The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 23, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that four allied Sabre jets clashed with eight enemy planes this date, and one MIG jet was shot down. Air Force and Marine planes struck a troop concentration in northwest Korea and other planes dropped bombs on the east airfield at Pyongyang as the Communists were seeking to repair the airstrip. Enemy troop and supply centers near Pyongyang had been struck the previous night by 12 B-29s.

On the ground, allied raids and Chinese probes led to short engagements along the frozen, snow-covered front. On the western front, an allied raiding party sent about 80 enemy soldiers fleeing through an artillery and mortar barrage which killed an estimated 30 enemy troops. All of the enemy probing attacks were repulsed after short fights.

In Paris, French President Vincent Auriol formally accepted the resignation of Premier Antoine Pinay after the latter, in office for nine months, had earlier submitted it in an announcement on the National Assembly floor after part of his coalition majority, the Catholic Popular Republican Movement, had refused to support him in the first of three new confidence votes on a 1953 budget. President Auriol had sought to talk the Premier out of the resignation this date but had failed to change his mind. It marked the end of the 17th government since liberation from the Nazi occupation in 1944. It also marked the end of the "Pinay experiment" which had sought to protect the purchasing power of the franc by fighting devaluation while rolling back prices wherever possible, seeking to establish a balanced budget in the country, the issue which caused his backers to break ranks. Narrow majorities on recent votes had made it certain that without the full backing of the coalition, the opposing votes of the Communists, the Socialists and the Gaullists, backers of General Charles de Gaulle, could throw out the Cabinet.

In Verona, Italy, at least five persons had been killed this date when a Milan-to-Venice train, filled with Christmas travelers, left the rails, causing one car to be smashed to splinters, after which a fire erupted.

The National Association of Manufacturers refused again this date to assist the Truman Administration in re-constituting the Wage Stabilization Board, following the resignations of the seven industry members in protest of the President's overturning the earlier WSB decision to cut by 40 cents the $1.90 per day wage increase negotiated between the UMW and the coal mining companies, which had followed the resignation of the chairman of the WSB, Archibald Cox, who had also resigned in protest of the President's decision. The NAM president said that the President's action in nullifying the wage cut, which the WSB found would be inflationary, had destroyed all possible effectiveness of the WSB.

The British cruiser Kenya radioed this date that passengers and crew of the stricken liner Champollion, which had run aground 500 yards from shore during a heavy storm, had been taken ashore off the coast of Lebanon, but that about 30 of the 238 persons aboard had reportedly drowned. Twenty of the passengers, desperate after being buffeted by gale-force winds for 24 hours, had sought to swim ashore, and another ten bodies had washed ashore after a lifeboat capsized. About 50 persons had made it ashore by swimming. Both the storm and a misinterpretation of shore signals were believed to have been the cause of the ship's grounding. Of the 238 persons aboard, 108 were passengers, some bound for Bethlehem for Christmas observances.

In Washington, the Air Force stated that a preliminary investigation of the Moses Lake, Wash., air disaster which had resulted the previous Saturday in the deaths of 86 persons aboard a C-124 transport loaded with servicemen returning home, had not determined any problem with the planes themselves, which would require their grounding. The Air Force had not yet determined the cause of the crash, in which the plane had crashed in flames shortly after takeoff. The plane had been test flown the previous day and everything had checked out satisfactorily. The pilot had more than 2,000 hours of flying time, including more than 400 hours in C-124s. The weather at the time of the crash was well above the minimum requirements for takeoff.

In Frankfurt, Germany, a private, a wounded war veteran, was acquitted by an Army court-martial of sexually assaulting an 18-year old American girl and robbing two soldiers, but was sentenced to three years in prison on two minor charges, absent without leave from his post and wrongfully appropriating an Army jeep and pistol. He was also dishonorably discharged. The verdict was subject to review.

