The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 5, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British had arrested the mayors of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petah Tiqva, and Natanya in Palestine, and had jailed dozens of other Jewish political leaders, as part of a "campaign against terrorism". Violence continued in the wake of the arrests.

A British police officer was killed when a bomb exploded in a Labor Department building on the Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem. Three others were trapped in the rubble and feared dead.

Movement of Jews from Palestine was halted, regardless of passport, even, said some reports, including Jews traveling under American passports.

British troops were investigating an Arab report that six armed Jews had taken a Briton into an orange grove near Tel Aviv.

In Jogjakarta, the Indonesians accused the Dutch Government forces of violating the ceasefire which had been ordered by the U.N. Security Council and to which both sides had submitted. The claim stated that three Dutch columns had continued to attack for two and a half hours after the ceasefire, resulting in the capture of Gambong, 62 miles west of Jogjakarta.

Elliott Roosevelt continued his testimony before the Senate War Investigating Subcommittee, examining the Howard Hughes war contract for 40 million dollars, of which 22 million dollars came from a deal on photographic reconnaissance planes chosen and recommended by Mr. Roosevelt in 1944 while a Colonel in the Army, a decision which ran counter to the Air Corps brass but which eventually won out at the White House. The focus of the testimony continued to be on the nightclub entertainment provided Col. Roosevelt by Mr. Hughes through his publicity agent John Meyer.

Mr. Roosevelt testified that he objected to Mr. Meyer's implying that he had "procured" girls for Mr. Roosevelt at the Statler Hotel. In fact, he said, he was at the White House on the night in question. The $50 spent on girls at the hotel was for someone else.

Mr. Meyer agreed that he had only placed Mr. Roosevelt's name at the top of the list of expenses because he was the most prominent guest, not because all of the entertainment was for him.

Mr. Roosevelt stated that a $576 hotel bill in December, 1944 paid by Mr. Hughes was for a wedding gift when Mr. Roosevelt had married actress Faye Emerson. He stated that the head of TWA, Jack Frye, had paid $850 in hotel expenses, also as a wedding gift at the same time.

We still wish to hear from Chick Farmer.

Whatever the outcome, this occasion would not be the last time that farm life and farm animals would be the object of scrutiny by the 80th Congress—which seemed especially interested in farm life.

A judge in New York issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Meyer after a cigarette girl complained that he was the father of her six-month old son and was seeking support for the little bastard. Mr. Meyer stated that the complaint was ridiculous and that he had never been out with the woman.

But had he been down on the farm with her?

In Detroit, the UAW and Ford agreed that the union would be free for a year from Taft-Hartley civil penalties for unauthorized strikes. The agreement averted a strike set to commence at noon this date. Negotiations continued on the dispute regarding the pension plan. Both sides stated that they believed that issue would be settled shortly.

In Raleigh, the State Board of Education entered an order against R. L. Fritz, principal of the Hudson School in Caldwell County, ordering that his teaching credential be revoked because of his accounting methods in paying over $1,600 to persons who were not on the school payroll or who had taught only briefly. He was also ordered to reimburse the money to the school district. His attorney, Sam J. Ervin, stated that the sums were paid during the critical teacher shortage in the county and across the state, implying that the payments were for non-employee and temporary teachers to fill the gap. The Caldwell County Superintendent was aware of the payments and the method of bookkeeping. The Board also ordered the Superintendent to answer charges in the record.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Fritz had been elected president of the North Carolina Education Association. Mr. Ervin, who had left Congress the previous January, was the lobbyist for the South Piedmont Teachers organization which Mr. Fritz had led, seeking substantially higher teacher pay than that favored by the Legislature of twenty percent. The Legislature eventually compromised at thirty percent.

