The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 12, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the truce negotiators in Korea had made no progress, with this date's session lasting only a minute, the shortest of the week, in which all seven sessions lasted a total of 33 minutes. Matters would have taken even less time if the generals had not been forced to wait for translations. Neither side was budging regarding the Communist insistence that Russia be included as a Communist-nominated "neutral" inspection nation for the truce or on the issue of whether the Communists would be permitted to rebuild airfields during the armistice.

U.N. infantrymen repulsed Communist probing attacks all along the 155-mile battlefront the previous night and early this date, as the ground war erupted anew after a two-day lull during the first of springtime weather.

Bad weather grounded U.N. airplanes, but naval units on Friday night had continued to pound Communist positions on both coasts of North Korea.

The weekly summary by the Fifth Air Force listed ten allied planes lost over Communist territory, none of which had been lost to enemy fighters. Four enemy MIG jets had been destroyed, two probably shot down and seven damaged during that time, all occurring the previous Sunday, the only day during the prior week that the jets had engaged in battle.

The Defense Department listed 40 additional American battle casualties in Korea, ten of whom had been killed, 29 wounded and one injured.

From SHAPE headquarters in Paris, General Eisenhower, supreme commander of NATO, disclosed this date that he intended to come home to Abilene, Kansas, by June 4, 33 days before the Republican convention in Chicago. He said that he would resign his permanent commission as a five-star General should he win the nomination for the presidency, so that he could be free to speak as any other citizen on any subject. He said that he would not discuss any political questions during the remainder of his time as supreme commander, which was set to end on June 1. He said that he had no definite plans to campaign for the Republican nomination. The General had imparted to the 70 commanders at NATO the news of his leaving the previous day, shortly before the announcement had been made to the press in Washington, and an aide reported that his speech to the commanders had moved all of the men to tears. He would leave on April 16 for Brussels to begin a series of farewell visits to the NATO capitals in Europe. He had been NATO commander for one year, since April 2, 1951.

In Pocatello, Idaho, Senator Estes Kefauver said that he could beat any Republican presidential nominee, but that if by any chance he did not receive the nomination, he would support any Democrat who did. He made it clear that he favored government development of power resources in the Pacific Northwest, a subject of considerable interest in the region. In Boise, he had stated that he believed he could beat any Republican candidate because the people generally approved of the Administration's foreign and domestic policies.

In Washington, it was reported that the compulsory union membership issue remained as the primary stumbling block to resolution of the steel dispute, with the steel companies unable to agree among themselves regarding this matter. Some firms were reported to be ready to agree to a modified form of the union shop, while others were completely opposed to it. The union representatives had indicated a growing impatience in the matter, hinting that unless the Government, in its nominal control of the steel industry, allowed the WSB's recommendations to go into effect, it might strike.

Top officials of the Communication Workers of America had entered a conference this day to discuss the possibility of calling a nationwide telephone strike, aimed at forcing AT&T to come to terms with about 43,000 striking Bell telephone employees in Ohio, California and New Jersey, and 16,000 Western Electric workers in 43 states. The five-day walkout had already reduced service in those 43 states, as some 200,000 non-striking workers had refused to cross the picket lines erected around Bell telephone exchanges. The union president indicated that though they had settled the strike against Michigan Bell, Western Electric picket lines would remain in place in that state and elsewhere across the country until the dispute was resolved nationwide. The Michigan strike had been settled on the basis of a 12.7-cent hourly wage increase instead of the 23 cents demanded by the union, and the union president said that the settlement would be used as a general pattern for the other disputes. The union attacked anti-picketing court injunctions which had been obtained by Bell in 145 municipalities, particularly in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. One injunction, covering 40 Alabama towns, not only forbade picketing but prohibited also union meetings. The president of the union said that it was "a vicious strike-breaking conspiracy between state officials and the Bell System." He said that they would fight the injunctions to the Supreme Court if necessary. Generally, the strike had not halted service but only slowed some operator-assisted calls, and ordinary local service was reported as normal.

