Thursday, September 5, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Army had cleared the Garsson brothers combine of any wrongdoing in the manufacture of defective 4-inch mortar shells which had prematurely exploded and killed 38 American soldiers and injured 127 others. The Garsson brothers' companies made only the shells, not the fuses, which were deemed the fault in the premature detonations. The percentage of defective shells was small, 63 of four million. Once the defect had been discovered during training exercises, lanyards had been used during the Battle of the Bulge to permit firing of the shells at a safe distance. In the worst of the explosions, occurring at A. P. Hill Military Reservation in Fredericksburg, Va., one round had exploded killing two officers and wounding nine others.

Meanwhile, Representative Andrew May, chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, agreed, as soon as his doctor would permit, to testify, either in Washington or at his home in Kentucky, before a subcommittee of the Mead Committee investigating the Garsson brothers combine and Mr. May's dealings with it. He also submitted a statement for the Mead Committee, claiming, as he had previously, that he made no profit from his association with the Garsson brothers.

In Paris, Russian delegate Andrei Vishinsky urged the Peace Conference to reject Italian claims to Trieste and stated that Yugoslavia had the "unquestionable right" to have possession of the port city, but that Russia was supporting, on pragmatic political grounds, the Big Four Foreign Ministers Council agreement to make Trieste a free territory. He said that sometimes, in dealing with political considerations, two plus two equaled five.

In Elko, Nevada, a Trans-Luxury Airlines twin-engine DC-3 crashed at 2:00 a.m. on approach to the airport, killing at least twenty aboard. Only one known survivor had been found, a two-year old boy found in a sitting position 100 feet from the wreckage. The plane had left New York with 24 persons aboard and had as its final destination San Francisco. The company had begun transcontinental flights just two months earlier after two years operating East Coast flights.

UNRRA director Fiorello La Guardia, speaking in Copenhagen at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization meeting, made a plea to establish a world food board to replace UNRRA, the life of which would expire at the end of 1946. He stated that price stabilization would drive out of business every grain exchange prepared to speculate on prices, from Chicago to Liverpool. He said that 20 million acres of arable land in the liberated countries were not being cultivated because of the loss during the war of 2.5 million draft animals and five million cattle.

In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King announced the appointment of a new Ambassador to the United States, Hume Wrong, to replace Lester Pearson. The new Ambassador was thought to be the right man at the right time for the job, both at home and abroad. Mr. Wrong had been serving as Undersecretary of State for External Affairs.

In Athens, Greece, the Navy decided to call off the planned air display over the city which had on its program 120 planes from the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt sky-writing the letters "FDR". The commander of the operation stated that it could not be integrated into the four-day program, but men onboard the ships opined that it was the result of State Department pressure, not wishing to rock the boat with respect to the criticism of the Russians in Paris for the presence of the ships in Greece at the time immediately preceding the previous Sunday's plebiscite to determine the return to the throne of King George II, the overwhelming approval of which had been predicted for some time. Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov had suggested that the ships were present to influence the election in favor of the King.

The President, after returning from his eighteen-day cruise to Rhode Isaland and Bermuda, ruled out the need for calling a special session of Congress before the November elections or even until the new Congress would be seated in January. He endorsed the New York Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Senator James Mead, and the senatorial nominee, former Governor Herbert Lehman.

Some 100,000 members of the AF of L Seamen's International Union and 300,000 other union seamen of both AFL and the CIO National Maritime Union struck at Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf ports beginning at noon. President Truman stated that Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach was handling the dispute, which was with the Government's Wage Stabilization Board based on its refusal to approve a $27.50 per month increase to which both the shippers and the unions had agreed. The Board had stated as rationale that any increase over $17.50 would be inflationary.

In New York, the stock market rebounded with increases on leading stocks from a dollar to six dollars per share, erasing some of the losses from Tuesday when the market suddenly had one of its most precipitous drops in its history. Volume of trading was above two million shares.

OPA and CCC officials stated that sugar prices had to rise, probably by a cent at the retail end, based on a Cuban-American agreement under which Cuban sugar prices would fluctuate based on changes in the cost of living in the United States. Cuba supplied about one-third of U. S. sugar.

OPA removed ceilings from toothpaste, lipstick, and other cosmetic substances and restored the price ceiling on wholesale meat, as butcher shop ceilings were already scheduled to return beginning Monday.

In Chicago, William Heirens, 17, having confessed and entered pleas of guilty to three murders to avoid the death penalty, attempted unsuccessfully to hang himself in the Cook County Jail. He was found at 1:00 a.m. hanging in a noose fashioned from a bedsheet. A guard discovered him before he lost consciousness. It was the third attempt he had made at suicide since his arrest on unrelated burglary and assault charges in late June.

