The Charlotte News
Monday, March 31, 1952
Site Ed. Note: The front page
reports that the President had withdrawn from the presidential race
with only 14 words in his announcement at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner
The withdrawal of the President had led many Democratic leaders to climb on the Stevenson bandwagon, as the President reportedly favored him for the nomination.
The President had reportedly whispered to Mr. Rayburn, just before the start of the dinner, that he intended to make the announcement, and that no one else knew at that point other than First Lady Bess Truman. The only clue had been that in recent weeks, Mrs. Truman had appeared happier and more relaxed than usual. She had never enjoyed the role of First Lady, preferred simple friendliness to stiff formality, and had been urging for some time her husband not to run again.
Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson had suddenly resigned his post in protest of the Administration steel-price policies, saying that he could not accept public responsibility for "major stabilization actions" which he could not control. The resignation dimmed hopes for a resolution of the imminent United Steelworkers strike, set for April 8, unless the industry accepted the Wage Stabilization Board's recommendations, which included a 17.5 cent per hour wage increase, to which the industry had objected without a substantial boost in steel prices beyond that available under current price controls law. The President had designated his assistant, John Steelman, to be acting director until a successor to Mr. Wilson could be named. A late bulletin indicated that the wage talks between the Steelworkers and the industry had been indefinitely postponed. Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina had terminated hearings "until the air has cleared", in his Senate Banking Committee, regarding the extension of the Defense Production Act, which would expire June 30. He did not think that the future of wage and price controls should be debated under conditions of "hysteria and confusion". The President, in accepting Mr. Wilson's resignation, had indicated that the WSB's recommendations were quite reasonable, that there was no need for a substantial price increase in steel because of the huge profits in the industry, many times higher than the proposed new wage costs.
A strike of 31,000 Western Union Telegraph Company employees, due to start at midnight this date, was postponed at the request of the Government, to allow more time for the Government to seek a settlement of the dispute between the company and the union, which was demanding wage and hour improvements, higher pensions and several fringe benefits. Present pay averaged $1.65 per hour.
Attorney General J. Howard McGrath indicated to a House Judiciary subcommittee this date that if he had it to do over again, he would not have appointed Newbold Morris to clean up Government corruption. He said that he had not yet filled out his questionnaire, sent by Mr. Morris to all employees of the Government, seeking detailed information on outside income and net financial worth, the questionnaire being due on April 7. The Attorney General indicated that he was not sure whether he was going to fill it out or not.
A late bulletin indicates that the Senate had voted extra combat pay of $45 per month for all men and officers fighting in Korea.
The executive vice-commander of the North Carolina Department of the American Legion, Wiley M. Pickens, announced this date that he would resign his post, effective May 1. He had been serving in the post since 1947. During his tenure, Legion membership had reached an all-time high in the state. He had been a past commander of the state's Legion and had fought in both world wars.
In Charlotte, a prominent Wilmington attorney, Emmett H. Bellamy, was shot to death and his 25-year old law partner, Lloyd Stanley Elkins, was seriously wounded, though the latter was still conscious early in the afternoon after being shot in the right shoulder. The operator of a hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Albert Raymond Reinhart, 50, was arrested in the shootings, telling police that he had come to Charlotte specifically to kill Mr. Bellamy if he did not return the property of his mother. The shooting had occurred at the Law Building on the seventh floor, where Mr. Reinhart had staked out his position for about an hour before approaching the two men. He walked into an attorney's office and asked the secretary if he could sit there while he was waiting to see some men, and the secretary obliged him with a chair where he waited until the attorneys emerged. She indicated that while he was waiting, he complained of it being hot.
The two attorneys who were shot had come from Wilmington to take part in a State Industrial Commission hearing at the Courthouse and the local attorney was planning to introduce them to others at the hearing.
An elevator operator witnessed the shootings, saying that she thought the first shot was a firecracker going off, and then the two attorneys entered her elevator, whereupon two more shots were fired in their direction. Mr. Bellamy had then slumped to the floor, and a passenger on the elevator stooped to help him, at which point the elevator door closed and the car began its descent. No one said anything, according to the other man on the elevator. The passenger said he believed that Mr. Reinhart was aiming at Mr. Bellamy. Mr. Elkins had still been standing when the elevator reached the first floor and the passenger exited to telephone for an ambulance. The wounded attorney apparently had left the elevator on his own and laid down on the floor in front of it. One of the young lawyers in the area said that he recognized this attorney, whom he knew as "Easy" Elkins.
