The Charlotte News

Monday, April 14, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Stan Carter, that U.S. jet fighter-bombers this date had hit a large Communist supply point near the west coast of North Korea, with one pilot reporting that it appeared they had destroyed a division's worth of supplies. Other fighter-bombers attacked the Communist rail system until early afternoon, when bad weather prevented further operations. U.S. Sabre jets reported having destroyed seven Communist MIG-15s, probably shot down one, and damaged four others on the prior day. Planes from two U.S. carriers dropped more than 240 tons of bombs on the east Korean port of Chongjin.

In the ground war, U.N. troops gave up an advance position on the central front to four Communist platoons during the predawn hours of Monday, but then won it back following a six-hour fight. Other ground action was confined to light patrol contacts and probes.

New Jersey Democrats prepared for a relatively quiet presidential primary the following day, with only Senator Estes Kefauver on the ballot, but Republicans were bracing for a hectic three-way race between Senator Taft, General Eisenhower, and former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen. Senator Taft had sought to withdraw from the primary after New Jersey Governor Alfred Driscoll had thrown his support to General Eisenhower, prompting Senator Taft to indicate that he felt stabbed in the back. The Senator's name had remained on the ballot, however, because he had applied too late under New Jersey law to have it removed.

Friends of Vice-President Alben Barkley indicated that while he would not wish actively to seek the Democratic nomination at present, he might be receptive to it were there to be a deadlock at the convention.

Senator Tom Connally, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicated that, at age 74 after serving 35 years in Congress, he did not wish to be a candidate for renomination to the Senate.

Another Gallup poll appears, this one assessing the strength in the 13 Southern and border states of Senator Richard Russell as the potential Democratic nominee versus either General Eisenhower or Senator Taft, finding that Senator Russell would beat General Eisenhower by 45 percent to 38 percent, and Senator Taft by 55 percent to 26 percent among the respondents surveyed in that region. Normally, the South voted Democratic by about 70 percent to 30 percent in presidential elections.

The Interstate Commerce Commission this date gave the railroads a further freight rate increase, estimated to increase charges by about 678 million dollars per year, a rise of 9 percent in the South and West and 6 percent in the East, raising rates to 15 percent above that which they had been a year earlier. It was the 12th general freight rate increase allowed since the end of the war.

A weekend strike of 12,000 Ohio Bell employees had been settled this date, but it was not clear whether the 900 striking Western Electric employees in Ohio would establish picket lines and block a work resumption by the Ohio Bell workers. A representative of the Communication Workers union said that they would respect any picket lines established by the Western Electric strikers.

The Western Electric strike, involving 16,000 telephone equipment installers nationwide, was no nearer resolution.

Telephone service in the Carolinas was normal this date, despite the strike of Western Electric workers who installed equipment in the telephone exchanges. Operators had returned to their jobs in Charlotte and Greensboro, the only two cities in the Carolinas which had their service crippled by the strike.

The Missouri River continued to produce record-breaking flood waters in the Sioux City, Iowa, area this date, while forecasters continued to predict further flooding downstream in the Omaha-Council Bluffs areas, raising previous predictions by a foot and a half, to a flood crest of 31.5 feet, 12.5 feet above flood stage. The Red Cross reported that 19,349 families in eight or nine Midwestern states were homeless or about to become homeless because of the flooding. Army engineers had estimated a total of 1.25 million acres of land were underwater along the Missouri and its tributaries, from North Dakota to southern Nebraska. About two-thirds of the 45,000 persons inhabiting Council Bluffs had fled or were in the process of doing so, and across the river in the East Omaha area, about 5,000 more persons were leaving. Experienced relief workers said it was one of the largest exoduses in memory from a disaster. The Mississippi River was also reaching record heights and climbing at St. Paul, Minnesota, where thousands were homeless and the airport was underwater. Prairie du Chieu, Wisconsin, expected the worst Mississippi River flood in its history by Tuesday night, and La Crosse, upstream, anticipated its highest crest since 1880.

