The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 19, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that truce negotiations in Korea had neared agreement this date on the ten ports of entry, five on each side, to be inspected during a Korean armistice, as the allies proposed a compromise whereby Pyongyang and its airdromes would be incorporated with its port city as a single Communist port of entry and Hungnam and Hamhung on the east coast would also be considered a single port, as well as Seoul and its port at Inchon to be designated as a single port on the allied side, a proposal which the Communists said, after nearly an hour of meeting, that they would consider.

Another group of staff officers considering exchange of prisoners met only for a few minutes because neither side could answer a series of questions posed previously by the other.

Communist newsmen, however, indicated that there was talk of a truce agreement to be reached in 3 to 4 weeks. The three remaining stumbling blocks were the voluntary repatriation of prisoners, whether the Communists would be allowed to repair their damaged airfields during the armistice, and the Communists' insistence on having Russia as a neutral nation to supervise an armistice.

U.S. Sabre jets damaged two enemy MIG-15s this date in a 15-minute fight between 18 Sabres and 36 MIGs. Shooting Star jets started landslides with their bombs, burying large sections of enemy railway. Rainstorms grounded planes during the morning and soaked the quiet battlefront on the ground.

The 18-member Wage Stabilization Board began a session this date to try to frame recommendations for settling the steel dispute before the Sunday deadline for a threatened strike by the United Steelworkers. The WSB had already rejected an offer by the steel industry to provide a 13.7-cent hourly wage increase, nearly 5 cents short of the 18.5 cents sought by the union. One high Government official indicated that he feared that the strike would occur, despite there having been three previous postponements and another having been requested by the Government. His pessimism was predicated on the fact that the White House opposed providing the industry any price boost to offset a wage increase—as further discussed this date by Drew Pearson. U.S. Steel and Jones & Laughlin, among other large steel firms, had indicated that they might have to start closing down some of their complex operations this night to prepare for the prospect of a Sunday night strike. The WSB would remain in session until a final decision was reached.

Newbold Morris sought from Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and 595 other top Justice Department officials detailed data on their financial status and that of their immediate kin.

A House Judiciary subcommittee set up to investigate the tax scandals sought the income tax returns of the Attorney General and 19 of his aides. It also asked the Attorney General to appear for questioning on March 26 in connection with its investigation of the Justice Department.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the President's request to provide Mr. Morris with subpoena power and instead approved a procedure whereby the President would appoint a chief investigator and five assistants who would be subject to Senate confirmation, unlike Mr. Morris. The Congress would have access to all information gathered by those investigators. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, made it clear that the Committee did not have in mind appointment of Mr. Morris as the chief investigator, as he was a man, according to the Senator, without "control of his own emotions", referring to his outbursts the previous week against the Senate investigators looking into the surplus oil tanker deals in which his law firm had been involved as counsel.

Senator Lyndon Johnson, chairman of the Senate watchdog defense subcommittee, indicated that millions of dollars had to be paid to correct mistakes on rushed construction of secret airbases in North Africa and that he wanted more testimony on the subject following two public sessions the previous day, in which the project was described by three experts as "one solid mess", indicating that the runways which had been hastily built might not stand up to regular pounding by heavy bombers and jet aircraft. The original estimates of 300 million dollars to build the five airbases had risen to 455 million.

With nearly two-thirds of the precincts reporting in the Minnesota presidential primary, a write-in campaign for General Eisenhower had produced 39 percent support among Republicans against 42 percent for favorite son Harold Stassen, whose name was on the ballot. Senator Taft, whose name was not printed on the ballot, received 8.4 percent. There had been an organized drive among Eisenhower supporters for the write-in campaign. The votes would not necessarily result, however, in delegates for the General, as Minnesota's primary law did not so provide. Former Minnesota Governor Stassen had made it clear that he was not running in the primary on behalf of the General.

On the Democratic side, write-in votes for Senator Estes Kefauver exceeded by a large margin those for the President, but it was considered that Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota was running on the ballot as a proxy for the President, should he decide to run again. Senator Humphrey, the only Democrat on the ballot, polled an overwhelming majority of the votes.

One woman asked for her ballot back as she said she had made a terrible mistake. When told that she could not retrieve the ballot, she said that she had just inadvertently voted for herself for President by filling in her own name.

