while the platform of the party was established nationally. The Administration had to adhere, for consistency, to the party platform, but that was not the case for the individual states and their representatives. The platform was only a general expression of principles, designed to appeal to as many people as possible.

He views this dichotomy as the source of conflict between the Congress and the President at any time.

Generally, there could be no great cleavage between the views of the parties as both were designed to support one way of life under the Constitution. The Democrats were generally associated with liberal ideas and the Republicans, conservative, a distinction handed down from the early days of the republic. It was often regarded as the concept of man against the dollar.

A great schism in the Democratic Party had developed out of the Civil War, but since the days of Grover Cleveland, the party had stood for freedom and opportunity against domination of the Government by propertied interests. The Republicans of the latter day, he asserts, were probably not far behind in that regard. The Republicans were generally as strongly supportive of the New Deal principles as were the Democrats.

He concludes by saying that Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina was a New Dealer "with only a very small grain of salt."

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