The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 15, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the truce supervision negotiators in Korea met for 25 seconds this date, long enough to go through their routine of the previous week, scheduling another meeting for the next day. The previous five meetings had lasted a total of four minutes. Meanwhile, the scheduling of further prisoner exchange talks remained in abeyance. The talks had been recessed on April 4 to permit both sides to work separately on possible solutions regarding the remaining issue of voluntary repatriation.

A powerful U.N. tank force killed or wounded 300 Communist Chinese the previous day in a furious bombardment of Communist lines on the Korean central front, the largest U.N. tank action in the previous two months. Allied infantrymen this date retook a hill east of the Pukhan River on the central front, two hours after they were pushed from the hill by 400 Communist Chinese.

The President signed the Japanese peace treaty this date and the State Department announced that peace with Japan would become effective officially on April 28. The President also signed three related Pacific security pacts, one with Japan providing that the U.S. would have the right to maintain military forces in and around Japan, and the other two for the mutual defense of the Philippines and for Australia and New Zealand.

In New Jersey, drizzling rain occurred on the day of voting in the presidential primaries. General Eisenhower was the favorite among Republicans. The Republicans would elect 38 delegates to the convention. Overall, Senator Taft presently had 201 delegates to General Eisenhower's 88 and Harold Stassen's 21. On the Democratic side, Senator Estes Kefauver was unopposed, but was a long way from obtaining the 32-vote delegation.

Wage Stabilization Board chairman Nathan Feinsinger this date told the Senate Labor Committee that former Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson had caused "havoc" in the steel dispute when he had said that the WSB's recommendations posed a serious threat to the anti-inflation and stabilization program, and that his subsequent modification of the statement was too little, too late.

Meanwhile, industrial and business leaders from all over the country entered a closed meeting in Washington to review the steel situation. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon planned to offer a new bill to provide a definite pattern for governmental seizures, providing for the return of the steel mills to the companies on the condition that they would accept the wage and fringe benefits package recommended by the WSB, unless its terms were modified in free collective bargaining, as well as providing that during the period of the emergency seizure, the union shop would not be imposed by the Government, and also allowing the companies to have the price increases to which they were entitled under existing controls law.

A Federal judge in Cleveland granted the Government's request for a no-strike injunction against three rail unions.

The Missouri River was still threatening Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was three-fourths deserted.

The President asked seven Midwestern governors to meet with him at Omaha the next day to discuss measures for dealing with the flood emergency. The President would fly over the flooded areas the following morning.

In Omaha, the weather bureau was doing its business from a pool hall, as that was the only available location after the airport, where the weather bureau normally had its offices, had been evacuated for being in the path of the Missouri River flooding.

In Spokane, Washington, a B-36 bomber crashed on takeoff from Fairchild Air Force Base early this date, killing 15 of the 17 aboard, with the two surviving crewmen suffering serious burns. No cause of the crash is provided. Another B-36 had crashed and burned while landing at the same base the previous winter, and all members of that crew had escaped before the plane caught fire.

In Las Vegas, a second atomic blast since April 1 was observed, this one during the morning hours this date, though the blast was neither felt nor heard and there were no reports of damage.

In the vicinity of Asheville, snow fell in scattered sections of Western North Carolina this date, and it was 19 degrees atop Mt. Mitchell.

In Santa Monica, California, film producer Walter Wanger, previously arrested for shooting his wife's agent, threw himself on the mercy of the court by agreeing to submit his case on the basis of testimony heard before a grand jury, at which he did not testify. His wife, actress Joan Bennett, and the wounded agent, shot in the groin, also had not testified.

In Madrid, Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain and Premier Antonio de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal planned a surprise meeting, likely to occur this date near the Portuguese frontier. The subject of their discussion was not announced.

News editor Pete McKnight, still in Rome, tells of the State Department waging an effective information battle in foreign lands, though forbidden by an act of Congress from publicizing at home the activities of the information service. It was designed to wean people away from Communism in friendly nations. In Italy, in the province of Genoa, 4,590 Communist Party cards had been turned in by workers who had quit a Communist-dominated union to join two other non-Communist unions. Similar reports were coming from all over Italy. U.S. officials believed that the Communist-dominated union was no longer able to stimulate a political or general strike. Recently, the Communist-dominated union had only been able to precipitate a few hit-and-run strikes of brief duration and based on regular grievances. A few years earlier, it had a large membership and was strong in arms, with a plan in readiness for an armed rebellion, at which point the Italian Government had moved in and seized enough military equipment to arm two full divisions, smashing the union's grip on key industries. The U.S. Information Service had targeted labor first, with the all-important transport industry and communications workers taking top priority, followed by farm laborers, migratory workers and sharecroppers. Of secondary importance were members of the armed forces, students and youth groups. The Service decided that it would be wasting its time in areas where the Communists had demonstrated voting strength of 60 percent or more in previous elections.

On page 6-B, News movie reviewer Emery Wister provides an interview he had conducted with Humphrey Bogart.

On the editorial page, "Steel—And the Larger Issues" looks at the Constitutional issue raised with regard to the President's seizure of the steel industry, whether he had inherent executive power to do so in the context of a national emergency.

