Friday, September 6, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 6, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Byrnes delivered a radio speech in Germany before a live audience at the Opera House in Stuttgart advocating that Germans be permitted to govern themselves in a unified Germany and that no partitioning of the country take place, save Koenigsberg being given to Russia as agreed at Potsdam, along with honoring the Polish requests for revisions of the northern and western frontiers of Poland, but that the other agreements regarding Silesia and other Eastern territory were intended only as provisional.

The Secretary also favored economic unity of the country and that its demilitarization not strip it of all industry needed to carry on a vigorous economy. He also warned that any attempt by Russia to enlarge its influence in the East would be strongly opposed by the United States. The speech was broadcast in the United States, France, and Britain, but not in Russia.

In all key respects, the statement little differed from that of Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov delivered to the Foreign Ministers Council on July 10, except for the proposal that Germany become a federation, Russia contending that it would dismember Germany rather than unify it. Mr. Molotov had, however, left open the question for decision by the people in plebiscites and did favor a strong central government.

Diplomatic personnel regarded the speech as an attempt to sell the Germans on American-type democracy as an alternative to either Nazism or Communism. Mr. Byrnes had eliminated from the speech the phrase "United States of Germany", present in his original draft, and instead urged a federal constitution for Germany adopted by the people.

Britain enunciated its firm stand on internalization of Trieste to be administered by the U.N. If the plan were altered, the British reserved the right to review other subjects in connection with Yugoslavia.

Harold Ickes reports of the State Department urging the creation of a U.N. petroleum authority, the most enlightened statement, he says, to come out of the State Department in its entire history. But, he asserts, four years earlier, he had suggested the very same notions now being advanced and State, however, had blinked it, would have nothing to do with oil. He had sought at the time an international conference with the British to work out an agreement on oil. The State Department, however, had even sabotaged efforts to undertake the construction of a 100-octane gasoline plant in Mexico City.

After an agreement with the British had been reached, Secretary Hull, on his own initiative, sent the agreement to the Senate as a treaty, requiring therefore two-thirds approval, and it then stalled without action, as Senator Tom Connally said it could not pass. Another agreement had been reached a year earlier in London. That had been sent by State to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where it had since likewise languished.

Following ratification of the treaty, the intent was then to hold talks with the Russians and other nations to achieve a multilateral agreement.

The only new wrinkle being proposed by the State Department was to place the matter before the U.N. Mr. Ickes urges that it be done forthwith. But he held little confidence that there was anyone presently within the State Department with enough experience in petroleum issues to be capable of handling oil negotiations with the other interested nations.

The largest maritime strike in the country's history rapidly spread across the country, tying up 344 vessels in New York Harbor, 705 along the East Coast, 548 of which were American vessels. The possibility loomed of an international sympathy strike in foreign ports as well. The Maritime Commission asked that ships continue to operate their refrigeration systems to prevent spoliation of food, a situation pregnant with gravity for the hungry abroad.

OPA announced new retail price ceilings on meat, which allowed for a 3.75 cents per pound increase above June 30 ceilings. Lamb would be ten cents per pound higher. Pork would be seven to eight cents higher on half the cuts. Lard would be 5.5 cents higher. Veal and sausage would remain unchanged.

In Fayetteville, N.C., the trial of Wall C. Ewing, Cumberland County political leader accused of murdering his wife after a sliding board affair with her sister, continued, with the prosecution's rebuttal testimony of 12 witnesses, each of whom testified that Mr. Ewing was normal and sane in their associations with him, countering the defense psychiatric testimony that he was not sane enough to know right from wrong or able to deliberate and plan sufficiently to commit the crime of murder.

But the jailer on cross-examination admitted that it was necessary to give Mr. Ewing liquor and sedatives since his incarceration—to prevent him from going insane again in his alcohol psychosis from which, the defense psychiatrist testified, Mr. Ewing suffered, causing him to see hallucinations, the specter of his deceased wife, while in jail, telling him all would be well.

We shall see in due course.

On the editorial page, "Notes on a Falling Market" informs that Wall Street experts were at a loss to explain the downturn Tuesday in the stock market despite positive business indicators. While experts had ventured opinions, they were split on causation, with little or no unanimity.

