Wednesday, September 25, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 25, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that seventy-five ships from Operation Crossroads, not directly in the blast area at Bikini in July, had been quarantined in West Coast ports and at Pearl Harbor because of detected high radiation after cruising through Bikini Lagoon following the second test of July 25. Twenty-five other exposed ships were showing insufficient radiation to warrant quarantine.

At Nuremberg, an official report stated that the verdicts of the 22 defendants on trial before the war crimes tribunal would begin to be handed down starting at 10:00 a.m. the following Monday. The first day would only entail a review of the case by the court and the verdicts would not come until the second day, with sentencing thereafter, possibly stretching into Wednesday.

Greek and British Government officials stated that fighting in Northern Greece had developed into a civil war, prompting serious measures to halt the violence. The outbreaks were centered in Macedonia and were in response to the recent plebiscite restoring the throne of King George II, in exile during the Nazi occupation.

John Hightower reports that Washington observers saw Germany as the key test for determining the sincerity during the fall of Prime Minister Stalin's statements the previous day to a British reporter that he saw no imminent prospect of war and believed that there could be permanent peace, wishing demilitarization and democratization of Germany. The treaty for Germany was expected to come up between the Big Four after the conclusion of the Paris Peace Conference. Whether Russia would accept the U.S.-British plan for treating Germany as a single economic unit would be one principal indicator of cooperation; a determination to begin to eliminate East German war industries, another.

President Truman declared to 38 Democratic candidates for Congress meeting at the White House that the country was in an emergency akin to the attack at Pearl Harbor, and that it would continue until peace and production could be obtained. Republicans responded that any such crisis was the fault of the Truman Administration.

A Georgia Democratic Congressional nominee came away from the meeting with the President saying that he heard nearly unanimous sentiment expressed among the 38 candidates in favor of an end to price controls.

The strike of 3,500 workers in Pittsburgh at the Duquesne Light Co. was still ongoing, but a committee had recommended that the union accept a proposal to be provided this night by the company. The strike had spread to steelworkers, 2,000 of whom had walked off the job in sympathy. Limited electrical service was afforded to Pittsburgh, with most homes and businesses still being supplied power by volunteer workers at the power plants.

Harold Ickes discusses the pollution of the nation's rivers with raw sewage and industrial waste to the point where swimming in them was dangerous and obtaining potable water was costing billions of dollars in treatment. There were numerous state laws governing pollution but they were inadequately and erratically enforced state to state, such that most rivers at one point or another along their routes were not policed.

The solution was Federal legislation. Several bills had been introduced since 1936 but had never gotten anywhere. A current bill, sponsored by Congressman Mike Mansfield of Montana, was praiseworthy, but the House had not acted on it.

Burke Davis, still in Chapel Hill, continues his series on the efforts of bandleader Kay Kyser to raise $100,000 to build medical facilities for the 34 counties of North Carolina without a hospital. He was such a skilled orator when speaking before businessmen to try to raise funds that Dr. Clarence Poe in Raleigh, co-owner of The Progressive Farmer and a leader in the movement to improve hospital facilities during the gubernatorial administration of J. Melville Broughton between 1941 and 1945, jumped up and suggested loudly that Mr. Kyser run for Governor. Mr. Kyser was so informal that he was patting former Navy Secretary and Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels on the back and calling him by his first name.

Some groups, fearing higher taxes, were opposed to the program of hospital building and were seeking to stir opposition to it. One tactic was to try to convince the black community that there would not be enough money available to build adequate black hospitals. But the proponents did not talk about the opposition much. Herman Cone, the textile magnate of Greensboro, stated that he would guarantee raising any money needed for Greensboro.

In Detroit, a 15-year old boy asked a judge to allow him to quit high school so that he could support his new family. Six weeks earlier, he had married a 30-year old woman with two children, a woman whom the judge had previously warned about having the boy over to her home causing him to miss school. The judge had threatened to spank her. He stood baffled as to what to do about the boy's continued schooling.

In Honolulu, the scheduled departure of the Pacusan Dreamboat, the B-29 set to attempt a non-stop flight to Cairo, estimated to take 43 hours, was delayed because of weather for at least two or three more days.

In Baltimore, a 21-year old woman wielded a meat cleaver at a thief as he fled from her mother's store, having robbed the cash register of $50. She wound up throwing the cleaver at the man but he fled unharmed, picking up the cleaver as he went. The young woman, however, said he could have it as the store did not have any meat to cleave anyway.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson had the night before delivered a radio address on the meat shortage and advised that the livestock farmers were not withholding their animals from the market, and that it would be against the farmers' own interest to have higher prices, driving up their own consumer prices in response.

House Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts called on OPA head Paul Porter to abolish controls on meats for 60 days to alleviate the meat shortage, so acute in Massachusetts that at least one Boston hospital had reported resorting to horsemeat. Massachusetts Governor Maurice Tobin had advised the Federal Government to seize the packing houses and purchase meat for distribution, but short of that, to remove price controls on meat.