In Brockton, Mass., thieves broke into the Franklin Creamery Co. for the third April 13 in succession the previous day, this time stealing a company truck to carry away the office safe, which, however, according to company officials, contained little money.

The safe may be worth something though, unless they damage it getting it open.

Near Asheville, two Waxhaw boys were shot by a pistol while sleeping in their automobile at shortly after midnight and two other Waxhaw youths in the backseat of the same car escaped four bullets fired by a passing motorist, according to police. The four boys had been making an Easter weekend tour of the Western part of the state and had visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, returning home by way of Mount Mitchell, when the incident occurred. The two high school students who were hit were taken to the hospital and treated. Police were investigating.

In Union, S.C., a fire, which had apparently started from lightning, destroyed the town's largest church, the First Baptist Church, and damage was estimated at $100,000 to the structure built in 1904.

News editor Pete McKnight writes from Rome, on his way to the Middle East, indicates that there was no way for the sightseer to try to see Rome in a day, with the many centuries of history piled one on top of the other, suggesting that one could spend a lifetime in the city without seeing everything of note. The weather on his arrival had been terrible, cold and at times rainy, but he and Don Shoemaker, editor of the Asheville Citizen, had spent the day riding around in a convertible with the top down, "tramping over the historic hills of Rome" and meditating amid the ruins of the ancient Forum, "gawking at the immensity and the superbness of St. Peter's Church", and admiring "the spectacular antics of the traffic cops", while dodging the "zillions of motorbikes and scooters", snapping pictures aplenty.

He had met at the airport his brother, John McKnight, who headed the press section of the U.S. Embassy's public affairs department, enabling them to pass through customs as a result in record time. They then headed to his brother's apartment, which had huge and numerous rooms, with ceilings 20 to 22 feet high, lavishly inlaid in exotic patterns—as long as they were not erotic, as, say, some of the door knobs and bath fixtures at Biltmore House in Asheville or the same accoutrements proliferating in the Vanderbilt mansion at Hyde Park, N.Y.

He had thought of Charlotte's traffic engineer, Herman Hoose, as he observed the unorthodox traffic control system in Rome. There were few traffic lights and in some of the larger plazas, there were white-gloved patrolmen who directed traffic "with the grace and rhythm of a symphony conductor." But in most places, the traffic controlled itself. The use of horns was forbidden except in true emergencies and motorists drove at night only with parking lights, using their headlights only for passing or approaching an intersection. The motor scooters and motorcycles complicated matters the more. Yet, somehow, everyone seemed to reach their destinations safely. Big cars were rare in Rome, the narrow streets not accommodating them and because gasoline cost the equivalent of 80 cents per gallon. Fiats dominated and it was as a comedy act in the circus when one of the small cars pulled up to the curb and four or five adults emerged. Service stations were not the luxurious establishments present in America.

Where do you buy gas?

On the editorial page, "N.C. Is Moving—Fast and Forward" tells of the financial editor for The News, John Daly, having put together a report of the state's economic progress, finding it quite impressive. It lists several new plants, two in High Point, two in Wilmington, one in Charlotte, one in Concord, and one in Sanford. It also lists several large contracts awarded for construction of school and educational buildings. And it indicates that contracts and construction awards had been high in January, as well, that the surge in business activity was not just the ordinary comeback at the advent of spring.

It concludes that the economy was undergoing a remarkable expansion in the state, despite the burden of taxes, most of which was going to defense spending, and that the new wealth from this industrial development would add to the prosperity of all the state's citizens.

"Quotes vs. Votes" indicates that one of the many reasons why the newspaper did not think Senator Taft would make a good President was his inconsistency, talking out of both sides of his mouth and talking one way, while voting another. It cites the example of his voting for an extension of the Monroe Doctrine by which the country would warn Russia that if it attacked Western Europe, the U.S. would be at war with Russia, while NATO was just such an extension and yet Senator Taft had voted against it.

