Wednesday, September 4, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 4, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Chicago, 17-year old William Heirens, a former sophomore at the University of Chicago, had pleaded guilty to the three murders of which he stood accused, including the death on January 7 of six-year old Suzanne Degnan. The prosecutor presented several witnesses to establish the corpus of each case prior to the plea. The plea was entered on condition that Mr. Heirens would not receive the death penalty, but would be sentenced to terms which would insure that he would spend the remainder of his life in prison—as he would, dying in prison in March, 2012. He would subsequently recant his confessions and contend that the only reason he entered the pleas was to avoid the death penalty.

The State Department presented the Yugoslav Government with a blank bill, to be filled in later, with a note stating that the United States expected indemnity for the deaths of the five crew members on August 19 in the American plane shot down by Yugoslav forces. Should Marshal Tito refuse the demand, the State Department reserved its right to make a complaint to the U.N. Security Council.

Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton specifically denied the charges by the Yugoslavs that there had been 278 unauthorized American flights over Yugoslavia since July 16, stating that none had occurred except in emergencies. He also stated that the August 9 flight had drifted off course because of weather and that, because of the death of the crew, it was not possible to ascertain what happened on the August 19 flight.

The Foreign Ministers Council met for the second time during the Paris Peace Conference. Senator Tom Connally of Texas addressed the Conference for the first time, calling for cooperation in establishing a free Trieste under U.N. supervision.

In Paris, the Constituent Assembly approved as part of the proposed draft constitution a bicameral parliament for the Fourth Republic. A previous draft, rejected in May by French voters, had provided for a unicameral parliament.

The British announced that they were beginning the removal of wartime troops from Greece in the wake of the election the previous Sunday which had restored King George II to the throne. It was a first step, said the Foreign Office, in what would ultimately be a complete withdrawal of British troops from Greece, as well as a reshuffling of troops throughout the Middle East.

In London, Field Marshal Viscount Bernard Montgomery stated in an article published in the London Gazette that the D-Day invasion had gone exactly as planned, that the delay of his forces at Caen was deliberate to draw off the German reserves while General Omar Bradley's forces smashed the weakened lines to the west. He was responding to Top Secret by Ralph Ingersoll, a book criticizing the delay on the east flank by General Montgomery's forces.

General Montgomery asserted that the panzer divisions of the Germans were forced to engage the Allies prematurely and were unable to concentrate their power to produce a coordinated blow until it was too late. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had wanted to halt the invasion on the beaches by concentrating fire there but Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt favored a "crust-cushion-hammer" plan in which infantry were positioned along the coast with a cushion of infantry divisions held in tactical reserve, and a "hammer" force of armor in strategic reserve further inland.

The British commander opined that if reasonable weather had obtained, the Arnhem bridgehead operation, involving paratroops landed behind enemy lines in September, 1944, would have been successful, rather than bogging down and being surrounded, requiring withdrawal and rescue. The aim of that operation had been to open up the northern Ruhr and the North German plains.

He complimented the American forces for their grit in the Ardennes offensive of December and January, 1944-45, enabling victory. He also praised the spirit of cooperation which had existed between the British and American services under the supreme command of General Eisenhower, and the American Air Force and Bomber Command for their invaluable contribution to the war.

Harold Ickes continues his indictment of defeated Congressman Jed Johnson of Oklahoma, saying that he had obtained from the Indian service an exception to the general rule of cancelling the Indian fairs during the war to save money, getting $2,000 for the Indians of his district to hold their fair. He did so by implicit threat of curtailing appropriations of Interior.

He also intervened when three persons from his district were listed among 54 terminated by Interior because of budget cuts.

He had used the same tactic, threatening appropriations cuts, to prevent the Indian Office from accepting the highest bids for some Indian lands being sold.

The Congressman's law partner had demanded and received a $2,500 fee for routine work in connection with an Indian estate, despite the local agent recommending $250 as the fee. Mr. Johnson intervened to obtain the fee as billed. When Drew Pearson found out and printed the story in his column, Mr. Johnson had accused Mr. Ickes falsely of providing the information and thereafter sought to cut the Interior budget, fulfilling his threats.

