The Charlotte News

Monday, March 24, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Sam Summerlin, that allied and Communist truce negotiators this date met for three hours to discuss the possibility of secret negotiations on how to exchange prisoners of war and, according to a U.N. spokesman, nearly reached an agreement. They would discuss the matter for only 20 minutes the following day. As a preliminary step, the allies ordered an immediate partial news blackout regarding the prisoner talks, the main sticking point of which being voluntary repatriation.

Another group of staff officers, working on truce supervision, would, according to a U.N. spokesman, possibly approve of detailed maps of 10 agreed ports of entry, five for each side, the following day. There was general agreement on the areas to be inspected during the armistice.

U.S. jets destroyed or damaged 14 enemy MIG-15 jets in four battles this date. Relatively slow F-84 Thunderjets damaged two of eight MIGs which had attacked them while they were cutting railroad tracks in the Sonchon area. The Thunderjets escaped damage. F-86 Sabre jets shot down three enemy jets, probably destroyed two and damaged seven. In the first battle, 32 F-86 Sabres had encountered about 30 MIGs, and just before noon, 18 Sabres had rescued another flight of fighter-bombers attacked by 44 MIGs. The third battle lasted 35 minutes south of Sinuiju. On Sunday night, B-29s had dropped 30 tons of bombs on Communist front line positions. Night-flying B-26 light bombers and shore-based Marine planes had attacked Communist trucks moving troops and supplies to the front, resulting in the destruction of 45 trucks.

Only small patrol actions were reported across the front on the ground.

In Key West, the President asked Congress to open immigration to 300,000 additional European refugees during the ensuing three years, many of whom had escaped from Communist tyranny. He also urged continued participation in the international effort to assist in the migration and resettlement throughout the world of substantial numbers of people from the overpopulated areas of Western Europe. He did not specify an estimated cost of the program.

An "off the record" 1950 interview published by U.S. News & World Report quoted General Eisenhower as stating that the country had drifted too far to the "so-called left" in some things, that America was not the kind of country which needed "socialism". He said that the proper way to go about things was to select good ideas, no matter from which side of the political spectrum they originated. He believed that the country needed to diminish friction and dissension. He said that the key to being a successful President lay in the ability to select and handle men. The General indicated in a letter of March 14 that he had recently reviewed the material and approved its publication.

In St. Louis, former tax collector James Finnegan was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $10,000 for his convictions relating to his official conduct.

Near Lakewood, Wisc., two five-year old girls perished in the wilderness of the Nicolet National Forest after becoming lost in a winter storm. A third child, 3, a sister of one of the dead girls and cousin to the other, had been found alive this date, huddled with her dead companions in an abandoned outhouse. They had been missing since mid-afternoon on Saturday and had been sought by hundreds of searchers. The children had wandered from their home on the edge of the forest to watch a porcupine just as a snowstorm had begun.

In the six Southern states hit by tornadoes during the weekend, killing 235 and injuring 1,100, the task had begun of burying the dead and rebuilding. The death toll by state was 131 in Arkansas, 64 in Tennessee, 11 in Mississippi, eight in Kentucky, 16 in Missouri, and five in Alabama. Arkansas reported 711 injured and thousands homeless.

One woman in Judsonia, Ark., reported that her family had survived the tornado despite it having torn apart her home, lasting about four or five minutes, but seeming much longer. She had opened the doorway to the hall from the living room, and there was no hall remaining. She and her young daughter had then huddled and prayed. The entire house was destroyed except for the living room and part of the kitchen. She indicated that some people had sought to rob the cash register of her family general store until soldiers saw them inside and ran them off. No one had been killed when the general store collapsed. Her husband and a woman had been in the store when the tornado hit and entered the vault, which had withstood the impact when all four brick walls of the store collapsed and the ceiling caved in. When she was helping with the dead and injured, rescue workers had brought in a small boy standing about 3 1/2 feet tall and she stretched him out on the table, hoping to be able to help him, but he was already dead.

There was a possibility that Charlotte would be chosen as the location for a multi-million dollar Southeastern regional headquarters of Prudential Insurance Company of America, the general headquarters of which would remain in Newark, N.J.