In another instance, he had stated that he was strongly in favor of extending aid to the nations of Western Europe, as long as it was also extended to Asia, and yet he had voted against the Point Four program, which, in a modest way, was providing aid by way of technical assistance and expertise to Asia.

And in a third instance, on July 28, 1945, he had voted for the U.N. Charter, but then on December 4 of the same year, had voted against its implementation, the latter being the key vote.

It indicates that his record was full of similar examples.

"What Would Cal Say?" recounts of memories of President Calvin Coolidge having withdrawn from the 1928 race for the presidency, having been rekindled by President Truman's recent withdrawal. Editor & Publisher had described the event, taking place on August 2, 1927 in Rapid City, South Dakota, at a press conference, where President Coolidge began by discussing disarmament, farm parity and so forth, and then interjected, "If the conference will reassemble at noon I will have a statement," at which time, he announced, "I do not choose to run for President in 1928."

The piece wonders how "Silent Cal" would view the present election, suggesting that he and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon would likely shake their heads in despair at the tax rate, the current budget and the hundreds of thousands of Americans stationed abroad in the armed forces. But, it adds, he might understand the forced resignation of Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and the corruption within the Administration, as President Coolidge had Attorney General Harry Daugherty, Secretary of Interior Albert Fall, and the Teapot Dome scandal, left over from the Harding Administration, in which Mr. Coolidge had been Vice-President at the death of President Harding in August, 1923.

It concludes that President Coolidge would likely indicate that he would not choose to run for the presidency again, particularly in 1952, in the age of supersonic airplanes and atomic bombs, with daily crises occurring around the globe, but would instead choose to "hie off to that Vermont farm fast as he could go."

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Stalin Sees the Point of Our Point IV", indicates that the Russian Premier had condemned the Point Four program as a plot hatched by American imperialists, but was not averse to imitating it, having proposed a Soviet version of it for countries of the Near East, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He had offered to those countries purchase of up to 12 million rubles worth of raw materials and food, in return for which the Soviets would supply machinery and technical assistance in construction and operation of factories and development of power and irrigation.

It posits that the Russian experts would also be engaging in attempts at propaganda, something which the American experts under Point Four did not do.

It suggests that Premier Stalin's idea, emulating Point Four, was the sincerest form of flattery, and that Americans who were not convinced of the worthiness of the program might like it better when they realized that the Soviets were only too glad to take it over as their own.

A piece from Agricultural Items, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, tells of the amazing growth of the U.S. population during the previous decade, registering an increase of nearly 20 million persons. Most of the demographic forecasters had predicted a slower rate of growth in the 1940's than in the prior decade because of the war.

The great increase in population had an impact on every segment of the economy, meaning more mouths to feed for the farmers, more people to clothe for the textile manufacturers, and, it adds, "eventually more users of cigarettes".

The current rate of expansion suggested that the country would, by 1975, total 190 million people, and possibly more, should there be increasingly higher birth rates and longer life-spans as well as higher immigration. Each of the regions of the country was also expected to follow the general upward trend. It would mean an increase of one-fourth for the domestic market of agricultural products in the ensuing 25 years, assuming each person consumed the same amount as they did presently.

The standard of living had gone up considerably in the previous decade as well, with the per capita consumption of food alone being 13 percent higher than it had been before the war. The country was not only eating more generally but had increased its consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and dairy products, while eating fewer grain products and potatoes, the response to increased awareness of good nutrition and higher levels of employment and income.

It suggests therefore that with the rising standard of living and an increasing population, the farm products most likely to be favorably affected were milk, eggs, meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables. In contrast, commodities least likely to be affected were grains and potatoes. It concludes, therefore, that more pasture, hay and feed grains would be needed to support this increased production. The increase for feed grains would need come from larger yields from the same acreage, brought about by better farm practices and better hybrid grains.

