Monday, September 2, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, September 2, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Italian Vice-Premier Ivanoe Bonomi told the Paris Peace Conference that creation of a free territory in Trieste would be a constant threat to peace with Yugoslavia. He favored eventually dividing the area into ethnic constituencies between the two nations. He also wanted re-examination of the French Line separating the frontiers of Italy and Yugoslavia, which had been tentatively agreed upon by the Foreign Ministers Council.

With little debate, the political and territorial commission adopted four articles of the Italian treaty providing for France supplying to Italy electricity and water from specific dams and for Italy's cooperation with France in establishing a specific rail line between the two countries.

Following a two-month hiatus, the Selective Service draft resumed on the first anniversary of the formal surrender of Japan. Among several reports militating toward the need for a strong military was one prepared by the Library of Congress at the direction of Congressman Everett Dirksen of Illinois, saying that while Russia did not have the same military strength at present as the United States, it would by 1970 have nearly as many men of military age as the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy combined.

The electorate in Greece had voted three to one, based on incomplete returns from the day before, to return King George II to the throne, an anticipated result. The King had been in exile in Cairo since 1943. Violence leading up to the election had resulted in 40 dead during the previous week.

A photograph appears of Hermann Goering delivering a ten-minute speech on Saturday, declaring his innocence before the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.

A report provides statistics on labor this Labor Day of 1946, that there were about fifteen million dues-paying members of unions, with about seven million belonging to AF of L and six million to CIO. At present, there were few strikes but the immediate prospects for further strikes during the fall and winter were uncertain.

Three thousand musicians of the American Federation of Musicians struck hotels in New York City. The union was seeking wage increases of 25 percent.

The Department of Agriculture exempted more canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and all frozen fruit from price controls, as no longer being in shortage. Live beef cattle, hogs, and dressed lamb went back under OPA ceilings with prices about ten percent higher than on June 30. Undressed lambs were left in the cold.

Harold Ickes devotes his column to Congressman Jed Johnson of Oklahoma, saying that the Congressman had taken exception to Mr. Ickes having recently compared him to Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky and his illicit dealings with the Garsson brothers combine regarding war contracts. Mr. Ickes says that he did not draw such a comparison but simply pointed out that Congressman Johnson had brought improper pressure to bear on the Interior Department in his capacity as chairman of the subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee for Interior, while Congressman May had brought improper pressure to bear on the War Department in his capacity as chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee. Mr. Johnson had served his constituents less well than had Mr. May and, says Mr. Ickes, the fact that he had not been re-elected appears to have borne out that perception.

In one instance, Mr. Johnson had appropriated $6,000 for a position on the staff of Mr. Ickes at Interior for a defeated Congressman from Oklahoma. When, after some attempt to find a job for him, none appeared fitting his limited skills, he was able to find a job at the War Department, probably with the aid of Mr. Johnson.

When Mr. Ickes had been the Public Works Administrator, Mr. Johnson had pawned off his brother as manager of a housing project in Oklahoma and also requested Mr. Ickes to provide a job for a second brother and his wife in 1942. But given the second brother's experience only in grocery stores as an inspector of fruits and vegetables, he could not be placed in either the Indian Service or the Parks Service, for which Mr. Johnson felt him well suited.

Mr. Ickes says that he will continue the saga on Wednesday.

In Cleveland, the fastest air speed record in public was recorded at 578.3 miles per hour on Sunday, set during a race between six Army Air Force Lockheed P-30 Shooting Stars before a crowd of 50,000. The record for two laps of a mile each was set by Lt. William J. Reilly of San Francisco. The record for one mile was 611.725 miles per hour, set by Lt. John J. Hancock of Wichita. His second pass, however, was only at 526 miles per hour, thus placing him below the leader.

A 300-mile race over a 30-mile course with a purse totaling $40,000 was also set to occur.

In the weekend air race from Van Nuys, California, to Cleveland, Paul Mantz of Burbank won the Bendix trophy, averaging 436.6 miles per hour in a P-51 Mustang.

Two teenaged girls became stranded on the parachute ride at Steeplechase Park on Coney Island and hung 100 feet in the air for nearly three hours before finally being rescued in front of a crowd of 10,000 onlookers by a park electrician who climbed into the rigging and lowered himself to the location of the stuck chutes.

They should have perhaps stuck to safer ground, aboard the Chanticleer.

