Tuesday, September 24, 1946

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 24, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Prime Minister Josef Stalin, in response to questions submitted by London Sunday Times reporter Alexander Werth, stated that he saw no prospect of a new war and asserted belief in a long and friendly relationship with the West. He expressed that the sole possession of the atomic bomb by the United States threatened peace and could not long be maintained, but stated also that wars could not be won with the bomb. The continued presence of U.S. troops in China also threatened the peace. He did not believe the U.S. and Britain were attempting to encircle Russia economically. Russia did not intend to use Germany against the West as it would not be in the interest of the Soviet Union, but wanted demilitarization and democratization of Germany.

An unofficial source at Whitehall in London indicated that the statements suggested that Russia would answer the new policy of toughness, enunciated by Secretary Byrnes at Stuttgart on September 6, by getting tough with the West.

Former Commerce Secretary Henry Wallace stated that the Stalin statements and those of Anthony Eden, former British Foreign Secretary, had brought hope to millions across the world for a lasting peace. Mr. Eden had urged the previous night that a "new approach" be taken by the U.S. and Britain toward Russia to avoid the present "imminent threat of war".

President Truman had caught some of his closest friends by surprise in the selection of Averell Harriman as the new Secretary of Commerce to replace Mr. Wallace, forced to resign the previous Friday. Thus, speculation was limited as to who might be tapped to succeed Mr. Harriman as Ambassador to Great Britain. One possibility was outgoing Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia; another was Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Will Clayton; a third was General Mark Clark, presently in charge of the American occupation of Austria; a fourth was Ambassador to Italy James Dunn; and a fifth was Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson.

The Paris Peace Conference Military Commission voted 11 to 7 to demilitarize the southeastern boundary of Bulgaria bordering Greece, adopting a Greek amendment to the Bulgarian treaty. The United States backed the move.

The Chinese delegate on the U.N. Security Council indicated that he would challenge Russian contentions that U.S. troop presence in China posed a threat to peace. Andrei Gromyko had the previous day stated that China, Iceland, Panama, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Greece, and Indonesia constituted danger spots for the presence of either U.S. or British troops. It appeared the attempt by Russia to place this complaint before the Security Council was headed for defeat. Both the United States and Britain contended that it was simply Russian propaganda.

In China, Government forces were converging from three directions on the Communist stronghold at Kalgan in Manchuria.

House Merchant Marine Committee chairman Otis Bland of Virginia insisted that Representative Alvin Weichel of Ohio was wrong in asserting that the committee was seeking to shield the wartime operations of the Maritime Commission from scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Henry Kaiser testified before the committee that the profits realized by his shipbuilding companies during the war had been grossly overstated and amounted to no more than a tenth of one percent of dollar volume of business. He promised to supply detailed figures.

A walkout at Duquesne Light Co. in Pittsburgh caused a ripple effect, leaving 4,000 steel workers idle. The workers at Duquesne wanted a 20 percent wage increase. They were, however, returning to work in response to a court injunction forbidding the strike.

Livestock production was close to the 1944 record peak, but because of restoration of price controls on meat in August, meat was scarcely to be found in butcher shops and stores. Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson was set to address the nation via radio on the subject this night at 10:15. Be sure and tune in.

Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Frank Armstrong continued prayer for judgment for Vivian Baird, one of the three codefendants in the suborning of perjury case related to running a divorce mill, in which South Carolina residents were routinely stating under penalty of perjury that they resided for six months in North Carolina in order to obtain a divorce. Ms. Baird received more lenient treatment because of her having pleaded nolo contendere prior to the case being sent to the jury.

In North Carolina, a prayer for judgment is usually, though not always, the equivalent of a slow dismissal over a period of time, usually a year, during which no sentence is imposed. It can also be used merely as a procedural device to enable the court to maintain its jurisdiction beyond a current term of court and thereby delay sentencing, apparently the use employed in this case. When used substantively, absent imposition of a fine, it is not considered a conviction, though some rather strange authority has it that any fine, even a nominal fine, converts it to the equivalent of a conviction. That is an anomalous and bad legal result because it leaves the prayer for judgment, continued for a designated period of time, with no intent ever to impose judgment, essentially meaningless, and the trial judge who entered it defeated in his intent not to impose judgment—not to mention leaving defendants hung high and dry, thinking there was no conviction and thus forgoing appeals, potentially therefore in worse condition than the person convicted who does appeal and has the conviction reversed.

In any event, in this instance, the prayer for judgment was continued until the appeals of Ms. Baird's two convicted codefendants were heard. It was not clear what would occur if the convictions were to be affirmed, but presumably then judgment would be entered and some penalty assessed, though not necessarily.

The Judge also stated that the South Carolina residents who obtained divorces through perjury would need to initiate legal proceedings within a month to set aside their decrees or be indicted for perjury.

The lawyer convicted in the case was disbarred by summary order of the court. He was sentenced to three to five years in state prison. Ward Blanton, the primary defendant, was sentenced to five to ten years.