Southern Bell employees in Charlotte were back at their jobs following the previous day's walkout of 700 workers being called off, in a surprise move late the previous night. Service had returned to normal by the morning hours. In Greensboro, however, where approximately 125 Bell workers had walked out, long distance communication was still crippled, as workers had not returned to their jobs by the morning. The union representative said that the Greensboro walkout was in protest of unauthorized changes to vacation schedules. The Charlotte walkout had been in protest of the removal of union bulletin boards in certain Bell offices.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, police for awhile prevented singer Jane Froman from visiting with her husband, airline captain John Burn, recovering in the hospital from the crash of the Pan American Airways plane which he had piloted. The crash had killed 52 persons, with 17, including Mr. Burn, surviving. The police had been acting on orders of the local district attorney, who had questioned Mr. Burn about the crash, which had taken place outside San Juan Harbor the previous day. The district attorney had concluded that Mr. Burn would be released, but provided no reason for ordering him held initially incommunicado. Later, he said that it had all been a misunderstanding and that the guards were posted outside Mr. Burn's door for his own protection. Four hours after she arrived, Ms. Froman was finally allowed to visit with her husband. According to eyewitnesses, Mr. Burn had been something of a hero in the crash, as he had helped launch four life rafts before the forward section of the plane, which had split in two on impact, sank in the harbor. He had urged everyone to don life preservers, and a few minutes later, he was observed in the water, holding a baby in one arm and an elderly woman in the other, swimming toward one of the life rafts. A Coast Guard seaplane had pulled all three aboard but the woman and child had died within a few minutes.

As reported the previous day, Ms. Froman had survived an airline crash in 1943 in Lisbon Harbor, while heading toward the front to entertain troops, in a plane which had been co-piloted by Mr. Burn. That crash and their mutual recovery in the same hospital afterward had formed the basis for the couple's meeting, as Mr. Burn had saved Ms. Froman from drowning in the Tagus River to which both had been thrown from the wreckage. Coincidentally, the movie about this episode in her life, "With a Song in My Heart", had just premiered in theaters a week before the San Juan crash.

The Missouri River continued at flood levels and higher along nearly 1,000 miles of its course this date, continuing to beset Pierre, South Dakota, and coursing two days away from Sioux City, Iowa, its next major target, and about five days away from the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, 100 miles below Sioux City. Hundreds were already homeless even in those downstream areas and thousands of acres of rich farm land had been flooded, with damage running into the millions of dollars. Evacuations and dike-strengthening operations had been conducted at a feverish pace in both Omaha and Council Bluffs in anticipation of the predicted 30-foot crest of the river, which would make it the greatest flood in the history of the area. In North Dakota, a four-foot rise during the previous 24 hours had caused the Red River to flood along a 150-mile course and meteorologists predicted a 34-foot crest, about 17 feet over flood stage in the Fargo area by the following Wednesday. If it reached that height, it would be the second worst flood in the area's history, and some families had already been evacuated. Flood waters were subsiding along the Milk River in northern Montana and dikes were expected to hold. Earlier, the flooding in that area had left 3,300 homeless and caused about two million dollars worth of damage.

A. M. Secrest of The News reports that a large shaggy dog had pushed open the front door of a woman's home the previous day, trotted straight to her bedroom and jumped onto her bed, and when she approached the dog, had bared its teeth and would not let her in the room. She had never seen the dog before and called police. When the officers arrived, one officer approached the dog, at which point it snarled and snapped, but eventually began to wag its tail as the officer reassured it, letting the officer pat its head, grab its collar and gently pull it from the bed. He was then able to get a rope around the collar and pull the dog from the room, though protested by the dog with howls. It subsequently was determined that the woman had recently moved to the house and that a few days before she had moved in, the dog's master had died in the same bedroom to which the dog took refuge. The family which owned the dog had moved away.

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of Rusty, the red fox, having made another bolt for freedom, its second attempt at escape from the Children's Nature Museum, where it was a favorite of the visitors. Rusty had escaped two years earlier and was eventually located in someone's basement. A pair of phone numbers are provided in case you should see Rusty, originally brought to the museum by the men who had made the ice for the ice show at Memorial Stadium, after they had inadvertently killed Rusty's mother, running over her while traveling through the mountains of Kentucky. They had also rescued at the time Rusty's brother and also brought it to the museum, also an escapee two years earlier when Rusty had gone on the lam, but had never been recaptured.

Let the foxes run free!

On the editorial page, "A Time To Lift Our Sights" tells the story, on this eve of Easter, 1952, of Jesus being brought before Pilate, who at first had declared that he saw no fault in the man, but then giving in to the cry of the people to crucify him, thus directing that he be taken to the cross, borne behind him by Simon, the Cyrenian, to be erected on Calvary, and there crucified, quoting from Luke 23:1-4, 20-24, and 33.

The piece indicates that in the events of the Holy Week were found sin and holiness, defeat and victory, pain and joy. Easter lifted the sights "beyond and above the transitory and the immediate toward those values which are everlasting." It suggests that it was time to renew faith in the goal of a world reborn, "where the spirits of peace and the brotherhood of man, under the Fatherhood of God, will rule."

