The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 17, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Communist truce negotiators in Korea again sought immediate resumption of the secret talks on prisoner exchange, having made a similar suggestion the previous Sunday, to which the U.N. command had not yet replied. The talks on the subject had been in recess since April 4 to give both sides a chance to explore separately possible ways to break the impasse regarding voluntary repatriation. This date's session lasted 2.5 minutes, longer, however, than each of the previous six sessions, which had lasted a total of four minutes and 20 seconds. No progress was made in the meeting or regarding the issue of truce supervision and the nomination by the Communists of Russia as a "neutral nation" for inspection purposes, rejected by the allies.

Allied airmen had to secure their planes this date in the face of roaring winds sweeping down from North Korea, permitting only a few weather reconnaissance planes to leave the ground.

In the ground war, the Communists made a series of light jabs at allied lines on the western front, all of which were repulsed.

The Navy said that an American destroyer-escort, the U.S.S. Silverstein, had recently escaped unharmed from "probably the heaviest attack of the Korean War against a United Nations warship."

General Hoyt Vandenberg, chief of staff of the Air Force, told a press conference this date that the so-called stay-down strike of fliers was a "tempest in a teapot". He said the situation had occurred because of the rising death rate during military flights, the insufficient hazard pay for airmen, and because reserve officers recalled to duty claimed that they were being asked to do more than their share of flying. Such strikes had been reported at Biggs and Randolph Air Force Bases in Texas and at Mather Field in California, one such flier having been convicted of dereliction of duty by a court-martial and sentenced to prison. General Vandenberg, in testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee the previous day, had said that all of the officers who refused to fly probably would be tried by a court-martial and would receive prison terms and loss of commissions. He recommended that Congress provide for higher hazard pay for fliers to give them greater incentive to man their planes, pointing out that the Soviets were offering almost double pay and other benefits for their best youths to fly. He said that the Air Force was having increasing difficulty in attracting sufficient numbers of young men who were physically and mentally qualified to fly.

Averell Harriman might be promoted by some Democrats as a presidential candidate, as he was being honored this night at a $100 per plate dinner sponsored by the New York state Democratic committee, which reflected a strong desire to provide the state's 94 delegate votes at the convention to Mr. Harriman. The next day, the state's 62 Democratic county leaders would meet to discuss the presidential race, and a spokesman indicated that if Mr. Harriman were named, he would be announced as a favorite-son candidate. Many national prominent persons, including Senator Estes Kefauver, Governor Adlai Stevenson, Vice-President Alben Barkley and several other Senators would be at the dinner. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia was the only prominent announced Democratic presidential candidate not expected to attend.

Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois this date gave his support to Senator Kefauver as the best available candidate for the party, just 24 hours after Governor Stevenson, whom Senator Douglas had previously supported for the nomination, had withdrawn from the race. He said that he did not know whether Senator Kefauver could defeat General Eisenhower, but that he believed that he could defeat Senator Taft. He said that Northern Democrats had been prepared to support Governor Stevenson despite his stand that the states should be left to handle civil rights, and so should willingly support Senator Kefauver despite his stand against a compulsory Fair Employment Practices Commission—though he had also taken a stand in favor of limiting Senate filibuster, the common tool used to defeat civil rights legislation, and had also indicated his support of an FEPC proposal, should it be included in the party platform.

Senator Douglas indicated that he could support as vice-presidential nominees Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, Mr. Harriman, Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Secretary of Interior Oscar Chapman, former Senator Scott Lucas of Illinois, or Mayor Kennelly of Chicago.

The Senate Banking Committee this date postponed until the next day a possible decision on what it would do about the Government's wage-price control program, scheduled to end on June 30 if not renewed by Congress.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that the Government appeared ready to grant the United Steelworkers the Wage Stabilization Board's recommended wage increase of 17.5 cents per hour. It had been 17 months since their previous wage increase under the current contract, which had expired January 1. It was up to Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer to determine the matter, as control of the industry had been placed in his hands by the President during the Government seizure, begun eight days earlier. The union was demanding that the wage increase be implemented in three installments, plus the additional 8.5 cents worth of fringe benefits and the union shop, all recommended by the WSB.

Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had severely criticized the seizure the previous day as helping to create the steel deadlock and raising "the gravest constitutional question since the War between the States." He led a group of Republican Senators sponsoring a resolution calling for a full investigation of the President's seizure by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Taft said this date that Congress should "consider" impeachment of the President for the seizure, and that the matter should be presented to the House.

The Senate might be asked this date by a group of Republicans, led by Senator Bridges, to show its disapproval of the seizure by voting against use of certain funds to enforce the order, though not, strictly speaking, pertinent to money to be used for that purpose but rather a bill appropriating some funds for use by the Commerce Department for its aviation and highway activities. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said that he was confident that the offered amendment would be opposed strongly by Democrats.

In Omaha and Council Bluffs, levees continued to hold against the rising Missouri River, as forecasters continued to predict a crest during this night at 31.5 feet, two feet above its present level, with flood stage at 19 feet. The previous record high, reached in 1881, had been 24.6 feet. The original levees had been built to withstand a crest of 26.6 feet, and had been increased in height in recent days by sandbags and other materials, added by civilians and Army personnel. Vigilance was being maintained around the clock on the levees. At least two persons had died thus far in the flooding across seven Midwestern states.

The President signed a Congressional resolution calling for an annual day of prayer, to be designated by the President for a day other than a Sunday. Its purpose was to pray for world peace.

In Leaksville, N.C., the police reported that two armed bandits had held up a branch of the Leaksville Bank & Trust Co. at around noon this date, escaping with $56,000 in cash. An alarm was broadcast across the state to be on the lookout for the two white men, who had held a gun on the lone employee present in the bank, an assistant cashier, then tying her hands before taking the money. She was reported to be in shock and unable thus far to provide details of the robbery. The two robbers had escaped in a car, and apparently no witnesses had seen the getaway. One man wore a red corduroy coat and another a blue coat, and both had on brown gloves. If you see such a pair, one standing 5'6" with gray hair and the other 5'8" with brown hair, be sure to call the police, no matter what kind of car they might be driving.

In Charlotte, Superior Court Judge Susie Sharp, eventually to be appointed in 1962 to the State Supreme Court, ordered three psychiatric examinations of Albert Raymond Reinhart, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting on March 31 of a prominent Wilmington attorney, regarding the alleged mishandling of the defendant's mother's trust. One examination was to be conducted in Charlotte and another either at Bowman Gray Hospital in Winston-Salem or at Duke University Hospital in Durham, with the third, ordered at the request of the Solicitor, to be conducted by a psychiatrist from the State prison in Raleigh. Mr. Reinhart had consented to the examinations, based on his attorneys' statements regarding his questionable mental capacity and sanity at the time of the killing of the attorney and wounding of his partner as they boarded an elevator at the Law Building.

Governor Kerr Scott turned 56 this date, observing his birthday quietly in the Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

In Los Angeles, a man stuck a gun in the ribs of a tavern piano player, saying: "That's purty. Keep playin' it 'til this is over." The pianist continued to play "Whispering" repeatedly while the three robbers searched the bartender and 30 patrons, eventually carrying away $2,000 in cash. They left the pianist's wallet intact.

In New York, a barber named his shop after the United Nations, after which the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution against commercial usage of the name, then officially asking the barber to change the name of his shop, to which he had responded that until there was a law against it, he would continue use of the name. But the previous day, Governor Dewey signed a legislative bill which barred businesses in the state from using the name of the U.N. for commercial purposes unless the U.N. Secretary-General provided permission, the law, however, excepting out corporate or trade names already in use. The barber was therefore happy, having escaped a hairy scrape.