Mr. Reinhart, after reading the story carried by the News in its first edition this date, shown to him about two hours after the shooting, said that it was completely correct. He said that Mr. Bellamy had stolen everything his mother had and that he would shoot him again if he had the chance. He referred to him as a "human rattlesnake" who had cheated his mother out of $40,000, taking advantage of her old age and poor health to defraud her out of her homes in Charlotte and in Wrightsville Beach at Wilmington. While being interviewed, Mr. Reinhart received news from a police detective that Mr. Bellamy had died and his response was, "Good—I'm glad he's dead." He added that he had not known whether he had killed him but hoped that he had. He said that he did not know the name of the other lawyer who was wounded, but that he was Mr. Bellamy's associate and "in on the deal". He said that he tried every way in the world to reason with Mr. Bellamy, having begged and pleaded with him to return his mother's property, to which he had laughed and sneered, replying in the negative. At that point, Mr. Reinhart had said that the world was "too small a place for you and me both" and shot him. He said he would have hunted him down as far as Russia if needed to find him. He indicated that he had not slept for weeks, tossing and turning all night long. He used a .38 caliber revolver.
Strike another blow for justice from easy access to easily concealable handguns. Oh, we know, he could have used a knife and lunged at the men. But, in that event, they would have had a fighting chance, and it would have been highly unlikely that he could have stabbed two men in such a manner or even one necessarily fatally, especially with three men present on the elevator. Of course, the gun nuts probably think that was a good thing, the elimination of a "rattlesnake", without skidmarks—and without any adjudication or even informal official determination of any of the alleged misconduct. If the lawyer had actually done what the man suggested, there was a simple remedy, report him to the State Bar or law enforcement.
The local Red Cross was still $40,000 short of its goal of $143,200 as of the previous day and volunteers were working overtime to try to solicit as much of the remaining goal as possible.
The local shootings had pushed all of the truce negotiation and war news off of the front page.
Not on the page, the Lumberton, N.C., jury deliberating on the misdemeanor charges against three men for allegedly belonging to a secret political organization, the Klan, in violation of an 1868 statute, had hung, declaring themselves unable to reach a verdict after only three hours of deliberation on Friday afternoon. Three members of the jury said that the vote had been 10 to 2 in favor of conviction. A new trial was set for the May 5 term of court.
Also this night, in Madison Square Garden, the N.I.T. champions, La Salle, faced the N.C.A.A. Tournament champions, Kansas, in the playoffs to determine the U.S. Olympic basketball team, with Kansas coming out on top, 70 to 65. Whether Dean "The Analyzer" Smith, who would coach home the Gold Medal for the 1976 U.S. Olympic team after its loss to the Soviets in 1972, got into the game, we don't know. Star Clyde "The Fireman" Lovellette scored 40 points for the Jayhawks. La Salle, with its star, Tom Gola, would win the N.C.A.A. championship in 1954. The 1952 U.S. team, coached by Phog Allen of Kansas, would eventually win the Gold Medal in Helsinki in the summer.
On the editorial page—as noted Saturday, to be handled, for the time being, by associate editor Vic Reinemer during the absence of editor Pete McKnight, touring the Middle East—, "Truman Boosts His Party's Stock, and Ike's" finds that the President's announcement on Saturday that he would not accept renomination for the presidency to have been well-timed and that it should drive home the necessity to Republicans to nominate General Eisenhower. The announcement had proven once again that the President was a master politician, having taken on his shoulders great criticism during recent months about the Korean War and "Trumanism" in the Government, now having removed himself suddenly as the critics' whipping boy. The voters, tired of old faces, now could find some new leader within the Democratic Party.
It believes that the announcement had also reduced the chances that Senator Taft would be the Republican nominee, as his appeal to independents was negligible in the first place, and independents would likely turn toward a new Democrat to clear out corruption in Washington, without drastically altering foreign policy. A ticket of Governor Adlai Stevenson and Senator Richard Russell, it suggests, would likely be acceptable to Southern Democrats, healing the party rift. It would also be a formidable ticket for the Republicans to beat.
That made General Eisenhower's nomination the more necessary for the Republicans to preserve any chance for victory in November, which would not be easy in any event.
It concludes that history would look favorably upon the President, as he could stand proudly on much of his record, including his final decision not to run again. The Democratic Party had been strengthened and the corruption issue would play less of a role in the general election. It makes room for the possibility of a draft of the President at the convention, but considers it unlikely. Southern Democrats had achieved their primary goal, the President's withdrawal from the race, and General Eisenhower's stock had increased in the process, while Senator Taft's had diminished.
"Let's Put the Needle in NATO" tells of Senators Guy Gillette, John Sparkman and Alexander Wiley having taken a solid step in the right direction the previous week by reporting favorably on a bill which would establish a bipartisan commission to study relations between the U.S. and the other NATO nations. Since its inception, NATO had been plagued by inefficient organization and dissension among its members in accomplishing its goals. NATO, unlike the U.N., had been established quickly, though replacing the U.N. as a major foreign policy instrument of the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. NATO had accomplished a lot in a short period of time and so showed great potential once it was properly organized. If the bill in question passed, it would establish a commission on the order of the Hoover Commission to make recommendations for better organization of NATO.
