The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 6, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Sam Summerlin, that the U.S. Fifth Air Force had reported this date that it had repelled the "largest enemy night air attack of the Korean War" during the departure of President-elect Eisenhower following his three-day visit to Korea, ending the previous night. Eleven hostile aircraft had been picked up by radar heading toward Seoul less than an hour prior to the departure of the General's plane. The attack continued for about two hours after the departure. The planes, however, were propeller-driven and small. It was possible, therefore, that they had not come from Manchuria, the usual origin point for enemy planes, and so had avoided the usual allied air cover further north. The planes had dropped bombs which had fallen close to the installation from which personnel were directing the allied night interceptors. Security prevented disclosure on whether damage was done. The night had been dark with light snow and low ceilings of visibility prevailing throughout the contact area.

The Air Force disclosed this date that a blanket screen of swift jet fighters had met the President-elect's plane as it neared the Far East on his arrival on Tuesday, and throughout his visit, swarms of warplanes had protected him. U.S. Sabre jets had engaged with Communist jets seven times during the visit, and Sabres, Thunderjets and Shooting Stars had been in the air patrolling around the clock during that time. The jets continued to cover his flight as he had departed the previous night, and the plane was never more than 45 minutes from a rescue plane.

President Syngman Rhee of South Korea stated this date that the President-elect had made no commitments during his visit, but he expected the new President to break the Korean stalemate, and had encouraged him to do so as soon as possible. He said that he had told the new President that foreign troops could be relieved from front-line duty if South Korean forces were sufficiently increased, trained and equipped to be able to defend themselves. He had also indicated that Korea needed economic, industrial and military aid. A reliable South Korean official source said that earlier, the South Korean Government had urged General Eisenhower to double the strength of South Korean forces. The General had complimented the South Koreans as "splendid troops" and "real fighting men".

The U.S.S. Helena, headed to Hawaii bearing the President-elect, was cruising toward a storm of near typhoon strength, as the new President considered what to do about the Korean War. The storm, which was diminishing, was not considered a threat to the safety of anyone aboard. The ship would pick up Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles on Wake Island. The President-elect had flown over 2,000 miles from Korea to Guam, where he landed on Saturday morning to board the Helena. During the three-day visit, the General had visited with his only child, Maj. John Eisenhower, an operations officer with the U.S. Third Division.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that industry members of the Wage Stabilization Board were said to have prepared a statement regarding the President's decision to overturn the WSB decision to cut 40 cents from the negotiated $1.90 per day wage increase for the UMW members, an action which had prompted the resignation of WSB chairman Archibald Cox two days earlier. The statement was expected to signal the resignations of at least one or two of the seven industry members.

In New York, Walter Reuther, newly elected president of the CIO, and George Meany, new head of the AFL, pledged to work toward uniting the two labor organizations, as both spoke the previous night at a dinner meeting of the executive board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The State Department said this date that American firms could purchase oil from Iran without objection from the Government, but reminded prospective buyers that they risked legal action from the British Government.

In New York, John J. McCloy, former president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, more recently, U.S. High Commissioner for West Germany, would succeed Winthrop Aldrich as chairman of Chase National Bank, as Mr. Aldrich had been appointed as the new Ambassador to Great Britain by President-elect Eisenhower.

Off Hamilton, Bermuda, a Cuban airliner had crashed into the sea with 42 persons aboard. U.S. Coast Guard vessels and Air Force crash boats had picked up four survivors and ten bodies shortly following the crash, and persons at the scene doubted that any more survivors would be found. The airliner was operated by a subsidiary of Pan Am. There were reportedly no Americans on board, with most of the passengers being from Cuba and Mexico. The plane had hit the choppy water three miles from the island, shortly after takeoff.

In Zürich, Switzerland, the Swiss Mt. Everest expedition had abandoned its attempt to climb the world's highest peak because of extremes of wind and temperature, forcing the members to turn back. It was not yet known what height they had reached. They had returned safely to their base camp on November 22, on their way back to Katmandu. It was the second Swiss attempt at the peak during 1952, the first expedition having been forced back only a few hundred feet short of the 29,000-foot summit, because their oxygen equipment had proved inadequate at the high altitude. The second attempt had been made with improved, German-designed equipment.

In New York, a surprise air raid drill in four Rockefeller Center buildings the previous day had caused more than 40,000 persons to enter shelters in less than three minutes.

Did they duck and cover?

In Huntsville, Tex., a man under a death sentence had it commuted to life in prison the previous night, less than two hours before he was scheduled to die in the electric chair. He said that he was so happy he could not say anything sensible. His sentence had been for the killing of an 85-year old recluse, during a robbery attempt in which he obtained only 13 cents.