"Mecklenburg GOP Gets To Work" tells of the local Republicans organizing on the precinct level, and if accomplished, to become a first within recent political history. It suggests that perhaps they had been roused by the publication during the week of The Future of American Politics by Samuel Lubell, the same author who had written about Charlotte for the Saturday Evening Post the previous summer, in which he had posited that "few Southern cities are more forward-looking and bustling than Charlotte and fewer more Republican in their real political sympathies." He had suggested that the growing urban middle-class in the South felt sufficiently emancipated to break with the one-party tradition of their parents.

It suggests that Charlotte would be a fertile ground for thorough Republican organization, and it wished the local Republicans well in doing so. It supposes that perhaps, as Mr. Lubell had suggested, many residents of the Myers Park area would vote for Republicans rather than being merely sympathetic and then switching to Democrats at the polls, per the usual course. But it also indicates that it had seen many Democrats and independents in other parts of town, and for the Republicans to be at all successful, they would need engage in a lot of proselytizing.

"Easy Estes Ambles Along" tells of Senator Estes Kefauver confounding political observers with some of his statements, such as indicating, following his victory in the New Hampshire primary, that it did not actually reflect dissatisfaction with the President's program, but rather that the public wanted a new broom to clean up Washington. He had made a similar statement after his recent victory in the Illinois primary, suggesting that it did not reflect an accurate assessment of Governor Stevenson's strength in his home state, as the Governor had not authorized the write-in campaign in his behalf.

It believes that Senator Kefauver was modest and remained closer to the truth than did most candidates, such as Senator Taft, who had suggested that General Eisenhower's write-in vote in Illinois had been "pitifully small", bursting the "ballyhoo" over the General's large write-in vote in Minnesota.

It suggests that one of the reasons Senator Kefauver was so nice to other Democrats was that he was a maverick within his party, and typically mavericks did not get nominated. If he were to obtain the nomination, his reputation for independence and being against crime and corruption would produce votes among citizens who preferred the Democratic Party but would otherwise abandon it if the standards were not raised. Governor Stevenson also appeared to be a natural for the job of cleaning up corruption, but his continued reluctance to seek the office had raised the stock of "Easy Estes".

It indicates that Senator Kefauver was not the type of candidate who inspired people to slay dragons, that his speeches were dull and pedantic, that he was even-tempered almost to a fault. But if he did capture the nomination, as now seemed increasingly possible, the Democrats could do a lot worse "and perhaps no better".

The obvious solution will be to have both on the ticket.

"Ike's Homecoming" tells of General Eisenhower intending to return home in about five weeks, at which time he would face such intense questioning by the press as to make D-Day seem like a picnic by comparison.

Some of his political advisers reportedly favored a limited campaign involving two or three major speeches in strategic locations, to prevent him from becoming too embroiled in the rougher aspects of presidential campaigning. But the piece disagrees and believes that the General could hold his own under such circumstances, that if other candidates underwent that process, so should he, though it meant that he would probably lose some votes as he took firm stands on the issues. It concludes that if he was the man whom the editors thought he was, then he would stand "head and shoulders above any other Republican at convention time."

A piece from the State, titled "Follow the Green Line", finds praiseworthy the idea put forward by the Charlotte traffic engineer, Herman Hoose, who had suggested placing colors on the roads to lead traffic through Charlotte. It indicates that several towns throughout the state were doing likewise, and that in Virginia, color was being used to designate routes through towns, just as the subway stations in New York used that idea effectively. It suggests that more liberal application of paint, therefore, appeared wise.

Drew Pearson, in assessing the Presidency of Harry Truman, recounts the recent statement by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands during her Washington visit, at a dinner in her honor, at which she had said that more than any others in the world, the President and Secretary of State Acheson would receive credit from historians for doing the most to halt the spread of Communism.

Seven years earlier, Mr. Pearson had been in Pittsburgh on a speaking engagement when called upon to render a snap judgment on the breaking news that FDR had died. He went on the air immediately, without a prepared script, predicting the future of the new President, Harry Truman, saying that he would be another Andrew Johnson, that his Administration would be pervaded by strife and dissension, that he would almost be impeached, but that his basic policies would be correct. Now, seven years later, he believed that both his prediction and that of Queen Juliana would prove correct, when the Administration was viewed historically.

