The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 19, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that truce negotiators in Korea this date had begun another attempt to formulate a method for exchanging prisoners of war, regarding the stumbling block of voluntary repatriation. The U.N. command spokesperson refused to indicate whether staff officers had made any progress during their first meeting following a two-week recess, during which the separate sides were attempting to bridge the gap between them. The talks, he said, remained in executive session. This date's session lasted 22 minutes, adjourned for an hour, and then reconvened for nine minutes. The two sides would meet again the following day.

The subcommittee considering truce supervision remained deadlocked over the issue of Communist nomination of Russia as a "neutral nation" to inspect the truce and the U.N. demand that airfield construction be banned during an armistice.

The enlistments of some 125,000 persons in the armed forces were extended for an additional nine months beyond the scheduled July 1 expiration date. The Defense Department said that not all of the men would be required to serve the full extended period. The extension applied to all components of the armed forces, but maximum authorized active duty tours of reservists and National Guardsmen were not extended.

Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer had served an ultimatum the previous day to the steel industry, indicating that unless they reached agreement with United Steelworkers president Philip Murray by the following Monday or Tuesday, the Government would provide the steelworkers a pay increase. It appeared that there was little chance of a settlement by that point. It was not yet known how much the pay increase would be or whether it would match the 17.5-cent increase recommended by the Wage Stabilization Board. If the full benefit package, worth 26 cents per hour, and the union shop were also included, steel industry lawyers believed that their chances of winning a court fight against the move would be good, but if it was limited only to the industry-offered wage increase, the chances would be less.

The announcement had caused anger to be expressed by Senate Republicans, who wanted to forbid use of any Federal funds for Federal officials to run the seized steel mills. Senators William Knowland of California and Homer Ferguson of Michigan led a Republican group which had proclaimed the President as a "dictator" in the matter. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina challenged Secretary Sawyer's authority to provide the wage increase, by taking money from the stockholders of a corporation and ordering it disbursed to workers without the consent of the authorized corporate officers.

In New York, a compromise was reached to end the strike of 10,000 Western Electric employees, fostering hopes for a quick settlement in two remaining nationwide telephone walkouts.

In Schenectady, N.Y., a Federal court issued an order the previous day permitting the RFC to liquidate the bankrupt Schenectady Railway Co., resulting in no buses running in the city this date. The line normally carried 30,000 passengers daily, many of them commuters to the General Electric and American Locomotive company plants, both of which firms had defense contracts.

In the lead-up to the Pennsylvania presidential primary the following Tuesday, Senator Taft indicated that the outcome would have no immediate or definite impact on his or anyone else's bid for the Republican nomination, whereas supporters of General Eisenhower insisted that the primary was of prime importance. Only General Eisenhower and former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen were on the Republican ballot. Senator Taft had asked his supporters not to cast write-in votes, which were permitted in the primaries. There were no candidates on the ballot in the Democratic primary. There were 70 delegate votes at stake from each party, and both parties had already picked 10 at-large delegates. The primary vote would not be binding on any of the delegates.

Senators Allen Ellender of Louisiana and James Eastland of Mississippi stated that Senator Estes Kefauver could not be nominated and could not be elected. Both favored Senator Richard Russell for the Democratic nomination.

Senator Taft stated that he believed the President had "gone completely off his head" in threatening to order a chain of daily special sessions, until New Year's Day if necessary, should Congress balk at voting appropriations which he thought necessary for defense. The Senator said that the President was "claiming power like Charles I of England". Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana expressed similar objection to the President's attitude. The President had said that the "dangerous and destructive" cuts by Congress into the defense program would endanger lives of American soldiers. Senator Hoey stated that he regarded the President's statements as a new conception of how the legislative process worked, whereby ordinarily the President made recommendations and the Congress appropriated the money. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire said that he believed the President was trying to seize the power of appropriation and disrupt Congressional efforts to cut the fat from the defense appropriations bills.

The Missouri River continued to harass Omaha this date, smashing levees, engulfing farms and spreading destruction downstream for 200 miles. The flooding, the worst in the history of the area, had spread, almost uncontrolled, into northeastern Kansas and was driving families from their homes in increasing numbers in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. The new threat to Omaha had materialized the previous night when the river blew out a sewer line leading into the lowland industrial area, after the flood crest had passed through the narrow channel into Omaha and Council Bluffs, after reaching 30.24 feet in height, 11.24 feet above flood stage. It had initially appeared, after this surge had passed, that the danger was gone, as the levees had withstood the pressure of the river. But then the pressure burst through the concrete sewer line four blocks behind the levee and water had ripped up pavement for 120 feet, spurting in geysers and gushing through the streets across a wide area of warehouses, railroad switch yards, lumber yards and factories. The Army Corps of Engineers rushed hundreds of workers into the area and they had worked through the night to try to seal the sewer line at its mouth.