Near Fredericksburg, Va., the last of nine escapees from the Western State Penitentiary at Pittsburgh had been apprehended in the early morning hours, arrested at the home of a relative. He had been unarmed and offered no resistance.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., a natural gas explosion had reduced a three-story house to a pile of rubble and killed all six children in the house the previous night. The 30-minute delayed explosion resulted from a car skidding into a retaining wall and breaking an exposed natural gas main which led into the house. The victims, ranging in age from 5 to 14, had been sleeping at the time. Both parents were literally blown out of the house and were in a state of shock and nearly incoherent as they crawled from the wreckage.

In North Creek, N.Y., five of seven children of a family died in a fire which had destroyed a log-cabin home, but the two youngest children had been saved. The mother had been hospitalized with serious burns when she and her husband sought to rescue the five children who perished.

In Charlotte, as reported by News reporter Ralph Gibson, a Federal jury found E. M. Beaty, a Charlotte businessman, guilty of three counts of income tax evasion during the years 1945, 1946 and 1947, for a total of $30,000 in taxes. Sentencing was set for December 17. The defendant's brother, also under indictment in a companion tax case, fainted when the verdict was announced and had to be assisted from the courtroom by friends. He would likely face trial during the April term of court.

In Nuremberg, Germany, American schoolchildren played Santa Claus this date to 130 refugee children who faced a bleak Christmas after a Czech had admitted gambling away money contributed by a displaced persons labor unit to buy gifts for the children. The American children contributed the equivalent of more than $101 to make up for the loss, about six dollars more than had been gambled away.

On the editorial page, "Eisenhower's Trip to Korea" tells of millions of Americans breathing easier after the President-elect had completed his hazardous trip to Korea, and thanks the Secret Service, newsmen and civilians at Eisenhower headquarters in New York for maintaining the secrecy surrounding the trip. The new President's preliminary statement was reassuring by its reaffirmation that there was no easy solution to the Korean War. It finds that two parts of his plan had been indicated in his remarks, an accelerated continuance of the buildup of South Korean forces to alleviate the burden on American forces, though the South Koreans had been bearing the brunt of the fighting for some time, and his appearing to favor the present policy of limiting the war and not expanding it into China, a position which would be disfavored by the South Korean Government and received with mixed feelings in the U.S.

The fact that he did not review Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese troops on Formosa indicated that he preferred to build up the South Korean forces rather than use the Nationalists, whose participation could enlarge the war.

It posits that diversion of more military funds to the South Korean forces, who could be trained and equipped more cheaply than American forces, encouragement of greater contribution by the non-Korean allies, and an economic boycott of Communist China could be recommendations the new President might make. Such would increase the pressure on the Communists, but it doubts that such actions would deter them as long as they wanted to continue the war. While not a pleasant prospect, neither was a larger war at a place and time disadvantageous to the U.S.

It concludes that many more casualties of the war and many more dollars would have to be spent before peace would come to Korea, no matter who was President.

"Coal Dispute Poses a Puzzler" indicates that it might never be known whether the President had promised John L. Lewis prior to the election that he would overrule the Wage Stabilization Board in its order to cut 40 cents from the negotiated $1.90 per day pay raise for the coal miners. The fact that the miners had returned to work after the White House conference between Mr. Lewis and the President, which had occurred just prior to the election, coupled with the endorsement of the UMW of the Democrats, the first such endorsement since 1936, gave rise to speculation that the President had bargained with Mr. Lewis for political purposes. It finds that if true, it was most "unpresidential".

It believes that industry and labor should return to the principle of collective bargaining as the best long-range hope for industrial peace and asserts that there had been too much governmental interference in labor negotiations. If one accepted that wage and price controls were necessary, as the Administration contended, to control inflation in the current world emergency, which the piece agrees was necessary, then collective bargaining for the present conflicted with that notion, and justified the WSB decision to cut the negotiated contract to enable wages to remain within the inflationary limit set by the WSB's regulations under which it operated. If labor and industry ignored those regulations, there would be no way to regulate inflation. The union, in the case of the UMW, had refused in advance to be bound by the Board's ruling, and had the President not overruled the WSB, President-elect Eisenhower would have surely faced a nationwide coal strike as soon as he took office.

It indicates that it did not know what miracle the new President and the Republicans would use to balance the powers of labor and management to ensure fair treatment, but that the coal wage debacle had shown the pressing need for a new philosophy and new machinery for handling strikes in a national emergency. It suggests that the answer would not be found in punitive legislation, nor in "kow-towing" to labor in the "Truman fashion".

The President was damned if he did and damned if he didn't in your eyes, wasn't he? If he had let the WSB decision stand, prompting a coal strike, you would have undoubtedly claimed that he was trying to set up the President-elect for a fall right out of the gate in his new Administration. Instead, he was playing "unpresidential" politics, of which, as you admit at the outset, there was no proof beyond your conjecture.