On the editorial page, "A Handbook for the Atomic Age" tells of the entire editorial space of the August 31, 1946 issue of The New Yorker being devoted to the Hiroshima bomb of August 6, 1945, a single article written by John Hersey—whose wife, it notes, was from Charlotte. The piece says that it was the most important document to come out of World War II. It detailed the observations and reactions of five, actually six, residents of Hiroshima to the bomb, their physical and mental states in consequence.

Mr. Hersey had provided the cold statistics: 100,000 killed, 100,000 injured, out of a population of 240,000. Two-thirds of the buildings had been destroyed and others damaged beyond repair. It was the story of a city which at 8:15 that black morning had literally vanished in an instant.

One of the six persons on whom the article focused, a man educated at Emory University in Atlanta, who was two miles from the center of the blast, described the appearance of the sudden flash of light as "a sheet of sun" seeming to move from east to west, from the city toward his position in the hills. No one in the city recalled hearing any sound from the explosion; only those several miles away heard its thunderous roar.

A woman three-quarters of a mile from the blast center simply saw at the point of the blast the whitest white she had ever seen. She was picked up by the blast and thrown a distance with parts of her house and was buried beneath the rubble.

A 50-year old wealthy medical doctor reading his morning newspaper 1,550 yards from the blast center suddenly saw the paper turn a brilliant yellow and his hospital topple into the adjacent river, was thrown also into the river.

A Jesuit priest, 1,400 yards from the blast center at his Mission, saw what appeared as the description of a large meteor flash and then everything was falling into ruin and darkness.

A young surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital about a mile from the blast center saw what appeared as a bright photographic flash reflected off an interior wall through a window. The hospital had collapsed around him but he was untouched, the only doctor in the hospital not injured or killed.

A female clerk at the tin works about a mile from the blast center saw a sudden flash of light fill the room, the library of the factory, and then found herself buried by a large bookcase full of books.

Then came darkness, fire, and confusion in the aftermath of the blast.

"The rain cleared," Mr. Hersey recounted, "and the cloudy afternoon was hot; before nightfall the three grotesques under the slanting piece of twisted iron began to smell quite bad."

Skin peeled off in glove-like pieces from people wandering aimlessly in the streets awaiting death; eyesockets were hollow as eyes had melted and run down the cheeks. Mouths were swollen and pus ran from sores.

One of the Jesuits of Hiroshima had written to the Holy See: "The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justified, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?"

The editorial asserts that the Hersey piece should be required reading for all the diplomats and for anyone else who believed that war would still be a practical solution to international problems, even if a little more expensive than it was before.

"The Perversion of a Principle" finds the principle applied to Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short in the wake of Pearl Harbor, that as commanding officers of the Navy and Army, respectively, in Hawaii, they were responsible for all acts of commission and omission, including bad judgment of subordinates, had been perverted in the case of the officers at Lichfield Prison in England, who had been let off with small fines in the wake of their convictions for allowing acts of cruel and unusual punishment to American soldiers to take place at the prison.

The commander, Col. James Killian, was acquitted of knowingly permitting the corporal punishment and of aiding and abetting the acts of which several enlisted men had been accused and found guilty with harsh penalties imposed. But for permitting it to happen, the Colonel was fined a mere $500.

It presented, concludes the piece, poor propaganda for the Army's recruiting drive to fix the gravity of such conduct of officers as being roughly equal to that of drunk driving.

"Notes on Outside Interference" reports that Attorney General Tom Clark and his Assistant Lamar Caudle of North Carolina, head of the criminal division of the Department of Justice, had both stated that the Federal laws were inadequate as presently written to protect Constitutional rights. Said Attorney General Clark, it was like trying to fight a modern atomic war with a Civil War musket.

The piece indicates that, while neither spoke directly of recent Southern racial violence and lynchings, it was clearly on their minds. When Southern courts and law enforcement refused to act, then, to avoid the concept of regional anarchy, the Federal Government had the right and responsibility to undertake action. That, it concludes, was settled in 1865.

Carroll Reece of Tennessee, chairman of the Republican National Committee, substituting for Drew Pearson, says that the American people were tired of being pushed around and deceived by their public servants and living in a phony state of emergency. They were tired of excessive spending and high taxes, tired of policies being dictated by "counterfeit 'liberals' who are actually exponents of an alien and radical totalitarian philosophy of government". He had gathered his observations during a tour of the country for the previous four months.

He predicts, accurately as it would turn out, that the country would elect a Republican Congress in November.

He charges the Administration with falsely contending that the Republicans only criticized and inveighed but offered no positive program—and then refers the reader to Republican spokesmen for that program. He compares the Democrats to an abscessed tooth which, when pulled, would be good for the patient.