In New York, a Marine sergeant, 19, hurled a phosphorous grenade, along with an uncomplimentary remark, into a bar crowded with Puerto Ricans, injuring 14 persons. Police eventually fatally shot the Marine as he tried to escape. He had gone to the bar with a sailor and an airman, and then rolled the grenade like a bowling ball into the establishment located in Harlem, shouting, "I'll show these Spics something." The explosion had blown out windows of the tavern, throwing the neighborhood into an uproar. Police then chased the Marine for nine blocks until one patrolman shot him in the head after he turned and knifed the patrolman. Police arrested both of the companions, one of whom had surrendered during the chase and the other having surrendered after first finding refuge with his father, who called police and escorted his son to a church for prayer. Most of the injured were released after treatment for cuts and burns. A narcotics agent, who reportedly had tracked a narcotics suspect into the bar, remained hospitalized. A police officer, who had gone to the bar after becoming suspicious of the three servicemen entering, also was among the injured.

In Raleigh, Noel Yancey, in another in a series of articles on the upcoming 1953 General Assembly, tells of a majority of the legislators answering an Associated Press questionnaire by having stated themselves undecided on the multi-million dollar bond issue to modernize the state's primary highway system.

In Charlotte, well-known local attorney Charles W. Tillett fell or jumped to his death from the eighth floor of the Law Building, where he had his offices on the sixth floor. His body landed on the sidewalk outside the building entrance, directly across the street from a house where a woman and her teenage son were wrapping Christmas gifts as they saw Mr. Tillett hit. He had entered the building shortly before 1:00 p.m. and asked the elevator operator to take him to the eighth floor, which she had questioned for the fact that he usually asked to go to his offices on the sixth floor. Detectives found dust disturbed on the windowsill of the eighth floor stairway window and surmised that Mr. Tillett had gone out at that location. During the morning, he had withdrawn $750 from an account and deposited it in another account in his wife's name. He had recently undergone treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, from which he had returned on December 15. The story does not offer any speculation by investigators as to whether his death was suicide, but it would later be determined to have been so. Mr. Tillett had been an observer at the U.N. Charter Conference in spring, 1945, and in that capacity, had written several articles at the request of The News, and, thereafter, became a recognized proponent of the U.N. at the national level, testifying on occasion before Congress and writing magazine articles on the subject. He had been a loyal Democrat, having attended the 1944 convention as a delegate from the state, had been a recognized civic leader, serving on the Charlotte School Board, and had been a member of the UNC Board of Trustees. His wife, Gladys, had been former vice-chairman of the DNC and the U.S. representative at UNESCO, and served after her husband on the UNC Board, remaining active after her husband's death in the U.N.

Also in Charlotte, heavy rain which had prevented flights from taking off during the morning, had cleared by noon, enabling passengers to continue their holiday travel. Buses and trains, though not hampered by the weather, had begun to show the signs of Christmas strain on travel, as many servicemen chose those means of conveyance to return home for the holidays.

In New Orleans, a bookie was arrested during the weekend near the fairgrounds racetrack, after he had taken a bet from a policeman acting undercover. The officer said the man wrote up the bets on the side of a house within viewing distance of the track and then washed them off, removing the evidence after each race. To acquire the evidence, the police had to remove the marked boards from the house.

In Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands, the wife of New York television star Peter Donald won a divorce suit on the grounds of general incompatibility.

On the editorial page, "An Example for Tar Heel Republicans" indicates that 558,000 North Carolinians had voted for General Eisenhower in the election, narrowing Governor Stevenson's victory margin to less than 100,000. Some had been registered Republicans but most were registered Democrats, and yet nothing had been done since the election to hold those Democrats permanently in the Republican camp.

The Citizens for Eisenhower in the state had adopted a constitution and pledged to continue working for "good government", but had neither done nor said anything which would cause Republicans to form a permanent alliance with the dissident Democrats. Nor had the Republican Party in the state made any effort toward that end.

By contrast, in Florida, Republicans, as reported by Charles Hesser in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, were already rebuilding the party from the ground up, making places in the organization for erstwhile Democrats and pushing for bigger Republican registration and for offering of good candidates for public office at all levels. In Sarasota County, Republicans had won 16 of 18 county races, and 13 of 18 in Pinellas County. They intended to concentrate their initial efforts in counties and precincts where they had run well, and had a long-range goal of adding 150,000 Democrats to the Republican voting rolls in presidential elections. It suggests that North Carolina Republicans ought pay attention and try to follow that example.