Mr. Ickes concludes that the pair of columns showed the type of pressure which individual Congressmen could exert upon Cabinet members.

In Paris, a DC-3 crashed shortly after takeoff on its way to London, killing all 21 people aboard. The plane appeared to experience engine trouble. It brought to 50 the number killed in French airline crashes during the previous three days.

In New York, the Stock Exchange recovered somewhat from the previous day's near-record drop; but stocks remained at their lowest level in over a year. With a volume of three million shares being traded, the market had one of its most active days since spring, 1940, at the invasion of France by Germany. Stocks generally lost from $5 to $7 per share. DuPont dropped by $17 the previous day though rebounded somewhat this date.

The New York State Democratic Convention selected, as expected, Senator James Mead as the nominee for the gubernatorial race against incumbent Governor Thomas Dewey. Former Governor Herbert Lehman, former head of UNRRA, was nominated to be the Democratic Senate candidate.

In Fayetteville, N.C., a defense psychiatrist testified that murder defendant Wall C. Ewing, a political leader accused of murdering his wife while having an affair with her sister, was incapable of planning and deliberating sufficiently to commit murder, that he had an "alcohol psychosis" and suffered from hallucinations, believed that he regularly talked to his deceased wife while in jail and that she told him all would be well. The doctor concluded that he did not know right from wrong.

A witness from Lumberton who worked at the same radio station where Mr. Ewing was general manager stated that during three and a half years, he did not recall ever seeing him completely sober.

On the editorial page, "We Have Our Own Travesty" finds objection to the reasoning of the three-judge Federal Court which held that the Georgia unit-voting system did not deny equal protection because it was weighted toward lesser populated counties, equating them with larger counties. The Court had justified the system by comparing it to the electoral college, to which the editorial finds not analogous because the electors are apportioned based on state population.

But it did not wish to belabor the point for in North Carolina, there were senatorial districts which rotated the senators among the counties in the district, meaning that many counties went unrepresented. The Senate was limited to 50 members for 100 counties. And the counties were divided into 33 senatorial districts, some having two senators, based on population. Seven counties were large enough to constitute a single district.

The reason for the complicated system, according to a veteran Democratic politician, was that 50 districts with one senator each would have meant too many Republicans in the State Senate.

The piece commends this travesty to those in North Carolina critical of the Georgia unit-voting system.

"It's the People's Business, Admiral" comments on the recent statement by Admiral William Halsey that the American Fleet would go "any damned place" it pleased in international waters and it was "nobody's damned business". Some editors had chided him for his language and the timing of the statement, chafing against Soviet sensitivity on the question of a portion of the American Fleet in the Mediterranean, specifically in Greece just before the election to restore King George II to the throne. But, says the piece, the Russians were concerned with acts, not language.

The editorial finds, however, hypocritical the statement by Admiral Halsey that the ships were there at the invitation of the Greek Government. For it was the business of the American people where the Fleet was sent. And they had a right to be informed of the real reasons for the deployment and how far relations with Russia had deteriorated.

It favors the President taking to the airwaves either to confirm or deny the propriety of the sentiment now popular with the American people, that war with Russia was inevitable, perhaps imminent.

"Our relations with Russia are very much the peoples' damned business. They are, in fact, the people's primary damned business."

"A Sure Cure for the KKK" suggests that it was no accident that the Klan was not showing any evidence of revival in North Carolina, as it had in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, and elsewhere. The piece does not propose that intolerance was absent from North Carolina but does suggest that the forces of public opinion were organized against it.

It cites a recent meeting at Little Switzerland in the North Carolina mountains, at which leading Protestants, Jews, and Catholics had gathered as guests of a Charlotte resident who had made his estate available to religious groups of all faiths. The meeting was attended by many prominent citizens, including Frank Porter Graham, president of the University of North Carolina. The conference had adopted a resolution enunciating unity in respect for God and his teachings, denouncing bigotry, and uniting to combat religious hatred.

It finds the creed adopted to be one that no one who believed in God could reject and that the Klan could never prosper in North Carolina as long as such an attitude would prevail.