It also finds that the growing population would increase demand for tobacco products, particularly cigarettes, which currently amounted to three-fourths of all tobacco consumption. The domestic market for tobacco would thus be greatly enlarged.

It indicates that the population growth would also have significance to cotton, as consumer demand would increase for clothing and other textile products, despite competition from synthetic fibers.

It concludes that some had taken a dim view of the ability of the American farmer to meet these added demands in the future, while others found encouragement in the fact that farm efficiency had risen significantly in recent years and was still rising.

Drew Pearson indicates that one of the most important factors in convincing the President to take a strong stand on the steel dispute had been a private conversation with Economic Stabilizer Roger Putnam and Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson, just before the latter had resigned his position. Mr. Putnam had argued that the Wage Stabilization Board's recommendation for a 17.5-cent per hour wage increase, and benefits worth an additional 8.5 cents, was reasonable, arguing that G.E., the corporation which Mr. Wilson formerly headed, had provided the same wage increase presently being recommended for steel, and yet had not raised its prices in the process, as the steel industry had stated it would have to do, by $12 per ton, to meet the recommended wage increase. Mr. Wilson, however, was not listening. Nevertheless, Mr. Putnam persisted and produced a newsletter issued by G.E., indicating that during the previous 15 months, when the steelworkers had not had an adjustment of income, the G.E. hourly wage had increased by 15 cents, with another two to three cents presently offered. Yet, Mr. Wilson brushed Mr. Putnam's protestations aside.

That argument, however, had convinced the President of the reasonableness of the recommendation. New Price Stabilizer Ellis Arnall had also presented figures to the President which showed that the steel companies had been making profits since the start of the Korean War, amounting to $19.50 per ton, whereas prior to the start of the war their best profits were $11 per ton. Mr. Arnall estimated that the pay increase recommended by the WSB would cost the industry a little over four dollars per ton for one year, and that steel could obtain an increase of around three dollars per ton under the existing price controls law, thus leaving only a little bit more than one dollar per ton added because of the wage boost. That still left a profit of around $18.50 per ton for the steel industry, with its very lowest profit being $17. That had finally determined the argument for the President, resulting, when the industry refused to accept the WSB's recommendations, in the Government's seizure of the steel mills to avoid the imminent strike by the United Steelworkers Union.

The son of Senator Taft, William Howard Taft III, had been sent to Ireland under the Marshall Plan because of his knowledge of the Gaelic language. But when he had arrived in Dublin, it had developed that he only knew classical Gaelic and could not speak modern Gaelic. Despite the fact, Marshall Plan administrators apparently were so anxious to win the support of Senator Taft that they kept his son on the payroll for three years as an alleged expert on Irish tours.

General Eisenhower's last official recommendation before resigning his post as NATO commander was for the member nations to adopt stricter security measures to eliminate Communists from their armies, as more than 150 Communist officers and enlisted men had been discovered in the French, Belgian and Italian armies during the previous two months, and the General believed that there were many hundreds more acting as Russian spies.

Assistant Secretary of State John Allison, the Korean truce expert, had been alerted to be on readiness to fly to Korea on an hour's notice. It appeared as the most hopeful sign in several months that the truce talks were about to reach resolution.

Lobbyists for higher prices were urging Congress to kill price controls, which had to be extended, lest they would expire on June 30. The lobbyists were pointing to the slight drop in the cost of living as an excuse to kill controls completely, and, points out Mr. Pearson, they were the same lobbyists who had fought against controls at the outbreak of the Korean War.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the plan to make Averell Harriman a favorite-son candidate for the presidency from New York, with the intent to hold the New York delegates for Governor Adlai Stevenson. But if the latter decided not to run, Mr. Harriman would then become a serious candidate, with the largest state delegation already committed to him. Mr. Harriman had behaved with remarkable generosity toward Governor Stevenson, despite having served under two Presidents and having every right to regard himself, therefore, as an important political figure. Yet, he viewed Governor Stevenson as the best available Democratic candidate.