Her name may have been Gracie.

Another Gallup poll appears, asking Southern voters whether they would vote for General Eisenhower or Senator Kefauver, should the two become their respective party nominees, the results showing that General Eisenhower was supported by 47 percent of the respondents and Senator Kefauver, by 41 percent. In a race between Senator Kefauver and Senator Taft, the former received 55 percent of the support, while the latter received 20 percent. In a race with the President, General Eisenhower received 62 percent support to 30 percent for the President among Southern respondents. Senator Taft had received 46 percent support to the President's 42 percent. The survey included voters from thirteen Southern states, including Oklahoma and Texas.

DNC chairman Frank McKinney suggested at a press conference this date that the President might not run for re-election if a "satisfactory" truce was reached in Korea. He indicated that he believed the outcome would be a "paramount" factor in the President's consideration of the matter. He also stated, in response to reporters' questions, that it was his opinion that a Korean settlement might reduce the chance for re-election of the President. He said that the President would not make any statement regarding his decision before the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Washington on March 29, and that his own deadline for the President was May 15, when the Democratic executive committee would meet in Chicago to pick a keynoter for the convention.

In Jacksonville, Fla., two women golfers were killed by a Navy plane which crash-landed on a golf course. The pilot was not injured. An eyewitness indicated that the engine was dead when the plane came down. A caddie standing about 10 yards from the two women was uninjured. The eyewitness said that he had been through two wars and had never seen anything so ghastly.

A photograph appears of a Reno cocktail waitress as she appeared in court in Los Angeles for arraignment as a suspect in the 1.5 million dollar robbery of Reno millionaire L. V. Redfield. She was charged with transporting $9,100 of the loot into California and was ordered held under a $10,000 bond.

Don't you look at us like that, you little trollop. We'll just stick to the coffee...

On the editorial page, "An Anomaly in Our Midst" refers to the killing by a man of his mother-in-law while wearing a Merchant Patrol uniform and with a gun issued by the Patrol, as explored by a piece on the page by A. M. Secrest of The News, as summarized below.

The piece wonders why the community needed a Merchant Patrol, whether it indicated that the city and county police departments were inadequate to the task of patrolling and checking on businesses when not open and whether they needed additional manpower and equipment to do their job. It suggests that the businesses who hired the Patrol should not have to pay additional funds to supplement the regular police work for which they also paid as taxpayers. It indicates that it did not seek to impugn the legitimacy of the Merchant Patrol but wondered why it had not performed any background check of the man in question before issuing him a gun, when it turned out that he had a lengthy police record and was only hired casually for one night, a night which placed a gun in his hand which, in turn, had resulted in a death.

"Comedy of Errors—With a New Cast" discusses the continuing controversy over the extension of one runway at Charlotte's Douglas Municipal Airport, needed to accommodate jets safely, and the humor, if slightly grim, which was sometimes attendant the effort. The County Commissioners had been maneuvered into an uncomfortable political position whereby they should have approved a routine petition to the State Highway Commission calling for relocation of a short segment of a roadway for which, it turned out, the State had no responsibility in the first place, as it was not part of the State Highway system, and finally refused to approve the petition, believing that decision would block the runway extension, which it did not.

If you wish to read more about this weighty and timely topic, you are welcome to do so. It concludes that it was a mystery as to how such a simple issue could have become so involved in politics and legal technicalities.

"The C of C Gets Off Base" tells of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce deserving praise for its never-ending fight for Federal economy, while not agreeing with it always on what economy measures were and becoming annoyed with its distortion of facts. The Chamber, for instance, wanted to cut 5.8 billion dollars from the proposed 7.9 billion dollar mutual security program, claiming that "billions" of U.S. dollars were being poured into a Franco-Swiss seaway and power project which the French people refused to finance, all while the St. Lawrence Seaway project was going begging.