J. A. Krug, Secretary of Interior, substituting for Drew Pearson, tells of a recent trip to Metlakatla, Alaska, where he heard hearteningly the belfry play "America" and "America, the Beautiful". He had been to a dozen Alaskan communities in the territory, one-fifth the geographical size of the entire United States as then constituted.

Alaska had but 85,000 population, but growth and development was taking place. Most Alaskans were considering the prospect of statehood—which would occur in 1959. He heard no opposition to the idea, but was informed that some existed. A referendum on the subject was set for October. If favorable, the Alaskan delegate would press Congress for legislation at the next session.

Mr. Krug favored statehood, as did the current Governor. Representative Bob Poage of Texas wanted Alaska carved into three states to avoid any one of them being larger than Texas.

The Secretary had visited Barrow, the Ultima Thule of Alaska, where the 500 Eskimo residents turned out to greet him and his party, as well as giving them a nice farewell, singing a hymn.

The secretary of the village flew with the party, at Mr. Krug's invitation, to conduct business in Nome, but it was too fogged in to land and so they went on to Anchorage. The Eskimo had never been south of Nome, had never seen a tree or so many people as in the city. The Army flew him back to Barrow, but he had never been able to transact his business in Nome. Some of the Alaskan papers quipped that it would teach him never to accept a ride from strangers.

Mr. Krug expresses respect for the pilots of the planes who had to navigate among the islands and in adverse weather conditions year-round. The only times they were grounded was when the snow was so thick that the pilots could not see the propellers.

He expresses the intention to try to remove barriers from establishment of tourist industry in Alaska and recommends a trip there for anyone interested in seeing the pioneer spirit still at work.

Douglas Larsen, substituting for vacationing Marquis Childs, discusses Arsenal of Democracy, just published by former War Production Board chairman Donald Nelson, as covered also on the front page the previous day. Mr. Nelson had taken a swipe at the Army's Supply Service and its director during the war, General Brehon Somervell, having tried, he claims, to obtain control of American industry. He was especially upset about the Army's planted false stories regarding supposedly bad decisions by WPB when the Army had been a party to these decisions.

One of the first conflicts had arisen regarding production of synthetic rubber, competing with the Army's desire for production of 100-octane fuel for planes and PT-boats. Mr. Nelson had ordered the production of the synthetic rubber to go forward and shortly thereafter, he read in the newspaper an Army contention that there was insufficient fuel for the airplanes, causing a complete alteration of strategy. He contended that it was simply untrue.

He also had told of Leland Olds, chairman of the Federal Power Commission, contesting with Mr. Nelson on his favoring more private companies producing electricity while Mr. Olds wanted more Government projects. Eventually, after a meeting with President Roosevelt, TVA head David Lilienthal was commissioned to do a report on the issue, which ultimately proved that Mr. Olds had supplied faulty figures and Mr. Nelson had been correct in his assertion that the war could not be won were the power industry expanded to the point sought by Mr. Olds.

Samuel Grafton, still in San Francisco, tells of a cab driver first stating a fare of $8.50 to carry him across the Bay Bridge, then, without fanfare, unilaterally increasing the bill to $10 upon reaching the destination. Meanwhile, the driver had been fretting about the state of things generally and wanted to know how he might obtain employment on the East Coast, appearing lost in a haze, oblivious to his passenger as being any more than a means to acquire a fare and practical information. Mr. Grafton complains that if he was going to be skinned, he preferred it to be at least performed in good spirits, not in the brusque, matter-of-fact manner of this cab driver. Such things were conducted differently, he says, before the war.

It bespoke the fact that after a year of defrosting since war's end, the American mind was in an irritable state.

The irritability carried over to the political realm where candidates were merely categorized by stands on particular issues, as either liberal or conservative, and debate had been largely abandoned. One got the feeling that many Californians faced real issues of making ends meet and finding homes, but the politicians were simply engaged in a right-left game, supported by the local press.

The irritability had a pent-up quality, and with the New Deal gone, was unable to find a vent. It was impossible to hate Harry Truman as many had his predecessor. The death of FDR and the end of the war had not brought the consequences for which many had hoped.