It indicates that neither President Truman nor President Roosevelt had been the first Presidents alleged to have exceeded their power. The same had been claimed when President Jefferson had made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and when President Lincoln had ordered the Secretary of War to seize the railroads and telegraph lines between Annapolis and Washington in 1861, as well when he had issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves in the states still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, without providing the owners compensation under the Fifth Amendment. (It leaves out the controversy surrounding his suspension of habeas corpus at the start of the Civil War.)

President Woodrow Wilson had seized an arms plant because it would not abide by a ruling of the War Labor Board. FDR had seized plants on three occasions before Pearl Harbor and on ten occasions afterward. President Truman had seized the railroads three times and the coal mines once.

It indicates that the Government would have been derelict in its duty had it not taken this extreme action to prevent a steel strike after it became imminent at the point when the steel industry rejected the WSB's recommendations finally in early April, absent a $12 per ton increase in price, which was not allowed under current price controls laws and was not forthcoming from the Government. It expresses concern, however, at the Government's abdication of duty as a mediator, which resulted ultimately in the seizure, and the absence of undertaking other means besides seizure for settling the dispute.

The President could have invoked Taft-Hartley, appointing a fact-finding board to report on the facts, meanwhile, obtaining an injunction of the strike for 80 days. The President had said he did not resort to Taft Hartley because the Steelworkers union had already postponed the strike for 99 days. The piece suggests that perhaps the President had checked the calendar and realized that to obtain an injunction for that amount of time plus the time for the fact-finding board to render its findings, would have pushed the matter right up to the time of the political conventions in July, not advantageous politically. Moreover, it asserts, it would have been unclear what would have happened after the expiration of the time, if there were to be no mediation in the meantime, especially as the Government appeared to have exhausted all avenues of attempted resolution.

It suggests that both Big Labor and Big Business had abandoned the process of compromise to Big Government, which was not equipped for the job. Neither side had appeared to show much resolve to settle the dispute in the latter part of 1951 when they were negotiating on their own, and appeared relieved when the WSB had taken over the matter.

It suggests that the present situation contained dangers, in that the Secretary of Commerce was authorized to pay such wages out of the earnings of the companies as, in his judgment, he determined to be appropriate. He could also adopt the union shop at his discretion. It suggests that provision of such power to the Government was a complete renunciation of collective bargaining. It therefore urges that Congress determine how to resolve a strike in a vital industry when both sides, as in the present dispute, were adamant about their positions, without resorting to Government seizure. It suggests that the answer might be binding arbitration.

It ventures that it would not be enough for Congress to seek to restrict the powers of the President—nor legal, unless they were powers ceded to the executive by Congress. It finds that perhaps it was too much to expect that Presidents should become mediators in labor disputes, but the public interest required that the authority for prevention of strikes be vested somewhere when the national interest was at stake. But in the same process, there had to be a restraint on governmental authority to impose conditions on either labor or management without regard to collective bargaining.

"A Great Community Service" recommends to businessmen of Charlotte that they drop into the Better Business Bureau's office, assuring that they would be impressed. It was headed by a young attorney, who had a very small staff who worked very hard at the task of improving the standards and conduct of business in the community. The Bureau had studied and made available to the public a large amount of valuable information regarding fraudulent and unwarranted solicitations, and since it had been formed in 1950, companies, businessmen and consumers had been saved untold amounts of money by the Bureau having apprised them through direct mail of various fraudulent schemes. The Bureau had also handled a large volume of complaints and inquiries regarding the quality and value of merchandise and services. It also examined truth in advertising in newspapers and over the air.

It points out that the Bureau was supported entirely by membership dues from 270 members, whose dues depended on the character and size of the member's business. Its present annual income was $20,000, $3,000 short of the minimum required to maintain efficient operations. It had a goal of adding 50 more members to bring its budget into balance, and would hold a luncheon meeting to try to raise that money. The piece urges more businessmen to join and support the organization.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, more effective than any other Southern Senator in blocking the President's civil rights program, appearing to have a change of mind on the subject now that he was a candidate for the presidency. He might be willing to compromise on his previous stance against a compulsory Fair Employment Practices Commission. Senator Ernest McFarland of Arizona, the Democratic Majority Leader, had begun sounding out minority groups about such a compromise, and if he could work it out between black leaders and Southern moderates, he would introduce such a measure in the Senate, with Senator Russell's blessing.

Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett had indicated the absolute importance of keeping the steel mills running, that a strike would have been disastrous for the defense effort in Korea. Senators Burnet Maybank of South Carolina and Willis Robertson of Virginia had been pulling wires backstage to provide the steel industry with a price increase, regardless of the effect it would have on inflation. Even labor had been exerting some quiet pressure to increase steel prices modestly. The President was the toughest person to move, however, on the subject, along with Price administrator Ellis Arnall and Economic Stabilizer Roger Putnam.

Pennsylvania Democrats, including those elected in Philadelphia to clean up that graft-ridden city under past Republican regimes, were quietly working behind the scenes to defeat the confirmation of fellow Democrat, Judge James McGranery, as the new Attorney General-designate.