Its own non-expert opinion was that the market had decided that the days of shortages were over, good news for the consumer but bad news for producers. Frank Gervasi of Collier's had set forth figures showing that the United States was producing more goods than in any previous year of peace while providing more jobs than during the war, 57.6 million being employed, compared to 50.5 million at the peak of the war effort in 1945.

So, it advances the notion that Wall Street was preparing for a flood of that surplus of goods onto the market, lowering prices and undermining the level of speculation based on inflation. It was at least encouraging that the inflation fever appeared to be under arrest or at least retarded.

"The GI-Democrats Need a Press Agent" recommends that the recently formed GI Democrats of North Carolina hire a well-decorated private to be their press agent, as they had suffered a great deal in adverse public relations. It had been revealed by reporters that a scheduled public meeting in Raleigh had suddenly been converted to an executive session, breeding suspicion of sinister secret intent. All of the men on the executive board, save one, a sergeant who had served stateside, were former officers and none had been decorated for valor. One reporter from the U.P. quipped that there had been more combat duty seen by the reporters covering the organization than by its members.

While supporting the organization's efforts to organize the state's Congressional districts, the piece asserts that it could not withstand much more adverse publicity and needed to realize that in the world of politics, most of the effort was in showmanship.

"The Votes That Were Never Cast" comments on Article VII, Section 7 of the North Carolina Constitution, requiring that all local taxes to be levied or bonds issued be approved by "the majority of qualified voters" within the government subdivision, "except for the necessary expenses thereof". The quoted phrases had prompted much litigation. The majority rule had been held to mean the majority of registered voters, not just those voting. And what constituted a "necessary" expenditure was still being debated.

Recently, a library tax was defeated in Mecklenburg under the latter rule, though approved by a majority of those voting. The previous week, an election in Union County had approved a library tax by only a majority vote, because the election was conducted pursuant to a new law allowing library taxes to be approved by majority vote of those voting, suggesting that libraries constituted a "necessary" expense.

It hopes that Union County's results would be upheld in the courts, and the new law held not to violate the State Constitution. It might open the door then for another election in Charlotte without the cumbersome rule attached. It could end rule by indifferent citizens who did not bother to cast their ballots.

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the F.B.I., substituting for Drew Pearson, tells of the role of the Bureau during the war in gathering intelligence throughout the Western Hemisphere and coordinating efforts to combat espionage and sabotage within the Caribbean nations and in Central and South America. The result was that no foreign-inspired sabotage had occurred and espionage had been kept to a minimum within the Americas.

During the war, the Bureau had discovered that the German Embassy in Washington controlled a three-million dollar fund for use in espionage.

Plans were uncovered for the Germans to launch from Dakar attacks on Brazil and on the nations of the Caribbean while the Japanese were expected to attack the Panama Canal. The Germans also sought to foment revolutions in South America.

Espionage rings were uncovered by a cooperative effort of local law enforcement and the FBI in Brazil and Chile. Between July 1, 1940 and June 30, 1946, 879 espionage agents were identified in South America, along with 281 propaganda agents, 30 sabotage agents, and 22 smugglers of strategic war materials. In South America, over 15,000 alien enemies were moved out of strategic areas and interned or expelled. An additional 16,000 "potentially dangerous" enemy aliens were arrested in the United States and its territories.

German spies in the South American countries were often linked with espionage cases arising in the United States. FBI agents were stationed in all South American countries and served as police instructors for local law enforcement. The Bureau had provided information often leading to the arrests of spies in these countries.

Agents acted in undercover capacities and, in one case, were so well integrated to the group being investigated that the Bureau agent was assigned to the honor guard at the funeral of the leader of the group. He was even removed from the picture session for fear that he might be identified by the FBI. One man bragged of his ability to spot FBI agents but associated with the informant for four months during which time he provided a plethora of information.

He asserts that the Bureau was reasonably certain from the outbreak of the war that espionage was under control in the Western Hemisphere because of the absence of any enemy-directed sabotage. At the end of the war, with inspection of German espionage records made available, the belief was confirmed. Hermann Goering had observed that espionage efforts in the Americas had been poor because of the FBI.