"To Each His Own" suggests that the appointment of Martin Durkin, head of the plumbers union, as Secretary of Labor, heavily criticized by Senator Taft for Mr. Durkin's previous opposition to Taft-Hartley, had probably been made by the President-elect to demonstrate that he intended to govern without interference from anyone else. As Senator Taft would likely be elected the new Majority Leader without opposition, the new President had also demonstrated that he would not interfere with Congress, leaving it to conduct its own affairs.

The piece asserts that it was as it should be, as under FDR, the President had wielded too much influence over the legislative branch, while under President Truman, especially in his last couple of years, the legislative branch had worked too independently of the President's direction. Neither state was good and neither had been envisioned by the Founders, who had established three separate branches designed, ultimately, to work in concert to ensure smooth operation of the entire government. It ventures that under the new President, separation of powers would get more attention than it had in the previous 20 years.

Twenty years hence, under President Nixon, the separation of powers would indeed attract a lot of attention, but all of the wrong kind—not dissimilar to the present situation in 2019 heading into 2020, when, by all rights, we should, as a country, have acuity of vision, but rather, thanks to the current "President" and his Republican diehard partisans, find ourselves stumbling around aimlessly in the dark, just as in 1972-74, and, actually, for the three years prior to that. Divisive politics, practiced by demagogues, always result in the same disaster, ultimately for the demagogue and the foolish people who are inveigled by the tricks of the tongue.

"Two Outstanding Diplomats" indicates that U.N. Ambassador Warren Austin, formerly a Senator from Vermont, and Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the American U.N. delegation, had recently been honored in New York. Mrs. Roosevelt had characteristically hurried from the reception to make her final speech to the General Assembly as a member of the delegation. Ambassador Austin would be replaced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

It indicates that Ambassador Austin and Mrs. Roosevelt had contributed more to the U.N. than any other Americans and had served the country honorably while appealing to the larger world community. Despite having been a Republican Senator, the Ambassador had always been above partisanship in his work at the U.N. Mrs. Roosevelt, whether her talents would be used by the Republicans or not, would remain the "first lady of the world", a reputation derived more from her "tireless efforts" than from the fact that she was the widow of FDR. It indicates that their successors would do well if they performed as creditably as had the Ambassador and Mrs. Roosevelt.

"Happy Days" indicates that while the Republicans were planning, down to the last details, the inauguration ceremonies, it finds most interesting the design of the inaugural medal, featuring a bust of President-elect Eisenhower, which would be passed around during the inauguration. After the initial design of the medal, it had been rejected by the Republican leadership for making the President-elect look too grim, and so another medal was being struck, showing the new President grinning. It concludes that it would not be surprised to find the Republicans invading the Democratic songbook and start singing, "Happy Days Are Here Again".

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "A Horrifying Experiment", indicates that most of those at the newspaper had taken a dim view of using initials and verbal contractions of the type which prevailed in Washington, especially at the Pentagon—which, contrary to popular belief, is not named for its five-sided building, but rather as a combination form of "pen tag on", and, of course, they had to stop at five sides to keep the costs down. Such terms as "Cinclant" for "Commander in Chief, Atlantic", it finds neither euphonious nor very useful. But recently, Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett had made such an ardent defense of use of such bureaucratic argot that it felt compelled, in fairness, to reconsider its attitude.

It sought to evaluate whether its difficulty might derive from its lack of familiarity generally with the pattern of Washington patois and so it devised a technique of such abbreviation regarding titles familiar to journalism. It tried "Eep" for Editor of the Editorial Page, "Polcor", for the political cartoonist—which probably, in keeping with Pentagon nomenclature, should have been "Polclorist"—, "Boorey" for the book reviewer—more authentic as "Boowiever"—, and "Booed" for the book editor—better as "Booped". Eventually, after trying other such contractions, which it lists, it set aside the thought of such usage when it imagined hearing the "Cobo", the copy boy, refer to the managing editor as the "maned".