Today, it is the foreclosure mill lawyers who routinely suborn perjury with impunity. Indeed, it is more likely that the whistle-blower of such conduct will be the one to be punished. At least such is the case in Winston-Salem.

Burke Davis, reporting from Chapel Hill, tells of bandleader Kay Kyser visiting on vacation and learning upon inquiry from the University comptroller Billy Carmichael—for whom Carmichael Auditorium is named—that he could use his money to endow a drama workshop or to build a pharmacy school, Mr. Kyser's mother having been the first female pharmacist in the state and his father at one time the eldest. But Mr. Kyser was not so interested in those endeavors.

He finally settled on assisting the Good Health Association, struggling for money, by putting on a contest with the winner to be the guest in Hollywood of stars native to North Carolina. After visiting New York to arrange financing, he enlisted the help of North Carolina industrialists and received eager response. The dairymen, led by Lexington's George Coble, pledged $10,000 in five minutes.

Within a week, Mr. Kyser had visited 34 counties and raised $100,000.

A movie short with North Carolina-native stars would follow, with its proceeds to go to the effort. It only awaited the return of Randolph Scott, raised in Charlotte, before production would begin.

Mr. Davis does not disclose whether he told Mr. Kyser that four years earlier an editorial had appeared during the time Mr. Davis was Associate Editor, which condemned as obnoxious the song which Mr. Kyser and his band made famous as a number 1 tune, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition". They may have forgotten about it by then with the whirlwind of the war behind them and put in its box in the attic of memories best laid to rest.

On page 10-A, sports writer Furman Bisher tells of the prospects for the Davidson football team, in action for the first time since the 1943 season. Things looked good.

In New York, a fire extinguisher crashed through the ceiling and fell into bed with a Chinese man, causing him lacerations. Just how that occurred is blurred. Make up your own scenario.

On the editorial page, "A Matter of Life and Death" comments on the request of the North Carolina Medical Society for 20 million dollars to be appropriated by the next two Legislatures for a hospital-building program. The Federal Government would contribute another 17.5 million with local communities providing an equivalent amount. That would afford 4,800 new beds for medical care and 2,200 for mental and tuberculosis institutions, plus provide a 400-bed teaching hospital at the University Medical School. Still, it would leave the state 3,200 beds short of the minimum health care standards recommended by a national commission.

The Legislature would undoubtedly wonder where the money would be raised after the inflated wartime income and its revenue began to deflate, especially alongside the needs of education. Yet, both areas of improvement were necessary for progress to occur in the state.

"The OPA Debate Is Academic" tells of the blame being misplaced on OPA and its head Paul Porter for the current lack of meat from reinstitution of price controls. The real culprit had been the sell-off of all livestock during the period of July and August when controls were off, such that relieving the market of controls presently would not result in a sudden return of meat. The livestock simply was not to be had.

Under the new price control law, the producer was guaranteed a profit and so could ask for price increases. Under the emasculated OPA left by the Congress, the boom and bust cycle which had been guaranteed from lack of price control was sure to occur anyway.

The only reason to keep OPA was to soften the shock of rising prices and to appease Democratic hopes that it would be helpful at the polls.

It concludes that the chance for a successful reconversion was lost a year earlier when a weak Administration began yielding to a rambunctious Congress, eager to remove controls from wages and prices.

"Mr. Doughton Asks a Question" finds the Republicans running a negative campaign, without setting forth what they intended to do. A platform plank assuring reduction of taxes by 20 percent had caused House Ways and Mean chairman Robert Doughton of North Carolina to question where they would cut to trim the revenue.

Most of the budget went to defense, with billions for veterans and such essentials as education. The Republicans gave no hint what they would eliminate. Bureaucracy was their enemy, but they would not wish to cut away agriculture agencies from which so many Midwestern farmers in Republican states had benefited during the New Deal.

It was a typical Republican campaign, but this time they hoped it would pay off, unlike the previous seven tries to regain control of the Congress.

A piece from the Durham Herald, titled "For the Pipe of Peace", tells of the opening of the tobacco market in Durham. Months of planning and toil preceded the market. Eventually, the tobacco would find its way to every country on earth to provide smoking pleasure—until they would begin coughing up bits of lung.

It suggests that Durham might provide the tobacco for the final Pipe of Peace at Paris.

Drew Pearson starts his column with a short piece from the Joplin (Mo.) Globe, suggesting the discovery of a leak detector so sensitive that it might even be employed to discover the source of the leaks which supplied the Pearson column.

He then proceeds to state that, in addition to the trans-Atlantic teletype exchange with Secretary of State Byrnes the previous Thursday, there was one other factor which caused President Truman to fire Henry Wallace. That was that the appeasement policy with respect to Russia favored by Mr. Wallace had already been tried during the previous fall by Mr. Byrnes at his own insistence. Many had wanted his resgnation because of it, and General Marshall had been selected to replace him. But the President stuck by him and allowed him to try the policy. It had been determined, however, not to work after nine months of effort.