In Charlotte, police were searching for an arsonist after a church fire at the Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church, less than two blocks from St. Martin's Episcopal Church, where two other mysterious fires during the week had caused extensive damage. The fire chief indicated that unless the firebug were caught soon, he might burn up every church in the city. The latest fire had been brought under control within 15 to 20 minutes, but had caused in the meantime several thousand dollars worth of damage. All of the fires had been started in similar locations within the two churches. No one knew who had turned in the alarm for the latest fire, and firemen speculated that it might have been the arsonist, himself, if so, having probably saved the church from complete destruction. Reports on the first fires had indicated that "a laughing man" had been observed near the scene.

News editor Pete McKnight provides another installment from Cairo regarding his tour of the Middle East as part of the American Christian Palestine Committee study tour. He tells of the difficulties for the rest of the entourage in reaching Cairo because of plane trouble, causing the other fifteen members of the group to arrive a day late, while Mr. McKnight and his traveling companion, Don Shoemaker of the Asheville Citizen, had arrived comfortably and on time aboard a TWA Constellation flight from Rome, oblivious to the difficulties of the other group members. He indicates that Cairo still bore the marks of the January 26 riots.

On the editorial page, "Hazards in Wild Blue Yonder…" comments on the recurring dispute regarding hazard pay for members of the armed forces being highlighted by the so-called fliers' revolt at some Air Force bases across the country.

Air Force chief of staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg, was making a bid for more hazard pay, indicating that there was a shortage of fliers because of the rising death rate during military flights, the lack of sufficient hazard pay, and the lack of enthusiasm among reservists called back to serve.

It suggests that the involuntary grounding of six or eight airmen did not constitute any wave of stay-down strikes, and that for years, a few fliers had determined to remain on the ground rather than take the risk in flight, but that those events had not been widely publicized at the time.

It finds the proposal by Senator Paul Douglas to equalize the hazard pay throughout the armed forces to be sound, correcting a longstanding injustice to infantrymen. Hazard pay, it suggests, should go to men doing hazardous work, regardless of whether they were in the infantry, making regular flights or frequent parachute jumps. While establishing a zone of combat for the sake of determining such pay would produce inevitable inequities, it would be more equitable than the present system. It suggests also that Congress should reduce the pay of ranking administrative airmen who earned their hazard pay by flying up and down the Potomac a few hours each month.

"… And in the Reserve Setup" continues the above piece, suggesting that it was not the fault of the military alone that the reserve situation was so fouled up, that the reserve system illustrated the financial and military waste inherent in an erratic defense program. The Air Force, for example, following World War II, had hundreds of thousands of airmen remain in the reserves, some of whom had maintained their training until reserve funds were cut and reserve facilities in many cases abolished. Following the outset of the Korean War, the Air Force began inquiring of airmen whether they would return to duty, some ignoring the request and others declining, though after having disclosed their whereabouts, soon finding themselves back on active duty because the Air Force lacked a pool of young men willing to train as fliers.

But many of the fliers recalled to duty had little to do or were given a job for which they were not trained, causing consternation among these reservists. Some of those who had maintained their training in their specialties were now acquitting themselves well in Korea, but once a flier reached 30 years of age, he was usually not the same combat pilot he had been during World War II. As a result of this recall to duty, the country had neglected the training of young men who, by the present, could have become the nation's top airmen.

In the current issue of Flying, General Carl Spaatz, who had been the Air Force chief of staff in 1946-47, referred to the "lost generation" of young potential fliers, a situation which he said could never be quite corrected.

It indicates that Charlotte could be proud of its Civil Air Patrol, an organization which throughout the nation trained young people in aviation. It could also be proud of civic organizations which encouraged model-airplane building, as some of those boys so engaged would eventually become the nation's best fliers.

It concludes that universal military training made sense by training young men without interrupting their academic, work or family life. The same theory, it finds, applied to air reserve training. For there was need to replace the soldiers and airmen of World War II, who were not getting any younger.

"The China Lobby" tells of The Reporter having asked why it was that there was so much squeamishness about investigating the China lobby, after devoting two issues to the subject. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon had recently inserted in the Congressional Record a series of cables from the counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Chen Chih-mai, to Chiang Kai-shek, indicating efforts to obtain support for Nationalist China in Congress. One of the most absorbing of those messages was one recounting a conversation with Senator Taft, in which Chen stated that he had informed the Senator that the Nationalist Chinese were willing to share the responsibilities with General MacArthur in a fight against Russia and Communism, but that the economic strength of Formosa was weak and its manpower limited, facing a strong guerrilla force on the mainland with an inexhaustible source of recruits, finally indicating that the idea would be used by the Senator in a speech, after which Senator Taft had spoken favorably on the subject of Formosa in a speech in Seattle, even proposing that the U.S. transport Nationalist troops to the mainland.