A picture appears of a nurse and staff dietician sitting down to a nice meal of horseburgers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The student dietician stated that if the shortage did not ease, the patients would soon start receiving pieces of Flicka, too.

Watch out for the hoof.

On the editorial page, "The Baby on the Doorstep" tells of local and state Democratic organizations gearing up for the November elections along partisan lines, despite the fact that they stood for the same things as the Republican Party nationally, against corruption, Communism, and controls. For all intents and purposes, the Democratic Party had lost control of Congress a year earlier when the Southern wing joined with the Republicans to defeat President Truman's reconversion program. There was thus no reason in the South for Democrats to bolt.

But outside the South, there were problems. The conservatives were in control of the Democrats as evidenced by the firing of Henry Wallace and the purging of Senator Claude Pepper from stump speaking. There was no spokesman for the New Deal to woo liberal voters.

Mr. Wallace estimated that five million votes existed in that bloc. RNC chairman Carroll Reece estimated no more than a million votes. Both agreed that the liberal or progressive strength was in the CIO, the UMW, the Communist and Socialist Parties, and a fringe of intellectuals, that it was therefore well-organized and disciplined. These votes were not to be left out of the equation as only 29.5 million votes were cast in the 1942 off-year election. If they were to stay away from the polls, it could be disastrous for the Democrats.

It suggests that the "unwanted baby" within the Democratic Party could become a third party by 1948, though most professional observers discounted the possibility. Harold Ickes, a former TR Bull Mooser from 1912, had once called a third party in American politics as superfluous as a third party on a honeymoon. It would likely insure a Republican President.

It concludes that the Democratic Party of FDR no longer existed and would likely not return until the next major economic crisis proved the futility of a negative approach to government.

"The Gold Brick Is Nobody's Friend" tells of the Wake County Unemployment Compensation Commissioner disqualifying 51 of 65 claimants in the county for compensation when he discovered that they had refused to take jobs. The notable thing was that there was no great outcry against it. When The News had editorialized a few months earlier that the veterans disserved themselves by accepting $20 per week for 52 weeks, numerous rude letters had poured in. Now, there appeared to be a shift of opinion.

Perhaps veterans had begun to listen to General Omar Bradley, the Veterans Administration director, when he said that there was no "gravy train". The goldbricks were jeopardizing the whole program.

It concludes that the Wake Commissioner's efforts might prove the best favor for veterans by eliminating the "52-20 Club".

"'Piracy' in the Public Schools" comments on a State Board of Education ruling that students who attended classes in a district in which their attendance was not authorized would not receive credit. The Concord Tribune had labeled the practice "piracy" as some school districts allowed their buses to pick up students outside the district. The reason for it, according to the Tribune, was that teachers were determined in each school by the number of students and the pay of principals was based on the number of teachers.

Thus the way to end the piracy was to eliminate these incentives. It doubts that the practice was widespread but constituted a symptom of desperation for the underpaid teachers of North Carolina, desperate enough to motivate principals, usually scrupulously honest, to resort to "petty crookedness" to increase their salaries.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "More Color in the Pattern", poetically discusses again the turning of the colors to fall in latter September, with the end of summer at hand. "Goldenrod and blue asters make a blended pattern beside the country roads and around old orchards."

The weaver was gradually adding more color as the days drew on. "The elms in the meadow start turning an orange-brown."

"The Baldwins and Northern Spies put on deep red; the squashes and pumpkins are green and blue, orange and yellow. For a brief interlude the green of the rowen in the meadow seems to have a deeper, richer sheen."

Drew Pearson reports of an incident the previous year when Henry Wallace spoke at an anti-poll tax dinner, stating that Secretary of State Byrnes would do better by sending Louisville Courier-Journal Editor Mark Ethridge to South Carolina than sending him to the Balkans where he had gone. President Truman heard of the comment and asked Mr. Wallace to do everything he could to keep it out of the papers, which he did. The fear was that it would anger Mr. Byrnes, from South Carolina.

Harold Young, Acting Secretary of Commerce after the Wallace resignation, called a hasty press conference to find out from his native Texans how he should run the Department, perhaps calling a rump Cabinet meeting. Someone suggested he resign. He said he was too busy trying to get a law to make himself permanent Secretary of Commerce. He predicted, however, that his tenure would end before they could have a picture made.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson and Undersecretary Kenneth Royall had intervened in the Lichfield Prison case out of England to reduce the sentences handed down by the military tribunal to the enlisted men responsible for administering the corporal punishment and beatings to American soldier prisoners. A sergeant sentenced to six months had his sentence suspended and another sergeant sentenced to three years had his sentence reduced to time served of nine months.

He provides the list of verdicts and sentences handed down in the case.