"Posy Dept." congratulates the chairman of the County Election Board, the County Commissioners and the City Council for authorizing a test of voting machines in the upcoming December 13 bond elections. The rental for a year's use of 12 machines was $1,800 and appeared moderate, especially as credit for the amount would be given toward purchase of the machines. It regards voting machines as superior to the antiquated paper ballots, as they were fast, efficient and foolproof, and had proved satisfactory in the hundreds of places where they had been tried. It expresses confidence that residents of the county, once they became accustomed to the machines, would quickly become acquainted with the new system and never wish to return to the old one.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "For the Press' Good Name" regards the question of fairness of the coverage of the 1952 presidential campaign by the American press and radio broadcasters. Several reputable editors had suggested that a careful study be made, among them Barry Bingham of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Roscoe Drummond of the Christian Science Monitor and J. Donald Ferguson of the Milwaukee Journal. Eric Severeid of CBS had spoken of one-sided coverage in some quarters, and the Post-Dispatch had called attention to bias displayed in some newspapers and magazines.

At the 33rd annual convention in Denver, Sigma Delta Chi, the national professional journalistic fraternity, had authorized its executive council to conduct a survey of the criticism of the press. Presumably, they would canvass the possibility of financial assistance through one of the foundations and obtain a professional research institution to conduct the study. The piece finds it urgent to investigate the charges of unfair coverage and that if the press and radio generally had been unfair, the facts should be established, and if they had been fair, the facts should be made known to answer the critics. The piece concludes therefore that there was cause for the survey and endorses the proposal.

Drew Pearson indicates that sources close to the President-elect had said that if he had to have a break with Senator Taft, he would rather that it would come early rather than late. He did not desire disapproval from the Senator over the appointment of Secretary of Labor Durkin, but nevertheless believed that a break was probably inevitable and that, if so, it would be better to have the battle in the first two years of the Administration rather than in the second two years. He describes the appointment process, as does Stewart Alsop in his column of this date, largely overlapping.

One reason for objection, not covered by Mr. Alsop, was that the plumbers union, of which Mr. Durkin was head, was one of the few indicted by the Justice Department for monopoly practices and make-work operations, as brought in 1940 and continuing until 1947, when it had finally been dismissed. One basis for the charge was that the plumbers union would not permit plumbing fixtures manufactured by Sears to be used on any of their jobs, and another basis was that the union had conspired with plumbing manufacturers, had engaged in feather-bedding, and coerced, boycotted and refused to work on jobs where the competitive fixtures were used. Mr. Durkin had become president of the union three years after the suit had been filed, and after the case was dismissed, some of the practices on which it had been premised had been outlawed by Taft-Hartley.

Some friends of Senator Taft had said privately that the Senator had been more angry about the appointment of Sinclair Weeks as Secretary of Commerce than regarding the Durkin appointment, as the Senator had helped Mr. Weeks become chairman of the finance committee of the Republican Party, after which Mr. Weeks, during the pre-convention campaign earlier in the year, had telegraphed members of the finance committee and the RNC, urging the Senator to withdraw from the race.

Senator Taft had given to the President-elect a list of his recommendations for the Cabinet, none of whom had been selected, and the Senator had said that it was a breach of the agreement made when the Senator had met with General Eisenhower in early September. Though the Senator had received credit for the appointments of his distant cousin, Ezra Taft Benson, as Secretary of Agriculture and of George Humphrey as Secretary of Treasury, he had actually initiated neither appointment. He was convinced that Governor Dewey was either approving or perhaps picking the entire Cabinet.

A telephone call from Miami to Augusta, Ga., by Senator Nixon during General Eisenhower's period of rest following the campaign had convinced the President-elect's advisers that they were going to have trouble with the new Vice-President. He had hinted that General Eisenhower might want him to accompany him in his meeting with the President at the White House, and appeared miffed when the General indicated that he could take care of himself without any help. The Vice-President-elect also continued to emphasize that he would not be content merely to preside over the Senate and wanted to attend Cabinet meetings and also be given executive responsibility. He was claiming privately that he had carried the West, particularly California, for the ticket, but many of the General's advisers were pointing out that thousands of voters had inquired whether it was possible to vote for General Eisenhower and not Senator Nixon.

Mr. Pearson notes that those who had watched General Eisenhower during the month after the election had said that though he was a bit green on some government procedure, he learned fast and was going to run his own show.