The piece indicates that it was not known how much aid supplied to the Nationalists had been used merely to finance propaganda within the U.S. for continued support of the Nationalists. It suggests that the extent to which the ruling families in Nationalist China had lined their pockets with this U.S. aid would likely also be unknown. Also hidden was how Nationalist insiders had known when to unload U.S. dollar bonds and savings certificates just before it had been announced that they would not be redeemed.

In one cable, Chen reported on a conversation with Averell Harriman, commenting that he was a "rich man's son", and also very unscrupulous, both being big drawbacks.

It indicates that those politicians who were not reluctant to take money from the China lobby should be known to the public. Whereas Senator Pat McCarran's Internal Security subcommittee had brought out some of the left wing's efforts on behalf of Communist China, a spotlight should also be turned, it posits, on the right wing to show how it had served the China lobby and the Nationalist cause.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, titled "No Man Can Be Glum When Birds Sing", tells of man generally forgetting that at the beginning of each spring, the birds would "come and proclaim the season and promise the green for the ground, the pink in the redbud and the dogwood's white cape."

Among the birds was always the tiny phoebe, with its "falsetto squeak, like the rusty swing of a miniature gate", being so merry that it prompted singing in all who heard it. At early morning, "lonely and troubled men" would awaken to the announcement of the phoebe that spring had arrived with all its resplendent beauty. Then when one would look out to observe, the phoebe would turn and shrill "a shaming cry, a scornful accusation of worry and doubt", then fly away, leaving the observer to sing while dressing and hurrying downtown to work for the day.

Drew Pearson tells of House investigators having hushed up the fact that a major clue in the tax scandals had mysteriously disappeared, that being a secret recording of a telephone conversation from a Treasury informant, charging that former IRB Commissioner Joe Nunan and assistant commissioner Dan Bolich had been paid money in two tax cases. During an executive session, Mr. Bolich had denied taking any such money, but admitted knowing about the missing record of the phone call. The informant in question had tipped off two Treasury agents that the former law partner of a former Congressman, T. Vincent Quinn, had paid money to Mr. Nunan and Mr. Bolich. Mr. Quinn had recently admitted to the House subcommittee investigating the scandals that he had intervened with the Treasury in 28 tax cases while he was in Congress and also admitted receiving revenue from his law firm at that time. A transcript of the tip had been placed in the Treasury files.

Mr. Pearson provides quotes from Mr. Bolich's testimony during the executive session. In a subsequent public session, Mr. Bolich had refused to testify about the matter.

Marquis Childs tells of continuing pressure having been exerted on Governor Adlai Stevenson not to take himself out of the race for the presidential nomination, those pleas coming not so much from the White House or the DNC but rather from individuals who realized that his exit from the race would mean that the Democrats were in a bad way for a candidate. Governor Stevenson had fewer handicaps than any other Democrat presently vying for the nomination or considered a serious contender. He was outside the scandals of Washington and had been a reform Governor in Illinois, cleaning up corruption which had gone on for some period of time. He was a moderate on civil rights and FEPC, and was therefore acceptable to the Southerners.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a supporter of Governor Stevenson and there were plans to enlist her to exhort the Governor to run. His sons, however, had expressed the hope that he would not run and one of the Governor's close associates speculated that it might have been the deciding factor, especially in view of divided loyalties because of the Governor's divorce. He consulted many friends and acquaintances, as well as leaders in both the Catholic and Protestant churches, and most had advised him to wait and let events take their course.

Mr. Childs believes that the Governor's personal integrity had finally influenced his decision to withdraw from the race, as he felt a genuine moral commitment to the people of Illinois as Governor to finish the job he had started in cleaning up graft and corruption in the state. He had announced before the draft movement began for the Democratic nomination that he would run for re-election for Governor.

Another factor influencing his decision was that the Republicans had nominated William Stratton to run against him in the gubernatorial race, and Mr. Stratton had been tied to the Republican machine which had given Illinois its corrupt administration.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the pre-convention contest for delegates having reached beyond its halfway mark with the New Jersey primary, and General Eisenhower having rounded the turn with a big surge forward, while Senator Taft was still running steadily and hard, remaining a contender.