In Jackson, N.C., the eighteen-man Grand Jury refused to indict the seven white men accused of taking Buddy Bush from the Northampton County Jail on May 23, in the immediate wake of the Greenville, S.C., acquittal of the 28 admitted lynchers of Willie Earle, and attempting to lynch Mr. Bush, frustrated in the effort by his ability to break from them and escape into the woods where he hid for two days before surrendering to the FBI. One of the men had shot at Mr. Bush while he escaped, barely missing him. The failure to indict was in spite of the FBI having obtained a confession from one of the seven white trash.

In an act of magnanimity and fairness, the white trash Grand Jury also returned no indictment against Mr. Bush for his alleged assault with intent to commit rape of a white woman—which amounted to no more than leering in the first instance.

Such was the state of justice in the Carolinas in 1947—and for many years thereafter.

In Lillington, in the trial of the tenant farmer accused of murdering his wife with a gun a year earlier, the State presented a handwriting expert from the Bureau of Chief Postal Inspector in Washington, who testified, contrary to a defense expert and SBI expert, that the handwriting of the wife was completely different from that in a purported suicide note, found by the defendant's sister seven months after the defendant's conviction and sentence to death. The discovery of the note had led to his receiving a new trial. The witness stated that the note could not possibly have been written by the wife, based on known exemplars of her handwriting which he had examined. He stated that the writer of the note was intent on copying and had exaggerated certain letters, making them larger than normal. The State promised another handwriting expert, also from the Post Office.

In Pueblo, Colo., a 65-lb. dog did not like his owner whacking him with a newspaper, proceeded to drag the owner all over the living room, biting him several times. The owner called the police.

Off the Gulf Coast of Florida, the "red tide" of dead fish continued to float northward six miles off shore. Some of the fish were washing ashore, about 400 pounds having hit the beaches the previous day. The mass was about sixty miles long and thirty miles wide. Marine biologists had determined that the dinoflagellate, a small organism, had caused the plague which killed the fish. Smaller fish had suffered most but some large fish, including the "big jewfish", weighing several hundred pounds were also among the victims. The "red tide" had been in the Gulf waters before on several occasions, but it had not been so bad as this time.

The wife of Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra conductor Eugene Ormandy was granted a divorce on the basis of "extreme mental cruelty". She was a harpist in the New York Philharmonic. The couple had been married since 1922.

On the editorial page, "A Good Day's Work for UN" joins in the praise of the U.N. Security Council for its success in stopping the fighting between the Dutch and the Indonesians, but adds that the action did not mean that the organization had suddenly acquired new strength. It finds the statement of deputy U.S. delegate Herschel Johnson that it was a milestone to be premature.

It bases its restraint on the notion that the order to cease hostilities came only after 15 days of fighting and not before the fighting had begun. The Dutch had virtually completed the military phase of their operation before the order was issued.

The order and compliance did show that the U.N. had some moral force at its disposal and could use it if not blocked by a veto. The Security Council could have moved to sever diplomatic relations with the Netherlands and issued economic and military sanctions had the Government not complied with the directive. But it was only accomplished because Britain, France, and Belgium abstained rather than vetoed the action. They were empires with problems similar to the Dutch.

The incident would likely only refortify the Russian opinion that the U.N. was an instrument of U.S. policy, as the Council defeated the Russian proposal that the two sides be forced to retreat to their original military positions. It might lead to increased obstructionism by Russia.

The piece concludes, however, that, those "cynical" remarks aside, it was good to have the fighting halted, and, all in all, a good day's work for the U.N.

"A Job for More Self-Kickers" tries to assay the social significance of the Craven County Self-Kicking Machine near New Bern, a fixture for ten years, with continuing popularity. The editorial finds pleasure in the story after reading of the Congressional hearing on Elliott Roosevelt's "merrymaking" via the Howard Hughes expense account during the war.

It thinks the kicking-machine salutary, as not enough attention had been paid to the person who needed self-administration of punishment. It had heard of a man who had made a bad investment years earlier and attached a self-kicking machine to himself as a reminder not to repeat the error.

It bets that someone would come up with an "Infallible and Satisfying Self-Kicker" before Mr. Hughes was able to fly the "Spruce Goose".