Stewart Alsop tells of how President-elect Eisenhower had come to select Martin Durkin as the new Secretary of Labor, an appointment denounced by Senator Taft as "incredible", for the fact that Mr. Durkin had opposed Taft-Hartley and was a Democrat. The President-elect had, on November 21, talked with the new AFL president, George Meany, who had made a strong plea for the choice of a union man to become the new Secretary of Labor. He said that since the new President was a national rather than a party leader, labor had no quarrel with the appointment of able businessmen to important jobs and that it was only fair that labor would have a voice in the new Administration, an argument which had impressed the President-elect. He thus instructed Attorney General-designate Herbert Brownell and other aides to search for a union man for the post. Mr. Meany had not proposed directly the name of Mr. Durkin, an old friend of Mr. Meany and his heir apparent, but he had made sure that Mr. Durkin would be considered by Mr. Brownell and the other aides.

After an investigation, it appeared that Mr. Durkin had certain qualifications for the post, as he was Catholic and no other Catholic had been appointed to the Cabinet, and, unlike most union leaders, had a record as a successful administrator, having been for several years the State Secretary of Labor in Illinois. He also appeared "as clean as a hound's tooth" and was a man of substance in the labor movement, who would give the moderate wing of the movement a sense of participation in the new Administration. He was not at first seriously considered, however, because he was a Democrat, and the hope was to find a Republican with such qualifications, someone reasonably acceptable to Senator Taft and his branch of the party. But it soon had become clear that there was no such person available and so, by a process of elimination, Mr. Durkin became the choice, despite his having opposed Taft-Hartley and having supported Adlai Stevenson for the presidency.

The Democrats were waiting for the appropriate opportunity to denounce the new President as a captive of big business and the several appointees from big business to the Cabinet might provide substance to that charge. It was also a way to give the 27 million people who had voted for Governor Stevenson a voice in the Administration.

As chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Senator Taft had expected to be consulted on the appointment, which explained his anger and his apparent declaration of war on the new President as a result. If he did so, however, he would isolate himself from the majority of his fellow Senators in the Republican Party, who appeared ready to support the new President.

Mr. Alsop concludes that since the election, it had become clear that the President-elect was "very much in the driver's seat—if he had the political skill and the will to do the driving." Now, there was no question but that he would do the driving both skillfully and boldly, and that was the real meaning of the appointment of Mr. Durkin.

Frederick C. Othman reports on an investigation by the House Interstate Commerce Committee on television cigarette advertising, especially as it was being directed toward minors and even small children. Representative Oren Harris of Arkansas was trying to determine how to squelch the advertising without compromising free enterprise in the process. Many of the Committee members thought the best solution was to limit cigarette advertising so that it would not appear during the hours of 4:00 through 8:00 p.m. when children were watching.

Mr. Othman thinks the best solution was to buy a high-fidelity television set, like the one he had. He had been watching Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz puffing on their cigarettes on the tv screen recently, when suddenly the smell of smoke permeated the room and emanated from the back of the set. He had not yet called in a repairman, as he needed to catch up on his reading, but finds it a good way to stop receiving the cigarette advertising.

A professor at Hunter College in New York had testified to the Committee, as a representative for the Committee for Peace and Social Action of the First Methodist Church of Mount Vernon, N.Y., that some cigarette advertising used children, as one which utilized a child in the form of a dancing matchbox, another which utilized a midget who appeared as a child, while a third showed a carton of cigarettes being handed to a youngster during a telecast from Madison Square Garden. He said that the programs with cigarette sponsors usually included studio audiences, attended by children as well as adults, and that the companies handed out free cigarettes to audience members, including the children. He had recommended the time-period ban.

Mr. Othman, however, still believes that his own solution was better and that Ms. Ball had started something with all that smoke.

Robert C. Ruark tells of a woman he knew having been watching the previous week's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and said that upon the appearance of the last float, containing Santa Claus and his "ho-ho-ho's and ha-ha-ha's", the North Pole resident had descended from his sleigh and proceeded to deliver to the children a prepared speech which he read. She had found it problematic that Santa apparently had ghost writers to deliver Christmas greetings, but indicated that it was probably good at least that he could read.

Mr. Ruark finds it to indicate that society had succumbed entirely to bureaucracy, in an age of great suspicion where nobody trusted anybody else, and where a person had to be surrounded by three lawyers and press relations counsel before he dared nod hello to a passing neighbor. It was the press conference age, "where the old banter of easy thrust and riposte has simmered down to the little mimeographed sheets to be read aloud and denied later."

He supposes that the only extemporaneous talk which transpired was handled by Mary Margaret McBride between commercials and by some of the participants in panel shows, while everything else involved pure caution. He had not suspected, however, that it would extend to Santa Claus, as he had been the last bastion against formality. He thinks that next, Santa would be disclaiming responsibility for any damage done by the reindeer to the housetops, asserting that he could not be held responsible for the views of carolers, and offering recognition that "even visions of sugarplums are apt to be unsettling unless they are accompanied by a doctor's prescription."

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