Col. Killian, commander of the prison, who was reprimanded and fined $500, had collected $4,400 for a plate glass window, his pet project, with the implication that each man had to contribute. Every officer was permitted two bottles of whisky per month but did not receive them. They were sold at the officers' club at 40 cents a drink. Col. Killian was once seen reviewing the troops at 4:00 a.m., as they had been awakened early so that the Colonel could go to London to receive a decoration. In 1934, he was supposed to have been ousted from the Army but someone pulled strings and President Roosevelt reinstated him.

Some 350 Japanese soldiers were supposedly still at large on Okinawa, living as Robinson Crusoes. A Japanese fugitive on Saipan was picked up a couple of months earlier after being at large for over a year. He had obtained water on the sly at night from a house of an American commander.

Returning Congressmen from the Pacific worried that American officers had forgotten that the Japanese were the enemy a year earlier and were now taking them to their hearts, forgetting the fallen American dead.

There was a need for Japanese interpreters. Some reports were written by Japanese authorities and sent directly to occupation headquarters.

The worst troop morale in the Pacific was in Korea and the Aleutians. Those in Korea received food only slightly better than field rations. In the Aleutians, the soldiers were sent for two-year hitches and had little chance of getting to the mainland.

Marquis Childs, in Stockholm to begin a series of reports on the reaction of Northern Europeans to current international trends, tells of trans-Atlantic commercial travel having changed, with a half dozen flights per day. He had left La Guardia aboard the maiden flight of the Scandinavian Airlines System and within a little less than 24 hours had set down in Copenhagen. Ninety minutes later, they were in Oslo and from there, flew to Stockholm. It was, he says, only a short time since such travel would have been deemed a miracle, less than 20 years since the Lindbergh solo flight from New York to Paris.

Pan American, TWA, and American Overseas were the three American airlines flying, and Air France, BOAC, KLM, Sabena of Belgium, and SAS, were the five foreign lines.

There were also daily flights to Latin America and the Pacific, Honolulu and New Zealand. There were 142 planes in foreign service.

Stopovers could last for days sometimes. Mr. Childs ran into an old friend at Gander, Newfoundland, who said he had been there for two and a half days. But no sooner than he bet Mr. Childs that he would be there at least twelve hours, his plane was ready to take off. He describes the views on the way to Scandinavia, concluding with his changed perception of time after the flight.

Samuel Grafton looks at the ouster of Henry Wallace, finding the new foreign policy pleasing to John Foster Dulles, Herbert Hoover, and in a lesser sense, newspapermen William R. Hearst and Westbrook Pegler. After years of being out, their views were now coming back into vogue. Henry Wallace and his coterie were now on the outside.

It did not mean that the Democratic Party was the same as the Republican Party or that Harry Truman had ceased to be a liberal. But there was a definite change and the President was now captive of the conservative trend from both parties. The conservatives were setting the tone while the liberals watched from the kitchen.

Mr. Truman's initial approval of the Wallace speech, then his backfilling and contention that he only had approved of Mr. Wallace's right to speak, then his limiting Mr. Wallace to speaking after the Paris Peace Conference, and finally demanding his resignation, all in the course of a week, was a pitiful sight and suggested the President as fighting a losing battle which he had finally lost. Whether liberals could rescue him remained to be seen.

The Tafts, Vandenbergs, and Hearsts now had their hands on the wheel, "as we set off for the night drive on the unpaved road." What would happen now was their responsibility. It marked a new phase in postwar life. But, Mr. Grafton finds it little cause for celebration.

"One looks rather to see if there is a scrap of pemmican about, a warm coat and thick gloves and other suitable equipment for what may be a long, cold trip."

A letter writer desires a bill of particulars setting forth the charges against Russia.

The editors respond with a statement that most of it stemmed from a violation of a specific section of the Yalta agreement, which is set forth, calling for resolution by "democratic means" of the political and economic problems of liberated Europe. The problems had arisen in the various interpretations of "democratic means".

They quote from an interpretation by James Reston of the New York Times in which he stated that the Administration had accepted the principle that no anti-Soviet plot would be tolerated by the Soviet Union within the countries along its borders, and so made concessions to the Soviets in the creation of the Polish, Rumanian, and Bulgarian Governments and the occupation policies in Eastern Europe.

But Mr. Byrnes had observed a collection of Soviet-dominated states from the Baltic to the Black Sea and attempts by Communist minorities in Hungary and Greece to seize control, causing him to swing to his new policy of getting tough against Soviet expansionism. There was no general feeling in Washington that Mr. Byrnes was getting tough just for the sake of it or that he was participating in an anti-Communist alliance.

It was considered astonishing, Mr. Reston continued, that no more than cursory attempts had been made toward resolving the questions which divided the United States and the Soviet Union. The discussion in Paris had been limited to such areas as Trieste, Tripolitania, Eritrea, and Poland.

"We have made some progress on these points, but true agreement—agreement on which each felt he could rely—has never been achieved because all specific problems have been confounded by this seven-devil suspicion on both sides of the true objectives of the other...."

The editors add the note that the foregoing of Mr. Reston was the basis for Mr. Wallace's criticism of the Administration's foreign policy and, as well, for that by The News.

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