On the editorial page, "We Can't Figure out the AMA" tells of the organization being both for and against the Federal medical system. Earlier in the month, a Senate subcommittee had begun hearings on a bill following the recommendations of the Hoover Commission by creating a Department of Health and unifying the 30-odd overlapping uncoordinated Federal medical agencies. An AMA spokesman testified that the organization was in favor of the establishment of such a department and effectuation of economy in the operation of Federal medical services. The spokesman, however, stated that he did not support inclusion of the armed services hospitals in the proposed consolidation because of the ongoing Korean War and the threats of other wars, a position with which supporters of the bill agreed.

But then the AMA came out against the measure, despite the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of General Practice being supportive of it. It expresses consternation at the AMA position, as it would appear that both the public and the medical profession would profit from a system permitting fuller utilization of hospital equipment and medical skills. It hopes that local doctors who agreed with the newspaper's stance on the measure would let Senator Clyde Hoey know of their feelings, as he was on the committee considering the bill.

"A Warning" quotes from the last address of turn-of-the-century Governor Charles B. Aycock, delivered posthumously on April 12, 1912 in Raleigh, in which he had said that one of the "great curses" of the times was the "extravagances of the Federal Government", comparing it to a contagious disease, indicating that the Government took up new schemes and enterprises each year, increasing the annual budget out of all proportion to the increase in population and wealth.

"Political Hybrid" tells of Charlotte educator, Dr. Thomas Burton, a registered Democrat, having been named to head the Mecklenburg County Eisenhower-for-President campaign. Through the Republican state convention held in Charlotte the prior week, he had worked to enlist Republicans in support of the General.

Then, the prior Saturday, he filed as a Democratic candidate in the race for Congress, challenging incumbent Congressman Hamilton Jones. He said that until the Democrats named a nominee, he would continue to support General Eisenhower, but that when they nominated a candidate, he would back that person as he believed the South fared better under a Democratic administration. He also said that he was worried about the possible election of an isolationist GOP Congress.

It suggests that Dr. Burton had done the Eisenhower cause a disservice and should step aside from his post. It indicates that it would be interesting to see how Democrats would respond to this new political hybrid.

"Dixie Rebels Keep Mum about This" finds two basic weaknesses in a third party movement among Southerners, the first being that it would deprive the Southern voter of the right to help elect the next President, as the aim of such an effort would be to throw the election into the House. The other weakness was that, if successful, it would hand the election, in all likelihood, to the Republicans. For in the event the election was thrown into the House, each state's delegation would have one vote and presently the Republicans held a majority in 25 of the 48 House delegations, an imbalance which could become larger in the 1952 election. That would leave the Dixiecrats nothing with which to bargain.

It indicates that it was pleased that Senator Richard Russell of Georgia was running for the Democratic nomination on a national platform, but hopes that if he did not capture the nomination, he would not then seek to lead a futile third-party revolt which would have little chance of success. It concludes that if Southerners were fed up with the Democrats, the Republicans would welcome their votes, and that would be preferable to a third-party movement which offered them nothing.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Mr. Wilson on the DPA", tells of the President having asked Congress on February 11 for a two-year extension of the Defense Production Act, placing major emphasis on strengthening the law's anti-inflation measures and eliminating three amendments added the prior year. During the previous week, hearings had begun before the Senate Banking Committee on the successor legislation to that currently set to expire on June 30. Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson was the first witness, testifying in support of the Administration's position, indicating that prices had remained fairly stable since the ceilings had been imposed and yet industrial output had risen the previous year by 10 percent, along with the number of business firms in existence, and that corporate profits had expanded two-fold since 1940.

The piece finds that this "meaningless juxtaposition of figures" was a favorite technique of the Administration but not one expected from the presumably non-political head of the defense effort. It cannot explain why Mr. Wilson chose 1940 as an inception point for his statement on profits, but, it offers, he should have added, while at it, that since 1940, wholesale prices had also risen 121 percent, corporate liabilities and taxes by 900 percent, and the Gross National Product by three times.

It suggests that World War II had taught the country that premature or partial decontrol could be both chaotic and dangerous. The Administration, it suggests, should bear in mind that many in Congress were in a critical and skeptical mood presently. Many of the inflationary pressures in some areas of the economy had not developed and there had been the recently announced stretch out of the rearmament effort.

It concludes that the defense program had not demonstrated the infallibility of the Administration and so it should approach Congress with humility and a sense of respect for the general intelligence of both the Congress and the public.