Mr. Hoover concludes by praising the loyal local officials within the Western Hemisphere who cooperated with FBI agents during the war.

Barnet Nover, substituting for Marquis Childs, reports from Paris on the first meeting, on August 29, of the Foreign Ministers Council since the beginning of the conference, dealing with only relatively minor issues, but in a convivial manner. Relations between the Big Four had deteriorated since July and if that process had been arrested, then the Peace Conference would have accomplished an important task.

That the Big Four foreign ministers had finally agreed on the basic terms of the treaties with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Finland in advance of the Peace Conference had been no mean achievement but one which had not been enough to restore fragmented relations.

The Russians, he suggests, had shown an unending suspicion of the West, even when treaty terms clearly favored Russia, and viewed the conference as a means to undermine the Foreign Ministers Council agreements, protestation to the contrary by the other Big Three foreign ministers notwithstanding. Enough votes had occurred to disprove the Soviet suspicions, as in the vote by the other Big Three in support of Russia's position on reparations and against the proposal of Australia to cut them.

At the August 29 Foreign Ministers Council meeting, the object was to weed out from among the 205 proposed amendments to the treaties those amendments to which all of the Big Four approved.

The issue regarding Greece which arose the day after the August 29 meeting was not a hopeful sign, but time would tell whether some of the acrimony had been eliminated.

Samuel Grafton, still in San Francisco, comments on the formerly distinct roles of the isolationist and internationalist having, during the previous year of peace, become muddled and confused. They had met each other at the U.N. Security Council, the isolationist taking solace in the fact that France, Britain, and China were united with the U.S. in the effort to control expansionism by Russia, the internationalist believing that at least that amount of cooperation was a start down the road to internationalism.

The isolationist, adopting an internationalist line, was fond of telling Russia to drop its unilateral veto on the Security Council while the internationalist, taking an isolationist approach, had started to suggest that Western conceptions of morality and procedure outstripped those favored by the Russians.

The isolationist saw the Council as an extension of America while the internationalist saw the Western bloc as a world in microcosm, entitled to speak as a planetary plenipotentiary even if representing only four nations.

The convergence of the twain was one of the strangest phenomena of the first post-war year. Whether it was a triumph for unity in American opinion, or for fear and foundering, remained a question for later years to answer.

"But in all its queerness there it stands, cryptically and ominously visible, like a rain of frogs or a red moon, like a sign or portent, trying to tell us something about this distorted peace, in which disunity happily uses an instrument for unity, and in which unity begins to play with a concept of something less than the whole."

A letter from Mayor H. H. Baxter of Charlotte thanks the newspaper for all the good things it had to say about him, but takes exception to his being labeled "impetuous" in an editorial earlier in the week regarding the hopes for the newly hired City Manager. He offers a bit of verse with which he identified.

It begins:

Beware the sitting habit,
Or, if you sit, be like a rabbit
Who keepeth ever on the jump
By springs concealed beneath his rump.

And concludes:

And so, my friends, beware the snare
That lurks within the cushioned chair.
To run like hell, it has been found,
Both feet must be upon the ground.

The editors respond: "The literal meaning of 'impetuous,' in which we take immediate refuge, is 'full of impetus.' From the cushioned chair, that's our view of our Mayor."

A letter from the administrator of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Charlotte corrects a news story which had appeared Tuesday, suggesting that there was a row between Good Samaritan and Memorial Hospital. He had not said at the County Commissioners meeting that Memorial was hogging the funding appropriated for maternity care, but stated that Good Samaritan was not getting its fair share.

The editors express their delight that "row", as the story had suggested, was not properly applied to the extant condition between the two hospitals.

A letter objects to the proposed route of new Albemarle Highway 74 as it would cause the destruction of eight houses in its path and bottleneck Central High School and two other schools, causing students from the schools to have to cross the busy highway—potentially befallen of bones in the aftermath. He says that residents were presenting a petition to the City Council and State Highway Commission to ask for reconsideration of the route.


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