A few weeks earlier, Taft headquarters had expressed the hope that they would go to the convention with a minimum of 653 delegates, either committed or potentially committed. That would be enough for a victory on the first ballot. But in the weeks since that time, it had become apparent that the Senator had run a much slower race than they had hoped. The biggest setback had occurred in Maryland, where the Taft forces had counted on the support of Governor Theodore McKeldin, who had instead thrown his support to General Eisenhower.

In other states, such as Nebraska and Illinois, the Senator had done well, while in others, as New Jersey and New Hampshire, he had not. At present, the best estimate gave the Senator 208 delegates, whereas if he had done as previously anticipated, he would have slightly more than 250.

Eisenhower supporters had forecast that he would poll 520 delegates on the first ballot, with about 350 for Senator Taft. But this estimate for the General included substantial support in the South, which appeared dubious given the absence of support in that region for the General. If that forecast was reduced to a more realistic estimate, the General and the Senator would likely be heading into the convention with about the same number of delegates, somewhere between 450 to 500 each out of the 1,401 total.

Senator Taft might benefit from the withdrawal of Governor Stevenson from the race, sowing confusion among Democrats seeking a new, acceptable candidate, as that could lead to the willingness among professional Republicans to gamble on Senator Taft as the GOP nominee. The whole picture might also be altered by Governor John Fine of Pennsylvania, should he declare as a candidate, as he controlled the largest portion of his state's 70 delegate votes, of which Senator Taft claimed 40. If Governor Fine were to throw his support to General Eisenhower, he could start a bandwagon effect which could offset the overly optimistic claims for Southern delegates.

They summarize the situation by finding that the outcome of the New Jersey primary had left General Eisenhower in an excellent position to win the nomination, but that there was equally no doubt that the Eisenhower supporters were expressing optimism too soon in discounting the chances of Senator Taft.

A letter writer from Rutherfordton finds that Justice William O. Douglas had aptly stated that the best way to defeat Communism was to start "peasant revolutions" in underdeveloped countries receptive to democratic reform, presently receving Point Four aid. He suggests that the country did not need to go to the underdeveloped countries of the Middle East for this purpose but could start in Europe, where landowners controlled vast estates worked by renters and cheap labor. In the countries where small landowners were in the majority, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland, the Communists had no chance of success. He urges that Communism could not be defeated by sending aid money for the benefit of large landowners, and so supports Justice Douglas's suggestion of a "Point Five" program.

He adds that few people realized that 60 percent of the best farmland in Iowa was owned and operated by large corporations, the same being true in Texas, California and many other states, while migrant workers and tenant farmers lived in poverty or under "slave labor conditions". He indicates that the taxpayers were paying dearly for permitting such big land-owning corporations and individuals control of farms and prices through their powerful Washington lobbies. He suggests that the system was slowly but surely inviting Communism to gain the upper hand.

A letter writer finds that the April 15 response of another letter writer to the April 10 letter from a minister from Matthews, who had condemned segregation, had paid a high compliment to the views of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington, when he acknowledged that the freeing of the slaves had been a good thing. This writer wonders why the responsive letter writer rabidly objected to interracial marriage, when there were thousands of "white Negroes" in the land. He indicates, as a black man, that blacks wanted "equality to combat the pangs of hunger, the wintry blasts that chill his soul, and equal freedom from the filth and squalor that blast his hopes in this world and the world to come." He had no thought in the process of marriage equality, but was against any more cornbread, grease and molasses as the staples of a diet.

He wonders why the previous responsive writer had so belittled the high character and good sense of white women, as blacks had measured and installed many window shades and blinds in hundreds of white homes and had observed no visible sex fear or desire of courtship from white women. He thinks it time that the "ladies of [the previous writer's] great ruling race" rebuke such implied attacks on their character. He concludes, while providing his name: "Since this is a white man's country, since obliteration of the Indians we fear to sign our names."

A letter writer from Monroe also responds negatively to the critics of the minister's April 10 letter, which he finds to have been a "humane and Christian view". He also wonders why the April 15 writer had been so obsessed with the theme of interracial marriage, asking whether the writer found blacks so attractive that he feared that only legal barriers could prevent his relatives from engaging in interracial marriage. He suggests that this writer could not imagine black men fighting and dying in Korea for the "white man's country" and that black Communists, charged with advocating the violent overthrow of the Government under the Smith Act, should instead be deported to the country that the previous writer considered to be their own. He indicates that if he believed all white Americans believed as this writer, he would not hesitate to commit a treasonous act against the land of his birth, that he would be willing to take up arms against a country which was not his own and for any country that would fight against it. But he concludes that he could find no immediate cause for such treason, "as long as the spirit of Jesus Christ and that Great American, John Brown, is reflected in 20th Century Americans", such as the letter writer of April 10 who had denounced segregation.

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