The paradox of the Truman Administration was that it had shown great courage and wisdom on major policies, but had sabotaged the President's greatness through terrible public relations, his own venting of personal spleen, and his appointment of mediocre, and sometimes corrupt, men to carry out his policies. In so doing, he had helped to sidetrack the course of his policies and that of FDR, just as Andrew Johnson had unwittingly sidetracked the reconstruction program of President Lincoln, setting the South back by two decades.

He believes that the President had failed to realize that by not cleaning up corruption in his Administration, he had undercut his greatest goal of international cooperation. The same was true when he wrote snide letters to Bernard Baruch or to the Washington Post music critic, such things tending to undermine his civil rights program, his tendency to favor labor, and everything else. "For, as any President loses prestige and popularity, in direct proportion he also loses the ability to push his program through Congress."

President Hoover had not been a statesman during the veterans' Bonus March in Washington in 1932, having to resort to cavalry and tanks to drive them away—an effort commanded by General MacArthur, with then-Major Dwight Eisenhower at his side as an aide. FDR, by contrast, when facing the same problem, had never let the veterans concentrate in Washington, rather directing them outside the city to Fort Hunt, Virginia, at the rate of 100 per day, to be rehabilitated and returned to their homes. He had met the problem before it became serious.

Likewise, President Truman had shown great statesmanship in formulating what became known as the Truman Doctrine, providing military aid to Greece and Turkey in 1947 to enable those two countries to withstand Soviet attempts to take them over. He had looked ahead in so doing, just as he had done in inaugurating the Marshall Plan for rehabilitating Western Europe and, in consequence, enabling it to withstand the attempts by the Soviets to gain control. The same was true of NATO. All of those things combined to lend weight to Queen Juliana's assessment of the Truman Administration and the President's and Secretary of State Acheson's role in history.

Secretary Acheson, while the object of great criticism by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others, would go down in American history, he suggests, as a great Secretary of State. On the other hand, the scandals within the Treasury Department and the IRB had been the result of leaving at its head John W. Snyder, an old Missouri friend of the President. Likewise, loyalty to deceased boss Tom Pendergast of Kansas City, who had served a stretch in prison, had weakened the President's effectiveness and hurt his prestige when he had flown to his funeral, using a Government plane to do so, thereby setting a pattern for his subordinates to follow. When he had fired the U.S. Attorney, Maurice Milligan, who had convicted Mr. Pendergast, and then ousted the Attorney General, Francis Biddle, who had insisted on retaining Mr. Milligan, the President made the matter worse in formulating a pattern for his subordinates. Every politician and official saw that pattern and many had emulated it.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the U.S. planning to test its first hydrogen bomb in the coming months, probably to occur on Eniwetok in September. The good news was that it would not be the ultimate hydrogen bomb, 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb which had destroyed Hiroshima, but rather a compromise, in which the two heavy isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium, would increase the force of a conventional nuclear explosion, such that it would be from 10 to 15 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, but only about 2 to 2.5 times more powerful than the most recent nuclear weapon tested on Eniwetok the previous year. If the forecasts were correct, it would be capable of destroying an area of 50 square miles, thus a whole city, as compared to 8 square miles for the Hiroshima bomb.

The experts were now of the scientific opinion, however, that the true hydrogen super-bomb, one capable of destroying a nation or the entire earth, would never come to be, as it was only theoretically possible. That fusion bomb required a mechanism which would hold together for many microseconds during the initial fission-trigger detonation, not practically susceptible of creation from the materials available on earth.

The progress and development of the bomb, however, suggested to the experts that Russia was also making great strides in its atomic program. Because of American organization and weapons design, it was cumbersome and slow and yet had proceeded with unforeseen celerity. Thus, reasoned the scientists, the Soviets were likely also surpassing their expectations in moving forward and so might acquire a decisive atomic stockpile much sooner than expected. That, according to the experts, required a new assessment of the U.S. atomic policy.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Vice-Admiral Thomas Sprague having recently retired, turning down the Navy's offer to become a Rear Admiral. The last paragraph of the story had indicated that he had received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while commanding an escort carrier task group during World War II, but Mr. Ruark believes that paragraph did not do his valor justice and so expands on the story.