He cites Congressman May of Kentucky and Congressman Coffee of Washington as part of the abscess for their shady war contracts dealings. Congressman James Curley of Boston had been convicted of a crime in Federal Court but was still elected Mayor.

Comptroller General Leslie Warren of North Carolina had publicly admitted that billions of dollars had been wasted during the war through the negligent handling of war contracts.

Mr. Reece also cites the Pendergast-PAC machine alliance formed to oust Congressman Roger Slaughter in Missouri at the behest of the President, for Mr. Slaughter's opposition to Administration policies in his powerful role on the Rules Committee.

The chairman of the Republicans promised that when his party would take control of the investigating committees of Congress in 1947, the people would find out who robbed them during World War II.

Can't wait. Sounds incredibly exciting to rehash the past recriminatingly, after a resounding victory which Republicans seemed to have regretted.

Marquis Childs writes from Cataumet, Mass., on Cape Cod, that Americans were relaxing with a vengeance on Labor Day and had been during the summer, wary that it might be the last summer of peace for awhile.

Cape Cod was lined with cars and "No Vacancy" signs were everywhere. He had found peace in sailing. Trieste and the problems of Europe and the Paris Peace Conference seemed a million miles away. But there was the realization, based on recent experience, that it was really next door. The recurring theme came to him nevertheless that "Earth could be fair".

When he had gone to Yugoslavia in 1945, many Yugoslavians had wondered whether they could join the U.S. Army and thereby gain passage to the United States. Trying to write of the Pan-Slavism being fanned by propaganda in the country brought Tito's censorship. Most of the Yugoslavians were not the least interested in Pan-Slavism but only in peace and more food to eat.

He had been asked by a woman in Yugoslavia why he did not talk about America and whether he loved his country. On reflection, he says that perhaps Americans took too much for granted the country. With all of its flaws, it appeared preferable to the nationalism being fanned abroad, intruding thoughts in the peace of the last of the summer on Cape Cod.

Douglas Larsen discusses the problematic issue facing Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson regarding potatoes, the reason, says Mr. Larsen, that Mr. Anderson had taken his leave from the heat of Washington and adjourned to his native New Mexico for a spell. At first, it looked simple: America had a surplus of spuds and Europe was experiencing famine. But shipping raw potatoes by boat was not a good idea as they would freeze, or spoil. Moreover, as 90 percent of the potato is water, effectively tons of water would be shipped abroad.

So Mr. Anderson thought that dehydrating the potatoes would be the solution. But it was an expensive process, about 25 cents per pound. More than four times as much wheat could be bought for the same price and so UNRRA did not want the dehydrated potatoes. Agriculture could not even give the potatoes away as shipping space was needed for wheat.

Mr. Anderson wound up giving the surplus potatoes to institutions and relief agencies, convincing also Americans to substitute potatoes for bread. Some were converted to starch and most went to distillers to produce alcohol. While the initial transaction lost money, the Treasury got it back in alcohol tax revenue.

Secretary Anderson meanwhile hoped that people in Europe would not be starving during the winter after the demonstration of such great largesse in potatoes at home.

General Douglas MacArthur provides a report on the first year of occupation of Japan, saying that the military machine had been completely destroyed and that the two million Japanese overseas had been repatriated, and another million Allied nationals sent back home, a process nearly completed. A total of nine million people had been processed in the demobilization and repatriation. The hardware of war had also been seized and disposed.

The Japanese Government had been reformed to conform to democratic principles, with a new Constitution having been formed, in the process of being amended and adopted. Sovereignty had been given to the people. The citizen's home was free from intrusion by the police and he could register his opinion on public issues, having the rights of assembly and petition, freedom of speech and religion. He also had the right of collective bargaining.

The children had been given the right of a liberal and free public education.

Electoral discrimination had been removed and women could now vote, the voting age having been lowered from 25 to 19. On April 19, the first free election had resulted in the largest turnout in Japanese history. Thirty-nine women had been elected to the new House of Representatives.

The nationalists and militarists of the bureaucracy had been purged.

The assets of the fourteen major industrial families of Japan, including the four major Zaibatsu groups, were being liquidated and the principal officers ousted, to enable free enterprise.

An agrarian reform program had been instituted to end feudalism, enabling two million tenant farmers to purchase the lands which they now worked.

He concludes that the process was not complete but decisive steps had been taken during the first year to achieve the major objectives of occupation.

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