On the editorial page, "A Hard Blow to the Democrats" finds the virtual withdrawal from the presidential race by Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois to be regrettable, as he would have made a formidable nominee for the Democrats, assuring that at least one candidate in the race supported an enlightened foreign and domestic policy while also having the moral stature to raise the ethical and moral standards of government from its present low condition. It finds, nevertheless, his reluctance to enter the race understandable.

The Governor, while not well-known across the country, had a considerable following in the South and was considered acceptable to most Southerners, particularly should Senator Richard Russell of Georgia receive the vice-presidential nomination. It suggests that the old internecine battle between the Northern and Southern wings of the party would now resume. Ambassador Harriman, who appeared now as a new front-runner for the nomination, was inseparably associated with the present Administration, was also not well-known across the country, and was unacceptable to many Southern Democrats.

Senator Kefauver stood to gain more from the withdrawal of Governor Stevenson than any other Democrat, having more primary victories and being identifiable by more voters, who generally reacted favorably to him, than others in the race. He was Southern, though not having a particularly Southern inclination, but by that combination of factors, might prove acceptable to the convention. He was, however, anathema to many Southerners, who regarded him as a turncoat. His foreign and domestic policies were very similar to those of Governor Stevenson, in turn similar to those of the President, except that both men proposed far higher standards of ethics in government than that characterizing the Truman Administration. Both men received their support from the same portion of the electorate, the moderate to left-wing Democrats, the "internationalists" and labor. Yet, the Governor had been acceptable to most Southerners, while Senator Kefauver was not. The latter had won his supporters largely through his televised hearings on organized crime of the prior year, but that had created a suspicion, whether deserved or not, that he was insincere and out to achieve political capital from the exposure. That could not be said of Governor Stevenson.

It suggests that irrevocable withdrawals of the type Governor Stevenson had just made were subject to being cast aside and it remained possible that either the Governor or even the President might become the nominee of the convention, though the nomination of either appeared unlikely at present. It concludes that the Democrats were presently in a hole from which they were not likely to emerge soon, and that they should probably turn to Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, though he had ruled himself out of the race sometime earlier, the piece finding that Senator Douglas would make a "great President".

It will probably be Douglas-Humphrey in '52, a safe bet.

"Sneaking Away When the Chips Are Down" tells of the Soviets having scored another propaganda victory while the U.S. had failed again the prior Monday, when the U.N. Security Council refused even to consider an Asian-African complaint against France's treatment of Tunisia, which had long sought greater independence. France and Britain had voted against the proposal being heard, while Pakistan, China, Russia, Brazil and Chile had been for it on the Council. Seven affirmative votes were required for passage, and the U.S., along with three other members had abstained, the U.S. delegates indicating that they feared that discussion of the matter might disturb French-Tunisian negotiations.

It regards the attitude of the U.S. in the instance as "weak-kneed", increasing the suspicion in Tunisia and other countries seeking greater independence that Russia, rather than the U.S., was their friend. It quotes at length from a message from the President, read by Secretary of State Acheson the previous week at the national Conference on International Economic and Social Development, that the people of Asia and Africa had learned that they need not suffer hunger, disease and poverty, that they had learned the ideals of political liberty and self-government by observing the West, and were now determined to share in the benefits of modern progress, that their resources would be developed for their own benefit, all of which was good and held out tremendous promise. It regards the statement as fine words, but only words, sounding hollow when the U.S. would not even vote to listen to the requests of the Tunisians for greater independence from France.

"Now This Is the Way It Is" describes the presidential primaries to date as a series of predicted outcomes which had not come to be, starting with New Hampshire the previous month, and through the prior Tuesday's New Jersey primary. The piece deals in rhetorical generalities rather than specifics, offers no predictions or conclusions.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly looks at the economic progress made in North Carolina through analysis of figures for 1950 and 1951. Perhaps, you can use it as a basis for an esoteric term paper. Have at it. Title it: "How North Carolina Started Attracting Big Business to the State (and Stopped Worrying about the Bomb)".