A half million people, including a Governor, had backed up to Thomas Haywood's invention during the previous decade to receive a kick, and it suggests that the fact gave reason to conclude that the capital of sanity was in Craven County.

It votes for having replicas made and provided Congress and the U.N., even if not to be used much in places where to admit an error was considered equivalent to a crime. But they might serve as reminder that even politicians and statesmen could be wrong.

"Albright's Trailer as a Symbol" comments on North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Mayne Albright having adopted an aluminum trailer as the symbol of his campaign. He would soon begin a statewide tour in the trailer. Some observers stated that politics in the state would simply not admit of such a device.

Mr. Albright had been long on promises but short on specifics thus far in his campaign. But he was not a political non-entity, as the majority opinion had it. He was young and inexperienced in politics, but those factors might prove attractive to some voters.

Were he to live in the trailer for the ensuing ten months while articulating his platform, he might convince the electorate that he was a viable candidate. If he could complete the campaign without the usually excessive spending, he could prove that honesty and politics were not altogether antithetical to one another in North Carolina campaigns.

A Squib at the bottom of the column: "Though Eleanor doubts that it is possible, it would be interesting to have a woman President—preferably with a husband who gets around, and writes a column, 'My Night.'"

Drew Pearson tells of the dispute within Republican ranks over extension of veterans' benefits. Speaker Joe Martin and Majority Leader Charles Halleck had sidetracked the legislation so that it would not reach the floor, despite the efforts of Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman Edith Norse Rogers to get it out for a vote. The leadership had won out. She had, however, snarled at Speaker Martin at an AMVET meeting in Washington to honor Mr. Martin, without the press present.

Mr. Halleck had responded to the complaint of Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon regarding the bottleneck of the bills by pointing out that the President would likely not sign them if passed, as he had stated in the State of the Union message that the veterans benefits program was complete, save for minor adjustments. Senator Morse retorted that it would be better then to pass the bills and put the President on the spot.

Mr. Pearson notes that most of the Democrats remained silent during the blockage of the bills. When several Democrats sought support from the White House, a message was returned that the President could not issue a statement so late in the session, as it would carry the implication of support into the 1948 session. Until the cost of the Marshall Plan was known, he could not commit that far in advance.

He next tells of Assistant Secretary of State in charge of occupied areas, Maj. General John Hilldring, resigning. He had been a healthy force within the State Department. When in the War Department, he had forced State to decide that Germany's problems had first to be resolved before Europe's problems could be addressed. He also believed and urged that the way to combat Communism was to encourage economic prosperity.

Paul W. Ward, in his second installment from the Baltimore Sun, collectively titled "Life in the Soviet Union", tells of the irrepressible sense of humor among Russians. Only Premier Stalin escaped the joke list for the most part. But one mild barb had Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin riding through the Russian countryside, encountering a cow blocking the road. Roosevelt and Churchill tried futilely to get the cow to move. Stalin then whispered something to it and it went bounding on its way. He then told the other two that he had threatened to send the cow to a collective farm.

Another one had Stalin at a Kremlin banquet observing his ministers gorging themselves on lavish cuisine. When he remarked on it, they said it was nothing, that he should see how the workers put away a month's ration in one sitting.

Another was set in Bulgaria. A Bulgarian woman, seeing a picture of Stalin, asked who he was. She was informed that he had saved Bulgarians from the Nazis and Fascists. She then inquired whether he would save them from the Russians.

The biggest country in the world was Poland, for it had no western frontier.

Stalin, according to Russians, was a Georgian who spoke Russian as a bootblack would, similar to the Viennese German spoken by Hitler. A story therefore developed that a queue of bootblacks had formed in front of the Kremlin. When asked their purpose, they said they were waiting for the next vacancy in the Politburo.

But only one other Georgian, Beria, was in the Politburo, the palace guard of the regime.