The piece supports the action in the hope that Congress would pass the bill. In addition to providing recommendations for better organization, it would also educate the public on the potential of NATO. It urges also that a convention be called of outstanding citizens from the various NATO nations to discuss and debate the common problems, which would also inform the public better.
"Big Day in Dogpatch" again, as a month earlier, looks at some of the dilemmas posed in the comic strips, especially regarding Li'l Abner. If you are concerned, you may look them up for yourself.
Day of transition to new editorial page editor.
A piece from the Chapel Hill Weekly, titled "Senator Taft's Voting Record", lists votes by the Senator from August, 1940 through May, 1950, consistently showing isolationist positions, including his opposition to the Selective Service Act, the Lend-Lease bill, use of U.S. armed forces outside the Western Hemisphere, opposition to transfer of seized Axis ships to Britain, opposition to the seizure of those ships, opposition to extension of the draft in August, 1941, against the second Lend-Lease bill of October, 1941, opposition to modification of the Neutrality Act just prior to Pearl Harbor, opposition to making the Reciprocal Trade Agreements effective in mid-1943 and against extension of those Agreements at the same time, against NATO in mid-1949, and against the Point Four program for aid to underdeveloped nations in May, 1950.
It wonders how anyone who believed that the interests of the nation were best served by international cooperation could support a person with such a record.
Drew Pearson tells of certain sideshows to the Nebraska primary in the race between Senator Taft and General Eisenhower's forces, conducting a write in campaign. The first such sideshow was Nebraska Republican Congressman Howard Buffett, a reactionary and "run-at-the-mouth politician", crusading against General Eisenhower as too militaristic and whose nomination would destroy the Republican Party. His efforts were not expected to get very far and were seen likely as a warm-up to his being appointed as a successor Senator to elderly Senator Hugh Butler, if his friend, Bob Crosby, were elected Governor. The second such sideshow was the race between Senator Butler and Governor Val Peterson, both Republicans, for the Senate seat.
Senator Butler had pulled strings to obtain for the beer brewers scarce tin for cans the previous year when the Office of Price Mobilization was requiring use of bottles, a strange inclination as there were only two small breweries in Nebraska. He had also put a special bill through Congress to benefit an alcohol plant operated by his former partner, a plant which bought grain from Senator Butler's grain company. The Senator had been quite slow in moving some legislation, but not on this issue, where his own interests were involved.
The third such sideshow was in the Democratic presidential primary between Senators Robert Kerr of Oklahoma and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, with several Oklahomans coming into Nebraska to fight for or against Senator Kerr, most of whom being his petroleum friends who had placed newspaper and radio ads throughout the state, while others were writing their friends in Nebraska about the Senator's record while Governor of Oklahoma. Among the things they were pointing out was that one of his companies had sold nine million gallons of asphaltic oils to the State of Oklahoma while he was Governor, and for a price about twice that which the State had paid previously. Phillips Petroleum had assigned 100 square miles of proven gas reserves for drilling to one of Senator Kerr's companies in December, 1949, just at the time the Senator was pushing the natural gas deregulation bill through the Senate.
Marquis Childs, in Lincoln, Neb., examines the upcoming Nebraska primary, replete with money, drama, a general, write-in capability and the determination of citizens who had long been apathetic to take the matter of political decisions back into their own hands. There were supporters present of General MacArthur, though the General, himself, was missing. But Lt. General Albert C. Wedemeyer was present, campaigning for Senator Taft, adding a military note to the campaign.
Senator Taft had campaigned by denouncing the Joint Chiefs and their chairman, General Omar Bradley, indicating lack of confidence in them and that he would replace them. Mr. Childs finds it kind of an Alice-in-Wonderland notion that there were, in effect, two generals running against Generals Bradley, Marshall, and Eisenhower.
On the Democratic side, Senator Robert Kerr had shown no awe at all for the military figures emerging out of World War II, having been nearly the only Democrat to defend the President in his dismissal of General MacArthur a year earlier. At present, he was challenging the popularity of General Eisenhower, indicating that what the Republicans did not do to him prior to the July convention, the Democrats would do before the November election if he were nominated. He contended that the General was "further out" than 90 percent of the Republicans and at least 60 percent of the Democrats on foreign policy, and "more conservative" than 60 percent of the Republicans and 90 percent of the Democrats on domestic policy, concluding that "you can't ride two horses on the same track".