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of the Navy-designate, Robert Anderson of Texas, who managed one of the biggest cattle ranches in the world, the Waggoner Ranch, second largest in the U.S. The ranch was so vast in its operations that during shipping season, entire freight trains backed into the railroad siding to pick up steers to take to city markets. Mr. Anderson converted his alfalfa into pellets so as not to waste stems and leafage when cattle ate it, and each day sent the pellets to St. Louis to be tested for moisture content. Nothing was left to chance in running the ranch, which still, despite being a modern operation, used cowboys, each of whom had numerous horses, as he might wear out two or three during a given day.

Mr. Anderson had become acquainted with General Eisenhower through Sid Richardson. Mr. Anderson's chief understanding was in handling men, including tough men on the ranch, making him suited to the job of civilian head of Navy administration.

On one occasion, an old man who lived in a shack by the river had died, nearly broke, but Mr. Anderson took time off from his managerial duties to arrange for the old man's funeral, at which there was almost no one present except the minister and Mr. Anderson.

Senator William Langer of North Dakota was being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which he was scheduled to become chairman in the new Congress, the investigation concerning the private bills he had introduced, examining for possible subversives whom Senator Langer might have helped. It was part of a backstage plot to try to prevent him from becoming chairman of the Committee because he was perceived as too independent for regular Republicans to accept. They wanted Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan to become the chairman. Many times in the past, Senator Langer had demonstrated that he would not take Republican orders, and had bolted to the Democrats any time he thought his party was wrong. He had ridden across North Dakota on the President's campaign train and had once introduced a Democratic candidate running against him for the Senate. Since those objections were not the basis for unseating him as chairman, the Judiciary Committee investigators were seeking stronger grounds. The Senator, ready to sympathize with a hard-luck story, had introduced hundreds of private bills to help hardship cases, particularly involving aliens, such as a special bill to allow 18 Estonians to remain in the country after they had fled from behind the Iron Curtain and drifted for 92 days in a small, crowded ship to voyage to America. Normally, they would have been deported immediately, but for the intervention of Senator Langer. Senator Ferguson was the most active in the backstage maneuver to unseat Senator Langer from the chairmanship.

Stewart Alsop, at Eisenhower headquarters in New York, discusses the relationship between President-elect Eisenhower and Senator Taft, as it would profoundly affect the future. A period of good relations between the two was regularly followed by a period of "explosion or threatened explosion". The first period of good relations had occurred after the September meeting at General Eisenhower's Columbia University residence, with Senator Taft coming away pleased with the meeting, believing that he would henceforth play a decisive role in policy-making within an Eisenhower administration. The Senator had written down a draft of what General Eisenhower ought say at his forthcoming speech on labor to the AFL and forwarded it to the General. Meanwhile, the General had been surprised and indignant at the suggestion that the meeting had been a "surrender" to the Senator, and had definite ideas on labor policy, resulting in his speech bearing no resemblance to the draft prepared for him by the Senator. That had almost caused a rift between the two, but Senator Taft was persuaded to hold his peace until the election.

After the election, the Senator met with the General again, with the intention of obtaining a promise that the new President would not call a labor-management conference to amend the Taft-Hartley Act, but would leave the job to the Senate Labor Committee, which would be chaired by Senator Taft. According to the Senator's interpretation, General Eisenhower had agreed with the Senator's fiscal policy, which was to have an immediate reduction in Government spending to 70 billion dollars, with a further cut to 60 billion the following year, and so again the Senator was happy.

But then General Eisenhower assigned to Attorney General-designate Herbert Brownell the task of handling patronage appointments, causing another rift with Senator Taft, who perceived Mr. Brownell, a former adviser to Governor Dewey, as part of the Dewey camp. But, in fact, other than a brief meeting with Governor Dewey in Augusta, Ga., the General had virtually no contact with him since the election, and Mr. Brownell had quickly become a part of the Eisenhower team.