Had the Russians heard the one about the Georgian named Maddox who axed blacks to leave his chicken-leg collective with his boot, while he waltzed by the light, by the light of the moon, into the Governor's Mansion? The punch line was that he and his ilk gave plentiful grist for Commonism's mills to grind, feeding a whole nation with their spinning gine.

Marquis Childs tells of the law passed a year earlier, requiring registration of lobbyists and providing penalties of fines and imprisonment for failure to comply, having been routinely flouted by the lobbyists with impunity, as there was no provision in the law for enforcing it. Only 850 lobbyists had registered.

None of the lobbyists, for instance, for and against the "chosen instrument" legislation, to provide monopolies on certain foreign routes to particular airlines, had registered. Some of them might claim that lobbying was not their "principal activity" as a condition of the law requiring the registration.

But there remained the issue of whether the Attorney General had power to enforce the law. The law required registration with the Congress but did not provide for Executive Branch enforcement.

A letter from Professor William G. Carleton of the University of Florida responds to the editorial commenting on his article in Harper's, suggesting that the South was not so conservative as had been thought. He clarifies that his purpose was not to show that the South was liberal. He also states that it was untrue, as the editorial had asserted, that the South only supported liberalism after a liberal presidential nominee had been chosen or a liberal Democratic Administration had been elected. He points out that Southern support had enabled the nominations of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, 1900, and 1908. Southern support had also been decisive for Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Furthermore, Southern support had greatly helped FDR in 1932. Thus, the Southern support for liberals had come prior to those nominations.

He adds that he would not be surprised to see Southern support for leading liberals in the primaries and pre-convention contests in 1948.

The editors respond that The News was aware that Professor Carleton was not attempting to show that the South was liberal, but rather found that he had misinterpreted the support given consistently to FDR as being indicative that the South was not so conservative as legend had it. It was always safe in either party to go along with a proven winner, just as the Republicans were going along on the Dewey bandwagon in 1947.

Liberalism had an agrarian base in the days of Bryan and Wilson. Henry Wallace had been the latter-day prototype for this sort of liberalism before he started playing the "'lone wolf'". They point out that at the 1944 Democratic convention, which the responder had attended, the Southern delegations, except in the case of the Ellis Arnall-led Georgians, had demonstrated great bitterness toward Mr. Wallace.

The piece to which we made reference a year ago from The Virginia Quarterly of Spring, 2000, "A Southern Chronicle: the Virginia Quarterly Review and the American South, 1925-2000", by Edward L. Ayers, has been moved here. The article made reference to the 1946 piece in the Quarterly by Professor Carleton, similar to the piece in the July, 1947 issue of Harper's. (The article by Professor Ayers referred to "William Carlton", hence our misspelling also of the name.)

Professor Ayers, incidentally, contributed a chapter to the anthology The Mind of the South: Fifty Years Later, published in 1992 in the wake of the seminar on W. J. Cash and his book, held that year at the University of Mississippi. The chapter concludes:

Histories written in an era such as ours are not likely to hold the kind of passion Cash and his contemporaries possessed.

But perhaps our position is not without its compensations. Maybe there is something to be gained if a passionate empathy should replace a passionate indignation. A lot about the South still needs to be explained to ourselves and to our children in our own voice. Because softly, behind the roar of the interstate and the chatter of the satellite dish, do you not hear the clank of chains, the sounds of a revival, the rustle of crinoline, and maybe even the chuckle of Jack Cash, all tempting us to explore one more time, with feeling, the minds of the South?

The last sentence is in paraphrase of the Cash sentence regarding the "golden-locked Pickett" which we quoted in 1999.

Thank ye. Thank ye very much.

A letter writer finds Wall Street to be the American home address of Satan, and Europe fertile ground for his toil. He believes there was a live Devil abounding in the world, one who owned virtually everything.

A letter writer again says that shirkers and draft dodgers were beyond the law in America, unlike Russia where shirkers, profiteers, and monopolists were brought to justice. The Constitution, she believes, was worth nothing if the laws under it could not be enforced.

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