Reed Sarratt reports on the second front page about a Union County election which resulted in the overwhelming passage of a library tax. The election was held under a new law passed by the Legislature in 1945. If the county had been operating under the same rules as Mecklenburg County in its recent bond elections, the measure would have been defeated. Mecklenburg operated under a rule which specified that for a measure to pass, it had to have the support of a majority of registered voters, regardless of actual turnout at the polls; thus, a failure to vote in the election as a registered voter equated to a no vote. Union County followed a simple rule requiring for passage only a majority of the voters actually voting.

In Fayetteville, N.C., the defense rested in the case of Wall C. Ewing, Cumberland County political leader. The defense had sought in vain to present evidence of insanity running in the Ewing family, a ploy to which the prosecutor successfully objected when family members were called to corroborate the notion. Mr. Ewing's youngest brother, for instance, had been asked: "Do you know of your own knowledge that there is insanity in your family?" Believing that the answer would be in the affirmative, the prosecutor had objected and the objection was sustained—presumably because insanity in families is so common that the judge deemed it irrelevant.

The prosecution would be allowed its opportunity next to put on a case in rebuttal, after which the jury would be instructed and allowed to begin its deliberations.

A windstorm, thought to have been a tornado, hit El Rosa, Minnesota, damaging every building in the town.

On the editorial page, "How Influential Is the Military?" comments on the war-time feud between the civilian and military branches of the Government, denied during the war, having been dragged into the open with the publication of Arsenal of Democracy by former War Production Board chairman Donald Nelson. He claimed that while he won the battle to prevent the military from completely taking control of the nation's industry during the war, he had lost the battle to begin reconversion in 1944, in conflict with the insistence of the military to maintain war production at full bore until war's end. The problem, he argued, was at the root of the country's present difficulties during reconversion.

He ended his book with a warning that the War and Navy Departments would become increasingly influential in peacetime, joining Harold Ickes and others in a similar prediction. The President, as Mr. Ickes had just pointed out in his column, was surrounded by military men as principal advisers and diplomats, and the President had advocated both universal military training and merger of the services in a Department of Defense.

Reconversion Director John Steelman predicted that in 1947, the military would be allocated 45 percent of all Federal spending.

The changed status of the military was, says the piece, a function of the changed role of the United States in the world, as the chief protector of the peace.

But the Congress stood as a check on military power, rejecting universal military service and not reaching the President's proposal on consolidation of the branches—which it would pass in 1947. It had also refused to continue the draft on a wartime basis. Various committees were busy investigating military excesses during the war in its procurement practices.

Nevertheless, it predicts, it was the beginning and not the end of the struggle between military and civilian control of the Government. The military's prestige would mount as fears, real or imagined, of the Soviets increased. Representative government would be imperiled in the country were America to remain an armed camp.

Democracy thrived only in peace and peace still seemed far away.

"Spencer Abbott and His Heroes" pays homage to the Charlotte Hornets and their manager for their first Tri-State League penant since 1932, drawing more fans to Griffith Park than any other team in Charlotte's history. While the team had been wanting in some areas of technique, they made up for it with enthusiasm which paid off in the struggle with Asheville for the championship.

The fans had their share of excitement as the Hornets came from behind in a series with Asheville to take over first place in the league, which they then never relinquished.

The best of the team would now jump to the Washington Senators or to the next step in the farm clubs, at Chattanooga. The Hornets might also be elevated to another level in the farm club system in 1947. Whatever would transpire, the franchise had left the fans with plentiful good memories of the season of 1946.

"A Tough Season in Education" discusses the lack of staff and teachers in the public schools of North Carolina, one of the worst shortages in the state's history. Even if soon corrected, the problems would persist for years to come because of inadequate instruction of elementary schoolchildren.

The first remedy was to raise teacher salaries. The problem was nationwide. The American Institute of Physics had recently pointed out that a janitor earned almost as much or better than the $1,500 per year average salary of teachers.

It appeared that the gravity of the situation was being recognized in Raleigh and that the next session of the Legislature would raise salaries. But in the meantime, educators were predicting irreparable damage to the state's educational system during the 1946-47 school year.

Glen Taylor, Senator from Idaho and former cowboy singer, to be the vice-presidential candidate on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948 with former Vice-President Henry Wallace, substitutes for Drew Pearson, urges that there was real need for investigation of war profits, to determine which companies sabotaged FDR's policy of equality of sacrifice and how it would affect the country in the future. He thought it necessary to determine the relationship between industry and the military and who had made procurement decisions with respect to the large corporations.

Recently, he had charged the railroads with overcharging the Government for freight rates during the war and had named the Army officials supposed to oversee the process, four of the five men having been railroad officials before the war and then having returned to those positions since the war. `

Other companies also had men in the Pentagon and on the War Production Board regulating procurement policy.