Despite Mr. Byrnes making concessions on joint rule of Japan on the governing council, Premier Stalin made no effort to reciprocate in the Balkans. General MacArthur had even threatened to quit over the Byrnes compromise. Admiral William Leahy at the White House was furious as well. Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, though long an advocate of cooperation, had reversed himself and no longer believed it would work with the Russians.

So the Wallace speech entered this mix such that if left unchecked, or so the belief went, then the Russian perception would be that the U.S. was showing weakness. The President thus decided he had to demand Mr. Wallace's resignation.

The President had told Mr. Wallace the previous Wednesday that Mr. Byrnes was angry. He was also not well, would likely resign soon—as he would at the end of the year. The President suggested that Dean Acheson, a friend of Mr. Wallace, might become the next Secretary of State. Eventually they agreed that Mr. Wallace would make no speeches until the end of the Paris Conference, which would still leave a couple of weeks before election day. They departed on friendly terms.

"Hot messages from Paris", however, ended the service of Mr. Wallace the following day, despite his having campaigned actively for the 1944 Democratic ticket after being dumped as Vice-President at the convention in late July in favor of Senator Truman.

Marquis Childs states that the country had appeared to be working overtime in the previous year to prove the pessimists correct, that boom times would end in economic depression as after World War I. Any effort at planning was sacrificed when the Roosevelt Administration made no effort to control wartime wages and profits, then compounded when the Republican and Southern Democratic coalition abolished effective price control.

For the society to sit around blaming one another only convinced the Russians that they were correct in asserting that capitalism would ultimately fall on its own sword. Strikes had fueled the inflationary-deflationary cycle. But there were other factors.

Colleges were overflowing with returning veterans while having difficulty finding sufficient instructors because of low pay.

Rising prices had worked to wipe out most of the benefits of the G.I. Bill by depriving veterans of the benefits of on-the-job training stipends, down to $200 per month for a married veteran and $175 per month for unmarried. At a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor appeared to demand that the Government pass legislation to provide the twelve million veterans of World War II $200 to $300 per month for life. Mr. Childs saw it as a shocking result of allowing the veterans to believe that tapping the Government till was the way to a fair deal.

Some form of reasonable planning, he concludes, was necessary to preserve democratic liberties.

Samuel Grafton posits that, contrary to the majority of editorial writers in the land, the next war would not be a short-lived push-button affair, but rather endless. The new weapons of mass destruction were so menacing that the attacked country would have to be interminably occupied by the victor. The precedent was already being established in Germany and Japan. The next war would be one of permanent conquest.

The conqueror would have to deny to the conquered all science and most human knowledge to avoid reprisal. Nuclear physics was already being denied to the Japanese and Germans, but after the next war, chemical and biological technology would have to be denied to the conquered. The poison which had been developed in the United States, so potent that an ounce could kill a hundred million people or even all of the U.S. and Canadian populations, could be developed by anyone with a knowledge of how to brew beer.

The next war would lead therefore to the degradation of mankind, reducing society to a police state which would deny knowledge to the conquered.

"Push-button war, indeed! One of the troubles with the world today is that too many people, as at Paris, are pushing buttons without being quite sure of what is attached at the other end."

A letter from the writer to whom another writer had responded on September 20 regarding her original assertion that America was not attempting to export democracy to Russia and Russia was seeking to exert its will in Eastern Europe, recommends Kapoot by Carveth Wells, a book which would back up her point of view. She took umbrage at the writer having implicitly called her a liar and accused her of making up a story with respect to the post-World War I famine in Russia, which she laid to the Russian Government.

The editors respond that the writer had taken offense, they believe, where none was intended. Both writers had used different sets of facts to reach their distinct conclusions. But in terms of the great famine in Russia, which the second writer had contended was caused by the Allies after World War I, the fact was frankly admitted by Herbert Hoover, in charge of food distribution, stating that the Allies wanted to do everything they could to defeat Bolshevism and so fed the Allied Armies which invaded Russia to support the counter-revolutionary White Russian forces and withheld food from the Communist Government. To what extent it had contributed to the famine was unknown.

They conclude that it was symptomatic of a malady pervading the postwar era that two people, both well-intentioned and equipped with facts, could not disagree without perceiving one another as casting aspersions on each other's integrity.

A letter suggests that if the Government would pay half the cost of the feed to any farmer who would raise five or more hogs, the meat shortage would immediately go away.

A letter from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, at least the second time he had written The News, albeit the first since 1937 in the early days of W. J. Cash's tenure as Associate Editor, thanks the newspaper for its editorial of August 24 on Ed Scheidt, Special Agent in charge of the Charlotte office for nine years, who had moved on to head the New York office. Mr. Scheidt had also personally thanked the newspaper on September 3 for the editorial.

The earlier 1937 editorial, incidentally, to which Mr. Hoover had responded and which we did subsequently add, is titled "Senseless, But Not Hopeless", regarding the Director's comments in Winston-Salem on the poor administration of parole generally in the country.

A letter from the secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State Mutual Hatchery Association sends a resolution passed by the organization thanking the newspapers, radio stations, exhibitors, and the Hotel Charlotte for making their exposition and annual meeting a success.

How many eggs were mutually hatched was not provided.

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