Then, Mr. Brownell failed to consult with Senator Taft before the appointment of Treasury Secretary-designate George Humphrey, a former supporter of Senator Taft from Ohio, seemingly another insult to the Senator, though in fact only resulting from a simple oversight. Again, the Senator fumed, and his anger became worse after the appointment of Sinclair Weeks as Commerce Secretary, and then finally hit the boiling point when Martin Durkin, a Democrat and opponent of Taft-Hartley, was named the new Secretary of Labor.

As a result of these problems, some of the Eisenhower advisers wanted quietly to block Senator Taft's bid to become Majority Leader in the new Senate, on the ground that a disastrous explosion with the Administration was inevitable. Another group of advisers favored, instead, getting Senator Taft on their side as a loyal party member. That movement became stronger when it was reported that other Senators, including strong Eisenhower supporters, were also in a rebellious mood over appointments.

The President-elect was reluctant to become involved in Senate matters, and so it became known that he had no objection to Senator Taft becoming the new leader, widely interpreted as approval for the Senator occupying that position, causing opposition to his candidacy to fade. As a result, suggests Mr. Alsop, another period of good relations was in prospect, but wonders whether it would last.

As indicated, the problem with Senator Taft would become moot by the fact of the Senator's death the following July.

The Congressional Quarterly tells of Congressional Republicans, in control of both houses in the new Congress, to control 650 patronage jobs. The salaries at issue totaled three million dollars. Republican Congressmen would select about 550 of those positions, with a payroll of about 2.5 million dollars. The Republicans would probably allow about 100 of the jobs to be filled by Democrats, with annual salaries of about a half million.

In the Senate, Republicans would have about 175 patronage jobs to fill, about three jobs per Republican Senator, to be distributed to the Senators on the basis of seniority, a matter of tradition and precedent rather than rules. Most of those jobs, such as elevator operators, pages and postal carriers, paid less than $5,000 per year. The top job was the secretary of the Senate and the sergeant at arms, each of whom was paid $13,400 per year. Those jobs, plus that of the floor secretary and Senate chaplain, would be determined by the Senate Republican Conference. A Senate Republican personnel committee, headed by Senator Styles Bridges, was in charge of the other patronage positions, including that of chief clerk, document room superintendent and Senate postmaster.

In the preceding Congress, the Democrats had allowed Republicans to appoint 24 jobholders, paying $131,000. In the upcoming Congress, the Republicans would probably allow the Democrats to make appointments to 26 jobs, paying $143,000.

Members of the House were responsible for appointing about 450 patronage positions, about 370 of which in the new Congress would be filled by Republicans. Most of the jobs were low-level, as in the Senate. The entire House Republican membership would determine who got the top patronage appointments, including that of the clerk of the House, the sergeant at arms, the doorkeeper, the postmaster and the chaplain.

In the last Republican-controlled House, in 1947-49, Representative Leo Allen of Illinois had headed the Republican committee for personnel appointments, and he had been asked to fill that role again in the new House.

Each Senator and Representative also appointed their own staffs, not impacted by party control of Congress and not subject to Congressional approval.

Frederick C. Othman discusses the upcoming plans for the inauguration ceremonies, indicating that the fir seats from which to view the inaugural parade were selling for $15 apiece, while the pine seats were selling for three dollars, a differentiation in price which Mr. Othman finds hard to fathom, unless a function of more splinters being in the pine.

Seats had long ago been allocated, as had hotel rooms, and tickets for the inauguration ball. But there were still people who came in person or via mail, demanding tickets. Most of the tickets had been distributed to state Republican organizations, and so if one wanted to attend, one had to look to one's own state organization.

The Boy Scouts would be the ushers, each of whom would be issued a rag to dry the chairs in case it rained, and a snow shovel in case of snow.

And he goes on describing in detail the various preparations, including the ball to be held at the National Guard Armory, scene of revivals, auto shows, and super-barn dances. Three times the capacity had sought tickets, and the overflow would have to stand outside in the cold in their dress clothes. The vacant hotel rooms were being painted, each a pale gray, and when the head of the painting crew got done, he intended to paint his own house, with every room a different color.

But did he do his own carpentry and plumbing?

Is Mr. Hoffa invited to the pageant?

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