To many, however, Senator Kerr was riding two such horses, becoming a multimillionaire from his oil and gas operations and talking part of the time as a Fair Dealer, telling Nebraskans of potential development of their state by irrigation and power projects which would provide food for at least 150 million people.
Senator Estes Kefauver had lost some of his gentility in Nebraska, having criticized Senator Kerr for sponsoring the natural gas deregulation bill, which, according to Senator Kefauver, would have, if not vetoed by the President, so modified the regulatory statutes as to provide an additional 508 million dollars of revenue to natural gas producers in the Southwest.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the political base supporting Senator Taft being liable to crumble, as it consisted of orthodox Republican regulars nationally and of key organization men in the states, men who were proving quite cautious, as demonstrated by a group of conservative Senators who were not out campaigning for Senator Taft though most wanted him nominated. Even Senator Joseph McCarthy had not reciprocated to Senator Taft's public approval of him. Most of the organization men in the states had left themselves an escape hatch, though some had endorsed Senator Taft, just as had a few Senators, such as Homer Capehart of Indiana and Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Some of those who had left open that escape hatch, however, had now had friendly contact with General Eisenhower's supporters.
They next examine a comparison between a state-by-state analysis of the comparative strength of Senator Taft and General Eisenhower conducted by Time a couple of months before the New Hampshire primary and another conducted by Newsweek in its current issue. They conclude from the results that the professional politicians were getting nervous, especially in the South, where being for the winner was all-important. Any hint that Senator Taft might fall flat on his face in Nebraska or Wisconsin could turn these professionals quickly toward General Eisenhower.
A letter writer from French Morocco, a member of the 118th AE&W Squadron, formally of the North Carolina Air National Guard, indicates that the Squadron had shipped out on Christmas Eve from New York after spending 11 months at Sewart Air Force Base in Tennessee, and had not been prepared for the "$400 Million Flop" which had continued since. They had not received mail in 16 days and only twice in over 30 days, at last mail call, the latest letter received having borne a postmark of March 1. There were more than 100 North Carolinians still in the outfit and they had sent quite a few letters to Senator Clyde Hoey and other members of Congress. Thus far, only Senator Joseph McCarthy had responded, seeking to know from Brigadier General Olds of the last time they had received mail. Instead of publication of the letter, he prefers letting the politicians know that letters from their constituents should not be ignored without causing bad feelings. He also wants the editors to take it easy on Senator McCarthy, for he believes that "he may have started checking up on his statements." It hopes that the newspaper would support him if he said anything about their mail.
That's all well and good, unnamed corporal, for Senator McCarthy to have done on your behalf, but does not erase the fact that he, along with certain other members of Congress, had destroyed the lives and reputations of many good citizens with completely irresponsible and unsupported charges of affiliation with Communists and Communist organizations.
A letter from R. E. Smith, the president of the Petroleum Club of Houston, his second letter, responds to the News editorials on the oil depletion allowance still appearing as a tax loophole, wishing to call attention to the fact that the depletion allowance only applied to crude oil and gas, as produced, that it was not applicable to the various other phases of the oil business, by means of which crude oil was converted to various refined products. Insofar as it applied to the latter, it was conducive to a lower price for the consumer. He points out that crude oil was selling for less than it had in 1919 and that oil wells in the large East Texas field were permitted to produce less than 400 barrels per month per well, a system which he favored. He finds that the writer of the editorial had consistently confused depreciation and depletion, which were two different things. He thinks that singling out a group of Americans for criticism was encouraging of a trend toward nationalization.
A letter writer responds to the News editorial, "Political Hybrid", anent local educator, Dr. Thomas H. Burton, complaining of his being a Democrat in support of General Eisenhower, forming the local Eisenhower-for-President club, while also announcing as a Democratic candidate for the local Congressional seat. This writer thinks that many Americans believed the same hybrid label applied to General Eisenhower, that the military group with its billions of dollars could induce the public to believe that it was necessary to have the General as president. Some had advocated having him on both party tickets. General Eisenhower owed his success, suggests the writer, to General Marshall, the President and the "same old crowd" in Washington. He had been trained as a "military dictator", as there were no democratic processes within the military. He believes that "they" had "railroaded" General Marshall to become Secretary of Defense, in "utter disregard of the law". He finds that Senator Kefauver, Senator Russell, Senator Taft and Governor Warren had not been dependent for their success on having the nation's sons killed on the battlefield and the wasting of billions of taxpayer money. He concludes that there had been enough Government waste by men such as General Eisenhower and that the public was not interested in political hybrids, such as either Dr. Burton or "G.I. Eisenhower".
A letter writer finds the same editorial without justification, as regardless of party affiliation, Dr. Burton possessed the qualities of sincerity, honesty, integrity and high moral principles, as well as being a "great liberal". He finds that it would be an honor for the state to have him represent it in Congress.
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