It explains that most of the Marshall Plan money appropriated by Congress had remained in the U.S. to pay for equipment which had been sent to Europe, such as tractors sent to European farmers, who then purchased them with their native currency, deposited, in turn, into each country's "counterpart funds", used for reconstruction and development of those countries' war-shattered economies—the ultimate purpose of the Marshall Plan. The U.S. received five percent of the counterpart funds for administrative purposes and had considerable authority in determining where and how those funds were spent. Yet, it was these counterpart funds which the Chamber claimed were U.S. dollars "forced into French citizenship" to pay for the Franco-Swiss seaway. Moreover, there was no further money going into the counterpart funds, which had ended when the Marshall Plan was replaced by the Mutual Security Administration, the latter emphasizing military rather than economic aid. The seaway project in question had been planned before World War II and had been started several years earlier by the French, with counterpart funds being used for its construction, authorized by the Marshall Plan. Thus, no billions of U.S. dollars, as claimed by the Chamber, were going into it.

It concludes, therefore, that the Chamber had gotten its facts wrong and had based its argument against the Mutual Security Program on its predecessor, the Marshall Plan, which had been a stimulus to American business as well as crucial aid for the Europeans to rebuild and resist Communism in the process.

"Times Have Really Changed" finds it interesting that in a time of expanding Federal budgets, the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Northwest for President Thomas Jefferson had a total budget of $2,050, the expenses of which it itemizes. It does not know whether Captain Meriwether Lewis exceeded the budget or not, but, in any event, it believes, he was due belated recognition for his economy. Now, it suggests, the $2,000 would not have gotten his 45-man expedition outside the city limits of where it originated, in St. Louis.

"Fish Story" tells of the President having related in the book Mr. President that he had gone to war at the time of involvement of the U.S. in World War I, at which point his partners in an oil well venture had decided to sell their interest, letting others take over the lease, after which the latter struck oil in the Teeter Pool and made millions. Mr. Truman had gone to war and eventually became President. It concludes that he also got to know Harry Vaughan, who became his military aide and had been implicated in the influence-peddling scandals.

A. M. Secrest of The News, as indicated in the above editorial, tells of a former prizefighter in Charlotte having been charged with the fatal shooting of his mother-in-law the previous Sunday and at the time using a pistol obtained through the Merchant Patrol while dressed in a Merchant Patrol uniform. Mr. Secrest therefore proceeds to lay out the facts leading to that incident, that he had been only temporarily employed for the day by the Merchant Patrol and was not authorized to use the gun off duty or to wear the uniform beyond the place which he was guarding. He further explains that the Merchant Patrol was a private security guard operation, not authorized to conduct arrests. The man in question had a lengthy police record and was believed by his lawyer to be punch-drunk.

In some instances, according to the City Manager, the police department did a background check and approved issuance of special police powers for individuals engaged in private security work, but did not do that per se for the Merchant Patrol unless one of those individuals happened also to work for the Patrol.

Drew Pearson tells of the final decision regarding whether there would be a steel strike the following Sunday being dependent on four men, none of whom belonged either to the Steelworkers Union or a steel company, but were Government officials who had to decide whether to permit the increase in wages to be compensated by an increase in the price of steel. The four were the new Office of Price Stabilization director, former Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall, the head Economic Stabilizer, Roger Putnam, the Defense Mobilizer, Charles E. Wilson, and the President. For the moment, all four had agreed that with steel industry profits booming as never before, there was no reason for the industry not to be able to absorb the wage increase without an increase in steel prices beyond the roughly $2.49 per ton allowable under the existing price control laws. Mr. Arnall, in fact, had said that he would resign before allowing any additional increase in the price of steel, as doing so would undermine the entire system of price control and trigger an inflationary spiral. The President felt the same way and had refused to budge on any additional price increase.

Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball had placed himself in the position of censoring Navy subordinates for talking to Mr. Pearson's column while at the same time criticizing the column for allegedly failing to talk to the Navy. The issue was the column of the previous week, which had discussed the inefficiency in military procurement, an example of which Mr. Pearson indicated was the higher cost of the Pratt-Whitney jet engine for the Navy, compared with the Allison engine for the Air Force, the latter not only being cheaper but a better, faster engine. The Navy technician who had been mentioned as favoring the Allison engine was sent a letter by the Navy demanding an explanation for why he had talked to Mr. Pearson, was subsequently summoned to the office of the Secretary to explain the matter. It was at that point, that the Secretary issued his letter inquiring why Mr. Pearson had not discussed the jet engines with Navy press relations. Mr. Pearson concludes that it appeared more important to ferret out his sources than to have jet planes capable of meeting the enemy's jets in Korea.