The previous winter, the President had already tapped a replacement for Attorney General McGrath, but had told a friend that he felt "too sorry" for him and could not fire him.

Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin, former Governor of Massachusetts, had been invited to the preview of the new film, "With These Hands", a history of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which had previously produced the Broadway musical hit, "Pins and Needles". Mr. Tobin, when he introduced the film, committed the faux pas of calling the union the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, the rival union of the ILWU. A murmur ran through the audience, but the Secretary continued, oblivious to his error.

Boss Ed Crump of Memphis was seriously considering ditching Senator Kenneth McKellar for re-election, as he believed it would be difficult for the Democrats to win the seat with Senator McKellar as the nominee. He was trying to get the Senator to admit that his health, at age 83, was not equal to the task of running again.

The House the previous week had unanimously voted a contempt citation against Henry Grunewald for refusing to answer questions. That was in contrast to the Senate the previous year, which had ducked the issuance of a contempt citation for the same reason, on the basis that Senator Joseph McCarthy had persuaded the Republican members of the D.C. Committee to reverse themselves on the matter, after Mr. Grunewald had been linked with Senator Owen Brewster of Maine and the tapping of the phone lines of Howard Hughes during the latter's time testifying before Congress in 1947 regarding his resistance to the proposed merger of Pan Am and TWA.

James Marlow discusses the three "old-timers" of the Senate, Senators Tom Connally of Texas, 74, Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, also 74, and Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, 83. Senator Connally had just announced his retirement after 40 years in the Congress, facing a tough re-election campaign against Texas Attorney General Price Daniel. The Senator had been assured by friends that he could win, but he had decided that it would be a tough campaign and not worth it to him.

Senator Hoey, who fancied turn-of-the-century dress, had only been in the Senate for eight years and was not up for re-election until 1956—though he would die in April, 1954, to be replaced by Sam J. Ervin.

Senator McKellar was also facing a tough campaign from a younger candidate, Congressman Albert Gore, but the Senator, lacking the personal wit and charm of Senator Connally, was giving every indication of running again.

He concludes that it had not been a good year for old-timers, as Senator Connally understood. The oldtimer of them all, the President, had, after all, bowed out after a lifetime in politics.

Robert C. Ruark tells of the current movie, "Five Fingers", a true story based on espionage in Ankara, Turkey, during World War II, having a line, ascribed to German Ambassador Franz Von Papen, which had stuck with him, regarding the Nazi regime being "a group of juvenile delinquents". He finds the same true of the Truman Administration. He cites the recent episode at National Airport in Washington, while the President and other dignitaries awaited the arrival of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, with the President arguing openly with Attorney General J. Howard McGrath. Then there was the immediately following forced resignation of Mr. McGrath, the same day he had fired Government corruption investigator Newbold Morris, whom Mr. McGrath had just hired in early February.

He cites also the "low comedy" of General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, and the gold medals for Vice-President Alben Barkley, the "Throttlebottom Veep who now makes bold noises about eligibility for the head job."

"We have had Kefauver with his Dan'l Boone tiara, playing noisy cops and robbers all over the block and the general raid on the governmental icebox, where all the bad little kids left grimy pawprints on the cookie crock. They stole the worst mink coats from the cloakroom and made off with the various lowercase booties.

"If it were not so completely tragic you could find much amusement in the spectacle of a Supreme Court justice [referring to William O. Douglas] publicly advocating that America furnish the necessary guns and moneys to create massive revolution amongst our allies in what is at best a shaky world. I seem to hear the shrill treble of the adolescent as he exhorts his colleagues to burn down the corncrib or stone the teacher's home.

"We have waited out world crises while Harry settled with the critics of his daughter's voice, and we have seen the well-paid Margaret go for a gag on a TV show whose point was a large 'I Like Ike' which she scrawled on a blackboard."

He last finds it not surprising when Eleanor Roosevelt had, in India, recently taught the Indians the Virginia reel, as in times of stress, games were always a "settling influence on children".

A letter writer answers the recent letter from a minister who had denounced segregation. This writer suggests that the minister had gone much further than Harriet Beecher Stowe by advocating interracial marriage. He says he had played with black children as a child and found them agreeable, and believed that the "best class of Negroes" did not really want social equality. He says that the country did not want to turn itself into "a nation of half-breeds like Mexico and Cuba." "This is a white man's country, since obliteration of the Indian." He says that he was raised to respect the ministry and so would not say anything personally against the previous writer, but that he could scarcely conceive of "how any true Southerner could advocate any such stuff" as the previous writer had, and adds that he trusts that his head had not been working when he wrote the letter.

What were the names of some of the little black children you played with, Buckwheat and Buckwheat?

A letter writer from Pittsboro responds to a letter printed on March 25 from a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, in which the writer had given the union side of the union shop issue. This writer thinks that while the prior writer had made a plausible case for the union shop, his case was "too good". He explains his argument—at length.

A letter from the editor of the Mark Twain Quarterly in Webster Groves, Mo., indicates that he was editing a collection of Mark Twain anecdotes and would be happy to hear from readers who might have stories regarding his kinsman, Samuel Clemens.

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