The two men were old friends and after the President made his announcement on March 29 that he would not seek re-election, the two sought each other out, with Governor Stevenson talking seriously of withdrawing completely from the race. But Mr. Harriman convinced him that General Eisenhower, against whom Governor Stevenson said that he did not wish to run, would not be unbeatable and that the General's election would also sweep many reactionaries into Congress with him, that despite the General being an old friend of Mr. Harriman. He argued that since foreign policy and domestic policy were intertwined, it was the duty of Governor Stevenson to run. Thus, Governor Stevenson had not announced firmly that he would not run.

The Alsops posit that the same argument Mr. Harriman had made to Governor Stevenson applied to himself as well. While known primarily for his foreign policy stances, he was also passionately a supporter of the New and Fair Deals. The Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, were solidly in his corner, as were many of the Northern and Western organizational men who had come to power through the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. Mr. Harriman knew well the key men in the farm, labor and other powerful groups, and those men liked and trusted him. If Governor Stevenson were finally to withdraw as a candidate, Mr. Harriman would become the inevitable choice of many powerful Democrats who did not care for Senator Estes Kefauver, including the President, who admired Mr. Harriman and was determined to prevent the nomination of Senator Kefauver at almost any cost.

Marquis Childs looks at Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett and his struggle to get the 52-billion dollar budget for the armed forces through the Congress. The House had reduced it to 46 billion, and Mr. Lovett believed that to be cutting away vital defense appropriations.

During the years between 1947 and the beginning of the Korean War in June, 1950, the defense budget had been allowed to be reduced to the point where it had encouraged aggression by the Communists.

Perhaps the most serious cut made by the House in the current budget was the 1.5 billion dollars requested for the Air Force. Congressman John F. Kennedy had sought to advance the 143-group Air Force program, completion of which had been delayed from 1955 to 1956 because of budget constraints imposed by the Bureau of the Budget, cutting 1.6 billion from the original Air Force request. The House Appropriations Committee recommendation, cutting out the additional 1.5 billon, would delay the goal by another several months. Mr. Kennedy had proposed an increase of 1.4 billion dollars, to reach the 143-group target by around March, 1955, but that was voted down in the House and then the cut was approved.

Recently, Mr. Lovett had explained something about the complexity of modern weaponry which caused the budget to be so high. He noted that the average World War II plane had 515 wires, extending 1,545 feet, whereas the current average plane had 5,500 wires, extending 22,916 feet. The earlier plane required 600 direct engineering man-hours in aerodynamics, while the latter required 72,520 man-hours. The former plane had a maximum speed of 400 to 500 mph, while the present one flew at 600 to 700 mph or higher.

Mr. Childs concludes that Mr. Lovett was a portrait of the public servant, and when former government corruption investigator Newbold Morris had circulated his questionnaire to tap sources of outside income of top Government officials, Mr. Lovett, in contrast to many within the Cabinet, filled his out without protest.

Incidentally, it should not escape notice that John F. Kennedy is mentioned on the page for the first time in awhile, by coincidence, on the 87th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. Congressman Kennedy had recently announced as a candidate for the Senate seat from Massachusetts against incumbent Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who, along with Governor Dewey and Senator James Duff of Pennsylvania, acted as chief organizers of the Eisenhower-for-President movement. Senator Lodge, the prior week, on April 9—the 87th anniversary of the surrender of the Confederacy at Appomattox—, during his return from a visit with the General in Paris, had said to reporters at the Shannon Airport in Ireland that he could neither confirm nor deny that the General had sent a letter to Secretary Lovett seeking his relief as supreme commander of NATO, that they could write that if they wanted—a rumor which, of course, had since turned out to be correct.

And, what, you may ask, is the particular significance of the 87th anniversary? Perhaps, it is the fact that the Battle of Gettysburg ended the day before the 87th anniversary of July 4, 1776.

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