The real test for Senator Kefauver, in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, was whether he could resist the united effort of the Truman forces and the big city bosses during the ensuing 60 days in four key primaries, in Wisconsin and Nebraska on April 1, in New Jersey, on April 15, and in Florida, on May 27. Nebraska and Florida would prove the most formidable tasks for Senator Kefauver, as Senator Robert Kerr, the oil millionaire, with the backing of the President's former counsel, Clark Clifford, a Washington lobbyist for Phillips Petroleum, would be an opponent in the Nebraska primary, and Florida would test Senator Kefauver's ability in a direct contest with Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and against the money of the big gamblers whom Senator Kefauver's crime investigating committee had taken on the prior year, plus the political machine of Florida Governor Fuller Warren, who had accepted more than a quarter-million dollars of gambling contributions and had been investigated for it by the Kefauver committee.

Marquis Childs tells of writers on politics having a tendency to suggest that there was a master plan which was carefully calculated by the strategists to put across winning candidacies. Yet, the New Hampshire primary had proven the contrary. DNC chairman Frank McKinney had convinced the President not to withdraw his name from the primary to prevent the delegation committed to him from potentially losing their place at the convention. Then Mr. McKinney went to Florida on vacation along with the President at the time of the primary, and the voters turned out for Senator Kefauver. That result, he suggests, might have made it all but impossible for the President now to name an alternate nominee, such as Governor Adlai Stevenson.

Moreover, some Democrats in Oregon had placed Governor Stevenson's name on that primary ballot without his permission, and when informed of the fact, he indicated that he was flattered but that he was running only for Governor of Illinois. Then at the White House, it was realized that the Governor would be running against Senator Kefauver, prompting an effort therefore to withdraw his name, only to be informed that once a name was on the ballot in Oregon, it could not legally be withdrawn. Thus, to combat the problem of an apparent Kefauver victory when Governor Stevenson would not even campaign, the Governor would likely send a letter indicating that he did not wish anyone to campaign on his behalf in Oregon, thus neutralizing any ostensible Kefauver victory.

On the Republican side, Oregon Senator Wayne Morse had been entered without his permission in the Oregon primary by the Taft forces, in the hope of withdrawing votes from General Eisenhower. Mr. Childs finds these developments indicative of the need for a national primary.

Moreover, John D. M. Hamilton, who had been the Eastern campaign manager for Senator Taft and had run the campaign for Kansas Governor Alf Landon against FDR in 1936, was responsible for convincing Senator Taft to enter the New Hampshire primary, lost badly to General Eisenhower, with the consequent result that Mr. Hamilton's stock had waned in the Taft camp.

He concludes that a candidate suffered not only from his own mistakes during the campaign but also from his "loving friends around him", who often seemed to conspire against him.

James Marlow tells of Newbold Morris, newly appointed ombudsman to ferret out corruption in the Government, being as a "pigeon with a wing clipped off" after having been refused by Congress the right to subpoena witnesses. Moreover, the Senate investigation into the shipping deals, with which Mr. Morris's law firm had affiliation by being counsel to the Chinese trading company which shipped oil in two of the war-surplus tankers purchased from the Government to Communist China up until the Korean War, had also hampered his effectiveness out of the gate. The investigation had prompted Mr. Morris openly to criticize the Senators, especially Senator McCarthy, and the previous day, the Senate Judiciary Committee had voted against his subpoena power.

Parenthetically, Mr. Marlow states in a misleading manner that no one other than a grand jury or Congressional committee could issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify, when what he really means is that such was the case outside of any existing litigation, in which the lawyers and parties on both sides always have subpoena power, whether in a civil or criminal proceeding. Otherwise, Constitutional due process would be violated.

He concludes that without subpoena power, Mr. Morris, if he found evidence of wrongdoing, would have to urge a U.S. Attorney to take the case before the grand jury to subpoena witnesses. Mr. Morris had informed the press the previous day that he felt, without subpoena power, "like a man trying to ski with one hand behind his back."

Perhaps a more colorful and apt way to express the circumstance might be as we heard a fellow UNC student who hailed from the mountains once suggest to a group under different circumstances, that being "like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest".

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