Drew Pearson tells of Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson having written a letter to Senator Lyndon Johnson, which thus far remained confidential, admitting therein that he had no schedule for the armament program. It suggested that the President would soon have to appoint a new Defense Mobilizer or allow arms production to continue to lag. When Mr. Wilson had visited the President the previous December in Key West, he had told the press that arms production was up to their schedules and increasing at the rate of a billion dollars per month.

Senator Johnson, chairman of the Senate Preparedness subcommittee, doubted the correctness of that statement and previously warned that production had been lagging, one reason Mr. Wilson had made the hurried trip to Key West, prompting the Senator to write a letter to Mr. Wilson inquiring of his production schedules, which led to the response of February 21, which said that instead of the use of the term "schedules", he should have said that production was in keeping with his "expectations". The fact that there were no such schedules explained why there was presently a surplus of aluminum in the country and so much steel that the steel industry would just as soon have the threatened strike so that it could use up the surplus. New raw materials plants had been set up without being coordinated with military production schedules.

But the military program was bogged down. In Korea, the Communists were firing twice as many artillery shells as were the allies because the allies had to practice restraint for a shortage of shells. The only jet fighter plane equal to the Russian MIG-15 was the F-86 Sabre, but the Russians were producing 3,500 MIGs per year while the U.S. produced 200 Sabres per year. The combined airplane production of the U.S., England, France and all other NATO nations was not equal to Russian plane production and would not be for another year. Russia had a combat Air Force of 20,000 planes, over half of them modern jets, while the U.S. had about 50 percent fewer combat planes and jet fighters, though probably a larger total force, including bombers and transport planes. Russia also had about 10,000 planes in mothballs, whereas the U.S. had only about 8,000 planes in that status, most of which were being cannibalized for parts because the U.S. had run out of spare parts. The U.S. had sent Europe less than half the military supplies it had promised a year earlier, as NATO had been founded on the concept that Europe would supply the men and the U.S., the matériel.

The Pentagon had just received an intelligence report, regarded as reliable, that Russia planned to cut off Manchuria from Communist China and set it up as a separate Soviet state. That would take away China's richest province, check its growing military might and keep it under subjugation as a Russian Communist vassal-state. The Kremlin was uneasy about China's increase in power and Stalin was said personally to distrust Mao Tse-Tung. The Korean War had strengthened Mao at the expense of Russian equipment and also had made him into a popular Communist hero, in consequence of which Stalin saw him as a "possible Chinese Frankenstein" who might eventually challenge Russian supremacy. As a result, the Russians apparently had decided to clip his wings.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss a possibility, one which obviously did not materialize, that if the President were to run again, the Republicans might be emboldened to nominate Senator Taft, believing he could beat the President, in which case the Southerners, as they had vowed to do, would bolt the Democratic Party and give their votes to a Southern candidate, such as Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, with the intent of throwing the election into the House.

The Alsops recap the history of the two times the House had determined presidential elections, in 1800, when Vice-President Thomas Jefferson tied with Aaron Burr in electoral votes, and in 1824, when Andrew Jackson, leading in the electoral college, failed to acquire the requisite majority over John Quincy Adams. On each of those occasions, a third party had acted to break the deadlock. In 1800, Alexander Hamilton, who hated Mr. Jefferson, but hated Mr. Burr worse, threw his support to Mr. Jefferson, who was then elected after six days of balloting. In 1824, Henry Clay, who hoped to become the heir-apparent to John Quincy Adams, had thrown the election into the House and had so infuriated the electorate when Mr. Adams eventually was elected, that General Jackson was elected by a landslide in the ensuing election of 1828.

They question who might break such a deadlock in 1952, were the election thrown into the House, where the top three candidates in the electoral college would receive votes until one received a majority, or until January 20, when the President, according to the 20th Amendment, had to take office. At that point, if there had been no breaking of the deadlock in the House, the matter would pass to the Senate, which would seek to elect the Vice-President in the same manner, and if a Vice-President were then elected, he would become acting President. They speculate that if the ticket of President Truman and Vice-President Alben Barkley were to repeat, then Vice-President Barkley, of Kentucky, might become an acceptable alternative to the Southern Democrats. If, however, the Senate also failed to agree by January 20, the succession statute which had passed in 1948 would then presumably operate to have the Speaker of the House become the acting President, in that event, presumably, either current Speaker Sam Rayburn, if the Democrats continued in control of the House, or former Speaker and current minority leader Joe Martin, should the Republicans win control.