He thought it probable that the current ill feeling against Russia was a reflection of this pent-up frustration, that Russia served as a handy target.

Mr. Grafton suggests that it should be realized that 1946 was a year of irritation, before a single incident would ignite a spark which might cause disaster.

A letter from a former G.I. comments on the Doolittle board hearings into the caste system between officers and enlisted men, which had taken place earlier in the year. He recommends establishment of a well-trained corps of officers, trained for several years, not just three months. He argues that in such event, with all the attendant perquisites to go with the position, there would be no need for a draft.

Alfred Mynders presents a piece from The Chattanooga Times, titled "How We Tawk", in which he draws from the example of Herbert E. Armstrong writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun, setting forth vocabulary endemic to Baltimore. Some of the words listed were also used in Chattanooga, such as "arn", "arnge", "ast", "calvary", "far", "tard", "farst", synonymous with "farse", "feesh", "harble", "harr", "hosale", "tars", "meeyun", "beeyun", "dest", "meeyunaire", "payment", "pruin", "semney", "larl", "turble", "umpar", "Weeyum", "Juyus", "weel", and "woll". He supplies the definitions, but you can take your guesses before looking.

Alberta Hannum had constructed a vocabulary guide for the Great Smokies region. If a verb could be used as a noun, she pointed out, then it was so used, such as "You can git you one more gittin' of wood out of that pile." And verbs became adjectives, as in "the workin'est man"; nouns were converted to verbs, such as "I don't confidence them dogs."

He concludes that the Smokies-Blue Ridge tawk was more colorful than the relatively prosaic Baltimore vocabulary common to Chattanooga.

All of which led to our receipt this date by special courier, from our friend in the Caribbean, the following, accompanied by his omnipresent assurance that it was written in the fall of 1991, before, he took careful pains to note, the release of the film "JFK" later that year, and with the usual disclaimer that he had never read any of the editorials contained herein from The News or the syndicated columns of the time appearing in The News—"Hell," he interjected, "how and when would I have done that?"—when the below was indited, all of which claims we were able quickly to verify through the usual impeccable sources. Make of it what you will.

They caught a cab across town, with the intent of doing some last sight-seeing before catching the train for Austin. They climbed into the yellow Desoto with a fortyish, brutish looking sort at the wheel.

"Howdy, whar you folks from?"

"North Carolina."

"Hmmm, never been myse'f. What's ya come down ta these parts fer?"

"My husband here is on a grant to write."

"Wriiiter, huh? What ya write about?"

"I write about the South, mainly."

"Ahuh. The South. You know a lot about it, I guess-ss, bein' from North Car'lina and all."

"Well, it's a part of it and we grew up there. So I guess so..."

"Yeah, so did I. So did I... You tellin' 'em up North 'bout our nigger problem?"

Mary felt Wilbur tense next to her and immediately and unobtrusively grabbed his arm. She continued the colloquy.

"I think my husband is definitely doing that, yes. He is telling them all about those problems you speak of."

"Well, I hope so, little lady. Damn nigger lovers come down here and try ta tell us our business in their damn Northern talk and fancy suits and fancy lingo ya can't even understand. And tell us how ta live? That son-bitch Roosevelt tryin' ta tell me I got ta let a nigger in my cab? Heh, that'll be the day..."

"Why are you so...?"

Mary squeezed Wilbur's arm now so hard that he looked at her sternly. She smiled and then frowned a scolding look at once to stop the rejoinder.

"Why what, bub? You got some problem with niggers?"

"I am just not going to sit here and listen to all this..."

"Well now... Okay.... Okay, lookee right over thar, right thar. That's my point."

The cab was heading to the end of Main Street with its signal ablaze to turn right onto Houston and then left onto Elm. They were now passing by a little green area on either side of the stretch of road going under the gantlet of railroad tracks ahead, atop an underpass, just beyond a seven story brick building to their right. The driver made note of the area in his Texas good ol' boy drawl.