Drew Pearson returns to an earlier story he had uncovered regarding two highway contractors who had built the roads around the Pentagon building during the war and then managed to avoid paying taxes on their profits from the contract, eventually going to jail, but only after a suspiciously long delay in the prosecution. He indicates that he had omitted from his original story, however, the manner in which they had obtained $35,000 in cash with which to make pay-offs and buy their way out of a jail sentence, going back to September, 1948, the money having been delivered to their attorney, with directions to pay $10,000 of it to the Democratic campaign fund and the balance to a "Mr. X".

A letter written by one of the contractors in April, 1949 had described the payoff as having been suggested by one of their attorneys as an effort to kill the criminal prosecution and stated that no money was to be paid until the prosecution definitely ended. Mr. Pearson indicates that his investigation had shown that members of the attorneys' staff had admitted receipt of the $35,000 and had never listed it as a legal fee, and that the "Mr. X" in question was James J. Shepard, Jr., a tax attorney, who admitted that he participated in the case but claimed it was only in one conference, out of which he decided that the two contractors were guilty and so advised them. He had denied any part in an attempted fix of the case, but never answered whether he had been offered the $25,000. His friend, who he said had gotten him involved in the case, a former Kansas City attorney who had come to Washington shortly after Harry Truman had become a Senator in 1935, said that he and Mr. Shepard were supposed to split the fee in half, but that in the end, he was paid nothing, denying the while any influence applied toward getting the case dropped.

When those maneuvers had not worked, the two contractors tried to influence Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who later stated that he provided them no aid. In the end, the efforts had failed, against the persistence of the Treasury agents and the spotlight placed on the case by publicity, and the two had spent a couple of years in jail.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the foreign policies of the U.S., Britain and France having entered a new crisis stage in light of the "peace offensive" undertaken by the Soviets, in the words of one American top official, "the crises now confronting us are probably just as serious as the crises presented by the Berlin blockade [of 1948-49] and the Korean aggression."

The Kremlin had offered unification of East and West Germany on the ostensible basis of free elections, with the sole condition that the unified Germany would not enter NATO or other such alliances. Acceptance of this offer would mean sacrificing the crucial West German contribution to the NATO army, but if the offer were refused, then likely West Germany would become reluctant to contribute to that army in any event. If accepted, the existing ban on strategic shipment of strategic materials from Western Europe to the Soviet bloc would also inevitably disappear.

Stalin had also recently replied to a questionnaire submitted by a group of American editors, indicating his approval of a Big Four meeting to try to end the Cold War. There had also been considerable Communist compromises of late toward effecting a truce in Korea, and word was that it was likely that a truce would occur by May 1.

Most U.S. official opinion was against treating these peace overtures with any seriousness, that they were simply a propaganda move by the Soviets, and that the U.S. should continue with its NATO effort at rearmament of Western Europe. A minority of U.S. policymakers, however, including some of the "most judicious men in the Government", believed that the peace offensive might be more serious than similar previous attempts, and that if the Communists were to come through with their concessions being made in Korea, the move should be taken quite seriously. This group argued that the Kremlin had become genuinely alarmed by the unity and strength demonstrated by the West and might be prepared to address genuine world settlement. They did not suggest, however, any slowing down of NATO or abandoning of the German rearmament, asserting that these moves were precisely the final push needed to bring the Soviets to that new frame of mind.

Robert C. Ruark remarks on the strikes by Western Union, the telephone workers, and the steel dispute, combining to thumb noses at the average consumer, left holding the bag with higher prices as a result. He asserts several examples of shoddy consumer service, at the airlines, on trains, and even in restaurants, where attendants behaved as if they were doing the consumer a favor just to wait on them. He concludes, however, that all of these industries had to have consumers to survive, that the customer remained of prime importance, and that he was sick and tired of being shoved around as if a criminal "or, at least, a mild man on a waiting list with no civil rights".

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