The incident had occurred on October 25, 1944, in the Philippines, when Admiral William Halsey took his fleet north from Luzon in search of a Japanese carrier group, while the second Japanese fleet steamed south through the San Bernardino straits and caught Vice-Admiral Sprague's small task group, which, nevertheless, fought very hard, incurring numerous casualties, losing two escort carriers, three destroyers, three destroyer escorts, sending "hell's own amount of fly boys in the soup". Vice-Admiral Sprague was quite angry with Admiral Halsey for leaving his small group to face the brunt of the attack, but had nevertheless inflicted a heavy toll on the Japanese fleet with his own out-gunned force, essentially breaking the back of the second Japanese fleet, leaving the clean-up operations to Admiral Halsey's fleet, and effectively thereby ending the war in the Pacific.

A letter writer from Oakdale in Mecklenburg County, president of the local PTA, indicates that he was opposed to the consolidation of the City and County elementary schools, believes that it would not result in the economic savings which the Board of Education had suggested, proceeds to explain in detail why that was. He urges others in the community to join in the Oakdale PTA's protest of of the proposed consolidation.

A letter from the president of the Automotive Safety Association in Boston indicates that automobile accidents had killed more than 37,000 persons on the roads the previous year, that in the 31st annual Safety Conference in Massachusetts, experts had predicted that within 15 years, automobiles would be killing at least 56,000 persons annually. He suggests that the bus, with its driver located in the front and the engine in the rear, had been proving 10 to 15 times safer than current passenger cars, thus wonders how long it would be before the public demanded similarly designed cars for improved safety, posits that it was the only way to confound the "prophets of doom" and bring automobile accidents under control. (Never mind that bus drivers were specially trained for the safety of their passengers and that buses, being what they are, were hard to miss by other drivers on the roads and highways.) He also suggests that exhaust pipes were positioned so that deadly carbon monoxide was discharged at ankle height, where it was most liable to affect pedestrians and occupants of other cars. He also suggests that the design of cars, with high hoods and bulging fenders, obstructed a driver's proper view of the road.

Well, thanks to Ralph Nader, that grim statistic he references as the prediction for around 1967 would not quite be so bad, reaching about 53,000 during 1968, remaining at about that level through 1973, but then going down rapidly thereafter as safety requirements fully became implemented, such that in 2017, fatalities on the roads of the United States were about 37,000, about the same, therefore, as in 1951, despite vehicle miles driven having increased by more than six times and the population of the country having more than doubled in the interim. And that 2017 figure represents an increase of about 4,000 per year over that during the Obama years, until that idiotic clown came on the scene and started proclaiming, "Make America Great Again", apparently causing immature, idiotic motorists suddenly to feel renewed license to go speeding down the roads again to their deaths—witness that nut-case "judge" on Fox News.

So thank you, Mr. Nader, for putting the brakes on us all and instilling a sense of the need for safety regulations, safety restraints, padded dashboards and steering wheels, the elimination of all of the sharp edges which used to abound in the passenger cabins of automobiles, and the five-mph bumper cushion, as well as the institution by the automotive industry of mandatory crash tests to encourage better engineering.

And anyone who continues to gripe about the Corvair's demise is a suicidal idiot, wedded to an automotive past through television romance of the past, a past which never existed except in the minds of idiots who think that past to be identical with, or at least similar to that observed in the romanticized presentations of movies and on television in the past. It wasn't. Those were scripts, stupid, shot on movie sets, portrayed by actors. Do movies today about contemporary times accurately portray our times, even in microcosm, within the space of a couple of hours in a darkened theater? Let us hope not. The past of one's childhood and adolescent years only seems so great to many because they were oblivious, in any adult perspective, to the dangers and horrors extant in the actual world around them, living in the giant bubble created for them by their parents in a middle-class environment, plus the natural tendency of well-adjusted children to avoid those harsh realities because of their innately understood frailty in an adult-dominated world. But when conceived in actual terms, it was not that great, fraught with far more problems, probably, than we have today, not the least of which was the nightly fear of nuclear annihilation before one would wake.

Oh, well, that is not the "past" you meant. You meant the shoot-'em-up days of the Old Western frontier, when men were truly free. That, too, never existed except on Hollywood sets for the most part, and even that part of it which did, resembling any outlaws past or present, was considered a danger to decent folk.

Oh, you meant the Civil War, when brother fought to the death against brother, arms and legs mangled and torn asunder by minie-balls in their own backyards, trashing each other's cities and towns along the wayside in the procees, while the Darkies were back home singin' happy-happy and pickin' de rich-pappy's cotton, that past back when you was a sprout on Tara. Not really.

So stop romanticizing the never-neverland past so that you might better appreciate the present.

A letter from the chairman of the Red Cross Public Information Committee praises the newspaper, especially reporter Ann Sawyer, for the efforts in promoting the Red Cross and its funding drive.

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