"Now, that's exactly what I'm talkin' 'bout. That damn thang. Look at it. What the hell is that hunk o' concrete thang, anyway? Some damn nigger-lover's project... They call it 'public works'. Let 'em go out and really work for the public. You can't get a job? It's because you don't want one. You're lazy. You're good for nothin' but draggin' the whole damn country down. That's why we had to go through all this. This here is what we call Roostervelt's Dicey Dealey, we're in right now... Sing, 'cock-a-doodle-doo'. Yeah... But I'll tell ya what, just let one o' them nigger lovin' pol'ticians come down here. They'll sure as hell get themselves maybe a taste of a texas leaguer. Ya know?"

"And what might that be?"

The cabbie started boisterously laughing in derision of Wilbur's inquiry.

"Hmmm, you 'parently don't see much baseball. That's what I figured. Wriiiter..."


Again, Mary visually remonstrated Wilbur. He relented, now.

"A texas leaguer, my writer friend... Well, you know what the dugout is....right? ....Right?"

Wilbur hesitated in silence for a moment as he looked from the windows of the cab. Finally, he gave in to Mary's prodding insistence to answer the query.

"Yeah, right."

"Right... And you know-ww, I suppose, what the outfield is, right?"


"Right... And the infield. Well, the texas leaguer is what you might call somethin' that's sort o' hard to catch somewhere in between. That's what just might happen to those damn nigger lovers if they ever want ta try and push that garbage on us down here. We ain't gonna bend over like some people in some parts. Like that Johnson guy. He ain't got a prayer in hell. Ol' Pappy 'll win like he always does. Send us this liberal garbage talkin' like us and think we're fooled by that pink stuff. They think we're too stupid to see through it. Well, we still believe that our grandfathers had somethin' to say. Somethin' to say, my friend. We just ain't gonna lay down our arms when them damn people are tryin' to humil'ate our her'tage and wall us off from our Oz."

"Wall us off from Oz?" Wilbur was now shaking his head and smiling with incredulity at the slipper's pit-fit.

The driver was now staring hard and coldly at Wilbur through the rearview mirror. Mary tried to ameliorate the thick tension building in the Desoto.

"Boys, boys... We all have to get along, now. We've had a long, hard trip, sir. We really just want to see some more of your beautiful state here. It is really very nice. What did your family do?"

"Hmmm. Ranchers. Until the damn Jew banks took it."

Wilbur was now gnawing on his hand to grip himself from letting this individual have some further instruction in understanding humanity. Mary stopped talking. Wilbur abruptly changed their destination to the train station to which the driver indicated his hearty approval with a sarcastic, silent grin and mocking affirmative nod of his head.

When they reached the station, he stated that the fare was $1.20. Wilbur felt otherwise.

"Excuse me, but your meter says 80 cents."

"That's the wrong meter you're lookin' at. I have another meter. It says a dollar-twenty. If you don't like it, I can sure as hell get some po-lice down here to make you like it. And by the time they get here, I assure you, pardner, that my other meter will also say a dollar-twenty. Got me, pardner?" The man, like most of his ilk, had elongated the vowel "o" in "police" and accented the first syllable to give an additional air of intimidation.

"Come on, honey. Just pay him and let's go."

"Well, Mary, this is principle and he is..."

"Yes, I just want to get out of here, okay? This is really our honeymoon, remember?"

"Yore honeymoon?" The cabbie began laughing in a sinister, unholy sort of guttural tone. "Ooooh... Well, I'll tell ya what, cowboy. You want to be a bigshot fer your pertty little lady thar? I won't stand in the way of a man on his honeymoon. I'll make it a dollar and a quarter, including the tip. Best I can do fer ya, pardner. Take it er leave it... It's yore move, boy."

"Pay him."

Wilbur disgustedly paid the repugnant, roughian, anti-Rooseveltian reprobate and resignedly muttered, "Come on, Mary. Let's get the hell out of here. I would tend to say the whole city is a 'Dicey-Dealey', myself. No wonder they used to have shootouts on the streets. Nobody can stand each other, here."

The driver grimaced at Wilbur, snatched the money from his hand and screeched his tires as he drove out of the station parking area. Mary and Wilbur spoke no more of the incident. They boarded the train for the short hop and were in Austin by late afternoon.

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