They point out that such an interpretation of the Constitution was open to dispute as there was no existing precedent since the ratification of the 20th Amendment. But, they suggest, it was enough to suggest the complex nature of the Constitutional crisis which might ensue.

Robert C. Ruark tells of actress Helen Hayes having been in a side-street joint, drinking beer with Mr. Ruark recently and they had been talking about pickling beets and deciding whether her husband, Charlie MacArthur, "could peel a quince to suit her fancy." He indicates that he had never been able to conduct a successful interview with Ms. Hayes because of his boyish infatuation with her and her ability to distract the interviewer. He had, for instance, asked her a technical question about her current Broadway show, "Mrs. McThing", and wound up promising to take her young son shooting before the following Christmas.

He believed that she was prettier at age 51 than when she had first started in the business some 20 years earlier, making "A Farewell to Arms" with Gary Cooper. Returning to Hollywood for the first time in 17 years, her new film was "My Son John".

She was one of the few people he had ever met who could make growing flowers seem interesting, having pointed out recently, with some smugness, that one of her prize flowers was a "damned fine rose".

Another reason he revered her was that she and her husband had been thrown out of a movie theater once for making an undue amount of noise during a showing of "The Sin of Madelon Claudet", despite the facts that Ms. Hayes acted in it, her husband had written the script, and both had won several prizes for their efforts. The fact that they were thrown out of the theater cured them from going to see their own work.

He concludes by relating that when he went home late, his wife had asked him where he had been, to which he replied that he had been drinking beer with Helen Hayes, a statement which stopped her.

It might be noted that in her latter years, insofar as her film career was concerned, Ms. Hayes was in crash-dive mode, notwithstanding having won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress—one of those old-age survivor awards which the Academy is wont occasionally to hand out—for her work in what still has to be one of the worst nominees for Best Picture in the history of the Awards, provoking unintended audience laughter in 1970, and for years of flying to come.

A letter writer takes exception to the editorial, "Comedy of Errors—With a New Cast", disagreeing with the editorial's stance and stating that the clerk of Superior Court deserved fairer treatment than the editorial had given him regarding his decision that the State Highway Commission be made a party to the condemnation proceedings instituted by the City of Charlotte against landowners to obtain the land for the airport runway extension. He suggests that the clerk was not supposed to make decisions with an eye toward his political future but rather in accordance with existing law. He says that he was supportive of the runway extension but thinks the newspaper ought point a finger instead at inept City officials who had presented their case.

A letter writer from Asheville praises the editorial, "Texas Has Nothing on Old North State", and points out that the Rev. Billy Graham was striving to get Texas, as well as all of the country, to make its decision for Christ.

A letter writer responds to the letter from the previous week indicating that dancing was evil and should be banned from the public schools, as it was being taught from the first grade onward. This writer thinks the previous writer must have been the victim of an "unnatural and unhappy childhood". If so, he thinks that the writer perhaps ought be forgiven for his absurd position that dancing was more harmful than smoking, to which this writer takes strong exception. He also finds the statement that a man could not dance with the girl in his arms without evil thoughts to be offensive, that "only a degenerate mind could sustain such an unsound calumination [sic]." "Any person harboring such ridiculous idealisms, and suffering from such a depravity should not be welcome in the presence of women, and certainly should not be acceptable as a dancing partner." He says that he was a young man who liked dancing and did not think evil thoughts when dancing with a girl, considered himself normal, and had never seen a girl go wrong on the dance floor as it was much too public.

Well, what do you mean by "go wrong"? What did he mean by "go wrong"? They may be two different directions.

And we assume you meant "calumniation"—allowing room for the letter having simply been mistranscribed by the printer's D—, but you may be talking about some unnatural act in that caluminating.

A letter writer responds to the same letter, saying that she had attended school for 12 years in various schools, not one of which had taught the type of dancing described by the previous writer. She also disagrees with his comparison between smoking on school grounds and dancing, says that she had read of smoking being unhealthy, whether of ordinary cigarettes or those containing dope. She thinks that the majority of young people heartily disagreed with the previous writer's opinion and that he must be describing his own thoughts when he said that a man could not dance with a girl without having evil thoughts. Many church meetings and fellowships had dancing as part of their recreation.

Well, many participants in church meetings also do some of that caluminating when nobody is looking, and that doesn't make it right.

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