The monopolies had refused to accept war production orders until tax amortization rates on capital equipment were accelerated and cost-plus was recognized as the basis for war contracts. By war's end, the 63 largest manufacturers had increased their net working capital during the war by an aggregate of ten billion dollars, twice that of all manufacturers in 1939.

During the war, much had been said about helping small business, but the Small Business Act had been used chiefly to exempt railroads from anti-trust legislation, and President Roosevelt's proposal to limit salaries to $25,000 for executives had been quickly scrapped by Congress. The Smaller War Plants Corporation of the Government eventually shut down, admitting that it had been able to have little impact and stating that war contracts had been dominated by the larger concerns which accumulated huge profits. Two-thirds of the contracts had gone to the largest hundred companies.

Senator Taylor urges an investigation which would demonstrate how to restore a competitive economy to enable small business to survive.

"I don't want to just whip the pig for breaking into the corn shed. I want to bring him out to see how fat he's grown, and to find out whether he's getting too big for the rest of the animals in the barnyard."

Douglas Larsen comments that, according to UNRRA officials, death from starvation was difficult, that other diseases would first get the person who was malnourished. UNRRA was attempting to determine the number of persons who had died abroad from both direct and indirect results of starvation during the previous winter. Virtually no deaths had been recorded directly from starvation in the countries where UNRRA had been operating. But part of the reason was the pride of Europeans who believed it a dishonor to have died from starvation. UNRRA was making the assessment to explain to the world its impact on famine relief.

Many thousands, mostly elderly, had died standing in line waiting for the UNRRA food. Some did not have the strength to stand in line and had to rely on proxies.

Eventually, the prewar and postwar starvation rates would be compared to determine the agency's impact. Scattered statistics showed, for instance, that infant mortality in Vienna during the winter had been 122 per thousand births, compared to 165 per thousand in the winter of 1945 and 61 during the winter of 1944 under Nazi occupation. But it had been 22 in 1939, the last year of peace.

UNRRA claimed that three million people had been saved from starvation in Yugoslavia. In Italy, 28 percent of 4,000 children in a sample suffered from rickets, a disease of malnutrition, whereas the prewar average had been ten percent. Poland had a tuberculosis rate of 155 per 100,000 before the war; now it was 271, but down from 500 during Nazi occupation.

Mr. Larsen concludes that people would be dying from disease from the malnutrition for years to come and so even accurate records of actual deaths during the winter would not tell the full story.

Bertram Benedict points out that until recently the United States had maintained retail prices at about one-third the rate of increase of prices during and after World War I, but that status had been changed by the inflation since July 1 when OPA temporarily ceased existence and then was revived on July 25 by Congress in a weakened state. Presently, price increase rates were nearly that of the period following World War I and were still climbing.

The retail price index had climbed in July, 1946 to 141, compared to 100 during the period 1935-39, and 149.4 in June, 1920. He then provides a comparative table of various key food item prices in both July, 1946 and June, 1920. He concludes by saying that the wholesale prices of 1920 had been precursor to the peak retail prices, and presently wholesale prices were only a half percent lower than in 1920, a month before the highest retail prices of the period.

A piece from The New York Times column, "Topics of the Times", titled "Big Town Manners", surtitled "Heart of Gold", suggests that public opinion polls should have long ago examined whether New Yorkers were courteous or exhibited manners deplorable both to themselves and to the visitor. For every letter to the editor remarking on rudeness in the city came a prideful response telling of the good manners of residents. Reporters had conducted sidewalk interviews on the issue, but with a necessarily limited sample.

So, it advocates a professionally instructed poll to take place. Yet even better method, it suggests, would be a participant-observer survey to inform of the various attitudes and situations often the object of gripe, to determine their frequency versus that of the polar opposite behavior.

When various statistics on median income and the like were printed on New York, everyone understood that it was a function of the population and its density. The same, perhaps, needed to be taken into account in assessing the rudeness and politeness of a city made up of eight million people.

Hearts of gold sometimes hid under rough exteriors and such kind hearts might have a harder time surfacing in the hurly-burly of such a city.

It had been stated earlier that only a kindly, patient, fraternal traveling public could have made the New York City subway system possible, and the sentiment might be extended to the whole of life in the city.

Among the quotes of the day: "To fail to provide adequate finances at a time when our nation is the most prosperous in its history is the foolhardy type of waste and extravagance. An investment in our schools is an investment in the future of America." –Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey of Minneapolis—who would introduce the civil rights plank into the 1948 Democratic Convention platform, the passage of which prompting the walk-out from the convention of many Southern conservatives led by Strom Thurmond, would that year run successfully to become Senator from Minnesota, would run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1960, but would become Vice-President in 1964 and the Democratic Party nominee for the presidency in 1968, ultimately losing in a close race to former Vice-President Richard Nixon that year, then was re-elected to the Senate in 1970 where he served until his death from cancer in 1978.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.